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.

Quote of the Week

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

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

LANL FY 2021 Budget Request – VIEW

Sandia FY 2021 Budget Request – VIEW

Pantex Plant FY 2021 Budget Chart – VIEW

KCP FY 2021 Budget Chart – VIEW

Livermore Lab FY 2021 Budget Chart – Courtesy Tri-Valley CAREs – VIEW

_____________________________________________

Click the image to view and download this large printable map of DOE sites, commercial reactors, nuclear waste dumps, nuclear transportation routes, surface waters near sites and transport routes, and underlying aquifers. This map was prepared by Deborah Reade for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.

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

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: https://www.wsj.com

Recent Posts

Actual amount of radioactive contamination caused by the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, as revealed by Japanese citizen scientists

Minna-no Data Site, an independent nonprofit network of radioactivity-measuring laboratories, was established with the aim of reducing citizen exposure to radiation, through conducting extensive food measurements and releasing this information to the public.

As a result of this investigation, [Minna-no Data Site] determined that the radioactive contamination was by no means limited to Fukushima Prefecture and that one hundred years from now there will still be several highly-contaminated areas where humans should not live.


Uninhabitable: Booklet by Citizen Scientists Uncovers True Extent of Radioactive Contamination in Japan’s Soil and Food

“As a result of this investigation, we determined that the radioactive contamination was by no means limited to Fukushima Prefecture and that one hundred years from now there will still be several highly-contaminated areas where humans should not live.

Now, eight years after the accident, not only has the government yet to establish a criterion for radioactive concentration in the soil, but the authorities are continuing to enforce the policy of compelling people to return to their homes if the air dose rate goes below 20 mSv/year.”

By: beyondnuclearinternational

From Minna-no Data Site, a citizen’s collaborative radioactivity monitoring project

Minna-no Data Site (Everyone’s Data Site) is a network of 30 citizens’ radioactivity measurement laboratories from all over Japan.

After the 2011 Fukushima accident, many independent citizen-operated radioactivity measurement laboratories sprang up across Japan.

In September 2013, a website called “Minna-no Data Site” was established in an effort to integrate all of the radioactivity measurement data into a common platform and disseminate accurate information in an easy-to-understand format.

Continue reading

Critics say Turkey’s unfinished nuclear plant already redundant

Turkey’s power plant building spree has resulted in an enormous idle capacity but the construction of new plants continues at the expense of taxpayers despite the country’s bruising economic woes.

BY: Thomas H. Goebel The Conversation 

A view of the construction site of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, is pictured during the opening ceremony in the Mediterranean Mersin region on April 3, 2018. Photo by IBRAHIM MESE/AFP via Getty Images.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power for 18 years, is under increasing fire for poorly planned, prodigal investments whose long-term financial fallout is coming into sharper relief as the country grapples with severe economic woes. Standing out among the most dubious investments is a series of power plants, including a nuclear energy plant still under construction, that have created an idle capacity threatening to haunt public finances for years.

Continue reading

East Coast nuke plants prepare to send waste to New Mexico via Holtec project

East coast nuclear power plants are getting ready to send their waste to southeast New Mexico as they are shut down.

BY: Adrian Hedden Carlsbad Current-Argus

Holtec International recently acquired licenses to decommission multiple plants as it proceeds through a licensing process to build and operate a facility to temporary store spent nuclear fuel rods near the Eddy County-Lea County line.

The ongoing license application for the first phase of the project before the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), would allow Holtec to store 500 cannisters at the site –or about 8,000 metric tons – of spent fuel, but the company expects up to 20 more phases as capacity is needed.

The fuel would be transported via rail from generator sites from across the U.S. to be stored in New Mexico until a permanent repository is operational.

Continue reading

New & Updated

Reports: Japan to Release Fukushima’s Contaminated Water Into Sea

“The disposal of contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been a longstanding problem for Japan as it proceeds with an decades-long decommissioning project. Nearly 1.2 million tonnes of contaminated water are currently stored in huge tanks at the facility.”

A control rod in a damaged Fukushima reactor submerged in highly radioactive water

BY: Yuka Obayashi and Kaori Kaneko, Reuters

Nearly a decade after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan’s government has decided to release over one million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea, media reports said on Friday, with a formal announcement expected to be made later this month.

