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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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

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

Smith, Cooper Statement on Trump Administration’s Withdrawal From the Open Skies Treaty

May 21, 2020 | PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Jim Cooper (D-TN), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, today issued the following statement in response to reports that the Trump Administration plans to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty:

“The Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty is a slap in the face to our allies in Europe, leaves our deployed forces in the region at risk, and is in blatant violation of the law. This decision weakens our national security interests, isolates the United States since the Treaty will continue without us, and abandons a useful tool to hold Russia accountable.

“What’s more, this decision has been made without any consultation with Congress. Not only does the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act require a minimum 120-days’ notification of the withdrawal notice, but also multiple communications from the House Armed Services Committee and other congressional chairmen have gone unanswered.

“The Trump Administration continues to give Russia the upper hand with regards to arms control, which leaves our allies and deployed forces less protected in Europe. Despite the Department of Defense’s rhetoric about the dire need to prepare for ‘great power competition,’ this decision will undoubtedly do the exact opposite, and further fracture our relationships with allies needed to push back against Russian aggression in the region.”

Citing financial cost of pandemic, House liberals demand cut in military spending

Twenty-nine of the House’s most liberal Democratic members called Tuesday for a cut in military spending in the yearly national defense authorization bill — a declaration, they said, that is meant to focus federal resources on the coronavirus pandemic.

MIKE DEBONIS | washingtonpost.com

The demand, however, stands to greatly complicate the Democratic-controlled House’s ability to advance the National Defense Authorization Act, one of the most consequential must-pass measures that Congress assembles each year. It is likely to generate objections from Republicans and more moderate Democrats alike — and create headaches for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leadership team.

The signers are almost all members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including lead sponsors Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Mark Pocan (Wis.), who have long called for lower levels of Pentagon spending to free more resources for domestic spending. But the pandemic, they argue, presents a new imperative for defense cuts.

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Scuttlebiz: Will ‘pit production’ save SRS?

“Don’t be lulled into a false sense of urgency by the federal law “requiring” pit production begin by 2030. That law carries as much weight as the 1982 federal act requiring the nation to have a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain 12 years ago. Still waiting…”

DAMON CLINE | augustachronicle.com

It’s a choice that – from a local economic development perspective – isn’t much of a choice.

Here it is: 1) Convert the Savannah River Site’s unfinished Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility into a nuclear weapons plant; or 2) Let the MOX plant keep rotting while New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory continues producing the nation’s stockpile of “plutonium pits.”

Considering that about $9 billion is at stake, and that SRS needs a new “mission,” I believe it’s safe to assume local leaders want what’s behind Door No. 1.

The National Nuclear Security Administration laid out the two alternatives last month in a draft environmental impact study addressing the nation’s need to manufacture 80 new nuclear weapon cores a year by 2030.

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Huge Deficit = Defense Budget Cuts? Maybe Not

The congressional calendar and strategic inertia may come together to keep the defense budget relatively high. The calendar helps because the fiscal 2021 defense budget will likely be passed while Congress is in a free-spending mood.

| breakingdefense.com

The current Washington consensus sees deep defense budget cuts in the face of soaring deficits driven by the emergency legislation to stabilize the American economy as it reels from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It may be wrong. The congressional calendar and strategic inertia may come together to keep the defense budget relatively high. The calendar helps because the fiscal 2021 defense budget will likely be passed while Congress is in a free-spending mood. The next administration — Republican or Democratic — will develop budgets beyond that, but the constraints of long-standing strategy will prevent major changes to force structure and acquisition that would drive deep budget cuts.   

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Will the Trump administration’s accusations doom the nuclear test ban treaty?

“Although US accusations are unlikely to be true, they could give a convenient pretext to officials who want to withdraw the US signature from the treaty, allowing the United States to resume its own nuclear testing. In fact, that may be the entire point.”

ANDREAS PERSBO | thebulletin.org

In April, while most of the world was focused on defeating a devastating viral pandemic, the US State Department quietly released its annual compliance report, describing whether and how the United States and other countries have been abiding by various arms control agreements. The report is sober reading for those hoping that the coronavirus would usher in a new era of international collaboration.

The report made waves for raising “concerns” about China’s adherence to a “zero-yield” nuclear testing standard, as called for by the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Although neither the United States or China has ratified the treaty, both have signed it, and both claim to abide by a nuclear testing moratorium.

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Released From Silence

One year anniversary of the release of the documentary short film “The Atomic Soldiers”

“The Atomic Soldiers” lets the veterans who witnessed the Hood test in Nevada tell their own stories. But the painful memories sometimes choke their recollections, leaving long and moving silences in place of words. “You don’t send 14,000 troops through ground zero and not call it anything but genocide,” says one.

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Remembering Dave Freeman – green cowboy, pioneer of U.S. energy policy

Arjun Makhijani | ieer.org

It was 1970. Dave Freeman had transitioned from being an energy advisor in Johnson’s White House to Nixon’s. At one of our lunches since he had moved to Washington, D.C. after retiring as the Chairman of the Port of Los Angeles, he recounted a conversation with John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s assistant for domestic policy:

“Ehrlichman told me ‘Dave, you had better get out of here. Things are going to get very hot and nasty in the coming campaign [to re-elect Nixon]. This is no place for a Democrat like you.’”

Dave found a most interesting and, as it turned out, historic exit. He convinced the Ford Foundation to give him four million dollars (about twenty five million in today’s money) to establish the Energy Policy Project within the Foundation. It would approach energy policy comprehensively; among other things it would explore how much of energy supply could be replaced by energy efficiency.

