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

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

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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

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New & Updated

New Mexico is still waiting for justice 75 years since the Manhattan Project

The state also faces coronavirus on this anniversary.

BY: Bernice Zamora Gutierrez & Paul Lopez Pino | thehill.com

While our nation struggles to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, New Mexicans are already engaged in a deadly health crisis that has cost the lives of thousands of our beloved family and community members for the past 75 years. This crisis is the overexposure to radiation from the world’s first nuclear bomb detonation at Trinity Site in south central New Mexico on July 16, 1945. In the process it made many New Mexicans the first “Downwinder” communities exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons. The Trinity test in New Mexico was followed by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki three weeks later and we are all memorializing our dead on this 75th anniversary of the nuclear age. And just as the country is waiting for a pandemic recovery plan, New Mexicans are still waiting to be included in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) found in U.S. House Bill 3783.

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Obscure agency writing off state politician’s debt

““…Romero and various board members charged taxpayers for lunches in and around Santa Fe. These meals for a select group in no way furthered the public interest. They only benefited coalition insiders.”

BY:  | santafenewmexican.com

You miss a few payments on the $7,800 you owe on your car. A repo agent will take away your ride and your pride while the neighbors watch.

You fail to make payments on a years-old $7,800 credit card bill. The lender will make certain you suffer from the worry of being sued. All the while your debt will balloon with interest charges and late fees.

That’s the real world. Life isn’t as hard in the echelon of state Rep. Andrea Romero and her former employer, the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.

The coalition’s board claims Romero still owes it $7,800 for impermissible expenses accrued during her tenure as its executive director from March 2016 to February 2018. It asked Romero in May to pay the bill.

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Nuclear Power goes South in South Carolina

“It looks like crime might well pay after all.”
That was the weary and only slightly tongue-in-cheek conclusion drawn by longtime anti-nuclear campaigner, Tom Clements recently, after a former South Carolina nuclear utility executive pled guilty to fraud in federal court.

BY: Linda Pentz Gunter | beyondnuclear.org

Photo: Since cancelled V.C. Summer Unit 3, by NRC/Flickr.

Clements is the director of Savannah River Site Watch, but his activism has, for decades, extended well beyond the perimeter of that vast nuclear site.

For years, Clements and others have followed — and attempted to stand in the way of — the forced march of South Carolina ratepayers toward nuclear fiasco. When it finally unraveled in late July, there was only cautious cause for celebration.

On July 23, Stephen Byrne, the former COO of SCANA, the South Carolina utility originally in charge of the construction of two new nuclear reactors in the state, pled guilty in a massive nuclear conspiracy that defrauded ratepayers, deceived regulators and misled shareholders.

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How New Tech Raises the Risk of Nuclear War

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some experts believe the risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is as high now as it has been since the Cuban missile crisis.

BY: BRYAN WELSH | axios.com

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The big picture: Nuclear war remains the single greatest present threat to humanity — and one that is poised to grow as emerging technologies, like much faster missiles, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, upset an already precarious nuclear balance.

What’s happening: A mix of shifting geopolitical tensions and technological change is upsetting a decades-long state of strategic stability around nuclear weapons.

  • Strategic stability is when no country has an incentive to launch a first nuclear strike, knowing that doing so would inevitably lead to a catastrophic response. It’s the “mutual” in “mutually assured destruction.”
  • Arms control deals like the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty are collapsing, while faster hypersonic missiles are shrinking the already brief minutes available to decide how and whether to respond to a potential nuclear attack, meaning “the possibilities of a miscalculation are unfortunately higher than they have been in a long, long time,” says former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
  • As concerning as rising tensions are between the U.S. and Russia, or between the U.S. and a more assertive China, experts worry even more about the destabilizing effect of emerging technologies like cyber warfare and AI.
  • “The black box of AI in the future of war makes it almost inherently unpredictable,” says P.W. Singer, a strategist at New America and author of “Burn-In” — and unpredictability is anathema to a nuclear balance held in place by predictability.

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75 years after Hiroshima, should U.S. president have authority to launch nuclear attack?

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. Seventy-five years later, [PBS] NewsHour revisits how the president became the sole authority on when nuclear weapons are used. Nick Schifrin reports and talks to former Secretary of Defense William Perry, co-author of “The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.”