The decision is expected to rankle neighbouring countries like South Korea, which has already stepped up radiation tests of food from Japan, and further devastate the fishing industry in Fukushima that has battled against such a move for years.

Continue reading

Is Change Coming? Smartly Reshaping and Strengthening America’s Nuclear Deterrent

“Adjusting U.S. nuclear weapons plans is notoriously difficult, as nearly every president has experienced. Yet it is urgent to halt and reverse the trend of increasing nuclear capabilities that lower the threshold for nuclear war and increase miscalculation risks.”

Image: U.S. Air Force (Photo by Airman 1st Class Lillian Miller)

BY:  AND 

How might America’s nuclear weapons plans change in the years ahead? Buoyed by the revelation of President Donald Trump describing a potential secret new nuclear weapon system to Bob Woodward, continuing U.S.-Russian dialogue on nuclear weapons, and the upcoming November elections, experts are speculating about what the next four years may mean for U.S. nuclear policy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has indicated that, if elected, he would seek a posture aligned with his stated belief “that the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal should be deterring — and, if necessary retaliating against — a nuclear attack.” This would be a pivot from Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which elevated the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense planning by, among other things, describing America’s nuclear forces as a hedge against large-scale conventional attacks and strategic cyber attacks. The declaratory shift — along with elevation of so-called low-yield nuclear options that are considered more usable, and support for more dual conventional and nuclear systems that could be indistinguishable in the absence of verification measures — increased concern that the Trump administration viewed nuclear weapons as acceptable for warfighting, not just deterrence.

Continue reading

Trump Thought He Had a Nuclear Deal With Putin. Not So Fast, Russia Said.

Trump administration officials want to broaden the New START accord and warn that the price of a new deal will rise after the election. Joe Biden supports a straight five-year extension of the deal.

BY:

President Trump had a pre-election plan to show he had gotten something out of his mysteriously friendly relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

In the weeks before the election, the two men would announce that they had reached an agreement in principle to extend New START, the last remaining major arms control agreement between the two countries. It expires on Feb. 5, two weeks after the next presidential inauguration.

Mr. Trump has long refused to sign off on a clean five-year extension of the agreement, a step both leaders could take without Senate approval. He has described the Obama-era treaty as deeply flawed — the same thing he said about the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iran nuclear accord — because it did not cover all of Russia’s nuclear arms, or any of China’s.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

The Biggest Radioactive Spill in US History Never Ended

How the US poisoned Navajo Nation.

BY:  | vox.com

For decades, Navajo Nation was a primary source for the United States’ uranium stockpile during the nuclear arms race. It was home to more than 700 uranium mines, which provided jobs to Navajo residents. But the mining industry came with impending peril. Cases of lung cancer and other diseases began cropping up in a community that had previously had few of them. Land, air, and water was poisoned. And on July 16, 1979, the mining led to the biggest radioactive spill in US history.

Continue reading

Scoping Comments on the LLNL SWEIS

October 21, 2020
Ms. Fana Gebeyehu-Houston
NEPA Document Manager
National Nuclear Security Administration
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
P.O. Box 808, L-293, Livermore, CA 94551-0808

By Email to:LLNLSWEIS@nnsa.doe.gov

Re: Scoping Comments on the LLNL SWEIS

Dear NEPA Document Manager:
I appreciate this opportunity to submit comments on the scope of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for the continued operation of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Main Site in Livermore, CA and Site 300 high explosives testing range near Tracy, CA.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico is a nonprofit watchdog organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We seek to promote safety and environmental protection at 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.

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act the purpose of scoping is: “early identification of concerns, potential impacts, relevant effects of past actions and possible alternative actions.” Therefore, I ask that the analyses I am requesting be fully undertaken – and my questions fully answered – in the draft SWEIS.

First, I am skeptical of the timing of the initiation of this new SWEIS for LLNL during the COVID-19 pandemic and just before the November 3 election. As a prerequisite, the
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) should have already begun a nationwide programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) on expanded plutonium pit
production which would then inform the LLNL SWEIS of the Livermore Lab’s role in that national effort, which is not insignificant. Following that pit production PEIS, both a
LLNL and Los Alamos National Laboratory SWEIS should proceed in parallel. It is particularly striking that NNSA is claiming NEPA compliance while relying on an
outdated Complex Transformation Supplemental PEIS and LANL SWEIS, both completed in 2008, and refusing to prepare new or supplemental ones.