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NMED Tells DOE Widespread Waste at DP Road Represents Substantial Risk To Human Health, Environment

NM Environment Department Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief Kevin Pierard said the widespread waste at the site represents “a substantial risk to human health and the environment”.

BY: MAIRE O’NEILL | losalamosreporter.com

Workers in February at the DP Road site where contaminated waste was found on property turned over to Los Alamos County. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

New Mexico Environment Department officials are unhappy with the Department of Energy’s response to the discovery in February of contamination at the Middle DP Road Site in Los Alamos. NMED has given DOE 30 days to provide a schedule of preliminary screening plan (PSP) activities that “indicates that DOE understands the seriousness of this matter” including a timeframe for implementation for its implementation.

In a letter signed by NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief Kevin Pierard and sent to DOE Los Alamos NNSA and Environmental Management Field Office managers, DOE has been asked to include the basis for the current delay and limitations in implementation of the PSP “to ensure full transparency and understanding of why this important risk to public health is not being addressed in a more timely manner”.

In April 7, 2020, NMED directed DOE to develop and implement a PSP that would include sampling and investigation activities and a schedule for implementing those activities.

“Although DOE agreed to develop a PSP, it did not provide a schedule for development and implementation of a PSP. DOE stated that it intends to complete tasks associated with Section X of the Consent Order ‘as soon as practicable’,” the letter states.

Pierard notes that based on information provided to NMED since the discovery of the Middle DP Road Site on February 14, “contamination appears to be widespread”.

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Secretive Sale of Surplus MOX Equipment by NNSA Perpetuates Cover-Up of Bungled MOX Project, Exposes Lack of Accountability to Taxpayers for Money Wasted on Construction and Equipment

MOX Project Wasted Vast Sums of Money on Stockpiling Huge Amounts of Equipment that Project Managers Knew would be Obsolete when the Project Began Operation – Investigations Needed

Savannah River Site Watch For Immediate Release June 16, 2020 https://srswatch.org/ Contact: Tom Clements, Director, SRS Watch

Columbia, SC – The announced sale of surplus equipment from the failed plutonium fuel (MOX) project at the Savannah River Site exposes the lack of financial and managerial accountability with the project, according to the non-profit public-interest group conducting public interest oversight of the site.

With no accounting to the public about details of the sale of equipment they own, DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration has hired two sales firms to sell the equipment stored in an off-site warehouse in Barnwell, South Carolina. (See sales company news releases in “notes” below. See photos of the facility on the SRS Watch website, ©SRS Watch: https://srswatch.org/savannah-river-site-watchphotos/) It is unknown where proceeds from the sale will go.

A review of the surplus property posted on the website of one of the sales companies reveals a host of things are being offered at rock-bottom, give-away prices: transformers, switchboards, control panels, electrical supplies, HVAC equipment, valves and an assortment of other materials. But no plutonium gloveboxes, furnaces to produce plutonium oxide or plutonium pellet presses seem to be offered for sale.

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Absolutely Unacceptable: Resumed US Nuclear Explosive Testing

A May 22 Washington Post story reported that in mid-May top national security officials discussed resumption of full-scale US nuclear explosive testing. The next day, the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons was holding, virtually, its annual meeting.

The meeting released a statement, co-authored by Burroughs (see previously circulated press release). It begins:
“Resumption of nuclear explosive testing is absolutely unacceptable. Even discussing nuclear testing again is dangerously destabilizing.” The statement also observes: “This episode comes in the context of ongoing upgrading of nuclear forces by the world’s nuclear-armed states. It is supported by extensive laboratory research and experimentation which in part serves as a substitute for functions once served by nuclear explosive testing.”
Since the Washington Post story, there have been no further signals of returning to full-scale nuclear explosive testing. But at a minimum the White House discussion demonstrates that the option remains alive. Senator Ed Markey and numerous co-sponsors including Senator Chuck Schumer have introduced legislation that would prohibit the expenditure of funds on conducting nuclear test explosions with any yield. A parallel bill (H.R.7140) has been introduced in the House.

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Los Alamos County Seeks over 3,000 acres from Energy Department

A regional watchdog group said the development plans raise some questions.

Technical Area 36, where commercial, industrial and mixed-use complexes would be built, was formerly a firing site where uranium and beryllium were detonated in the open air, so some toxic residue probably lingers there, said Scott Kovac, research and operations director for Nuclear Watch New Mexico.

The site is also across the road from Area G, where massive legacy waste produced during the Cold War is buried, Kovac said. Contaminants might be released into the air if that old disposal area is excavated, he said.

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

Los Alamos County has requested 3,074 acres in White Rock from the U.S. Energy Department to use for building housing, stores, offices, light industry and schools.
Santa Fe New Mexican Courtesy photo

Within this clifftop community once shrouded from public view, it’s no secret the Los Alamos area needs more housing for future growth.

Los Alamos County wants the U.S. Energy Department to turn over 3,074 acres in White Rock at no cost so the land can be used for housing, stores, offices, light industry and schools.

To sweeten the deal, Los Alamos National Laboratory would be able to use part of the land to build support facilities and enhance its operations.

Less than 10 percent of the land would be developed — 275 acres — and most of that would be for housing, which county officials say is needed for the lab’s growing workforce and to create a larger pool of workers living in town to help attract other businesses.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

More Radioactive Waste Discovered on DP Road

BY: TRIS DEROMA | lamonitor.com

Department of Energy officials recently notified the New Mexico Environment Department that more radioactive waste was found on DP Road on May 18, in addition to radioactive waste that was discovered in February in the same general area.

The new waste was discovered 80 feet south of a parcel of land located approximately halfway down DP Road on the right side, heading eastbound. The land the new waste was discovered on was transferred from the Department of Energy to Los Alamos County in 2018.

