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

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

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

_____________________________________________

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

Raytheon to close ABQ site

Raytheon Technologies Corp. is shutting down operations at the Sandia Science and Technologies Park in southeast Albuquerque, where the company employs about 200 people.

BY KEVIN ROBINSON-AVILA | abqjournal.com
Raytheon Technologies is closing its facility at Sandia Science and Technologies Park in Albuquerque and laying off some of its 200 local employees. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Raytheon’s Albuquerque operations will be transferred to other company facilities outside of New Mexico, company spokesperson Heather Uberuaga told the Journal Tuesday.

“After careful and deliberate consideration, Raytheon Technologies has chosen to close the company’s Albuquerque facility and relocate support for key capabilities and customer programs to our other facilities around the country,” Uberuaga wrote in an email.

Continue reading

Trump Admin Sprints to Weaken Environmental Protections During Pandemic

‘There’s a lot they want to get done before the election, just in case.’

The Trump administration is diligently weakening U.S. environment protections even amid a global pandemic, continuing its rollback as the November election approaches.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, U.S. federal agencies have eased fuel-efficiency standards for new cars; frozen rules for soot air pollution; proposed to drop review requirements for liquefied natural gas terminals; continued to lease public property to oil and gas companies; sought to speed up permitting for offshore fish farms; and advanced a proposal on mercury pollution from power plants that could make it easier for the government to conclude regulations are too costly to justify their benefits.

Continue reading

Pit Production Must ‘Press Forward’ Despite Coronavirus Pandemic, NNSA Chief Says

Preparations and planning for plutonium pit production must continue amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a “difficult” and challenging time, National Nuclear Security Administration chief Lisa Gordon-Hagerty wrote in a recent letter.

“The plutonium pit production mission is one of our highest national security priorities and is being done in accordance with congressional direction,” Gordon-Hagerty wrote to U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat. “We must press forward with this project in order to meet Department of Defense deliverables.”

Udall and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, another New Mexico Democrat, in late April wrote to the National Nuclear Security Administration, asking the weapons-and-nonproliferation agency to extend a public comment period tied to plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory, near Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Gordon-Hagerty in her April 30 response said she appreciated the “interest in this matter” and that she takes the “concerns very seriously.”

Continue reading

Moving Forward With the W93 SLBM Warhead Strengthens U.S. and British Security

Bulging Deficits May Threaten Prized Pentagon Arms Projects

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: 2019 GLOBAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS SPENDING

The nuclear-armed states spent nearly three-quarters of one hundred billion dollars in 2019 on building and maintaining nuclear warheads and delivery systems. The incalculable human and environmental costs of nuclear weapons only add to this shocking figure. From 2018 to 2019, there was an estimated $7.1 billion increase in nuclear weapon spending, and these totals will only continue to rise in the next decade according to documented nuclear weapon programmes and budgets in several nuclear-armed countries.

FULL REPORT

COLLECTIVE COMMENTS: on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Draft Supplement Analysis of the 2008 Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for the Continued Operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for Plutonium Operations

These comments were signed onto by over 100 individuals and organizations.
THANK YOU to all those who participated!

New & Updated

More Information on Tritium’s Significant Hazards

Routine Radioactive Releases from U.S. Nuclear Power Plants.  An update to our comprehensive list and map of all operating U.S. reactors and where they release radioactivity into the air and water. Every nuclear power reactor dumps radioactive water, scatters radioactive particles, and disperses radioactive gases as part of its routine, everyday operation.  It doesn’t take an accident.  Federal regulations permit these radioactive releases.  Any exposure to radiation increases the risk of damage to tissues, cells, DNA, and other vital molecules, potentially causing genetic mutations, cancers, leukemias, birth defects, and reproductive, cardiovascular, endocribe, and immune system disorders.

The pamphlet lists all reactors operating at the October 2015 press time.  For an up to date track of reactors as they close, please visit our Reactors Are Closing page

[This pamphlet is broader than just tritium, but tritium plays a significant part. See especially the discussion of how hazardous even a couple of curies of hazardous radioactivity, badly handled, can be.]

March 2010
January 2009
I’ll include this report too, because most of the leaks described were tritium leaks (although, again, other radioactive substances are discussed too):

Reports

Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants

UPDATED!

Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants. May 2015. Newly revised and updated from the original, Leak First is a Beyond Nuclear report on the persistent and ongoing leaking of radioactive effluent into ground and surface water from uninspected and unmaintained buried piping under every nuclear power plant.