Continue reading

Delegates Want Open Meeting on Release of Radioactive Vapors at LANL

The public will get a chance to comment and learn more about Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plans to release radioactive vapors into the atmosphere from several barrels of tritium-tainted waste.

BY:  | santafenewmexican.com

The federal agency that oversees the lab scheduled the meeting for Oct. 20 after three New Mexico delegates — U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján — wrote a letter calling for more transparency and public participation.

An open forum on the release of vapors from Cold War waste is especially important for Pueblo people and others who live near the site, the delegates said in the letter to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

“We strongly believe that protecting public health and safety must always be the highest priority at Los Alamos,” they wrote in the Oct. 1 letter. “Safety is particularly important when there is a possibility of a release to the environment involving radioactive or hazardous materials.”

The agency has said ventilating the containers is necessary to relieve built-up radioactive hydrogen in their headspace, so they can be safely handled and shipped to a commercial storage site.
Continue reading

Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2020

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
Shadow
Slider

Today, on Indigenous People’s Day 2020, we join our friends and speakers from indigenous rights and environmental groups from throughout the US in condemning nuclear colonialism. From uranium mining, milling, and processing, to atomic power and nuclear weapons, to radioactive waste – the resulting environmental injustices have disproportionately impacted Native Americans & other indigenous peoples.


Sarah Fields, Uranium Watch and Sierra Club Nuclear-Free CampaignLas Vegas, NV — Indigenous rights and environmental advocates from throughout the US condemned nuclear colonialism on what is recognized as “Columbus Day” Tuesday, October 11, 2016. Native Community Action Council held a press conference in front of the Thomas and Mac Moot Court at the Boyd Law School on the campus of UNLV for participants in the Native American Forum on Nuclear Issues at UNLV.

Continue reading

LANL’s Waste Storage Poses Dangers, Report Says

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) Report demonstrates beyond doubt that a FULL programmatic environmental impact statement on expanded plutonium pit production is needed, as well as new site-wide EIS for the Los Alamos Lab.

The 760 rem estimate is equal to 380,000 chest X-rays, said Dan Hirsch, retired director of programs on environment and nuclear policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “This is vastly above what’s permissible for workers’ exposure,” Hirsch said, adding that far lower doses can cause cancer.

BY:  | santafenewmexican.com

Los Alamos National Laboratory is storing hundreds, maybe thousands, of barrels of radioactive waste mixed with incompatible chemicals that have the potential to cause an explosion , putting workers and the public at risk, a government watchdog said in a report.

LANL personnel have failed to analyze chemicals present in hundreds of containers of transuranic nuclear waste, making it possible for an incompatible chemical to be mixed in and cause a container to burst, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said in a September report.

Such an explosion would release radiation in doses lethal to workers and hazardous to the public, the safety board said. And yet the radiation levels that would be released have not been sufficiently estimated, it said.

Some of LANL’s facilities store radioactive waste without any engineered controls or safeguards beyond the containers, the board wrote in a cover letter addressed to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Continue reading

25-Year Study of Nuclear vs Renewables Says One Is Clearly Better at Cutting Emissions

Nuclear power is often promoted as one of the best ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to generate the electricity we need, but new research suggests that going all-in on renewables such as wind and solar might be a better approach to seriously reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

BY: DAVID NIELD| sciencealert.com

Based on an analysis of 123 countries over a quarter of a century, the adoption of nuclear power did not achieve the significant reduction in national carbon emissions that renewables did – and in some developing nations, nuclear programmes actually pushed carbon emissions higher.

The study also finds that nuclear power and renewable power don’t mix well when they’re tried together: they tend to crowd each other out, locking in energy infrastructure that’s specific to their mode of power production.

Given nuclear isn’t exactly zero carbon, it risks setting nations on a path of relatively higher emissions than if they went straight to renewables.

Continue reading

Virtual Public Information Session on FTWC venting at Los Alamos National Laboratory – 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20

The public information session will be hosted via Webex; people who wish to attend can join by following this link (meeting password GckhzZ5nv33), or call in by phone at 415-527-5035, access code 199 995 9074 if people do not have internet access.