Samples collected by Triad National Security identified the waste as containing Uranium 234 and Uranium 238. Officials aren’t sure of the level of radioactivity as the material is still being tested by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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Why a decision on a second US plutonium-pit-production factory should be delayed

Highlights:
The decision on the second pit production facility can wait. NNSA could announce its decision to move forward on building a pit-production facility in South Carolina as early as September. Based on the above context, this decision should be delayed for a number of reasons:

1. Since the Savannah River Site staff has no experience with pit production, the facility would have to be designed and the staff trained by the Los Alamos group. But the Los Alamos group has not yet demonstrated that that it can design and staff its own pit production facility.

2. Within a decade, we should have a new lower limit on the functional lives of the legacy pits. If they will indeed last for at least 150 years, as the Livermore experts concluded, then there will be no need for a large production facility to replace them anytime soon. The Los Alamos facility, if it can be made operational, should be sufficient for some decades.

3. The argument for producing additional warheads with insensitive high explosive for the Minuteman III replacement is very weak, and the debate over the need to produce new pits for a warhead to replace the W-76, the most numerous warhead in the US operational stock (about 1,500) cannot be made until NNSA and Defense Department are ready to discuss what pit they would use in the W93.


BY: FRANK VON HIPPEL | thebulletin.org

The troubled Mixed-oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility project at the Savannah River Site is proposed to be transformed into a plutonium pit production facility. Photo (c) Timothy Mousseau, 2019.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the organization within the Energy Department that is responsible for producing and maintaining US nuclear warheads, is moving forward with a plan to build a plutonium-pit-production factory at DOE’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. “Pits” are the form of the plutonium in the fission trigger “primaries” of US two-stage nuclear warheads.

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Senate panel approves $10M to prepare for nuclear test ‘if necessary’

““A U.S. nuclear test blast would certainly not advance efforts to rein in Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals or create a better environment for negotiations. Instead, it would break the de facto global nuclear test moratorium, likely trigger nuclear testing by other states, and set off a new nuclear arms race in which everyone would come out a loser.” — Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association

BY: REBECCA KHEEL | thehill.com

The Senate Armed Services Committee has advanced an amendment aimed at reducing the amount of time it would take to carry out a nuclear test.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), would make at least $10 million available to “carry out projects related to reducing the time required to execute a nuclear test if necessary,” according to a copy of the measure obtained by The Hill on Monday.

The amendment was approved in a party-line, 14-13 vote during the committee’s closed-door markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week, a congressional aide said.

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More Safety Problems at Y-12 Bomb Complex

TENNESSEE NUCLEAR WEAPONS FACILITY CONTINUES TO BE PLAGUED BY SAFETY PROBLEMS
SAFETY BOARD: OAK RIDGE NUCLEAR STORAGE FACILITY UNSAFE
NNSA AND CONTRACTOR CONSPIRE TO DOCTOR SAFETY RECORDS

BY: OAK RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL PEACE ALLIANCE | orepa.org

The safest building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is not safe enough. That is the conclusion of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board in an April 21, 2020, Staff Report on the storage of reactive materials at the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF). The Staff Report was released on June 1, 2020, accompanied by a letter from Safety Board Chair Bruce Hamilton to Dan Brouillette, Secretary of Energy.

Faced with three separate discoveries of highly enriched uranium that posed an undetermined safety risk because it was pyrophoric, the contractor at Y-12, Consolidated Nuclear Services, without characterizing the materials, decided to re-categorize all the materials as not pyrophoric. NNSA agreed and took the additional step of ordering the contractor to revise the Documented Safety Analysis for the HEUMF to incorporate the material types into the facility safety basis. Neither action was justified, according to the Safety Board, and neither was sufficient to assure worker safety.

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Remember the Original Tree Huggers

“The original tree huggers, a group of women of color, inspired generations of would-be tree huggers through their sacrifice, and their story illustrates what it means for an influential history to get erased from a movement; for leadership and contributions to get largely ignored. Though parts of this history might still be known to some, it is valuable for these histories to be taught, celebrated and acknowledged continuously—so we’re all aware that people of color have been leading environmental efforts throughout history, and still do.”

BY: MICHAEL A. ESTRADA | patagonia.com

Photo: Michael A. Estrada

When you hear the term “tree hugger,” what—or who—do you see? What image, or images, pop into your head?

It likely starts with the vague idea of folks who are often—and perhaps overly—passionate about protecting nature.

But then, if you expand it, what do they look like? Is it a man or a woman? Are they white? Do they look like, say, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo if they were out living the #vanlife together? As touching as that movie might be, it presents an all-too-familiar picture for what we might all imagine when we think of tree huggers.

It also misses a lot.

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As Work Resumes, Energy Dept. Weighs COVID-19 Impact on Cleanup Milestones

The 27-page document, signed June 4 by DOE Senior Adviser for Environmental Management William (Ike) White, directs managers at the agency’s 16 nuclear cleanup sites to make a list of missed contract milestones and a “path forward” for finishing the work on an adjusted schedule. The documents should lay out the impact of delays on contractor fees. No date for submission or approval of such plans is listed.

BY: WAYNE BARBER | exchangemonitor.com

The Energy Department’s Office of Environmental Management will cut contractors some slack when it comes to work deadlines missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a policy that became official last week.

The nuclear cleanup office “will continue to evaluate COVID-19 impacts on the ability of contractors to perform required work,” according to the formal “COVID-19 Remobilization Framework and Site-Specific Template.”

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“In Our Hands” – The academy award nominated film documenting the largest protest in US history, calling on the government to end the nuclear arms race.