UPDATED!

Executive Summary. May 2015.

Note: New leaks occur often and at multiple nuclear reactor sites. Watch this page for updates on new leaks and spills.

LANL waste is unearthed at housing site

A utility crew found hazardous waste buried on land the U.S. Energy Department had transferred to Los Alamos County, stalling work on an affordable housing project.

ARTICLE BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

The discovery of low-level radioactive waste 7 to 12 feet in the ground off DP Road last month prompted the state Environment Department to write a letter that ordered the agency to supply more information about the waste, how it got there and how the agency planned to avoid future incidents.

The state agency is “extremely concerned” about the contamination unearthed on a former Los Alamos National Laboratory site and “the potential threat to human health and the environment,” wrote Kevin Pierard, the department’s Hazardous Waste Bureau chief, in a Feb. 28 letter.

Pierard demanded Energy Department and lab officials submit data on the site and the sources of contamination, as well as tests and investigations that were conducted.

“We are currently investigating and characterizing the waste located at the site to determine the extent of the contamination,” Energy Department managers wrote in response.

The waste was placed in three drums and moved to another site for further analysis, the Energy Department said. Crews have fenced off the construction site, covered it with tarp and posted signs to keep people out, the letter said.

Continue reading

What is real national security? Comprehensive public health or more nuclear weapons?

Public Health as a National Security Concern

“Different perspectives on what “security” means compete for attention, and the literature that brings public health and national security together forces those in public health to contemplate these different perspectives and how they relate to the public health mission of protecting population health.” — Fidler, David P., “Public Health and National Security in the Global Age: Infectious Diseases, Bioterrorism, and Realpolitik” 

9th Anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

Nine years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, causing the disastrous accident at the TEPCO Daiichi nuclear power plant. The impacts of this nuclear disaster continue to this day.

We join together with people around the world to stand with the victims and continue working towards a peaceful world without nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Continue reading

“Proud to be an American?” What an American admiral forgets about nuclear war

“Today, all these years later, the Trump administration is much more focused on acquiring new nuclear weapons systems than constraining or eliminating them. And the White House seems all too eager to walk away from the treaties and tools that were built to reduce these weapons’ greatest risks.”

MONICA MONTGOMERY | thebulletin.org

Hiroshima, ICAN, Nuclear Modernization, trump administration, W93, Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, speaking at the ICAN Paris Forum “How to ban bombs and influence people.” Photo credit: Orel Kichigai | ICAN
Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, speaking at the ICAN Paris Forum “How to ban bombs and influence people.” Photo credit: Orel Kichigai | ICAN

In late February, Adm. Charles Richard, head of US Strategic Command, told a House committee that the innovations going into a new nuclear warhead are what make him “proud to be an American.”

He was referring to the W93, a new nuclear warhead that will be used on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and that the Trump administration wants $53 million to start work on this year. While the design and timeline remain unclear, the administration forecasts that the price tag for developing and building this new weapon will reach over $1 billion per year in the next four years. The W93 would join or replace at least three other submarine-launched nuclear warheads that already exist and for which billions already have been and are still being spent to modernize.

Continue reading

Non-Proliferation Treaty turns 50 as US funds new nukes

“You can’t preach temperance from a bar stool, you can’t tell others not to have nuclear weapons when you’re busy ‘modernizing’ your own.”

ARTICLE BY: JAY COGHLAN / NUCLEAR WATCH NEW MEXICO | abqjournal.com

Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, whose central bargain was that non-nuclear weapons states forswore acquiring them in exchange for which nuclear weapons states promised to enter into serious negotiations leading to their elimination. Those negotiations have never happened.

The Trump Administration has marked the occasion by finally releasing the detailed fiscal year 2021 Congressional Budget Request for the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous nuclear weapons agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration. The NNSA’s program for new and upgraded nuclear weapons gets a $3 billion-plus mark-up to $15.6 billion, slated to jump to $17 billion annually by 2025.

Continue reading

Sandia Labs may get $300 million budget increase

Meanwhile, “[Los Alamos] laboratory’s funding for the cleanup of radioactive waste it produced during the Manhattan Project and Cold War would decrease by $100 million.”

SCOTT TURNER | abqjournal.com Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Sandia National Laboratories would receive a $300 million increase in federal funding under President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget.

Most of the increase involves the labs’ nuclear weapons program, Sandia officials told the Journal.