Media Advisory
CONTACT: Peter Hyde, pahyde@lanl.gov

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Oct. 8, 2020—The National Nuclear Security Administration is hosting a virtual public information session at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20, to inform the public about the process of venting Flanged Tritium Waste Containers (FTWCs) that are located at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Flanged Tritium Waste Containers are pressure vessels specifically designed to contain waste metal that has been exposed to tritium. As the tritium ages and separates into helium and hydrogen, those gases can create pressure inside the container. This is expected and accounted for in the design.

To reduce the amount of waste stored on site, Los Alamos National Laboratory will ship the containers off-site to a licensed storage facility. In order to ship the containers, the pressurized gases inside the containers must be vented to meet regulatory requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Continue reading

Citizens’ Hearing Held at New Mexico Capitol about Increased Plutonium Pit Production at LANL

The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved its plans to increase plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) by 50 percent as a way to comply with what is described in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review as a need for “an effective, responsive, and resilient nuclear weapons infrastructure” that can “adapt flexibly to shifting requirements.”

The Pentagon has stated it needs annual production of 80 plutonium pits, the triggers for nuclear weapons.  The DOE has approved its Supplement Analyses for four possible ways to execute this upgrade.
Continue reading

NASA’s clean-up plan for tainted Santa Susana Field Lab near Simi outrages activists

“NASA’s absurd excuse for cleaning up so much less contamination than it promised is that it has discovered there is much more contamination at the site than it had previously realized,” — cleanup activist Dan Hirsch, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap

BY: Mike Harris | Ventura County Star vcstar.com

NASA has decided to clean up contaminated soil at its portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site to a less stringent standard than it agreed to in a 2010 legally binding agreement with the state.

The federal agency announced its decision last week, outraging cleanup activists and some local officials.

The activists say NASA’s planned cleanup, outlined in a formal Record of Decision, would leave 84% of its contaminated acres not remediated at the site outside Simi Valley.

That would violate a 2010 legally binding agreement — formally called an Administrative Order on Consent — NASA signed with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to clean up its acres “to background,” the most exacting standard.

Continue reading

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott joins opposition to nuclear waste project in New Mexico

“The proposed sites in Texas and New Mexico do not provide the deep geologic isolation required for permanent storage in order to minimize the risks of accidents, terrorism or sabotage which could disrupt the country’s energy supply with catastrophic effects on the American economy,” Abbott wrote to the president.

BY:  | currentargus.com

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was the latest public official to oppose a proposed nuclear storage facility to be built near Carlsbad and Hobbs, along with another in West Texas.

ELEA/Holtec storage ground view
Artist Rendering of proposed ELEA/Holtec “storage” plan for commercial reactor spent fuel rods in southeast New Mexico

In a Sept. 30 letter to President Donald Trump, Abbott wrote that he worried locating high-level nuclear waste facilities in the Permian Basin region could put the U.S.’s most active oil and gas field at risk.

Holtec International proposed building a consolidated interims storage facility (CISF) to hold spent nuclear fuel rods temporarily in southeast New Mexico while a permanent repository — as required by federal law — was developed.

Continue reading

Action Alerts

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

Environment Department files complaint against U.S. Department of Energy to speed clean-up of legacy waste, terminate 2016 Consent Order at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Non-compliance with 2016 Consent Order causing unacceptable delays, threatening public health and the environment

Click above for more information on the entry into force of the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Nuclear Media

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

More Nuclear News

Citizen Scientist: Frank von Hippel’s Adventures in Nuclear Arms Control

For 50 years, Frank von Hippel has been working as a citizen-scientist to reduce the grave dangers to humankind from nuclear-weapon and nuclear-energy programs around the world. In this special collection of edited, illustrated and footnoted interviews, von Hippel describes in vivid personal detail the many policy battles he has taken on, the state of nuclear dangers today, and his hopes for a path forward.

Interviews by Tomoko Kurokawa | Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament

Born into an illustrious scientific family that included his grandfather, Nobel laureate James Franck, a leader of the opposition within the Manhattan Project to the use of nuclear weapons against Japan, von Hippel got his PhD in physics from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He was inspired by student activists opposed to the Vietnam War to move from teaching physics at Stanford into a career of policy activism based in Princeton University, where he co-founded the Program on Science and Global Security a leading international center for nuclear arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament research. During the 1980s, von Hippel joined the US citizens’ uprising to “freeze” the nuclear arms race.