BY: Nick Schifrin | pbs.org

Judy Woodruff:

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. In the coming days, we will examine this 75th anniversary, the bomb’s immediate aftermath and its lasting legacy. Today, Nick Schifrin looks at the president’s sole authority to launch such a weapon and how that authority came to be.

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The 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Renewed Call for Our Day

“A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions … ” — Pope Francis, Address at Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park (Nagasaki), November 24, 2019.

PEOPLE OF GOD – Santa Fe Archdiocese, August 2020

PRAY

Pray with your community for the causes of peace and nuclear disarmament to be made a reality.

LEARN

Learn about what the Church teaches regarding nuclear weapons.

ACT

Put what your faith into action by raising your voice to support nuclear disarmament.

 JOIN OUR COMMEMORATION EVENT AUGUST 6

On 75th Anniversary of Japan Nuclear Bombings, Sierra Club Continues Calls for Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Today, the Sierra Club rises with the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in continuing our call for an elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide. The creation and storage of nuclear weapons is inherently risky, and accidents, testing, and use of nuclear weapons are recklessly and unnecessarily dangerous for communities — particularly low income and communities of color — and our environment. 
“The Sierra Club calls on Congress to resist the current renewal of the nuclear arms race and to ban the use of nuclear weapons.”

cindy.carr@sierraclub.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the WW II nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Sierra Club has joined with the Hibakusha Survivors in calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons globally. Since 1945, nearly 100,000 nuclear weapons have been manufactured, costing trillions of dollars and destroying communities and the environment through the mining, refining, and weaponizing of uranium.

The Sierra Club opposes the creation and testing of nuclear weapons and supports the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

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Urgency to bear witness grows for last Hiroshima victims

“We must work harder to get our voices heard, not just mine but those of many other survivors,” Lee [ Jong-keun] said in an interview Tuesday at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. “A nuclear weapons ban is the starting point for peace.”

| santafenewmexican.com

HIROSHIMA, Japan

For nearly 70 years, until he turned 85, Lee Jong-keun hid his past as an atomic bomb survivor, fearful of the widespread discrimination against blast victims that has long persisted in Japan.

But Lee, 92, is now part of a fast-dwindling group of survivors, known as hibakusha, that feels a growing urgency — desperation even — to tell their stories. These last witnesses to what happened 75 years ago Thursday want to reach a younger generation that they feel is losing sight of the horror.

The knowledge of their dwindling time — the average age of the survivors is more than 83 and many suffer from the long-lasting effects of radiation — is coupled with deep frustration over stalled progress in global efforts to ban nuclear weapons. According to a recent Asahi newspaper survey of 768 survivors, nearly two-thirds said their wish for a nuclear-free world is not widely shared by the rest of humanity, and more than 70 percent called on a reluctant Japanese government to ratify a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

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Atomic-bomb survivors seek new ways to keep their memories alive

Around the world, non-proliferation efforts are faltering

THEECONOMIST.COM

For seventeen year-old Takeoka Chisako, August 6th, 1945 was supposed to be a day off. She had planned to meet two girlfriends at 8:15 that morning, at a train station on the west side of Hiroshima. She was running late, and as she stepped outside her house she lifted a pocket mirror to her face. Then she saw a flash and heard a bang. When she regained consciousness she found herself lying in a potato field 30 metres away, a mushroom cloud rising in the sky. People with charred skin dangling from their arms came rushing over a nearby hillside. They cried for help, but were too feeble to speak their names and too weak to drink the water Ms Takeoka brought them. “Then one by one, they died,” says Higashino Mariko, Ms Takeoka’s daughter.

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Hiroshima after 75 years: Walking the path of the atomic bomb

74-year-old [Kosei Mito] turns to a page in one of his binders with a large quote Pope John Paul II made during a visit to Hiroshima in 1981, one that’s inscribed on a memorial inside the Hiroshima Peace Museum.
“To remember the past is to commit oneself to the future.”

BRAD LENDON | CNN.COM

Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands (CNN) — It’s a discolored concrete slab, molding in the tropical humidity. But on this slab, not much bigger than the footprint of a beach cabin, history changed. What was once a doorway is obvious, as are the bases for a couple interior walls and an opening for a larger garage-like entrance. I walk through the doorway, through the interior and out the garage. As I do, my guide puts these few steps in extraordinary perspective.
“You’re walking the path of the atomic bomb.”
This slab is where the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago were put together. It’s the assembly point for the dawning of the atomic age. Now it sits, essentially ignored, on the Pacific island of Tinian, from where the US Army Air Force B-29 bombers that performed those atomic strikes on Japan departed.