Continue reading

Progressive lawmakers waging new NDAA fight

“This administration has no regard for Congress, and unless we put in very strict parameters around our funding support and our authorization, they’re just going to continue to roll all over us.” – Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

CONNOR O’BRIEN | politico.com

Progressive House Democrats are eyeing a new push to roll their top agenda items into the National Defense Authorization Act this spring, Connor O’Brien reports, as they seek to seize on support for their legislation but also anxiety over Trump’s expansive war powers and his diversion of military funding for the border wall.

The left wing of the Democratic caucus is still smarting after feeling they got rolled on attempts to block a military confrontation with Iran, head off a shift in Pentagon funds toward the border wall, limit nuclear weapons spending, reverse restrictions on transgender troops and withdraw U.S. military support in Yemen’s civil war.

“They note that not long after last year’s bill failed to require Congress to sign off on war with Iran, repeal the 2002 Iraq war authorization and limit Trump’s ability to move money, Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian commander and moved to sap billions more from the Pentagon’s coffers for the wall,” O’Brien reports.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

The White House gave this nuclear agency a giant funding increase. Can it spend it all?

“The proposed $3.1 billion increase for weapons is simply sprinting toward failure, and Congress should right-size NNSA’s workload to match what the complex can realistically do,” – Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio

ARTICLE BY: AARON MEHTA | defensenews.com

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress used a hearing Tuesday to question whether the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous arm of the Department of Energy that handles development of nuclear warheads, can spend an almost 20 percent funding increase requested by the Trump administration.

Heinrich grills energy secretary on proposed $100M budget cut for LANL cleanup

“I can’t understand why this administration does not value cleanup and would risk breaking the legal commitments [the Department of Energy] has made to the state of New Mexico with budget numbers like that,” Heinrich said. “Why is the cleanup number so abysmal in this budget?”

ARTICLE BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

Sen. Martin Heinrich speaks to a group gathered at the Celebrating Culture: Workshops Supporting New Mexico Arts and Culture at the Santa Fe Convention Center on Monday afternoon. Gabriela Campos/ The New Mexican

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich fired tough questions and caustic comments at Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette on Tuesday over the proposed $100 million cut in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s cleanup program for radioactive waste it produced during the Manhattan Project and Cold War.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Nuclear Tests Marked Life on Earth With a Radioactive Spike

Even as it disappears, the “bomb spike” is revealing the ways humans have reshaped the planet.

STORY BY: CARL ZIMMER | theatlantic.com

On the morning of March 1, 1954, a hydrogen bomb went off in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. John Clark was only 20 miles away when he issued the order, huddled with his crew inside a windowless concrete blockhouse on Bikini Atoll. But seconds went by, and all was silent. He wondered if the bomb had failed. Eventually, he radioed a Navy ship monitoring the test explosion.

“It’s a good one,” they told him.

Then the blockhouse began to lurch. At least one crew member got seasick—“landsick” might be the better descriptor. A minute later, when the bomb blast reached them, the walls creaked and water shot out of the bathroom pipes. And then, once more, nothing. Clark waited for another impact—perhaps a tidal wave—but after 15 minutes he decided it was safe for the crew to venture outside.

The mushroom cloud towered into the sky. The explosion, dubbed “Castle Bravo,” was the largest nuclear-weapons test up to that point. It was intended to try out the first hydrogen bomb ready to be dropped from a plane.

Continue reading

Critical Events

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

Nuclear Media

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

Nuclear News

LANL’s New Director Discusses Changing Culture

BY REBECCA MOSS | santafenewmexican.com 

Three months into his tenure as the 12th director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Thomas Mason acknowledged that fixing the lab’s problems is going to take time, and setbacks could prevent Los Alamos from meeting key nuclear production goals.

But Mason said transforming the lab’s culture to one in which success is replicated — department to department, day after day — is the key to long-term success.

“The most important thing is to become more of a learning organization — where we can take practices [that work] and move them from one part of the organization to the next, and we can respond to stuff that happens … in a way that gets better over time,” Mason said in a recent interview.

“It is tricky,” he added. “There are 12,000 people who work at the lab every day.”

Continue reading

The U.S. And Russia Are Stocking Up On Missiles And Nukes For A Different Kind Of War

Russian Troops Load a Missile

NPR, February 1, 2019, 6:07 AM ET By GEOFF BRUMFIEL

The true battle over these new weapons may end up in Congress. While Republicans seem ready to back the Trump administration’s request for more battlefield nukes, the newly elected Democratic majority in the House of Representatives seems intent on blocking them.