Continue reading

NEWS FROM BEYOND NUCLEAR

BEYOND NUCLEAR FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT CHALLENGING HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP FOR ENTIRE INVENTORY OF U.S. “SPENT” REACTOR FUEL   

Petitioner charges the Nuclear Regulatory Commission knowingly violated U.S. Nuclear Waste Policy Act and up-ended settled law prohibiting transfer of ownership of spent fuel to the federal government until a permanent underground repository is ready to receive it

[WASHINGTON, DC – June 4, 2020] Today the non-profit organization Beyond Nuclear filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requesting review of an  April 23, 2020 order and an October 29, 2018 order by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), rejecting challenges to Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance’s application to build a massive “consolidated interim storage facility” (CISF) for nuclear waste in southeastern New Mexico. Holtec proposes to store as much as 173,000 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated or “spent” nuclear fuel – more than twice the amount of spent fuel currently stored at U.S. nuclear power reactors – in shallowly buried containers on the site.

Continue reading

Why a US nuclear test in Nevada would be bad for the world—and Trump’s reelection

A whole slew of 2020 candidates have either pleaded ignorance on certain nuclear policies or given answers that were borderline incomprehensible.

ARTICLE BY JOHN KRZYANIAK | thebulletin.org

Why a US nuclear test in Nevada would be bad for the world—and Trump’s reelection
Craters in the desert at the Nevada National Security Site, 2005. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

On May 15, according to reporting in the Washington Post and the Guardian, the Trump administration held serious discussions about whether to conduct a nuclear test explosion, and those conversations are continuing.

Though the administration has not made any public remarks on the matter, many experts and policy makers have already chimed in to voice dissent. Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, said a nuclear test would “pose a grave challenge to global peace and security.”

Hans Kristensen, who directs the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, said it was “completely nuts.” Joe Biden, former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said a resumption of testing would be “as reckless as it is dangerous.”

Continue reading

Remembering Dave Freeman – green cowboy, pioneer of U.S. energy policy

Arjun Makhijani | ieer.org

It was 1970. Dave Freeman had transitioned from being an energy advisor in Johnson’s White House to Nixon’s. At one of our lunches since he had moved to Washington, D.C. after retiring as the Chairman of the Port of Los Angeles, he recounted a conversation with John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s assistant for domestic policy:

“Ehrlichman told me ‘Dave, you had better get out of here. Things are going to get very hot and nasty in the coming campaign [to re-elect Nixon]. This is no place for a Democrat like you.’”

Dave found a most interesting and, as it turned out, historic exit. He convinced the Ford Foundation to give him four million dollars (about twenty five million in today’s money) to establish the Energy Policy Project within the Foundation. It would approach energy policy comprehensively; among other things it would explore how much of energy supply could be replaced by energy efficiency.

Continue reading

Russian officials have already repeatedly warned in the past that its Eastern European neighbours’ decision to host US-made strategic systems, including components of America’s Aegis Ashore missile defence system, make them targets for Russia’s strategic nuclear response in the event of a war.

sputniknews.com

The redeployment of US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland would be a direct violation of the Russia-NATO founding act of 1997, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

“This would be a direct violation of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations between Russia and NATO, in which NATO undertook not to place nuclear weapons in the territory of new members of the North Atlantic Alliance, either at that moment or in the future…I doubt that these mechanisms will be implemented in practical terms,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters following a videoconference-based meeting of the Council of Baltic Sea States on Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the redeployment of US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland would serve to further damage already-strained Russia-NATO relations and escalate tensions.

Continue reading

Energy Department Nominee Shifts on Yucca Mountain Question

“The administration will not be pursuing Yucca Mountain as a solution for nuclear waste, and I am fully supportive of the president’s decision and applaud him for taking action when so many have failed to do so,” [Mark] Menezes told Cortez Masto.

BY GARY MARTIN | reviewjournal.com
Energy Department Nominee Shifts on Yucca Mountain Question
A contractor walks into the south portal of Yucca Mountain during a congressional tour near Mercury on Saturday, July 14, 2018. (Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto)

WASHINGTON — Mark Menezes, the nominee for deputy secretary of the Energy Department, on Wednesday clarified remarks he made in February, saying the Trump administration has no plans to use Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste storage site.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., pressed Menezes during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, asking for a clarification.

Continue reading

Raytheon to close ABQ site

Raytheon Technologies Corp. is shutting down operations at the Sandia Science and Technologies Park in southeast Albuquerque, where the company employs about 200 people.