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Unlike the pandemic, nuclear war can be stopped before it begins

Seventy-five years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the anti-nuclear movement is taking big steps toward abolition.

BY: MARINA MARTINEZ | wagingnonviolence.org

Nuclear weapons have been posing a threat to humanity for 75 years — ever since the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

These days, our focus is understandably on the COVID-19 virus and the threat it poses to human life. But as we commemorate the anniversary of these bombings, it is important to acknowledge that unlike the coronavirus, nuclear weapons can only be remediated with prevention. Millions of people could be killed if a single nuclear bomb were detonated over a large city, and the added threats of radiation and retaliation could endanger all life on Earth.

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U.S. LAUNCHES MINUTEMAN III MISSILE TEST LESS THAN 48 HOURS BEFORE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIROSHIMA ATOMIC BOMBING

“The unnecessarily provocative test by the U.S. today is an important reminder that the nuclear threat remains very real, and that there are people in this country – along with a few other countries – who are willing to sacrifice us all in a battle that can never be won and must never be fought.”

For Immediate Release Contact: Sandy Jones (805) 965-3443; sjones@napf.org
Rick Wayman (805) 696-5159; rwayman@napf.org  ragingpeace.org

Santa Barbara, CA – The U.S. Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile Tuesday morning, August 4, at 12:21 a.m. PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The missile traveled over 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

While Air Force Global Strike Command asserts that missile tests are scheduled years in advance, it is difficult to ignore the timing of this test – less than 48 hours before the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Rick Wayman, CEO of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a non-profit based in Santa Barbara committed to solving the most dangerous technological, social, and psychological issues of our time, including the abolition of nuclear weapons, commented on the missile test. He said, “This week, the majority of the world is solemnly remembering the 75th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and vowing that such a thing will never happen again. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings were indiscriminately slaughtered by two primitive U.S. atomic bombs in August 1945. The weapon that was tested this morning is designed for far greater damage.”

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Trump team’s case for new nuke cites risks in current arsenal

The administration justified new atomic weapons by citing rarely acknowledged vulnerabilities in U.S. nuclear arsenal

BY: JOHN M. DONNELLY | rollcall.com

Just one of America’s 14 Ohio-class submarines — like the USS Maine, above — could deliver explosive power nearly 10 times that of all the bombs dropped in World War II. (Andrea Perez/U.S. Navy photo)

The Trump administration, in a closely held memo to lawmakers this spring, justified developing the first new U.S. atomic weapon since the Cold War by citing vulnerabilities and risks in the current nuclear arsenal that are rarely or never acknowledged in public.

In an unclassified five-page white paper sent to Congress in May, the Pentagon and the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, affirm a point they have long minimized: the dangers of land-based missiles ready to launch minutes after a warning of enemy attack.

They also discuss threats to U.S. nuclear missile submarines that have previously been depicted as all but undetectable. They say, too, that a new class of ballistic missile submarines lacks the firepower of its predecessors, creating a need for a lighter and more powerful type of warhead — in addition to the two existing types. As for the current two sets of warheads, they say they have too few of the most destructive kind and too many of the less forceful variety — and excessively rely on the latter.

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Gov. argues against Holtec nuclear storage site

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, arguing against a proposed nuclear waste interim storage facility in southeast New Mexico.
“The proposed (facility) would join the ranks of uranium mining, nuclear energy and defense-related programs that have long created risks to public health and the environment in the state of New Mexico that are disproportionately greater than such risks to the general population of the United States,” she wrote.

BY: THERESA DAVIS, JOURNAL STAFF WRITER | Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The proposed Holtec International site would store 500 stainless steel canisters of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel on 1,000 acres between Carlsbad and Hobbs, with a full storage capacity of 10,000 canisters.

“New Mexico has grave concerns for the unnecessary risk to our citizens and our communities, our first responders, our environment, and to New Mexico’s agriculture and natural resource industries,” Lujan Grisham wrote in the letter.

