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.

Plutonium Sampling at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Cost of RECA Chart

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

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

Follow the Money!

Map of “Nuclear New Mexico”

In 1985, US President Ronald Reagan 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: https://www.wsj.com

New & Updated

LANL Falls Behind on Wildfire Protection While Expanding Nuclear Weapons Production Watchdog Calls for New Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement

FEBRUARY 9, 2021

Santa Fe, NM – The Department of Energy’s Inspector General is reporting that the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is falling seriously behind in wildfire protection. This is despite the fact that the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire forced the mandatory evacuation of both LANL and the Los Alamos townsite, burned 3,500 acres of Lab property and came within a half-mile of Area G, its largest waste dump. At the time Area G stored above ground some 40,000 barrels of plutonium-contaminated radioactive wastes. It could have been catastrophic had they burst and sent respirable airborne plutonium across northern New Mexico (inhaled plutonium is a very serious carcinogen).

In 2011 the Los Conchas Fire raced 13 miles in 24 hours to the Lab’s western boundary, where it was stopped along State Highway 4. Both it and the Cerro Grande Fire sent huge plumes of harmful smoke across northern New Mexico, possibly carrying Lab contaminants as well (operation of radioactive air emissions monitoring equipment was suspended during the Cerro Grande Fire).

FULL PRESS RELEASE

Report: LANL not managing forests to prevent wildfires

Jay Coghlan, executive director of the nonprofit Nuclear Watch New Mexico, said the lab puts most of its attention on producing nuclear weapons and neglects forest maintenance, despite the disastrous Cerro Grande Fire that destroyed dozens of its structures.

“Nuclear weapons above all,” Coghlan said.”

The Las Conchas Fire crests over the hills above Los Alamos National Laboratory in June 2011. Sparked by a downed power line, the blaze burned more than 150,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. A report by the U.S. Energy Department’s inspector general said the lab’s failure to manage forestland is increasing the potential for ‘devastating wildfires.’ CREDIT Brian Klieson.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has failed to properly manage its forested lands, increasing the threat of wildfires at lab sites and surrounding areas, according to a federal watchdog.

The lab has not thinned trees or cleared forest debris from many wooded areas, nor has it maintained service roads to ensure safe passage for firefighting crews, boosting the potential for “devastating wildfires” like the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000, the U.S. Energy Department’s inspector general said in a strongly worded report released this week.

The report criticized the lab’s main contractor, Triad National Security LLC, for not following fire management plans and not documenting required yearly activities to prepare for and prevent possible wildfires at the site.

“Our review found that activities designed to reduce the impact from wildland fire had not been fully implemented at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in accordance with site plans,” the report said.

The report comes as the federal Drought Monitor shows Los Alamos County and much of the state as being in exceptional drought — the most severe condition — which raises the risks of wildfires.

Continue reading

Jay Coghlan from Nukewatch New Mexico and Kevin Kamps from Beyond Nuclear discuss the recent developments in Nuclear Weapons proliferation and the new international ban on nuclear weapons.

Living on the Edge also cover reasons why nuclear power may not be the low carbon panacea for transitioning our electric grid that is so widely promoted these days.

Wildland Fire Prevention Still Lagging at LANL

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has had two major wildland fires — the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000 and the Las Conchas Fire in 2011. Each fire burned partially on Lab property within miles of several nuclear facilities. LANL’s wildfire prevention should be 100% in place and constantly updated. But a February 1, 2021, report by the DOE Inspector General found that activities designed to reduce the impact from wildland fire had not been fully implemented at LANL. The DOE-IG found that while the contractor, Triad, had identified fire risks, it had not completely implemented all measures to prevent serious fires.

Continue reading

Plan to send diluted plutonium to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant moves forward

A plan to dispose of surplus plutonium at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant through a dilution process that would reduce the waste to radiation levels allowable at the facility moved forward at the end of 2020 and the process was expected to continue through 2022.

By:  | currentargus.com February 8, 2021

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) – an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy – announced in December its intention to draft an environmental impact statement on the project and a public comment scoping was extended until Feb. 18.

Comments on the project can be made to the NNSA via email to [email protected] with the subject line SPDP EIS Scoping Comment.

The EIS will study the scope of the project and its potential impacts on the environment and DOE operations at numerous sites involved in the storage, down-blending and final disposal of the plutonium.

Continue reading

Radiation Illnesses and COVID-19 in the Navajo Nation

“In Indigenous lands where nuclear weapons testing took place during the Cold War and the legacy of uranium mining persists, Indigenous people are suffering from a double whammy of long-term illnesses from radiation exposure and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

By: Jayita SarkarCaitlin Meyer | thebulletin.org February 3, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is wiping out Indigenous elders and with them the cultural identity of Indigenous communities in the United States. But on lands that sprawl across a vast area of the American West, the Navajo (or Diné) are dealing not just with the pandemic, but also with another, related public health crisis. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 is killing Native Americans at nearly three times the rate of whites, and on the Navajo Nation itself, about 30,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and roughly 1,000 have died. But among the Diné, the coronavirus is also spreading through a population that decades of unsafe uranium mining and contaminated groundwater has left sick and vulnerable.

Continue reading

Nukes aren’t just for bombers and subs. Here are some unusual ways militaries have also planned to drop the bomb

Throughout the Cold War, the prospect of bombers dropping nuclear bombs and submarines launching nuclear-tipped missiles terrified people around the world. Those were the major delivery methods, but both militaries developed an array of smaller nuclear weapons for tactical use, and planners in those militaries gave very real consideration to using them.

By: Benjamin Brimelow | businessinsider.com Jan 28, 2021

Davy Crockett nuclear bomb
US officials examine an M-388 Davy Crockett nuclear weapon, which used one of the smallest nuclear warheads ever developed by the US. US government

The Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) was small enough to fit into a large backpack but still had a yield of a kiloton. It was intended to be planted by small, specially trained teams that would set a time fuse before attempting to escape.

You can actually view these asinine “backpack nukes” at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque. These “small” weapons, many of them more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, would have obliterated any battlefield and irradiated much of the surrounding area.


The Little Boy (15 kilotons) and Fat Man (21 kilotons) atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, remain the only nuclear weapons used in combat.

Those bombs destroyed the cities, killed or wounded hundreds of thousands of people, and left thousands more with long-term health problems. The carnage and destruction are the first things that come to mind when discussing nuclear weapons.

But nukes weren’t just for destroying cities. Early in the Cold War, the tactical use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield was not only researched extensively but actually considered.

Continue reading

CRITICAL EVENTS

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

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

New Nuclear Media: Art, Films, Books & More

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