“We do not view nuclear weapons as a tool in warfare,” Adam Smith, now the Democratic chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a speech in November. “It makes no sense for us to build low-yield nuclear weapons.”

Continue reading

Trump is Fixating on Another ‘Wall’ That Will Almost Certainly Fail to Live Up to his Promises

BY THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD | latimes.com

President Trump participates in a Missile Defense Review announcement at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. on Jan. 17. (Sipa USA / TNS)

In 1983, in what came to be known as his “Star Wars” speech, President Ronald Reagan unveiled an ambitious vision for a missile defense system that would render the need for traditional nuclear deterrence unnecessary. Reagan asked: “What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?”

The “Star Wars” label proved prophetic, because Reagan’s vision of an impermeable shield that would deflect incoming nuclear missiles proved to be the stuff of science fiction. Missile defense has achieved modest successes, but it also has been marked by embarrassing failures.

Continue reading

Comment by the Information and Press Department on Space-based Elements Outlined in the US Missile Defence Review

mid.ru | We have taken note that in the US Missile Defence Review (MDR) published on January 17, a serious emphasis is placed on the formation of a space-based missile defence group, including missile interceptors. Deployment of such systems in space is ostensibly designed to make it easier to destroy different types of missiles in the boost phase over enemy territory. To achieve this, the US Defence Department has been instructed to study the most advanced technology, as well as draw up a time schedule, costs and personnel requirements.

We consider this to be further evidence (on a par with the decision to create space-based armed forces and the allocation of funds for the development of space-based missile defence) of Washington’s real intention to use outer space for combat operations and ensuring US domination in space in the near future. We are deeply disappointed that instead of developing constructive dialogue on the issues of strategic stability and preventing an arms race in space the US preferred to return to the implementation of yet another version of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars programme.

Continue reading

‘Trump Could Hardly Have Chosen a Worse Moment’

In a DER SPIEGEL interview, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas laments America’s rejection of multilateralism and says that Donald Trump does not view the U.S. as the leading power among liberal democracies. He’s hoping to save the INF.

Interview by CHRISTIANE HOFFMAN and CHRISTOPH SCHULT | spiegel.de

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas – January 7, 2019 in Berlin.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Minister, United States President Donald Trump has turned against a global order based on international rules and agreements. In response, you called for the creation of an “Alliance of Multilateralists” last summer. How is that alliance coming along?

Maas: It’s growing. Many countries are seriously concerned that the principle of might makes right is once again being applied internationally.

Continue reading

US to Begin INF Treaty Pullout Next Month After Russia Missile Talks Fail

Officials reject Russian offer to inspect new missile; US says it will suspend observance of treaty on 2 February.

By JULIAN BORGER in Washington theguardian.com | Wed 16 Jan 2019 18.29 EST

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, accused the US of intransigence.
Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP

The US has rejected Moscow’s offer to inspect a new Russian missile suspected of violating a key cold-war era treaty, and warned that it would suspend observance of the treaty on 2 February, giving six-month notice of a complete withdrawal.

The under-secretary of state for arms control and international security, Andrea Thompson, confirmed the US intention to withdraw from the treaty after a meeting with a Russian delegation in Geneva, which both sides described as a failure.

Continue reading

INF, AFP, nuclear arms

Nuclear arms treaty faces collapse after failed US-Russia talks

By BEN SIMON/ AP channelnewsasia.com
Geneva (AFP) – The survival of a key nuclear arms control treaty was cast further in doubt Tuesday after the US and Russia blamed each other for pushing the agreement to the brink of collapse.

Senior diplomats from both countries met in Geneva amid widespread concern over the fate of the bilateral Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which successfully put an end to a mini-arms race after it was signed in 1987.

US President Donald Trump said in October that his country would pull out of the deal unless Russia stops violating it. Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to develop nuclear missiles banned under the treaty if it is scrapped.

Continue reading

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.

Action Alerts

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

New & Updated

More Information on Tritium’s Significant Hazards

Routine Radioactive Releases from U.S. Nuclear Power Plants.  An update to our comprehensive list and map of all operating U.S. reactors and where they release radioactivity into the air and water. Every nuclear power reactor dumps radioactive water, scatters radioactive particles, and disperses radioactive gases as part of its routine, everyday operation.  It doesn’t take an accident.  Federal regulations permit these radioactive releases.  Any exposure to radiation increases the risk of damage to tissues, cells, DNA, and other vital molecules, potentially causing genetic mutations, cancers, leukemias, birth defects, and reproductive, cardiovascular, endocribe, and immune system disorders.