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LANL trolley that carries radioactive material broken down

“If LANL can’t drive a trolley or clean up old stuff without exposing people, how can they safely expand plutonium pit production?” asked Scott Kovac, research and operations director for nonprofit Nuclear Watch New Mexico.

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

An internal trolley that carries radioactive material to several glove-box areas at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plutonium facility has been broken for almost two months, hindering operations at the site, a federal watchdog report said.

The trolley became disabled in early June, and its bucket is stuck with a container of nuclear material inside, according to a report issued by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

“However, the location is not creating any radiological exposure concerns,” the report said.

The report noted the idled trolley has hampered the internal transfer of radioactive material to the sealed containers with protective gloves attached, but it didn’t say to what extent.

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“F-35s Don’t Help Families Pay Their Bills”: GOP Slips Pentagon Into COVID Bill

“People are dying, or worried about keeping a roof over their families’ heads, or cutting hours because their kids’ schools are closed,” said Anthony Weir, a lobbyist on nuclear disarmament and Pentagon spending at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “And this is the time to jam some military procurement into this year that you didn’t get last year?”

BY: JAKE JOHNSON | truthout.org

The GOP’s HEALS Act is replete with massive gifts to the Pentagon and defense contractors, including $686 million for F-35s.
SAMUEL KING JR. / U.S. AIR FORCE

In a floor speech late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the GOP’s newly released coronavirus stimulus package as a “carefully tailored” plan to provide financial relief to desperate Americans.

But a look at the legislative text (pdf) released by Senate Republicans shows the HEALS Act is replete with massive gifts to the Pentagon and defense contractors that would do nothing to aid the unemployed, provide nutrition assistance to hungry children, prevent an avalanche of evictions, or stop the spread of coronavirus.

“Last time I checked F-35s don’t help families pay their bills,” Rep. Chuy García (D-Ill.) tweeted in response to the GOP’s proposal of $686 million in spending on new fighter jets.

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Critical Events

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

Nuclear News

GOP lawmaker accuses administration of ‘playing politics’ with Yucca Mountain reversal

“The Trump Administration again proposes to cut DOE’s budget — by 8 percent overall, and by an astounding 35 percent in non-defense programs. This will limit America’s future by drastically reducing or eliminating programs critical for meeting our future energy needs and assuring our security,” – Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

ARTICLE BY: RACHEL FRAZIN | thehill.com

© Cameron Lancaster

Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash.) accused the Trump administration of “playing politics” on Thursday with its reversal on funding for a nuclear waste repository in Nevada. 

“I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see this administration playing politics with something as important as completing the permanent solution to our nation’s high-level nuclear waste,” Newhouse said during a hearing on the administration’s proposed Department of Energy (DOE) budget.

“This budget is … a total waste of resources and a distraction from solving this very important issue,” he added.

President Trump announced this month that he no longer supports funding the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site, reversing his position on a controversial matter in a key state in November’s elections. The change was reflected in his budget proposal for fiscal year 2021. 

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said during the hearing that the administration would not proceed with either licensing for Yucca Mountain or an interim storage facility.

“My understanding [is] under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act we are prohibited from starting construction on an interim facility, a federal facility,” Brouillette said.

Democrats also criticized the administration over cuts included in the budget proposal.

“The Trump Administration again proposes to cut DOE’s budget — by 8 percent overall, and by an astounding 35 percent in non-defense programs. This will limit America’s future by drastically reducing or eliminating programs critical for meeting our future energy needs and assuring our security,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, in her opening statement.  

“Your budget proposes deep and arbitrary cuts that threaten progress one one of our most pressing challenges and that is climate change. We can be a leader in exporting clean energy technologies, but not under your budget request,” Kaptur added later in the hearing.

In response, Brouillette said, “Renewable technologies are becoming somewhat mature in the marketplace, so for us to focus again on these technologies that are now commercially widely available seems to us to be inappropriate.”

Trump’s budget request would reduce spending significantly at several energy and environment-related agencies, including the energy department. Trump has consistently proposed cutting funding such agencies, and Congress has routinely ignored those proposals and instead increased funding.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

US wants new nuclear weapons to counter Russia but says there is no arms race

Defense Department has pushed back on the notion that the US is engaging in an arms race or growing its nuclear arsenal, saying its latest moves are merely a response to Russian efforts

BY: RYAN BROWNE | cnn.com

Washington (CNN) During a visit to US Strategic Command last week, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper oversaw a “table top” war game exercise where Russian military forces used a “tactical” nuclear weapon against NATO territory during a conflict in Europe, prompting the US to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike.