BY KEVIN ROBINSON-AVILA | abqjournal.com
Raytheon Technologies is closing its facility at Sandia Science and Technologies Park in Albuquerque and laying off some of its 200 local employees. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Raytheon’s Albuquerque operations will be transferred to other company facilities outside of New Mexico, company spokesperson Heather Uberuaga told the Journal Tuesday.

“After careful and deliberate consideration, Raytheon Technologies has chosen to close the company’s Albuquerque facility and relocate support for key capabilities and customer programs to our other facilities around the country,” Uberuaga wrote in an email.

Continue reading

LANL Cleanup: What you can do

Please consider attending and giving public comments at local public meetings concerning cleanup at Los Alamos. Public comments do make a difference!

Follow NukeWatch and submit public written comments. We frequently comment on environmental impact statements and provide sample comments. Support Us: https://nukewatch.org/get-involved/donate/

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.

Critical Events

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

New & Updated

NNSA Administrator Fired While on Leave; Energy Secretary Tracked Her for Months

“After Brouillette and Gordon-Hagerty feuded last winter over the size of the NNSA’s budget — a contest that broke in Gordon-Hagerty’s favor when President Donald Trump requested roughly $20 billion as she recommended, instead of the $17.5 billion Brouillette preferred — Trump’s second secretary of energy tightened his grip over the NNSA in ways that his predecessor, Rick Perry had not.”

BY: EXCHANGEMONITOR

Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette kept close tabs on then-National Nuclear Security Administration boss Lisa Gordon-Hagerty for months, sending chaperones to her meetings with Congress and monitoring her personal calendar before abruptly demanding her resignation last week, a source told Weapons Complex Morning Briefing.

It was a dramatic end to a year of strife between the two, who clashed over the size of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) budget and provided the Washington nuclear policy establishment with the latest experimental data about exactly how much autonomy the NNSA and its nuclear weapons programs have from the broader DOE’s nuclear-cleanup and energy programs.
Continue reading

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott objects to nuclear waste facility proposed in Permian Basin

“The proposed ISP facility imperils America’s energy security because it would be a prime target for attacks by terrorists, saboteurs, and other enemies,” read [Gov. Abbott’s] letter. “Spent nuclear fuel is currently scattered across the country at various reactor sites and storage installations.”

BY: Adrian Hedden | Carlsbad Current-Argus

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continued to voice his disapproval against nuclear waste storage in the Permian Basin region in a letter last week to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) opposing such a project in Andrews, Texas.

Interim Storage Partners (ISP), a joint venture between Waste Control Specialists and Orano USA, was formed in 2018 to request the NRC resume evaluation of an application submitted originally in 2016 to build a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) that would hold spent nuclear fuel rods temporarily at the surface while a permanent repository is developed.

Abbott has been a frequent critic of the concept of a CISF and of siting such a facility in the Permian Basin, writing a letter to President Donald Trump in September to oppose CISFs in both Texas and New Mexico.

Continue reading

Possible Link between Star Athlete’s Cancer Connected to Radioactive Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Next Door

Was DOE uranium enrichment plant responsible for star athlete’s cancer death?

BY:  

Was a star athlete's cancer connected to a facility next door? (Larry Farmer/WKRC)
Was a star athlete’s cancer connected to a facility next door? (Larry Farmer/WKRC)

PIKETON, Ohio (WKRC) – For the first time, Larry Farmer, the father of a local, All-American baseball pitcher, sat down for an exclusive interview with Local 12’s Chief Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman to talk about the life and death of his famous son, Zach Farmer, who passed away from leukemia five years ago, blaming his death on radioactive elements he believes drifted to his former family home from the now-closed Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

A LEGEND THAT LIVED TO BE ON THE MOUND

Larry says Zach — the legendary southpaw from Piketon — was a natural from the beginning.

“No one could hit off him,” Larry said with a grin, adding that his son would routinely have 15 to 19 strikeouts a game, often leading the Piketon Red Streaks to victory.

“He lived to be on the mound,” his dad said, looking away and pausing to recall his son’s brilliant playing days.

At Piketon High School, Zach achieved more than nearly every other baseball player in Ohio history, including 599 strikeouts (No. 2 in Ohio High School Athletic Association history) and an overall record of 38-7, (No. 3 on the OHSAA list). He was even incredible at the plate with a head-spinning .505 batting average.