Robert Richter’s IN OUR HANDS is about a magical day, June 12, 1982, when one million people took to the streets of New York to peacefully protest for an end to the nuclear arms race. It remains the largest single peace demonstration in US history. Interweaving performers, individual marchers and down-to-earth scenes of the massive gathering when one million people with one voice called for an end to the nuclear arms race.

Richter’s beautiful film has been described as “An outright joy to behold…encompasses the excitement of the event, its intense sense of human fellowship…the passions and humor of the anonymous as well as the celebrated…ebullient…entertaining, poignant and joyfully provocative.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

Nearly 40 years later, under the Trump Administration, nuclear weapons are being modernized and funded by the public purse during a global pandemic and a national reckoning on racism and police brutality across America. IN OUR HANDS reminds us of how people responded then, and can offer an example for those of us today who take a stand and work for peace and social justice.

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Legal Battle Continues Against Proposed Nuclear Waste Site Near Carlsbad

“It understood that spent fuel remains hazardous for millions of years, and that the only safe long-term strategy for safeguarding irradiated reactor fuel is to place it in a permanent repository for deep geologic isolation from the living environment,” Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, is worried that Holtec could become permanent.

BY: ADRIAN HEDDEN | currentargus.com

The meeting was designed to allow public comment on a proposed Consolidated Interim Storage Facility by Holtec International.

planned nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad was challenged in federal court, as opponents sought to appeal a decision by the federal government to reject contentions to the project that would see spent nuclear fuel rods stored temporarily at a location near the Eddy-Lea county line.

Beyond Nuclear filed its appeal on June 4 in the U.S. Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia, questioning the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s April 23 decision to reject challenges to Holtec International’s application for a license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) that would hold nuclear waste at the surface until a permanent, deep geological repository was available to hold the waste permanently.

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Activists say Holtec filing violates nuclear waste law

A watchdog group has filed a federal lawsuit that contends Holtec International’s application to create an underground storage site for commercial nuclear waste could leave taxpayers holding the bag.

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

The group Beyond Nuclear argues Holtec International has an illegal provision in its license application that would allow the federal government to take ownership of spent fuel from nuclear reactors before the proposed $3 billion storage facility is built in Southern New Mexico.

That violates a federal law aimed at preventing public agencies from being stuck with massive waste if a company like Holtec decides not to follow through with construction, said Diane Curran, an attorney representing Beyond Nuclear, based in Washington, D.C.

“It’s an end run around the federal statute,” Curran said.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission twice rejected the group’s efforts to challenge Holtec’s application. Holtec plans to lease 1,000 acres from the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance — a consortium of local governments — to construct an underground site that could hold as much as 173,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste.

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CHAIN REACTION 2020: SECURING OUR FUTURE

Watch the full video of Chain Reaction: Securing Our Future, live-streamed June 8, 2020

Chain Reaction is Ploughshares Fund’s annual gala, gathering leaders in our field, devoted partners, and new advocates to generate a nexus of ideas, opportunities, and strategies to advance nuclear policy and promote the elimination of nuclear weapons. Enjoy the full video of Chain Reaction: Securing Our Future, live-streamed via Zoom on June 8, 2020.

Our speakers were right. The threats to our security—whether from nuclear weapons, from COVID-19, from police brutality, from systematic racism, from climate change—are real, and the consequences are dire.

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Action Alerts

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Critical Events

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Summary of Recent NEPA Comments

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the opportunity for public comment on major federal proposals.

  1. Most recently, on June 2nd, Nuclear Watch New Mexico submitted formal 48-page comments on NNSA's draft environmental impact statement on plutonium pit production at the Savannah River Site SRS available here
    1. Also recommended: comments by Tri-Valley CAREs and SRS Watch.
  2. On May 26 NukeWatch submitted formal comments on a draft "Supplement Analysis" dealing with seismic issues at the Y-12 Plant near Oak Ridge, TN, available here
    1. NNSA was compelled to prepare that Supplement Analysis due to ongoing litigation by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, NukeWatch and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The main issue is NNSA's planned continued use of two old contaminated facilities previously slated for decontamination and decommissioning to help produce nuclear weapons "secondaries" that put the "H" in H-bomb.

Also Recommended:

3. Finally, on May 9 NukeWatch submitted formal NEPA comment on a draft Supplement Analysis on plutonium pit production at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), available here

Also recommended: comments by Tri-Valley CAREs and SRS Watch.

Nuclear News

Remembering Dave Freeman – green cowboy, pioneer of U.S. energy policy

Arjun Makhijani | ieer.org

It was 1970. Dave Freeman had transitioned from being an energy advisor in Johnson’s White House to Nixon’s. At one of our lunches since he had moved to Washington, D.C. after retiring as the Chairman of the Port of Los Angeles, he recounted a conversation with John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s assistant for domestic policy:

“Ehrlichman told me ‘Dave, you had better get out of here. Things are going to get very hot and nasty in the coming campaign [to re-elect Nixon]. This is no place for a Democrat like you.’”

Dave found a most interesting and, as it turned out, historic exit. He convinced the Ford Foundation to give him four million dollars (about twenty five million in today’s money) to establish the Energy Policy Project within the Foundation. It would approach energy policy comprehensively; among other things it would explore how much of energy supply could be replaced by energy efficiency.