“The scenario included a European contingency where you are conducting a war with Russia and Russia decides to use a low yield limited nuclear weapon against a site on NATO territory and then you go through the conversation that you would have with the Secretary of Defense and the President ultimately, to decide how to respond,” a senior Department of Defense official told reporters Friday.

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Holes found in protective liner at SC nuclear fuel factory

Inspectors at the Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory near Columbia recently found 13 small leaks in a protective liner that is supposed to keep pollution from dripping into soil and groundwater below the plant.

ARTICLE BY SAMMY FRETWELL | thestate.com

Bluff Road nuclear fuel factory near Columbia, S.C. It is operated by Westinghouse. PHOTO COURTESY HIGH FLYER

Now, the company plans to check a concrete floor beneath the liner, as well as soil below the plant, for signs of contamination that could have resulted from the tears, which were characterized in a federal inspection report as ‘’pinhole leaks.’’ The pinhole leaks, discovered by Westinghouse late in 2019, may have formed after company employees walked across the liner and weakened it, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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The Japanese Garden Reflects on Hiroshima Attack with Season-Opening Exhibit

Spirits Rising: ひろしま/hiroshima showcases objects left behind after U.S. forces bombed the city in 1945.

ARTICLE BY CONNER REED | pdxmonthly.com

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I always wear kimonos to my opening receptions,” says Ishiuchi Miyako through a translator, clad in a brilliant purple garment stitched together from her grandparents’ kimonos.

Last Friday, Miyako opened Spirits Rising: ひろしま/hiroshima at the Portland Japanese Garden’s Pavilion Gallery. The exhibition features photographs from Miyako’s ひろしま/hiroshima series, which showcases personal objects left behind after American forces dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. When pieces from the series first premiered at the Andrew Roth Gallery in 2014, the New York Times said they “hold the eye and [don’t] easily let go.”

Large and haunting, the photographs appear without placards—Miyako offers no concrete information about the dresses and combs and dolls she’s compiled. Instead, viewers are left to imagine the objects’ histories. At first, it can be frustrating; you want to know the details of each life attached to each garment and trinket. Ultimately, it’s chilling: the more you wander, the greater the sense of annihilation becomes, until the whole space feels almost like a well-lit mass grave.

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Why nuclear weapons should be a major focus of the 2020 campaign

ARTICLE BY JOHN MECKLIN | thebulletin.org

A Minuteman III missile crew on alert.

The proverbial alien beamed down to Earth would find the situation quizzical indeed: The political debates and campaigns involved in selecting the most powerful person on the planet – the US president – scarcely mention the stark fact that any president could at any time be called to decide, almost instantly, whether to order a nuclear attack that would lead to the end of civilization. There is, at present, no significant check on the president’s ability to make that decision. If he orders a nuclear attack, there will almost certainly be one. For a variety of reasons, the chances of nuclear war are not negligible; they are at least as high as they were at the height of the Cold War, according to leading world experts. And a nuclear exchange of even modest proportions would change the world forever, bringing on nuclear winter, degrading civilization in countless other ways, and affecting every person, everywhere. (At least every live person. The tens or hundreds of millions killed quickly in a nuclear exchange will just be dead.)

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As LANL jobs grow, housing issues worsen

ARTICLE BY MONICA ROMAN GAGNIER | abqjournal.com Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Overheard at the Blake’s Lotaburger at the corner of Guadalupe Street and Paseo de Peralta in Santa Fe:

“What brings you back to New Mexico, dude?”

“I just got a great job at LANL, but I can’t find a place to live that I can afford.”

From fast-food joints to the chambers of local government to Realtors’ offices, everyone agrees: There’s a shortage of affordable, desirable housing in northern New Mexico to serve the growing workforces of places such as Los Alamos National Laboratories and Presbyterian Española Hospital.

It’s a vexing problem in an area where families are reluctant to move after generations in the same house, there is a lack of new housing developments in key areas, and New Mexico pueblos have been asserting and winning claims over water rights and roads.