Continue reading

Michèle Flournoy could become the first woman to run the Pentagon. Here’s what would change.

“Nuclear modernization plans may change. Flournoy’s desire for a strong deterrent for China includes a nuclear deterrent. But given the costs of the ongoing nuclear modernization strategy, Flournoy wants to consider all options.

BY:  

WASHINGTON — On June 20, 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden delivered keynote remarks at an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security, the think tank founded and, at that point, led by Michèle Flournoy.

Flournoy introduced Biden, praising him as a national security thinker and noting the ties between his staff at the White House and CNAS. Biden, in turn, acknowledged the little-kept secret of the defense world: that Flournoy was in line to become the first woman to serve as defense secretary under President Hillary Clinton.

“Well, madam secretary,” Biden said with a laugh as the crowd applauded. “I’m writing a recommendation for her, you know.”

The Clinton administration never materialized, following the election of President Donald Trump. But four years later, president-elect Biden is widely expected to fulfill his promise and tap Flournoy to lead the U.S. military.

Continue reading

Safety Board Notes “Hard Shutdown” of the Key Cesium-Removal Step during Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) Startup; For Second Time, DOE Failed to Publicly Reveal Operational Problems with SWPF, Shaking Trust in DOE’s Reporting about Status of Key High-Level Waste Management Facility

“Given the importance of SWPF and this initial phase of its operation, updates must be frequent and honest by DOE, not delayed and incomplete,” – Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch

Columbia, South Carolina – An independent safety board that monitors activities of the U.S. Department of Energy reports a “hard shutdown” during the initial startup of cesium removal from high-level nuclear waste at the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) at DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS).

This is the second time that DOE has failed to mention a significant startup problem at SWPF, potentially undermining trust in its reporting to the public on the initial operations of this key facility to process liquid high-level nuclear waste, according to the public interest organization Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch).  SWPF began “hot commissioning” involving radioactive liquid on October 5, 2020.

Continue reading

Experts: Nuclear waste storage a concern in New Mexico, Southwest

Several nuclear waste experts are urging members of Congress and the public to oppose any proposals to transport highly radioactive nuclear waste from power plants to temporary or long-term storage sites.

BY: Michael Gerstein mgerstein@sfnewmexican.com 

Researchers with multiple groups dedicated to analyzing the potential consequences of nuclear waste storage said Friday they have major concerns with plans to transport spent fuel to other parts of the country — even for permanent storage at a place such as Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Work on the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository has been stalled for nearly a decade.

Waste is gathered at about 80 sites across the nation as the federal government continues looking for a permanent solution for highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel, spurring environmental and health worries.

The issue is of critical concern for New Mexico because Florida-based Holtec International has proposed creating a temporary storage facility about halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs, where nuclear waste would be stored until the federal government forms a permanent facility.

Continue reading

LANL Tritium Venting, Middle DP Road And Consent Order Dominate NMED Community Engagement Meeting

More than 100 people tuned in to a virtual community engagement meeting hosted by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Thursday evening where the proposed venting of four flanged tritium waste containers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, contain at Middle DP Road and the 2016 Consent Order were the main topics addressed.

BY: MAIRE O’NEILL 

Stephanie Stringer, NMED Resource Protection Division Director, discussed a temporary authorization request from LANL for the venting of four flanged tritium waste containers currently stored at LANL. She said the containers were packaged at LANL’s Weapon Engineering Tritium Facility in 1996 and 1997 and were moved to Technical Area 54 in 2007.

Stringer said radiolysis of tritiated water in the containers over time has potentially resulted in hazardous concentrations of flammable hydrogen and oxygen mixture in the headspace of the FTWCs. She said the containers where they’re stored right now do not meet the Department of Transportation requirements and cannot be moved without releasing that pressure or treating the waste containers, so they need to be vented prior to transport, treatment and final disposal.

Continue reading

USAF Plans To Expand Nuclear Bomber Bases

“It is difficult to imagine a military justification for such an increase in the number of nuclear bombers – even without New START.”

BY: HANS KRISTENSEN 

Posted on Nov.17, 2020 in Arms Control, B-2, B-21, B-52, bombers, Nuclear Weapons, Russia, United States by Hans M. Kristensen

The US Air Force is working to expand the number of strategic bomber bases that can store nuclear weapons from two today to five by the 2030s.