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Russian officials have already repeatedly warned in the past that its Eastern European neighbours’ decision to host US-made strategic systems, including components of America’s Aegis Ashore missile defence system, make them targets for Russia’s strategic nuclear response in the event of a war.

sputniknews.com

The redeployment of US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland would be a direct violation of the Russia-NATO founding act of 1997, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

“This would be a direct violation of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations between Russia and NATO, in which NATO undertook not to place nuclear weapons in the territory of new members of the North Atlantic Alliance, either at that moment or in the future…I doubt that these mechanisms will be implemented in practical terms,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters following a videoconference-based meeting of the Council of Baltic Sea States on Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the redeployment of US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland would serve to further damage already-strained Russia-NATO relations and escalate tensions.

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Energy Department Nominee Shifts on Yucca Mountain Question

“The administration will not be pursuing Yucca Mountain as a solution for nuclear waste, and I am fully supportive of the president’s decision and applaud him for taking action when so many have failed to do so,” [Mark] Menezes told Cortez Masto.

BY GARY MARTIN | reviewjournal.com
Energy Department Nominee Shifts on Yucca Mountain Question
A contractor walks into the south portal of Yucca Mountain during a congressional tour near Mercury on Saturday, July 14, 2018. (Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto)

WASHINGTON — Mark Menezes, the nominee for deputy secretary of the Energy Department, on Wednesday clarified remarks he made in February, saying the Trump administration has no plans to use Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste storage site.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., pressed Menezes during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, asking for a clarification.

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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.

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North Korea is advancing its nuclear program and increasing illicit trade, new UN report says

North Korea is advancing its nuclear program and increasing illicit trade in new and more opaque ways, according to a 267-page U.N. report that provides surveillance photos and new evidence.

PAMELA FALK | cbsnews.com

The annual report, produced by sanctions monitors called the “Panel of Experts,” is a product of the U.N. Security Council. The purpose of the report is to offer recommendations on how to hold North Korea accountable for skirting restrictions imposed by U.N. sanctions since 2006, that are designed to curtail the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

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There’s a new world super-villain (COVID-19), it’s time for nuclear disarmament

 | diggers.news

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, inspects the preparation of the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in North Korea’s northwest. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

THE Associated Press (AP) this week reported that a barrage of North Korean missiles fired from both the ground and fighter jets splashed down on the waters off the peninsular’s east coast on Tuesday. AP further reports that North Korea also launched several Sukhoi-class fighter jets that fired an unspecified number of air-to-surface missiles toward the North’s eastern waters. According to a South Korean defence official, North Korea seems to be resuming its military drills that it had scaled back due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. This, consequently, pushing back the deadlocked denuclearisation negotiations fostered by the United Nations.

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SFCC, Los Alamos lab join to offer machinist program

BY DILLION MULLIN | santafenewmexican.com

Santa Fe Community College and Los Alamos National Laboratory announced last week a new collaboration to revamp the college’s machinist program.

With the campus providing the latest equipment and curriculum and the lab offering hands-on internships, community college President Becky Rowley said she hopes the first group of students can begin working toward a certificate or associate’s degree in the overhauled program this fall.

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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.

New & Updated

NMED Tells DOE Widespread Waste at DP Road Represents Substantial Risk To Human Health, Environment

NM Environment Department Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief Kevin Pierard said the widespread waste at the site represents “a substantial risk to human health and the environment”.

BY: MAIRE O’NEILL | losalamosreporter.com

Workers in February at the DP Road site where contaminated waste was found on property turned over to Los Alamos County. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

New Mexico Environment Department officials are unhappy with the Department of Energy’s response to the discovery in February of contamination at the Middle DP Road Site in Los Alamos. NMED has given DOE 30 days to provide a schedule of preliminary screening plan (PSP) activities that “indicates that DOE understands the seriousness of this matter” including a timeframe for implementation for its implementation.

In a letter signed by NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief Kevin Pierard and sent to DOE Los Alamos NNSA and Environmental Management Field Office managers, DOE has been asked to include the basis for the current delay and limitations in implementation of the PSP “to ensure full transparency and understanding of why this important risk to public health is not being addressed in a more timely manner”.

In April 7, 2020, NMED directed DOE to develop and implement a PSP that would include sampling and investigation activities and a schedule for implementing those activities.

“Although DOE agreed to develop a PSP, it did not provide a schedule for development and implementation of a PSP. DOE stated that it intends to complete tasks associated with Section X of the Consent Order ‘as soon as practicable’,” the letter states.

Pierard notes that based on information provided to NMED since the discovery of the Middle DP Road Site on February 14, “contamination appears to be widespread”.

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Secretive Sale of Surplus MOX Equipment by NNSA Perpetuates Cover-Up of Bungled MOX Project, Exposes Lack of Accountability to Taxpayers for Money Wasted on Construction and Equipment

MOX Project Wasted Vast Sums of Money on Stockpiling Huge Amounts of Equipment that Project Managers Knew would be Obsolete when the Project Began Operation – Investigations Needed

Savannah River Site Watch For Immediate Release June 16, 2020 https://srswatch.org/ Contact: Tom Clements, Director, SRS Watch

Columbia, SC – The announced sale of surplus equipment from the failed plutonium fuel (MOX) project at the Savannah River Site exposes the lack of financial and managerial accountability with the project, according to the non-profit public-interest group conducting public interest oversight of the site.

With no accounting to the public about details of the sale of equipment they own, DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration has hired two sales firms to sell the equipment stored in an off-site warehouse in Barnwell, South Carolina. (See sales company news releases in “notes” below. See photos of the facility on the SRS Watch website, ©SRS Watch: https://srswatch.org/savannah-river-site-watchphotos/) It is unknown where proceeds from the sale will go.

A review of the surplus property posted on the website of one of the sales companies reveals a host of things are being offered at rock-bottom, give-away prices: transformers, switchboards, control panels, electrical supplies, HVAC equipment, valves and an assortment of other materials. But no plutonium gloveboxes, furnaces to produce plutonium oxide or plutonium pellet presses seem to be offered for sale.