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The Dubious Moral Justification for a Nuclear Second Strike

The aim of presenting the case for the continued possession of these terrifying weapons that hold the potential to destroy all life on earth this way seems to be to convince citizens that nuclear weapons are morally justifiable and thus somehow ‘acceptable.’

ARTICLE BY GERARD BOYCE | commondreams.org

If the reason seems unclear, then it may be worthwhile for the average citizen of goodwill in a nuclear-armed country to resolve this new year to urge their leaders to renew their commitments to arms control and ultimately, the elimination of these genocidal weapons. (Photo:US Department of Defense)
If the reason seems unclear, then it may be worthwhile for the average citizen of goodwill in a nuclear-armed country to resolve this new year to urge their leaders to renew their commitments to arms control and ultimately, the elimination of these genocidal weapons. (Photo:US Department of Defense)

Poised as the nuclear powers appear to be to resume the nuclear arms race, leaders of these countries have been at pains to assure their countrymen and the rest of the world that, though determined to maintain and even expand their nuclear arsenals, they will only use them for the purposes of a second strike i.e. in retaliation to a nuclear first strike by a nuclear-armed belligerent. Their pledges are meant to reassure us that nuclear weapons are for defensive rather than offensive purposes. The aim of presenting the case for the continued possession of these terrifying weapons that hold the potential to destroy all life on earth this way seems to be to convince citizens that nuclear weapons are morally justifiable and thus somehow ‘acceptable’. For a number of reasons, however, a second strike may not be as morally defensible as leaders would have us believe.

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Nuclear Media

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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

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New & Updated

NNSA Slams Door Shut on Public Accountability While Ramming Through Expanded Plutonium “Pit” Bomb Core Production

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it will NOT prepare a new site-wide environmental impact statement for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (1).  With this decision NNSA is slamming the door shut on public accountability while it rams through expanded plutonium “pit” bomb core production at the Lab.  NNSA is relying upon outdated studies from 2008 to justify pit production. Since that time the agency has wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars, another catastrophic wildfire threatened the Lab, serious deep groundwater contamination was discovered and LANL has had chronic nuclear safety incidences with plutonium that it can’t seem to fix.
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NNSA Slams Door Shut on Public Accountability While Ramming Through Expanded Plutonium “Pit” Bomb Core Production

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it will NOT prepare a new site-wide environmental impact statement for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (1).  With this decision NNSA is slamming the door shut on public accountability while it rams through expanded plutonium “pit” bomb core production at the Lab.  NNSA is relying upon outdated studies from 2008 to justify pit production. Since that time the agency has wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars, another catastrophic wildfire threatened the Lab, serious deep groundwater contamination was discovered and LANL has had chronic nuclear safety incidences with plutonium that it can’t seem to fix.
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Study: Cancer cases likely in those exposed to atomic test

“’The nuclear detonation exposed residents of New Mexico to varying levels of radiation from radioactive fallout, depending, in part, on where they lived in the state, how much time they spent inside protective structures in the immediate months after the test, and how much radiation entered their bodies through contaminated food and water,’ a summary of the research states.”

Trinity Test - Alamogordo, NM - July 16, 1945. The early fireball at 62 milliseconds
Trinity Test – Alamogordo, NM – July 16, 1945

BY: | apnews.com

 

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After years of study, the National Cancer Institute said Tuesday that some people probably got cancer from the radioactive fallout that wafted across New Mexico after the U.S. government detonated the first atomic bomb in 1945. However, the exact number is unknown.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Up to 1,000 Downwinders Likely Got Cancer From First Atomic Test, Study Says

As many as 1,000 New Mexicans living in communities near Trinity Site, where the first atomic bomb was detonated 75 years ago, might have developed cancer from the radioactive fallout, says a long-awaited Cancer Institute report released Tuesday.

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

Up to 1,000 Downwinders Likely Got Cancer From First Atomic Test, Study Says
Rosalie Cordova joins more than two dozen protesters along U.S. 380, just outside the White Sands Missile Range, in this 2011 photo. Cordova lost her husband and her sister to cancers that she believes were caused by radiation. Natalie Guillén/New Mexican file photo

The institute’s findings were based on a six-year study that involved computer modeling, researching historical data and interviewing 210 elderly “downwinders” who lived close enough to the blast to suffer internal radiation exposure by ingesting contaminated milk and food.

The number of cancer victims could be less than 1,000 but is unlikely to be more, the study says.

