Nuclear Watch New Mexico

Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote safety and environmental protection at regional nuclear facilities; mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs; greater accountability and cleanup in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex; and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons.


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LANL’s Central Mission: Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to “national security”, but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here’s the answer from one of its own documents:

LANL’s “Central Mission”- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11

Banner displaying “Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal” at the entrance in front of the Los Alamos National Lab to celebrate the Entry Into Force of the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty on January 22, 2021

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Follow the Money!

Map of “Nuclear New Mexico”

Nuclear Watch Interactive Map – U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

In 1985, US President Ronald Reagan and and Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev declared that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev shake hands after signing the arms control agreement banning the use of intermediate-range nuclear missles, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty.

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

The Wall St. Journal has compiled a searchable database of contaminated sites across the US. (view)
Related WSJ report:


Watchdogs File Suit for NNSA’s Performance Evaluation Reports

Watchdogs File Suit for NNSA’s Performance Evaluation Reports Watchdogs File Suit for NNSA’s Performance Evaluation ReportsSanta Fe, NM – Today, Nuclear Watch New Mexico has once again filed a lawsuit to pry loose the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) full and complete Performance Evaluation Reports that evaluate contractor performance at its eight nuclear weapons sites. Approximately 57,000 people are employed by NNSA’s nuclear weapons production complex, 95% of them contractor personnel. NNSA and its parent Department of Energy have been on the independent Government Accountability Office’s “High Risk List” for project mismanagement and waste of taxpayers’ dollars since 1992.

NNSA’s Performance Evaluation Reports grade contractor performance, award performance fees and contain no classified information. Nevertheless, NNSA seeks to hide how taxpayers’ money is spent from the public, issuing only terse three page summaries instead of the full and complete Reports. Nuclear Watch sued in 2012 to obtain the full and complete Performance Evaluation Reports, after which NNSA started releasing them within three working days. But NNSA has again been releasing only summaries since 2019, despite a Freedom of Information Act request by Nuclear Watch that the agency never responded to.

To illustrate the importance of these Performance Evaluation Reports, in its FY 2021 Los Alamos Lab summary NNSA noted that the contractor “[s]ucessfully made advances in pit production processes…” Plutonium “pits” are the fissile cores of nuclear weapons whose expanded production the Pentagon has identified as the number one issue in the United States’ $2 trillion nuclear weapons “modernization” program. NNSA has directed the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to begin producing at least 30 pits per year by 2026 and the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina to begin producing at least 50 pits per year by 2030.

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A Guide to “Scoping” the New LANL SWEIS

“Scoping” means determining the issues that should be included in public analyses required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of proposed major actions by the federal government. According to the Department of Energy ‘s own NEPA implementation regulations, DOE must prepare a new or supplemental site-wide environmental impact statement (SWEIS) for its major sites when there are “significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns.” The last site-wide EIS for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was completed in 2008 and is badly outdated. Moreover, since 2018 the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), DOE’s semi-autonomous nuclear weapons agency, has been aggressively expanding the production of plutonium “pit” bomb cores for nuclear weapons at the Lab.

On August 19, 2022, NNSA finally announced its intent to prepare a new LANL SWEIS, but apparently the agency will not address expanded plutonium pit production.1 NNSA’s dubious argument is that it performed the legally required NEPA analysis for expanded plutonium pit production in a 2008 Complex Transformation Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, the 2008 LANL SWEIS and a woefully inadequate “Supplement Analysis” in 2020 that concluded a new SWEIS was not needed. 2 3

Issues That Must Be Addressed in a New LANL SWEIS

This is meant to be a guide to (or list of) the issues that must be addressed in a new draft LANL SWEIS. It is not completely exhaustive, nor is it a comprehensive fact sheet on the substance of the issues. Nuclear Watch New Mexico will offer suggested scoping comments for interested citizens and submit its own comprehensive formal comments before the October 3 deadline or extended deadline (see “Timing” below).

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The Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament is the Treaty PROHIBITING Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

The Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament is in Danger is the Treaty PROHIBITING Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

Ukraine's Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya sits with his hand on his head gazing downward at the UN General Assembly during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York City on August 1, 2022After a month of negotiations, the tenth review conference (RevCon) of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded on August 26 without a consensus final document,

A “Council of Councils” Global Memo titled, “The Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament Is in Danger” highlights the analysis of five experts on analyze the “failure after a month of negotiations of the tenth review conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluding on August 26 without a consensus final document, raising concerns about weakening efforts to promote nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons recently published an article along the same lines titled, “NPT Review Conference fails to address current security environment.” The final draft outcome document had already been significantly weakened throughout the negotiations, however Russia still refused to accept the final version and the conference ended without an agreement. ICAN: “Although the NPT Review Conference failed, there was a success this year in June. At the First Meeting of States Parties, TPNW states parties committed to the Vienna Action Plan, 50 concrete steps to advance disarmament, help victims of nuclear use and testing, commit to inclusion and progressive steps on gender and disarmament.”