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Absolutely Unacceptable: Resumed US Nuclear Explosive Testing

A May 22 Washington Post story reported that in mid-May top national security officials discussed resumption of full-scale US nuclear explosive testing. The next day, the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons was holding, virtually, its annual meeting.

The meeting released a statement, co-authored by Burroughs (see previously circulated press release). It begins:
“Resumption of nuclear explosive testing is absolutely unacceptable. Even discussing nuclear testing again is dangerously destabilizing.” The statement also observes: “This episode comes in the context of ongoing upgrading of nuclear forces by the world’s nuclear-armed states. It is supported by extensive laboratory research and experimentation which in part serves as a substitute for functions once served by nuclear explosive testing.”
Since the Washington Post story, there have been no further signals of returning to full-scale nuclear explosive testing. But at a minimum the White House discussion demonstrates that the option remains alive. Senator Ed Markey and numerous co-sponsors including Senator Chuck Schumer have introduced legislation that would prohibit the expenditure of funds on conducting nuclear test explosions with any yield. A parallel bill (H.R.7140) has been introduced in the House.

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Los Alamos County Seeks over 3,000 acres from Energy Department

A regional watchdog group said the development plans raise some questions.

Technical Area 36, where commercial, industrial and mixed-use complexes would be built, was formerly a firing site where uranium and beryllium were detonated in the open air, so some toxic residue probably lingers there, said Scott Kovac, research and operations director for Nuclear Watch New Mexico.

The site is also across the road from Area G, where massive legacy waste produced during the Cold War is buried, Kovac said. Contaminants might be released into the air if that old disposal area is excavated, he said.

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

Los Alamos County has requested 3,074 acres in White Rock from the U.S. Energy Department to use for building housing, stores, offices, light industry and schools.
Santa Fe New Mexican Courtesy photo

Within this clifftop community once shrouded from public view, it’s no secret the Los Alamos area needs more housing for future growth.

Los Alamos County wants the U.S. Energy Department to turn over 3,074 acres in White Rock at no cost so the land can be used for housing, stores, offices, light industry and schools.

To sweeten the deal, Los Alamos National Laboratory would be able to use part of the land to build support facilities and enhance its operations.

Less than 10 percent of the land would be developed — 275 acres — and most of that would be for housing, which county officials say is needed for the lab’s growing workforce and to create a larger pool of workers living in town to help attract other businesses.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

More Radioactive Waste Discovered on DP Road

BY: TRIS DEROMA | lamonitor.com

Department of Energy officials recently notified the New Mexico Environment Department that more radioactive waste was found on DP Road on May 18, in addition to radioactive waste that was discovered in February in the same general area.

The new waste was discovered 80 feet south of a parcel of land located approximately halfway down DP Road on the right side, heading eastbound. The land the new waste was discovered on was transferred from the Department of Energy to Los Alamos County in 2018.

Samples collected by Triad National Security identified the waste as containing Uranium 234 and Uranium 238. Officials aren’t sure of the level of radioactivity as the material is still being tested by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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Why a decision on a second US plutonium-pit-production factory should be delayed

Highlights:
The decision on the second pit production facility can wait. NNSA could announce its decision to move forward on building a pit-production facility in South Carolina as early as September. Based on the above context, this decision should be delayed for a number of reasons:

1. Since the Savannah River Site staff has no experience with pit production, the facility would have to be designed and the staff trained by the Los Alamos group. But the Los Alamos group has not yet demonstrated that that it can design and staff its own pit production facility.

2. Within a decade, we should have a new lower limit on the functional lives of the legacy pits. If they will indeed last for at least 150 years, as the Livermore experts concluded, then there will be no need for a large production facility to replace them anytime soon. The Los Alamos facility, if it can be made operational, should be sufficient for some decades.

3. The argument for producing additional warheads with insensitive high explosive for the Minuteman III replacement is very weak, and the debate over the need to produce new pits for a warhead to replace the W-76, the most numerous warhead in the US operational stock (about 1,500) cannot be made until NNSA and Defense Department are ready to discuss what pit they would use in the W93.


BY: FRANK VON HIPPEL | thebulletin.org

The troubled Mixed-oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility project at the Savannah River Site is proposed to be transformed into a plutonium pit production facility. Photo (c) Timothy Mousseau, 2019.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the organization within the Energy Department that is responsible for producing and maintaining US nuclear warheads, is moving forward with a plan to build a plutonium-pit-production factory at DOE’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. “Pits” are the form of the plutonium in the fission trigger “primaries” of US two-stage nuclear warheads.

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Senate panel approves $10M to prepare for nuclear test ‘if necessary’

““A U.S. nuclear test blast would certainly not advance efforts to rein in Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals or create a better environment for negotiations. Instead, it would break the de facto global nuclear test moratorium, likely trigger nuclear testing by other states, and set off a new nuclear arms race in which everyone would come out a loser.” — Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association

BY: REBECCA KHEEL | thehill.com

The Senate Armed Services Committee has advanced an amendment aimed at reducing the amount of time it would take to carry out a nuclear test.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), would make at least $10 million available to “carry out projects related to reducing the time required to execute a nuclear test if necessary,” according to a copy of the measure obtained by The Hill on Monday.

The amendment was approved in a party-line, 14-13 vote during the committee’s closed-door markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week, a congressional aide said.