There’s also no clear evidence the radiation was severe enough to cause genetic abnormalities that could be passed by birth to subsequent generations, the study says.

The study’s authors concede there’s much uncertainty in the report because so many years have passed since the test, the government didn’t conduct public studies of the test’s potential impacts on communities — due to the Manhattan Project’s secrecy — and cancer cases weren’t tracked nationally until the 1960s.

The report comes after decades of criticism from downwinder advocates, who have accused the federal government of refusing to acknowledge affected residents to avoid liability.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Some U.S. cities turn against first planned small-scale nuclear plant

“[Two] cities, Logan and Lehi, Utah have walked away from the project, and a third is now considering dropping its support because of risks and a lack of backers, according to officials.”

BY:  | reuters.com

An artist’s rendering of NuScale Power’s small modular nuclear reactor plant. Courtesy NuScale/via REUTERS

(Reuters) – The first U.S. small-scale nuclear power project, grappling with cost overruns and delays, faces another challenge: the defection of cities that had committed to buying its power. The more than 30 members of the public power consortium Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) have until Sept. 30 to decide whether to stick with the project and devote more funds to NuScale Power LLC’s first-of-a-kind reactor.

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SC settles lawsuit over plutonium waste for record $600M

“According to a release, under the terms of the settlement, the Dept. of Energy remains obligated to remove the plutonium by 2037.”

BY: Alexx Altman-Devilbiss | wpde.com

SC settles lawsuit over plutonium waste for record $600M
FILE – In this Sept. 29, 1994 file photo, a CSX Train with spent nuclear fuel passes through Florence, S.C., on its way to Savannah River Site Weapons Complex near Aiken S.C. Nevada and South Carolina are jostling for a home-field advantage of sorts in a federal court battle that could result in a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium being stored 70 miles from Las Vegas. (Jeff Chatlosh/The Morning News via AP, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C (WPDE) — Attorney General Alan Wilson Monday announced the federal government will pay South Carolina $600 million and clean up weapons-grade plutonium to end six years of litigation.

“This settlement is the single largest settlement in South Carolina’s history. It is important to me that the people of South Carolina know of our long-term commitment to preventing South Carolina from becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste,” said Wilson. “Additionally, the more than half a billion dollars in settlement money could not come at a better time as our state government and economy work to overcome the revenue shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a long, difficult road but I am proud of the leadership displayed by our state’s elected officials and the expertise of my legal team.”

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Vatican representative calls on U.S. to sign nuclear-test-ban treaty

“The treaty is a critically important step toward creating a world without nuclear weapons…Each of the remaining eight states should strongly back up its words in favor of peace by being the first to sign.”

BY: Cindy Wooden | catholicnews.com

Pope Francis delivers a message about nuclear weapons at Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki, Japan, Nov. 24, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the absurdity of “pouring valuable resources into the maintenance of weapons of destruction while so many on this planet are struggling to survive,” a Vatican representative told a U.N. meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day Against Nuclear Tests.

It is impossible to make a moral case for continued nuclear weapon testing,” said Msgr. Fredrik Hansen, charge d’affaires at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.

“There should never be another nuclear test explosion,” he told the online meeting Aug. 26.

The United Nations has designated Aug. 29 as the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, and Msgr. Hansen used the occasion to call on China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States to ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

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Smith and Menendez Statement on the Immense Costs of Allowing the New START Treaty to Expire

Already exorbitant nuclear weapons costs will only go up if the New START treaty expires.
“Extending the New START Treaty for a full five years is clearly the right financial and national security choice. America cannot afford a costly and dangerous nuclear arms race, particularly in the middle of our current economic, political, and health crises.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2020
Contact:
Smith: Monica Matoush // 202-226-5048
Menendez: Juan Pachon // 202-224-4130

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a new report regarding the potential costs of expanding U.S. strategic nuclear forces if the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) Expires:

“CBO’s nonpartisan report is clear: The Trump administration’s unwillingness to continue the decades of strategic arms control by failing to extend the New START Treaty is driving the United States toward a dangerous arms race, which we cannot afford. While this report only begins to account for the costs of the Administration’s preposterous claims that we can ‘spend the adversary into oblivion,’ it is further proof of why New START is essential to U.S. and international security.

