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

To Prevent Nuclear Annihilation, Resume Negotiations Immediately

The war in Ukraine shows the urgency of nuclear arms control
“It is either the end of nuclear weapons, or the end of us,” wrote 16 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in an open letter in March that has since been signed by more than a million people.

BY SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EDITORS | scientificamerican.com

“Bomb versus Metropolis” Principal Investigator/Project: Analog Conversion Project

Decades after the end of the cold war and mere months after the U.S., Russia and other members of the United Nations Security Council agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the specter of nuclear apocalypse again looms over humankind.

Western powers contemplating intervention in the war in Ukraine “must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history,” President Vladimir Putin warned in a not so veiled threat of nuclear retaliation on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Days later he raised the alert levels of Russian nuclear forces.

Energy secretary: We must find a solution for nuclear waste

“People feel, you know, this was not the deal when these [nuclear power] plants were built.”

BY AP NEWS | apnews.com

WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) — It is critical to find a solution for storing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Friday during a visit to a nuclear power plant in Connecticut.

Granholm was invited to tour Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford by Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, the local congressional member. They are both working to change how spent nuclear fuel is stored nationwide to solve a decadeslong stalemate.

Spent fuel that was meant to be stored temporarily at current and former nuclear plant sites nationwide is piling up. Some of it dates to the 1980s.

Local 12 Investigation tracks down source of Russian radioactive shipments to Ohio

“Around PORTS, plutonium, and plutonium isotopes, which are far more dangerous than uranium, are now being picked up government air monitors. An independent study by Dr. Michael Ketterer at Northern Arizona University confirmed plutonium isotopes were found in river sediment and in dust collected from homes surrounding the Southern Ohio facility.

When Nadezda learned that information, she was stunned to learn America would accept anything from Mayak…”

BY DUANE POHLMAN WKRC | local12.com

MAYAK AND THE CLOSED CITY

With a simple phrase typed in the search bar of Google Earth, a massive nuclear complex in Russia’s Ural Mountains comes into full view.

From the beginning, the Mayak Production Association – or simply, “Mayak,” played a critical role in providing plutonium for the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal.

For more than four decades it was on the front lines of the atomic efforts in Russia, while very little was known about this once-secret facility.

Nadezda Kutepova grew up in the shadow of Mayak in Ozersk, a city as secret as the plant itself.

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New Mexico: Work for Peace, Not Nuclear Weapons

 “Let’s try to imagine what $9.4 billion could do for New Mexicans in one year: hire hundreds of new teachers, help protect us against increasing wildfire threats, secure precious water resources, provide medical care for the poor, and clean up contamination from past nuclear weapons production. Instead, it is going to nuclear weapons forever, even as the chances of potential nuclear war are increasing and we already have global overkill many times over.”

New Mexico: Work for Peace Not Nuclear Weapons

BY “MY VIEW” SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN | santafenewmexiacn.com

I was stunned to read in a recent article (“LANL would get over $1B bump in proposed budget,” April 20) that Los Alamos National Lab would get more than a $1 billion increase in its proposed budget, ensuring the Department of Energy’s fiscal year 2023 spending in the Land of Enchantment would exceed New Mexico’s entire state budget by nearly a billion dollars ($9.4 billion vs. $8.5 billion).

Out of that, over 70 percent would go for programs that seek to indefinitely preserve existing nuclear weapons and build new plutonium “pit” bomb cores for new-design nuclear weapons. Further, much of the remaining money supports those nuclear weapons programs, such as $450 million for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the dump for future radioactive wastes from expanded pit production.

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As Finland Nears NATO, Russia Flags ‘Full-Fledged Nuclear War’ Risk

Russia has railed against NATO expansion towards its borders and used the presence of the alliance near its borders as one of the justifications for its invasion of Ukraine.

BY | newsweek.com

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned of the risk of “open conflict” between Moscow and NATO, which could escalate into a nuclear war, just as Finland announced plans to join the alliance.

Although he did not mention Russia’s neighbor by name, Medvedev, who is the deputy chairman of his country’s Security Council, raised the threat of nuclear war in a Telegram post which was published less than an hour after Helsinki announced its NATO intentions.

The Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday that, following Finland’s move, it will be “forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature to stop the threats to its national security,” RIA Novosti reported.

Earlier, Medvedev had described how there was “endless talk by foreign analysts about NATO’s war with Russia,” which in his view was “becoming more and more forthright.”

State Announces Cleanup For Contaminated Nuclear Site, Which Advocates Call ‘A Back Room Deal’

“They make it sound like they’re helping us and protecting our children and they’re doing the opposite,” said Melissa Bumstead of West Hills, founder of Parents Against Santa Susana Field Lab.

Bumstead’s daughter Gracie developed a rare cancer at age four. “This agreement is going backwards. It’s putting our kids at risk, we’re not safer,” says Bumstead.

BY Joel Grover and Josh Davis | nbclosangeles.com

In a statement to the I-Team, Boeing said the agreement “provides a clear, accelerated path forward” for the cleanup of SSFL, and calls it “a win for California.”

The state on Monday announced an agreement with the Boeing Corporation to clean up a large part of one of California’s most contaminated sites--the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL)--located in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi Valleys.

In a 2015 investigation called “LA’s Nuclear Secret,” the NBC4 I-Team exposed how radioactive and chemical contamination from the Field Lab was spilling into nearby neighborhoods, where there were dozens of childhood cancer cases.

SSFL was the site of a 1959 partial nuclear meltdown and then decades of rocket tests, all of which left a stew of radioactive and toxic chemicals in the ground. Boeing now owns the majority of SSFL.

Safety questions arise as Los Alamos National Laboratory pursues pit production

But a watchdog group argued Los Alamos lab adopting a higher radiation limit for workers than other labs is to create more leeway when it ramps up plutonium pit production.

 | May 6, 2022 santafenewmexican.com

“The collective worker doses would probably go up once they start actual manufacturing,” said Scott Kovac, research and operations director for the nonprofit Nuclear Watch New Mexico.

Jay Coghlan, the executive director for Nuclear Watch New Mexico, said the agency in charge of nuclear security is pushing the lab to crank up pit production, yet it won’t install what’s known as a “safety class active confinement system” that would prevent a heavy radioactive release during an earthquake, catastrophic fire or a serious accident.

“This is a longstanding recommendation that Los Alamos [lab] and NNSA refuse to honor while continually downplaying the risk of expanded pit production,” Coghlan said.

Los Alamos National Laboratory allows workers to have a higher yearly radiation exposure than other national labs do and has not followed a longtime recommendation by safety officials to install a ventilation system in its plutonium facility they say would better protect workers and the public during a serious radioactive breach, according to a recent government watchdog’s recent report.

The report, some critics contend [see our quotes above], is of concern as the lab pursues production of nuclear bomb cores, or pits, at nearly triple the yearly amount it has ever made before.

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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!