The pamphlet lists all reactors operating at the October 2015 press time.  For an up to date track of reactors as they close, please visit our Reactors Are Closing page

[This pamphlet is broader than just tritium, but tritium plays a significant part. See especially the discussion of how hazardous even a couple of curies of hazardous radioactivity, badly handled, can be.]

March 2010
January 2009
I’ll include this report too, because most of the leaks described were tritium leaks (although, again, other radioactive substances are discussed too):

Reports

Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants

UPDATED!

Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants. May 2015. Newly revised and updated from the original, Leak First is a Beyond Nuclear report on the persistent and ongoing leaking of radioactive effluent into ground and surface water from uninspected and unmaintained buried piping under every nuclear power plant.

UPDATED!

Executive Summary. May 2015.

Note: New leaks occur often and at multiple nuclear reactor sites. Watch this page for updates on new leaks and spills.

LANL waste is unearthed at housing site

A utility crew found hazardous waste buried on land the U.S. Energy Department had transferred to Los Alamos County, stalling work on an affordable housing project.

ARTICLE BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

The discovery of low-level radioactive waste 7 to 12 feet in the ground off DP Road last month prompted the state Environment Department to write a letter that ordered the agency to supply more information about the waste, how it got there and how the agency planned to avoid future incidents.

The state agency is “extremely concerned” about the contamination unearthed on a former Los Alamos National Laboratory site and “the potential threat to human health and the environment,” wrote Kevin Pierard, the department’s Hazardous Waste Bureau chief, in a Feb. 28 letter.

Pierard demanded Energy Department and lab officials submit data on the site and the sources of contamination, as well as tests and investigations that were conducted.

“We are currently investigating and characterizing the waste located at the site to determine the extent of the contamination,” Energy Department managers wrote in response.

The waste was placed in three drums and moved to another site for further analysis, the Energy Department said. Crews have fenced off the construction site, covered it with tarp and posted signs to keep people out, the letter said.

Continue reading

What is real national security? Comprehensive public health or more nuclear weapons?

Public Health as a National Security Concern

“Different perspectives on what “security” means compete for attention, and the literature that brings public health and national security together forces those in public health to contemplate these different perspectives and how they relate to the public health mission of protecting population health.” — Fidler, David P., “Public Health and National Security in the Global Age: Infectious Diseases, Bioterrorism, and Realpolitik” 

9th Anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

Nine years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, causing the disastrous accident at the TEPCO Daiichi nuclear power plant. The impacts of this nuclear disaster continue to this day.

We join together with people around the world to stand with the victims and continue working towards a peaceful world without nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Continue reading

“Proud to be an American?” What an American admiral forgets about nuclear war

“Today, all these years later, the Trump administration is much more focused on acquiring new nuclear weapons systems than constraining or eliminating them. And the White House seems all too eager to walk away from the treaties and tools that were built to reduce these weapons’ greatest risks.”

MONICA MONTGOMERY | thebulletin.org

Hiroshima, ICAN, Nuclear Modernization, trump administration, W93, Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, speaking at the ICAN Paris Forum “How to ban bombs and influence people.” Photo credit: Orel Kichigai | ICAN
Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, speaking at the ICAN Paris Forum “How to ban bombs and influence people.” Photo credit: Orel Kichigai | ICAN

In late February, Adm. Charles Richard, head of US Strategic Command, told a House committee that the innovations going into a new nuclear warhead are what make him “proud to be an American.”

He was referring to the W93, a new nuclear warhead that will be used on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and that the Trump administration wants $53 million to start work on this year. While the design and timeline remain unclear, the administration forecasts that the price tag for developing and building this new weapon will reach over $1 billion per year in the next four years. The W93 would join or replace at least three other submarine-launched nuclear warheads that already exist and for which billions already have been and are still being spent to modernize.

Continue reading

Non-Proliferation Treaty turns 50 as US funds new nukes

“You can’t preach temperance from a bar stool, you can’t tell others not to have nuclear weapons when you’re busy ‘modernizing’ your own.”

ARTICLE BY: JAY COGHLAN / NUCLEAR WATCH NEW MEXICO | abqjournal.com

Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, whose central bargain was that non-nuclear weapons states forswore acquiring them in exchange for which nuclear weapons states promised to enter into serious negotiations leading to their elimination. Those negotiations have never happened.

