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

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

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

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

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Follow the Money!

Map of “Nuclear New Mexico”

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

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

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

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

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

New & Updated

‘Eliminate These Weapons before They Eliminate Us’, Says Secretary-General, in Message to Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Meeting

“We cannot allow the nuclear weapons wielded by a handful of States to jeopardize all life on our planet.  We must stop knocking at doomsday’s door.”

June 22, 2022 un.org

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the opening of the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, in Vienna today:

Nuclear weapons are a global scourge.  A deadly reminder of countries’ inability to solve problems through dialogue and collaboration.  These weapons offer false promises of security and deterrence — while guaranteeing only destruction, death and endless brinksmanship.

Today, the terrifying lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are fading from memory.  The once unthinkable prospect of nuclear conflict is now back within the realm of possibility.  More than 13,000 nuclear weapons are being held in arsenals across the globe.  In a world rife with geopolitical tensions and mistrust, this is a recipe for annihilation.

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Archbishop John C. Wester’s Statement in Support of the First Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

“From the heart of the U.S.’ nuclear weapons research and production complex here in New Mexico, I call upon the United States and other nuclear-armed states to attend the First Meeting and future meetings as observers, to bear witness to the need for nuclear disarmament and take this first small step toward signing, ratifying, and implementing the Treaty.”

ALBUQUERQUE – Monday, June 20, 2022–IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Most Reverend John C. Wester has issued a statement in support of the First Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons:

The United States and the eight other nuclear-armed states are boycotting the historic First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons taking place in Vienna this June 21-23. The Treaty, banning nuclear weapons just like previous weapons of mass destruction treaties banning chemical and biological weapons, has been signed by 122 countries and ratified by 62.

Non-party states, like the U.S., have been invited to attend as observers. Historically, major allies such as Norway, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium are attending (the last three countries host U.S. nuclear bombs on their soil). Many organizations and several members of Congress have written to President Biden, urging him to send a representative. The U.S. government refuses to go despite the declared official policy of supporting a future world free of nuclear weapons. What is it afraid of?

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Pope Francis: A world free of nuclear weapons is necessary and possible

“In a message read at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Pope Francis renews his call for an end to war and to the causes of conflict, and reaffirms that the use, and even possession, of nuclear weapons is immoral.”

BY Christopher Wells VATICAN NEWS | vaticannews.va

Delegates listen to a message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (AFP or licensors)

The “courageous vision” of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons “appears ever more timely,” Pope Francis says in a Message for the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The Treaty, which aims at achieving and maintaining a nuclear-weapons-free world, went into effect in January 2021. To date, 65 states have ratified or acceded to the Treaty, although no nuclear-armed countries have done so.

In his message, which was read by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Pope Francis says that, while speaking of disarmament “may seem paradoxical to many … we need to remain aware of the dangers of short-sighted approaches to national and international security and the risks of proliferation.”

The Pope, therefore, renews his appeal “to silence all weapons and eliminate the causes of conflicts through tireless recourse to negotiations.”

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The Need for Independent Pit Aging Studies

June 16, 2022 | FACT SHEETS

Summary: The United States is aggressively expanding the production of plutonium “pit” bomb cores to at least 80 pits per year, which the Pentagon has called the number one issue in its $1.7 trillion plan to “modernize” nuclear forces. The average age of plutonium pits is around 40 years. Los Alamos Lab Director Thom Mason has said that “The best way to deal with this dilemma [of uncertainty about aging effects] is to take it off the table. We do that by making new pits, immediately.” Thus, he justifies spending tens of billions of dollars, creating additional occupational and public risks, generating more radioactive wastes with uncertain disposal pathways, fundamentally transforming the Lab into a nuclear weapons production site and fueling the increasingly dangerous new nuclear arms race.

But does independent review of pit aging data support this need to immediately produce new pits? The answer is no given that independent experts concluded in 2006 that pits last at least a century with no determined end date. Further, no future pit production is scheduled to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing nuclear weapons stockpile – it is all for speculative new designs which could raise reliability issues or even prompt the U.S. to resume testing.

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View the Los Alamos National Lab Legacy Cleanup Presentation from the N3B (LANL Cleanup Contractor) Environmental Management Cleanup Forum, June 16

Lab director says pit production necessary for nuclear deterrence (the Santa Fe New Mexican)

“But critics of the lab’s push to bolster its nuclear weapons program think the pit production goals are unrealistic and unnecessary.

Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, asked Mason in a written question why the lab is spending tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars ramping up production of the bomb cores when a 2006 study found the ones left over from the Cold War are good for 85 years.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican | June 14, 2022 santafenewmexican.com

Nuclear deterrence is in full display during the war in Ukraine, with Russia and the U.S. threatening each other with nuclear destruction to force restraint, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s director said during an online forum Tuesday.

Russia has told the U.S. and its allies not to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and President Joe Biden has made clear that Russia must not encroach one inch upon a NATO country — and both sides raise the specter of nuclear attacks if these boundaries are breached, lab Director Thom Mason said.

“The role that deterrence is playing in the Ukraine right now, really from both the U.S. and Russian side, is to attempt to limit that conflict,” Mason said.

Mason is a staunch advocate of the lab producing 30 plutonium warhead triggers, also known as pits, per year by 2026, saying it’s necessary to modernize the nuclear arsenal and maintain a strong deterrent against adversaries like Russia.

Global nuclear arsenal expected to grow for first time since Cold War

“All of the world’s nuclear-armed states are “increasing or upgrading their arsenals and most are sharpening nuclear rhetoric and the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies…This is a very worrying trend.” – Wilfred Wan, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s weapons of mass destruction program.

By and , The Washington Post June 13, 2022 | washingtonpost.com

A vehicle transports a nuclear missile during a Victory Day rehearsal in Moscow on June 17, 2020. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg News)

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released on Monday its annual overview of international security and global arms production, warning that the post-Cold War decline in nuclear arsenals appeared to be ending.

“The risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War,” director Dan Smith said in a statement, despite what he described as “significant gains” in nuclear arms control and disarmament over the past year.

Why Funding for the SLCM Nuclear Warhead Should Be Deleted

June 6, 2022 | FACT SHEETS

Introduction: In 1991, in response to the ongoing collapse of the Soviet Union, President George H. Bush ordered the withdrawal of all nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) from U.S. surface ships and submarines. In 2018 President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review proposed to redeploy SLCMs on Virginia-class attack submarines, saying they would provide the United States with “a needed non-strategic regional presence” that would address “the increasing need for flexible and low-yield options.”1 Congress subsequently approved $15.2 million in FY 2022 funding for the Navy’s new cruise missile and nuclear warhead.

In March 2022 President Biden transmitted a new classified Nuclear Posture Review to Congress that reportedly canceled the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile. In parallel, his proposed FY 2023 budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has no funding for the SLCM nuclear warhead. This has prompted some congressional pushback, with one suggested compromise being continuing modest research funding. But as a Congressional Research Service analysis put it: “The Navy indicated that the program was “cost prohibitive and the acquisition schedule would have delivered capability late to need.” 

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ACTION ALERTS

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Interfaith Panel Discussion on Nuclear Disarmament - August 9

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

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New Nuclear Media: Recent Books, Art, Film & More

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Wake up call on nuclear waste! Meet the National Radioactive Waste Coalition!

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