New Mexico: America’s Nuclear Colony

Money doesn’t talk, it swears. (Bob Dylan)

Quick Facts

Nuclear New Mexico

• DOE FY 2024 budget in NM is $10 billion (double next state).
– 75% core nuclear weapons research and production programs
– 28% life extended and new-design nuclear warheads ($2.65B)
– 20% expanded nuclear weapons production ($2 billion)
– $1.75B expanded plutonium “pit” bomb core production
– 5% for dumping radioactive bomb wastes (WIPP $484 million)
• Expanding nuclear weapons programs sold as jobs, jobs, jobs
• Los Alamos County (LAC) 70.6% non-Hispanic Caucasian
• LAC is 11th richest county in USA, most millionaires per capita
• Los Alamos County median household income $123,677
• Los Alamos County per capita income $64,521
• Los Alamos County persons in poverty 3.7%
• Los Alamos County has least children living in poverty in USA
• Los Alamos County rated best county to live in in USA
• Historically LAC schools subsidized added $8 million/yr from DOE
• LAC receives >$50 million in annual state gross receipts taxes
• Dept of Energy renewable spending in NM is 0.5% of $10B budget
• Indigenous and Hispanic lands unjustly seized for LANL
• World’s first atomic bomb detonated at Trinity Test
• 75 years still no govt tally of sick Navajo/Laguna uranium miners
• At least 8,280 sick Los Alamos and Sandia Labs workers
• Major hexavalent chromium groundwater contamination at LANL
• LANL plans to “cap and cover” and leave >200,000 yd3 of waste
• USA’s largest repository of warheads 2 miles south of ABQ airport
• Nation’s only plutonium “pit” bomb core production site at LANL
• Nation’s only dump for bomb wastes at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
• NM targeted for all of nation’s lethal radioactive high-level wastes

New Mexico

• NM’s entire FY24 state operating budget is 6% less ($9.4 billion).
– 54% public education K-12 and higher
– 34% public health and safety

• NM per capita income falls from 32nd (1959) to 47th (2022)
• New Mexico 50% Hispanic, 11.2% Native American
• New Mexico 4th poorest state
• Median household income $54,020
• Average per capita income $29,624
• New Mexicans in poverty 18.4% (3rd highest in USA)
• 30% of New Mexican children live in poverty (highest rate in USA).
• New Mexico rated worst in well-being of children
• New Mexico is dead last in quality of public education
• Six surrounding county govts suffer net economic loss from LANL
• New Mexico has very abundant renewable energy resources
• DOE transfers excess land to white, wealthy Los Alamos County
• Generational cancers, Downwinders never compensated
• Chronically delayed remediation of 260 uranium mines and 7 mills

• NM facing decreasing water resources and increasing wildfires
• Lab commonly hires away senior NM Environment Dept officials
• >$5B for plutonium facilities, more than all NM schools & hospitals
• DOE threatens to sue NM over new WIPP state permit conditions
• Federal Nuclear Reg. Comm. grants license despite state opposition

New Mexico: America’s Nuclear Colony

New Mexico is the birthplace place of nuclear weapons. The “Land of Enchantment” has always been the single most important state within the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. The Department of Energy (DOE) will spend $10 billion in NM in FY 2024, 6% more than the operating budget of the entire state government.

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Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s Follow-up to News about the Chromium Plume: Santa Fe New Mexican article, “San Ildefonso governor says halt of plume cleanup will lead to spread onto pueblo”

“Nuclear Watch New Mexico believes that it is past time that this dangerous contaminant is cleaned up at the source.

Extracted treated groundwater should be pumped or trucked uphill to flush out the remaining 90% of the chromium so that it can be decisively dealt with instead of with only marginally effective “pump and treat” for a few centuries…

By Jay Coghlan

A long road to remediation for hexavalent chromium plume near Los AlamosThe real shame is how ineffective Lab cleanup of the hexavalent chromium plume is. First, even after 18 years, LANL and DOE still don’t know the boundaries of the plume, all the while claiming it’s not on San Ildefonso Pueblo Land (maybe LANL should deprioritize expanded nuclear weapons production and focus on that). Second, this is our common “sole source” (EPA special designation) aquifer that is one of the primary sources of drinking water for the cities of Santa Fe, Española, and Los Alamos, eleven Pueblos and all of the Española Basin’s rural areas. Third, hex chromium is the carcinogen made notorious in the popular movie Erin Brockovich. Fourth, it is estimated that 160,000 pounds of chromium were released up until 1972, but only 10% (i.e. ~16,000 pounds) has been recovered through extraction and treatment. When the head of DOE Environmental Management Los Alamos Office was asked where’s the rest of the chromium, Michael Mikolanis demurred and said that he would have to get back on that question.

San Ildefonso governor says halt of plume cleanup will lead to spread onto pueblo

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