Robin Lloyd of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom asks the leading questions, “How can the US consider signing the draft preamble while the House and Senate are finalizing the National Defense Authorization Act which calls for the modernization of our nuclear arsenal? How can our government even take part in this Conference while it is seeking funding for a renewed nuclear edifice of destruction including Modernized Strategic Delivery Systems and Refurbished Nuclear Warheads? Over the next decade, the United States plans to spend $494 billion on its nuclear forces, or about $50 billion a year, according to a 2019 Congressional Budget Office report. Trillions of dollars for submarines and bombers and buried nuclear missiles. Things they are committing to not use. Please, does this make sense?”

Faced with an unacceptable dangerous global situation, the TPNW will do what the NPT failed to: adopt a credible plan to advance disarmament, help victims of nuclear use and testing, and condemn any and all threats to use nuclear weapons.

The NPT is in crisis, but the TPNW is already starting to carry out its role of implementing the nuclear disarmament obligations of the NPT.  All other NPT states parties that have failed to make progress during the NPT Review Conference should join this work too.

New & Updated

REUTERS – Factbox: Excerpts from Japan’s response to China and Russia’s inquiry on Fukushima water release

“The ALPS treated water will meet both Japanese regulatory standards based on relevant international standards. In other words, tritium levels in the treated water and diluted water will be below those considered safe for drinking.”

REUTERS | August 22, 2023

Aug 22 (Reuters) – Japan said late on Monday it had responded to inquiries from China and Russia about the ocean discharge of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power station, owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) (9501.T).

The Japanese government has shared its responses to the two neighbouring countries in a document dated Aug. 18 and posted on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s website.

Tepco has been filtering the contaminated water, using machines called Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), to remove isotopes, leaving only tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is hard to separate from water. Tepco will dilute the water until tritium levels fall below regulatory limits before pumping it into the ocean from the coastal site.

GAO: Lab faces four-year delay, cost growth for making nuclear bomb cores

“The agency spending more on pit production than originally envisioned isn’t technically a cost overrun because no funding baseline was ever established…This means there’s no benchmark anyone can point to and say the agency has spent too much, she said, which in turn leaves funding for pits open-ended.”

By Scott Wyland [email protected] THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN | August 19, 2023

View/Download: GAO report on NNSA projects

Federal officials estimate Los Alamos National Laboratory won’t produce 30 nuclear bomb cores until 2030 — four years after the legally required deadline.

A plutonium pellet, “illuminated by its own energy,” according to the Department of Energy. DOE

The additional time needed to produce 30 bowling-ball-sized warhead triggers, known as pits, will cost the lab significantly more than originally estimated, a government watchdog said in a newly released report.

The agency in charge of the country’s nuclear arsenal estimates in the Government Accountability Office report it will take until 2030 for the Los Alamos lab’s plutonium facility to be capable of making 30 pits.

In Search of Resolution: New Documentary on Nuclear Dangers

The new documentary “In Search of Resolution,” which examines the current state of international nuclear arms control and is the third film of The Nuclear World Project, airs on @PBS stations throughout August.

Filmed in 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this timely documentary examines the continuing dangers posed by the existence of nuclear weapons. The program includes in-depth interviews with scholars, ambassadors, and leaders in the field to provide historical context, while international experts reflect on arms control measures, nuclear disarmament, and possible ways forward.

The film provides, among other things, an interesting inside look at the TPNW MSP1, the 2022 Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, and the 2022 NPT Review Conference.

Find out more and watch online here:

Author Details the Nuclear ‘Colonization’ of New Mexico

🠟 LISTEN • 28:59

By Megan Kamerick, KUNM | August 18, 2023

A warning sign placed by the Puerco river by the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Division after the Church Rock uranium mill spill on July 16, 1979.
Environmental Protection Agency A warning sign placed by the Puerco river by the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Division after the Church Rock uranium mill spill on July 16, 1979.

University Showcase 8/18 8a: This month marks the 78th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the first atomic blast, which took place on July 16th, 1945 in New Mexico. The new film “Oppenheimer” focuses on the physicist who led the Manhattan Project here in Los Alamos.

National Nuclear Security Administration: New Assessments of Major Projects from the Government Accountability Office

National Nuclear Security Administration: Assessments of Major Projects

GAO-23-104402 Published: Aug 17, 2023. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 2023.