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More Safety Problems at Y-12 Bomb Complex

TENNESSEE NUCLEAR WEAPONS FACILITY CONTINUES TO BE PLAGUED BY SAFETY PROBLEMS
SAFETY BOARD: OAK RIDGE NUCLEAR STORAGE FACILITY UNSAFE
NNSA AND CONTRACTOR CONSPIRE TO DOCTOR SAFETY RECORDS

BY: OAK RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL PEACE ALLIANCE | orepa.org

The safest building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is not safe enough. That is the conclusion of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board in an April 21, 2020, Staff Report on the storage of reactive materials at the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF). The Staff Report was released on June 1, 2020, accompanied by a letter from Safety Board Chair Bruce Hamilton to Dan Brouillette, Secretary of Energy.

Faced with three separate discoveries of highly enriched uranium that posed an undetermined safety risk because it was pyrophoric, the contractor at Y-12, Consolidated Nuclear Services, without characterizing the materials, decided to re-categorize all the materials as not pyrophoric. NNSA agreed and took the additional step of ordering the contractor to revise the Documented Safety Analysis for the HEUMF to incorporate the material types into the facility safety basis. Neither action was justified, according to the Safety Board, and neither was sufficient to assure worker safety.

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Remember the Original Tree Huggers

“The original tree huggers, a group of women of color, inspired generations of would-be tree huggers through their sacrifice, and their story illustrates what it means for an influential history to get erased from a movement; for leadership and contributions to get largely ignored. Though parts of this history might still be known to some, it is valuable for these histories to be taught, celebrated and acknowledged continuously—so we’re all aware that people of color have been leading environmental efforts throughout history, and still do.”

BY: MICHAEL A. ESTRADA | patagonia.com

Photo: Michael A. Estrada

When you hear the term “tree hugger,” what—or who—do you see? What image, or images, pop into your head?

It likely starts with the vague idea of folks who are often—and perhaps overly—passionate about protecting nature.

But then, if you expand it, what do they look like? Is it a man or a woman? Are they white? Do they look like, say, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo if they were out living the #vanlife together? As touching as that movie might be, it presents an all-too-familiar picture for what we might all imagine when we think of tree huggers.

It also misses a lot.

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As Work Resumes, Energy Dept. Weighs COVID-19 Impact on Cleanup Milestones

The 27-page document, signed June 4 by DOE Senior Adviser for Environmental Management William (Ike) White, directs managers at the agency’s 16 nuclear cleanup sites to make a list of missed contract milestones and a “path forward” for finishing the work on an adjusted schedule. The documents should lay out the impact of delays on contractor fees. No date for submission or approval of such plans is listed.

BY: WAYNE BARBER | exchangemonitor.com

The Energy Department’s Office of Environmental Management will cut contractors some slack when it comes to work deadlines missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a policy that became official last week.

The nuclear cleanup office “will continue to evaluate COVID-19 impacts on the ability of contractors to perform required work,” according to the formal “COVID-19 Remobilization Framework and Site-Specific Template.”

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“In Our Hands” – The academy award nominated film documenting the largest protest in US history, calling on the government to end the nuclear arms race.

Robert Richter’s IN OUR HANDS is about a magical day, June 12, 1982, when one million people took to the streets of New York to peacefully protest for an end to the nuclear arms race. It remains the largest single peace demonstration in US history. Interweaving performers, individual marchers and down-to-earth scenes of the massive gathering when one million people with one voice called for an end to the nuclear arms race.

Richter’s beautiful film has been described as “An outright joy to behold…encompasses the excitement of the event, its intense sense of human fellowship…the passions and humor of the anonymous as well as the celebrated…ebullient…entertaining, poignant and joyfully provocative.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

Nearly 40 years later, under the Trump Administration, nuclear weapons are being modernized and funded by the public purse during a global pandemic and a national reckoning on racism and police brutality across America. IN OUR HANDS reminds us of how people responded then, and can offer an example for those of us today who take a stand and work for peace and social justice.

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Legal Battle Continues Against Proposed Nuclear Waste Site Near Carlsbad

“It understood that spent fuel remains hazardous for millions of years, and that the only safe long-term strategy for safeguarding irradiated reactor fuel is to place it in a permanent repository for deep geologic isolation from the living environment,” Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, is worried that Holtec could become permanent.

BY: ADRIAN HEDDEN | currentargus.com

The meeting was designed to allow public comment on a proposed Consolidated Interim Storage Facility by Holtec International.

planned nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad was challenged in federal court, as opponents sought to appeal a decision by the federal government to reject contentions to the project that would see spent nuclear fuel rods stored temporarily at a location near the Eddy-Lea county line.

Beyond Nuclear filed its appeal on June 4 in the U.S. Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia, questioning the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s April 23 decision to reject challenges to Holtec International’s application for a license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) that would hold nuclear waste at the surface until a permanent, deep geological repository was available to hold the waste permanently.

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Activists say Holtec filing violates nuclear waste law

A watchdog group has filed a federal lawsuit that contends Holtec International’s application to create an underground storage site for commercial nuclear waste could leave taxpayers holding the bag.

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

The group Beyond Nuclear argues Holtec International has an illegal provision in its license application that would allow the federal government to take ownership of spent fuel from nuclear reactors before the proposed $3 billion storage facility is built in Southern New Mexico.

That violates a federal law aimed at preventing public agencies from being stuck with massive waste if a company like Holtec decides not to follow through with construction, said Diane Curran, an attorney representing Beyond Nuclear, based in Washington, D.C.

“It’s an end run around the federal statute,” Curran said.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission twice rejected the group’s efforts to challenge Holtec’s application. Holtec plans to lease 1,000 acres from the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance — a consortium of local governments — to construct an underground site that could hold as much as 173,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste.

