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

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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”

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

Here are five examples of the type of activities that will be Illegal under international law on 22 January 2021

One of the main problems with talking about nuclear weapons is that it often becomes abstract and hypothetical. Most people barely know which countries have nuclear weapons and do not know to what extent other actors are involved in maintaining and upholding nuclear weapons.

When the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force on 22 January 2021, that will need to change.

Here are five examples of the kind of activities that will be prohibited under the TPNW and who is currently doing this today. While the treaty will only be legally binding in the countries that have ratified the treaty, it will still create a powerful norm and should lead to increased protests and outrage in countries that haven’t joined the treaty that are behaving in contradiction of this new instrument of international law.

What the treaty prohibits

Article 1 of the treaty prohibits states parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

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Treaty Seeks End to Nuclear Madness

It is the beginning of a new movement that will see the elimination of the existential nuclear threat.

| progressive.org

On January 22, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will enter into force. The treaty bans the development, production, possession, deployment, testing, use and just about anything else you can imagine related to nuclear weapons.

Fifty years later, nine nuclear-armed militaries possess more than 13,000 nuclear weapons, arsenals that mock their claimed commitment to disarm “at an early date.”

Approved at the United Nations by 122 countries in 2017, and subsequently signed by 86 and ratified by 51 nations, the nuclear weapons ban will join the venerated status of international prohibitions already established against lesser weapons of mass destruction. These earlier agreements include the Geneva Gas Protocol, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Ottawa Treaty or  Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

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Atop the Powerful Budget Committee at Last, Bernie Sanders Wants to Go Big

To the chagrin of Republicans, the democratic socialist senator will play a central role in shepherding Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s agenda through Congress.

“Sanders, the next chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, plans to take a hard look at fraud at the defense budget in his new perch, he tells POLITICO

“You understand you’re talking to the guy who led the effort to lower defense spending by 10 percent,” the Vermont Independent and self-described Democratic Socialist boasted.

You’re talking about the military budget, which is now higher than the next 10 nations combined,” he continued. “You’re talking about the Pentagon budget, which is the only major government agency which has not been able to undertake an independent audit. And I don’t think anyone has any doubt that there’s massive waste and cost overruns in the military budget.”

“I think if you check the record,” he added, “you’ll find that every major defense contractor has been found guilty of collusion and fraud.”

Alan Rappeport and  | nytimes.com

Shortly before the 2016 election, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican nominee for vice president and the speaker of the House, told a group of college Republicans why he thought Democrats winning control of the Senate would be a policy nightmare.

“Do you know who becomes chair of the Senate Budget Committee?” Mr. Ryan asked. “A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?”

Republicans have long feared the prospect of Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist from Vermont, taking the helm of the powerful committee given his embrace of bigger government and more federal spending with borrowed money. With Democrats reclaiming the Senate, that fear is about to become a reality. Mr. Sanders, the most progressive member of the chamber, will have a central role in shaping and steering the Democrats’ tax and spending plans through a Congress that they control with the slimmest of margins.

Concern grows over massive US cyberattack – New Mexico’s national labs, Los Alamos and Sandia, cited as possible targets among many

Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, said the breach escalates the threat of a nuclear catastrophe.

“On top of the dangers that we faced during the Cold War this now raises new concerns…Could our nuclear weapons be hacked for malicious reasons? Could hackers take advantage of LANL’s checkered safety and security record and cause a life threatening event in our own backyard? The sooner we all have a nuclear weapons-free world the safer we will be.”

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal / BY: T.S. LAST / JOURNAL NORTH

SANTA FE — While the Department of Energy says that a cyberoffensive was limited to business networks, concerns remain about the depth of the breach and what threat it could still pose to national security and New Mexico’s two national laboratories.

Some news reports say that the hacks are believed to have been instigated by a Russian intelligence agency. The reports specifically mention Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, where atomic research is conducted, as being vulnerable.

In addition, Los Alamos National Laboratory is tasked with producing plutonium pits, the triggering device in nuclear warheads.

Earlier this week the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a warning, calling the hack “a grave risk” to federal, state, local and tribal governments, as well as critical infrastructure entities and private sector businesses. It said the suspected breach dates back to at least March.

In a joint statement this week, CISA, the FBI and the director of national intelligence said they were working together to investigate a “significant ongoing cybersecurity campaign.”\

‘Highly skeptical’: House Armed Services chairman concerned about SRS pit production

Biden administration expected to take ‘critical look’ at next-generation warhead, estimated to be twice as explosive as Trident

By: Colin Demarest [email protected] / postandcourier.com

An aerial view of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site. The site is about 30 minutes south of Aiken.
Photo courtesy of High Flyer
In blunt, if not damning, remarks at a Friday event, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee expressed serious reservations about plutonium pit production at the Savannah River Site and questioned the competency of the National Nuclear Security Administration, overall.
Likening the conversion of the failed Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility to flipping a bowling alley into a restaurant, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith said he was “highly skeptical that they’re going to be able to turn that building into an effective pit production facility. Highly skeptical.”
And that’s concerning, he further suggested, because failure risks the health of the nation’s nuclear arsenal – however big or small one might want it “They’ve been around for a long time,” the Washington Democrat said of U.S. nuclear weapons. “We have to make sure they work.”

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CRITICAL EVENTS

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New Nuclear Media: Art, Films, Books & More

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