The National Nuclear Security Administration plans to invest over $30 billion in its major projects to modernize the research and production infrastructure supporting the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. This is our first biennial assessment of NNSA’s major projects.

As of March 2023, NNSA’s major projects collectively exceeded their cost estimates by over $2 billion. They also surpassed their collective schedules by almost 10 years. Cost growth and schedule delays had multiple causes, such as lower levels of worker productivity than planned.

The Department of Energy has been on the Government Accountability Office’s “High Risk List” for project mismanagement since 1991. A January 2023 GAO report says it all: NNSA Does Not Have a Comprehensive Schedule or Cost Estimate for Pit Production Capability. Congress has made its ongoing concern over the lack of pit aging studies explicit in legislation. The FY 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act enacted the following provision:

“Pit and Plutonium Aging.-There is concern with the apparent lack of focus on advancing knowledge regarding pit and plutonium aging since the JASONs conducted its first study in 2006. Given the future needs of the nation’s nuclear deterrent, a robust program of research and experimentation is needed. Therefore, NNSA is directed to develop a comprehensive, integrated ten-year research program for pit and plutonium aging that represents a consensus program among the national laboratories and federal sponsors. Such a plan shall include estimated cost of ongoing research, new or upgraded capability needs, and key near-, mid-, and long-range milestones. The plan shall be submitted to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act.”

As far as is publicly known no such plan has been submitted to Congress despite its statutory requirement. That said, a ten year plan to have plutonium pit aging studies is not sufficient to begin with when uncertainty over pit aging is being used as the rationale for an aggressive plutonium pit production program costing at least $60 billion over the next thirty years. The recent GAO report states, “…Six projects in the design phase are implementing significant changes that may increase their cost and schedule beyond NNSA’s preliminary estimates. These include a project to modify existing plutonium processing facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.”

Furthermore, the entire U.S. $2 Trillion “Modernization” plan includes new intercontinental ballistic missiles, new cruise missiles, heavy stealth bombers and
submarines, which entails rebuilding warheads with new military capabilities plus completely new-design nuclear weapons. This is not just for “deterrence” but instead for nuclear warfighting capabilities. No production of plutonium pits is scheduled to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing nuclear stockpile; instead it is for new-design nuclear weapons. The US is inspiring a new arms race with nuclear weapons forever.
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Oppenheimer Author Endorses Norton Bill Calling for the US to sign Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

“My book chronicles the birth of the nuclear age. Since the first nuclear testing and bombing in 1945, the man-made nuclear danger has continually increased. Now, today’s 13,000 atomic weapons are unthinkably destructive, indiscriminate, climate-altering devices that can be unleashed by design, by sabotage, or by accident. Therefore, I strongly endorse Congresswoman Norton’s Nuclear Abolition and Conversion Act, H.R. 2775…”

NUCLEAR BAN US | August 17, 2023

New York (August 16, 2023) – Kai Bird, co-author of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on which Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer movie is based, issued the following statement endorsing a bill by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the  Nuclear Abolition and Conversion Act, H.R. 2775

Downwinders are Finally Close to Getting Justice

“Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of U.S. Sens. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, the Senate recently passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act making Trinity Downwinders, and communities in three other western states, eligible for recognition and compensation by the federal government. It is now up to congressional leaders to meet in conference and negotiate a final version of the bill.”


Of all the chores I had to do during summer visits to my grandmother Savina’s home in southern New Mexico, hauling water out of the cistern was my least favorite.

As a city kid, I was always puzzled by the fact that she still insisted on using rainwater for cooking and cleaning, even after my family had upgraded her house with indoor plumbing. But I knew better than to question the wisdom of a woman who had managed to lift her family out of rural poverty in the span of a single generation and conceded that maybe the tortillas she cooked on her wood-burning stove did taste better with fresh rainwater. It certainly never occurred to her that the rainwater in that cistern, along with most of the locally harvested food she used to sustain her large family, was likely contaminated as a result of the detonation of the world’s first nuclear weapon, which occurred 72 miles west of Savina’s home on July 16, 1945.
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Photos from Japan Pilgrimage of Peace

Image Credit: The Archdiocese of Seattle Website (Daily Digests), Leslie M. Radigan & Archdiocese of Santa Fe Official Facebook Page, and Jay Coghlan of NukeWatch New Mexico.