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CHAIN REACTION 2020: SECURING OUR FUTURE

Watch the full video of Chain Reaction: Securing Our Future, live-streamed June 8, 2020

Chain Reaction is Ploughshares Fund’s annual gala, gathering leaders in our field, devoted partners, and new advocates to generate a nexus of ideas, opportunities, and strategies to advance nuclear policy and promote the elimination of nuclear weapons. Enjoy the full video of Chain Reaction: Securing Our Future, live-streamed via Zoom on June 8, 2020.

Our speakers were right. The threats to our security—whether from nuclear weapons, from COVID-19, from police brutality, from systematic racism, from climate change—are real, and the consequences are dire.

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What If We Have A Nuclear War?

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Must Reads

Behind the Fog by Martino-Taylor

The U.S. Sprayed, Injected and Fed Radiation to Countless Innocents in Secret Cold War-Era Testing

Military scientists exposed American civilians to radiation without their knowledge or consent.
“Behind the Fog” documents a dark chapter of “large-scale organizational deviance”…

From the publisher:

“Martino-Taylor documents the coordinated efforts of a small group of military scientists who advanced a four-pronged secret program of human-subject radiation studies that targeted unsuspecting Americans for Cold War military purposes… Agency and academic partnerships advanced, supported, and concealed the studies from the public at large who ultimately served as unwitting test subjects.

‘They targeted the most vulnerable in society… They targeted children. They targeted pregnant women in Nashville. People who were ill in hospitals. They targeted wards of the state. And they targeted minority populations.’

Martino-Taylor’s comprehensive research illuminates a dark chapter of government secrecy, the military-industrial-academic complex, and large-scale organizational deviance in American history. In its critical approach, Behind the Fog effectively examines the mechanisms that allow large-scale elite deviance to take place in modern society.”

(ABC News story / publisher’s book page)

Atomic Homefront by Deborah Cammissa

Atomic Homefront

By award-winning documentary filmmaker Deborah Cammissa

“The City of St. Louis has a little known nuclear past as a uranium-processing center for the Atomic bomb. Government and corporate negligence led to the dumping of Manhattan Project uranium, thorium, and radium, thus contaminating North St. Louis suburbs, specifically in two communities: those nestled along Coldwater Creek – and in Bridgeton, Missouri adjacent to the West Lake-Bridgeton landfill…”

See more…

Raven Rock by Garrett M. Graff

Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die.

“Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. It’s a free-standing city… with individual buildings, three-story buildings, built inside of this mountain. It has everything that a small city would- there’s a fire department there, there’s a police department, medical facilities, dining halls. The dining facility serves four meals a day, it’s a 24 hour facility, and it was sort of mothballed to a certain extent during the 1990s as the Cold War ended and then was restarted in a hurry after Sept. 11 and has been pretty dramatically expanded over the last 15 years, and today could hold as many as 5,000 people in the event of an emergency.”

Almighty Dan Zak

Almighty

Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age 

By Dan Zak, reviewed by Kai Bird

“Zak’s narrative is a perfectly measured blend of biography, suspense and history. He skillfully uses the small, finite story of the Y-12 protest [the break-in 4 years ago by Sister Rice and friends] to explore our national identity as a people whose culture is now intimately connected with things nuclear. Our bomb culture has not come cheap; the environmental costs have been devastating for many communities. And even though scores of governments- but not our own- are on record supporting a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons, Zak shows this is still an outlier dream. He quotes a United States admiral intoning: ‘I don’t see us being nuclear-free in my lifetime. Or in yours.’

We are stuck with Armageddon in our dreams. And in the meantime the Sister Megans of our bomb culture will no doubt try again and again to cry out against our complacency. But truly, it seems hopeless. As Billy Pilgrim laments repeatedly in Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’, ‘So it goes.'”

more at NYTimes


Interview with Dan Zak, “Almighty” author 

A Texas public radio interview with the very knowledgable and thoughtful Dan Zak, author of “Almighty”. Dan discusses The Lieu-Markey bills to restrict presidential authority to launch nuclear war, the B61-12 nuclear bomb and its new capabilities, the planned trillion-dollar “modernization” of the US nuclear arsenal, North Korea, deterrence, and the Oak Ridge Y-12 break-in of 2012.

audio podcast

Quotes

“While the 20th century equated national security with bombs, bullets and geography, national security in the 21st century is focused on 1s and 0s — the basis of our digital world — and dollars and cents. Reprioritizing spending away from weapons and towards maintaining U.S. economic, scientific and technological superiority will put us on the path toward economic growth and prosperity.” Coronavirus unmasks America’s real national security vulnerabilities

“Let us not recover from the coronavirus only to find ourselves in an even more dangerous world, one menaced by an uncontrolled arms race and persistent fear of nuclear escalation.” Now Is Not the Time to Start an Arms Race

Pentagon press briefing on the Defense Department’s Covid-19 response. (Lisa Ferdinando / Defense Department)

As the coronavirus spreads, Congress still has to review the Pentagon’s defense budget request.

“Nuclear power robbed us of everything. We still can’t go into the forests. Families with children used to go into the forest to gather wild plants and teach about nature. That was a common practice, taken for granted. But today we can’t do any of that.” Kenichi Hasegawa, a former dairy farmer in Namie Town, Fukushima

People, wearing protective masks following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), place candles as they pay their respect to victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
People, wearing protective masks following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), place candles as they pay their respect to victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Nine years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, causing the ensuing accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The effects of this disaster are ongoing: radiation contaminated a large area and has had serious impacts on the environment and the livelihoods that depended so much on the natural environment.

With sadness but no ceremony, Japan marks disaster anniversary