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Catholics Against Nukes: Archbishop Wester’s Hiroshima Vigil

As long as nuclear deterrence, that most unmeasured of strategies, remains, it keeps company with the prospect of use and annihilation. Coghlan, in his rebuke to the editors also penned in the Albuquerque Journal, gave an acid summation: “the US arsenal has always been about nuclear war fighting, starting with the simple fact that we were the first to use it.” Only “sheer luck has kept us from nuclear catastrophe.”

BY: Binoy Kampmark | scoop.com/nz

In what is a turn-up for the books, a senior voice of the Catholic Church made something of an impression this month that did not incite scandal, hot rage, or the commencement of an investigation. It did, however, agitate a few editors. Archbishop John C. Wester of San Fe, in speaking at the online Hiroshima Day vigil, had put up his hand to defy the validity and morality of nuclear weapons and, along with them, the idea of nuclear deterrence. One of the organisers of the event, the veteran peace activist Rev. John Dear, claimed it had “never happened before.”

Dear had a point. There has been a shift within Catholic ranks urged along by Pope Francis on that most fatuous of strategic doctrines, nuclear deterrence. Before the United Nations General Assembly in June 1982, Pope John Paul II chose to argue that nuclear “‘deterrence’ based on balance, certainly not as an end in itself but as a step on the way toward a progressive disarmament, may still be judged morally acceptable.”

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What If We Have A Nuclear War?

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Quotes

“These materials are ounce-for-ounce the most dangerous materials known to man,”

— Stuart Smith

Smith is with Cooper Law Firm out of New Orleans. His firm filed a lawsuit in May alleging Ohio residents near a former uranium enrichment plant in Piketon were exposed to radioactive contaminants that spread to other properties but were never informed.

Last week in Piketon, Ohio, hundreds of people stood in line for hours to participate in a town hall on alleged radioactive contamination, wanting to make sure they and their families were safe.

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“New Mexico residents were neither warned before the 1945 Trinity blast, informed of health hazards afterward, nor evacuated before, during, or after the test. Exposure rates in public areas from the world’s first nuclear explosion were measured at levels 10,000- times higher than currently allowed.”

Trinity Test - Alamogordo, NM - July 16, 1945. The early fireball at 62 milliseconds
Trinity Test – Alamogordo, NM – July 16, 1945. The early fireball at 62 milliseconds

— From the Final Report of the Los Alamos Historical Document and Retrieval and Assessment Project, Prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2010, pp. ES-34-35. VIEW REPORT HERE

“Don’t imagine we are going to keep everything quiet, say nothing and then at the last minute go ta-da! and surprise everyone. No. This is a process of continual negotiation and talking.”— Joan Girling, member of Together Against Sizewell C (TASC), an environmental group protesting against the French energy company EDF.


— Joan Girling, member of  Together Against Sizewell C (TASC), an environmental group protesting against the French energy company EDF.

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“The managers of the weapon program now seem to believe that their mission is to increase the weapon program budget and protect payroll.”

An observation from the late Robert L. Peurifoy (1928-2017)

A tribute to the nuclear weapons and arms control expert was recently posted on Google here

Bob Peurifoy managed design and development of nuclear weapons at the Sandia Corporation for 39 years and devoted all his retired years to independent consulting on nuclear weapons and arms control issues with several scientific organizations. The “Tribute” contains excerpts from his 2011-2016 e-mail archive.

“At a time of rising nuclear tensions, casually postulating about the potential upsides of a nuclear attack is obtuse in the extreme.”

Senior policy director at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Alexandra Bell – commenting on the Nuclear Operations document that was taken down from the Pentagon online site after a week, and is now only available through a restricted access electronic library. The Pentagon believes using nuclear weapons could “create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability”, according to a new nuclear doctrine adopted by the US joint chiefs of staff last week.

“Posting a document about nuclear operations and then promptly deleting it shows a lack of messaging discipline and a lack of strategy. Further, at a time of rising nuclear tensions, casually postulating about the potential upsides of a nuclear attack is obtuse in the extreme.”

A 1971 French nuclear test explosion on Mururoa atoll in the southern Pacific Ocean. Photograph: AFP
A 1971 French nuclear test explosion on Mururoa atoll in the southern Pacific Ocean. Photograph: AFP

Nuclear weapons: experts alarmed by new Pentagon ‘war-fighting’ doctrine theguardian.com