The Trump Administration has marked the occasion by finally releasing the detailed fiscal year 2021 Congressional Budget Request for the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous nuclear weapons agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration. The NNSA’s program for new and upgraded nuclear weapons gets a $3 billion-plus mark-up to $15.6 billion, slated to jump to $17 billion annually by 2025.

Continue reading

Sandia Labs may get $300 million budget increase

Meanwhile, “[Los Alamos] laboratory’s funding for the cleanup of radioactive waste it produced during the Manhattan Project and Cold War would decrease by $100 million.”

SCOTT TURNER | abqjournal.com Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Sandia National Laboratories would receive a $300 million increase in federal funding under President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget.

Most of the increase involves the labs’ nuclear weapons program, Sandia officials told the Journal.

Continue reading

Progressive lawmakers waging new NDAA fight

“This administration has no regard for Congress, and unless we put in very strict parameters around our funding support and our authorization, they’re just going to continue to roll all over us.” – Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

CONNOR O’BRIEN | politico.com

Progressive House Democrats are eyeing a new push to roll their top agenda items into the National Defense Authorization Act this spring, Connor O’Brien reports, as they seek to seize on support for their legislation but also anxiety over Trump’s expansive war powers and his diversion of military funding for the border wall.

The left wing of the Democratic caucus is still smarting after feeling they got rolled on attempts to block a military confrontation with Iran, head off a shift in Pentagon funds toward the border wall, limit nuclear weapons spending, reverse restrictions on transgender troops and withdraw U.S. military support in Yemen’s civil war.

“They note that not long after last year’s bill failed to require Congress to sign off on war with Iran, repeal the 2002 Iraq war authorization and limit Trump’s ability to move money, Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian commander and moved to sap billions more from the Pentagon’s coffers for the wall,” O’Brien reports.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

The White House gave this nuclear agency a giant funding increase. Can it spend it all?

“The proposed $3.1 billion increase for weapons is simply sprinting toward failure, and Congress should right-size NNSA’s workload to match what the complex can realistically do,” – Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio

ARTICLE BY: AARON MEHTA | defensenews.com

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress used a hearing Tuesday to question whether the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous arm of the Department of Energy that handles development of nuclear warheads, can spend an almost 20 percent funding increase requested by the Trump administration.

Heinrich grills energy secretary on proposed $100M budget cut for LANL cleanup

“I can’t understand why this administration does not value cleanup and would risk breaking the legal commitments [the Department of Energy] has made to the state of New Mexico with budget numbers like that,” Heinrich said. “Why is the cleanup number so abysmal in this budget?”

ARTICLE BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

Sen. Martin Heinrich speaks to a group gathered at the Celebrating Culture: Workshops Supporting New Mexico Arts and Culture at the Santa Fe Convention Center on Monday afternoon. Gabriela Campos/ The New Mexican

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich fired tough questions and caustic comments at Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette on Tuesday over the proposed $100 million cut in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s cleanup program for radioactive waste it produced during the Manhattan Project and Cold War.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Nuclear Tests Marked Life on Earth With a Radioactive Spike

Even as it disappears, the “bomb spike” is revealing the ways humans have reshaped the planet.

STORY BY: CARL ZIMMER | theatlantic.com

On the morning of March 1, 1954, a hydrogen bomb went off in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. John Clark was only 20 miles away when he issued the order, huddled with his crew inside a windowless concrete blockhouse on Bikini Atoll. But seconds went by, and all was silent. He wondered if the bomb had failed. Eventually, he radioed a Navy ship monitoring the test explosion.

“It’s a good one,” they told him.

Then the blockhouse began to lurch. At least one crew member got seasick—“landsick” might be the better descriptor. A minute later, when the bomb blast reached them, the walls creaked and water shot out of the bathroom pipes. And then, once more, nothing. Clark waited for another impact—perhaps a tidal wave—but after 15 minutes he decided it was safe for the crew to venture outside.

The mushroom cloud towered into the sky. The explosion, dubbed “Castle Bravo,” was the largest nuclear-weapons test up to that point. It was intended to try out the first hydrogen bomb ready to be dropped from a plane.

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What If We Have A Nuclear War?

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Quotes

Dr. Bruce Blair

April 4, 2018:
“Europe has become a nuclear flashpoint where tensions could easily escalate to the level of a nuclear confrontation… Both NATO and Russia are engaging in ‘terrifying nuclear brinkmanship’… that increases the risk of the actual use of nuclear weapons – by design or by accident.”

Dr. Bruce Blair, Princeton, Global Zero