August 1 - First day of our Pilgrimage of Peace Novena in Japan
August 2 - At Sophia, a Catholic University in Tokyo, attended by our leader, Hiro, where we toured the campus and met some of his teachers.
August 2 - AB Wester and AB Etienne met with a reporter for The Asahi Shimbun paper to discuss the vision and purpose of this Pilgrimage of Peace, saying “Pope Francis has changed the moral needle with a seismic shift in the thinking on nuclear. He is saying even having nuclear weapons is immoral. He is laying the challenge before us…We want to start and sustain a thriving conversation on nuclear.” They shared the vision for verifiable multilateral nuclear disarmament as a pathway to peace and explained that many might think they are naive. “But we believe it’s far more naive to continue with what we’re doing now.”
“We are here to see what we can do to advocate for peace and share the gospel,” said AB Etienne. We are here “to invite people to realize that we can have peace by growing relationships with our neighbors and communities. We need to do that as people before we can do so as nations.”
August 3 - A train ride to Kamakura, a 12th-century city on the coast.
August 3 - Walking up to the Zen Engaku-ji Temple in Kamakura, founded in 1282 by Mugaku Sogen to honor those killed in wars against Mongolia. The quiet and peacefulness of the temple grounds, meditation rooms, and garden were palpable.
August 3 - The Zen Engaku-ji Temple, founded in 1282 by Mugaku Sogen to honor those killed in wars against Mongolia. The quiet and peacefulness of the temple grounds, meditation rooms, and garden were palpable.
August 3 - The Great Buddha of Kamakura. The national treasure began in 1252 and was completed approximately 10 years later.
August 3 - Kamakura Daibutsu (The Great Buddha of Kamakura). The national treasure began in 1252 and was completed approximately 10 years later.
August 3 - In Kamakura, a 12th-century city on the coast of Japan, visiting the Sisters of the Visitation.
August 4 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial with Genbaku Dome in Background
August 4 - New Mexico and Seattle Pilgrims of Peace at Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial
August 4 - Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial
August 4 - Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial
August 6 - The Hiroshima Peace Park sign.
August 6 - In Hiroshima, Japan
August 6 - Hiroshima, Japan: Amidst this solemn atmosphere, the day elicited a mix of grief, reverence, and a call for peace, underscoring the importance of nuclear disarmament and the lasting effects of human conflict.
August 7 - Nagasaki, Japan: Upon arrival, we met with the Mayor of Nagasaki, Mr. Shiro Suzuki, at City Hall. Our goal was to share our mission and express our interest in working collaboratively with the city and Japan's Catholic bishops. He shares our goals and is committed to working to abolish nuclear weapons. Archbishop Wester presented Mayor Suzuki with an Executive Order from the City of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller commemorating August 9, 2023, "In Honor of The Japanese Innocent Lives Lost."
August 7 - Nagasaki, Japan: Photo from event, "Interfaith Dialogue and Exchange of Religious Leaders with a Common Desire for World Peace"
August 7 - Nagasaki, Japan: Urikami Cathedral for Mass
August 8 - Nagasaki, Japan: the Atomic Bomb Museum.
August 8 - Nagasaki, Japan: the Atomic Bomb Museum.
August 9 - Our Lady of Nagasaki, a wooden head of the Virgin Mary that survived the bombing. Her burnt face is both miraculous and haunting as she reminds us of the devastation and pain of that horrific day.
August 9 - The Madonna of Nagasaki - burnt 78 years ago by the plutonium bomb.
August 9 - The Madonna of Nagasaki - burnt 78 years ago by the plutonium bomb.
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Commemoration Of 1945 Bombing Of Nagasaki, Japan Held Wednesday At Ashley Pond Park

An informal gathering was held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Ashley Pond Park to recognize the harm of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan 78 years ago. Participants included representatives of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Veterans for Peace and Nonviolent Santa Fe, who carried posters and banners and meditated in a shelter at the south side of the park.


U.S. And Japanese Clergy Enter Into Partnership To Achieve A ‘World Without Nuclear Weapons’

BY KELSEY D. ATHERTON | August 9, 2023 – 78th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing, Archbishop’s House of Nagasaki, Japan, 2023


On the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we, the bishops of four Catholic arch/dioceses in areas impacted by nuclear weapons, declare that we will begin working together to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons.” We urge that there be concrete progress made by August 2025, the 80th anniversary of the atomic bombings.

In the spirit and teaching of Pope Francis, we recognize that even the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.


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Let’s Keep New Mexico the Land of Enchantment, Not the Land of Nuclear Weapons & Radioactive Wastes!

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Interfaith Panel Discussion on Nuclear Disarmament – August 9

Interfaith Panel Discussion on the 77th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki, Japan

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New Nuclear Media

Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America

A new book is out about Hanford, by Joshua Frank, co-editor of Counterpunch, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America.

Once home to the United States’s largest plutonium production site, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state is laced with 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. The threat of an explosive accident at Hanford is all too real—an event that could be more catastrophic than Chernobyl. 
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