The plan will also significantly expand the number of bomber bases that store nuclear cruise missiles from one base today to all five bombers bases by the 2030s.

The expansion is the result of a decision to replace the non-nuclear B-1B bombers at Ellsworth AFB and Dyess AFB with the nuclear B-21 over the next decade-and-a-half and to reinstate nuclear weapons storage capability at Barksdale AFB as well.

The expansion is not expected to increase the total number of nuclear weapons assigned to the bomber force, but to broaden the infrastructure to “accommodate mission growth,” Air Force Global Strike Command Commander General Timothy Ray told Congress last year.

Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons Have Always Been Immoral. Now They’re Illegal.

On 7 July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Just over three years later, the TPNW reached the 50 national ratifications needed to become international law. The treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2012, and nuclear weapons will become officially illegal under international law. This day will represent a culmination of years of campaigning for nuclear weapons to be reframed as a collective humanitarian problem, one which requires prohibition and elimination, rather than a national military defense asset that needs to be managed and even upgraded.

Continue reading

U.S. Nuclear Bomb Overseer Quits After Clash With Energy Chief

“Her resignation came after a budget dispute between the NNSA and Brouillette and other officials spilled into the open earlier this year.”

BY: and  

Lisa E Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security. (CREDIT: Reuters)

The U.S. official overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile resigned Friday after clashing with Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security, resigned after being told by Brouillette’s office that President Donald Trump had lost faith in her ability to do her job, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Some administration officials were disappointed that she’d been pushed out, saying that she was widely viewed by those in her field as capable, the people said.

Continue reading

THE CARCINOGENIC, MUTAGENIC, TERATOGENIC AND TRANSMUTATIONAL EFFECTS OF TRITIUM

“The dangers of tritium come from inhalation, ingestion, and absorption… when the radionuclide unites with carbon in the human body, plants, or animals, it becomes organically bound (OBT) and can remain in the human body for 450 to 650 days. One study found traces of tritium in the body 10 years after exposure.”

Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s Critique of Some NNSA Answers to Questions on LANL’s Planned Tritium Releases

November 4, 2020

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) proposes to vent up to 114,000 curies of radioactive tritium gas to the open atmosphere while claiming that it poses no public health and safety risks. Public outcry and congressional pressure prompted the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to host a public information virtual meeting on this issue on October 20. Due to the overwhelming turnout of some 150 interested citizens and ear-splitting technical difficulties NNSA is holding another public virtual meeting at 5:00 pm Thursday November 5.

Interested citizens can join the discussion at https://www.lanl.gov/environment/flanged-tritiumwaste-containers.shtml

If you wish to speak or ask questions you should pre-register at the same site.

Continue reading

What If We Have A Nuclear War?

Browse the WatchBlog

Must Reads

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

Quotes

“All nations should declare—all nations—that nuclear weapons must be destroyed. This is to save ourselves and our planet.”

Mikhail Gorbachev tells the BBC: World in ‘colossal danger’

The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that current tension between Russia and the West is putting the world in “colossal danger” due to the threat from nuclear weapons. In an interview with the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg, former President Gorbachev called for all countries to declare that nuclear weapons should be destroyed.

Continue reading

“The double standards applied by the Trump administration have been particularly damaging to international nonproliferation agreements…

Trump has pursued normalisation of relations with North Korea – a state that openly tested and detonated nuclear devices – while withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran, which was strictly abided by all provisions and was not working on developing a nuclear bomb.”

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with US President Donald Trump, at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 [Handout via Reuters]
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with US President Donald Trump, at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 [Handout via Reuters]

Trump is laying the ground for a nuclear arms race in the Gulf

Trump’s mismanagement of the nuclear issue in the Middle East is damaging the international nonproliferation regime.

Continue reading

“Our participation in the Cold War has devastated our lands and our way of life as Navajo people,”

– Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

“The impact is not only physical, but spiritual and emotional.”

Navajo miners work at the Kerr-McGee uranium mine at Cove, Ariz., on May 7, 1953. AP

Effects of radiation exposure on locals studied

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., served as chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in Albuquerque to examine radiation exposure effects in Indian Country. Udall was joined by U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Deb Haaland for the hearing at the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute. For much of the 20th century, New Mexicans were not warned about the health effects of working or living near uranium mines or nuclear test sites. Radiation exposure still affects residents today, including a disproportionate number of Native Americans.

READ MORE