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.

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

The Trump Administration’s FY 2021 Request for the National Nuclear Security Administration

The Trump Administration is proposing a massive funding increase for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). At $19.8 billion, the request increases current NNSA funding by $3.1 billion, or 18.4 percent.

Article originally from taxpayer.net

NNSA funds all the Pentagon’s nuclear weapons-related activities, including weapons design, production, safeguarding the nation’s nuclear stockpile and clean-up of the government’s nuclear weapons sites. The NNSA budget does not fund the aircraft, submarines and missiles that make up the military’s nuclear “triad,” which are funded within the Pentagon’s annual budget.

In the FY 2021 request, the Department of Energy states that the additional NNSA funding is necessary to support the modernization efforts of U.S. nuclear forces called for in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

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Trump Proposes 25 Percent Bump in Nuke Spending

“Taxpayers in 2020 should not be forced to pay for a ticket back to nuclear weapons policies of the 1980s,” John Tierney, executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said in a statement. Pit production funding wasn’t included in the overview. Energy Department officials said a full budget proposal would become available in the coming weeks.

“Globally, Trump’s nuclear weapons budget is fueling a new nuclear arms weapons race, particularly with a new plan for a new nuclear warhead,” said Jay Coghlan, executive director of New Mexico Nuclear Watch. “It solidifies Los Alamos lab’s future as a nuclear bomb plant, especially while nonproliferation, renewable energy and cleanup programs are held flat or cut.”

BY: SCOTT WYLAND |santafenewmexican.com

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. / Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump is proposing a 25 percent increase in nuclear weapons spending that will include developing a new warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles, according to a preliminary 2021 budget overview released Monday.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous branch of the U.S. Energy Department, would see its budget increase by 18.4 percent to $19.8 billion next fiscal year, partly to ramp up production of plutonium pits at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

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President’s Budget Calls for More Spending on Nuclear Production

Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, says that the budget request would allocate more taxpayer dollars to the country’s nuclear weapons programs since the Cold War ended 30 years ago.

“Globally Trump’s nuclear weapons budget is fueling a new nuclear arms race,” he said in a statement. “It solidifies Los Alamos Lab’s future as a nuclear bomb plant, while nonproliferation, renewable energy and cleanup programs are held flat or cut.”

BY: T.S. LAST |abqjournal.com

President Trump’s budget request aims to increase pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Source: Los Alamos Laboratory)
President Trump’s budget request aims to increase pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Source: Los Alamos Laboratory)

SANTA FE, N.M. — The National Nuclear Security Administration would get $19.8 billion under President Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2021 — a 20% increase from this year’s budget — about half of which would go toward supporting the U.S.’s nuclear weapons programs.

According to a Department of Energy fact sheet distributed on Monday, $9.5 billion of NNSA’s budget would be put toward efforts to “sustain and modernize the U.S. nuclear stockpile.” Of that, $4.3 billion is earmarked for stockpile management and $2.5 billion is for production modernization to support production capabilities for nuclear weapons. That includes funds for equipment, facilities and personnel “to reestablish the Nation’s ability to produce (plutonium) pits.”

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Trump Budget Calls for New Nuclear Warheads and 2 Types of Missiles

The president’s spending proposal requests money for a new arms race with Russia and China, and restores nuclear weapons as central to military policy.

DAVID E. SANGER |nytimes.com

ARABIAN SEA (Nov. 13, 2007) The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) steams through the Arabian Sea along with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6), and the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kiona M. Mckissack
ARABIAN SEA (Nov. 13, 2007) The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) steams through the Arabian Sea along with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6), and the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kiona M. Mckissack

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has begun to put a price tag on its growing arms race with Russia and China, and the early numbers indicate that restoring nuclear weapons to a central role in American military strategy will cost tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.

In the 2021 budget released on Monday, the administration revealed for the first time that it intended to create a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead, named the W93. Its development is part of a proposed 19 percent increase this year, to $19.8 billion, for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Energy Department agency that maintains the nuclear stockpile and develops new nuclear warheads. More tellingly, that is a jump of more than 50 percent since 2017, President Trump’s first year in office.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Report: Triad had serious deficiencies in first year running Los Alamos lab

This article from the Santa Fe New Mexican is based on NNSA’s annual Performance Evaluation Reports (PERs) on contractor performance at its 8 nuclear weapons sites. NukeWatch New Mexico successfully sued in 2012 to get these reports publicly released. However, NNSA is now releasing only 3-page summaries, citing security concerns to at least one reporter. This is a baseless excuse given there has never been anything classified in the PERs.

“The federal evaluation points to Triad’s repeated breakdowns in oversight and safety issues while declaring that the contractor’s so-called accomplishments only slightly outweighed these chronic issues,” Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, said in a statement. “A rating of ‘good’ is simply not good enough as the lab aggressively expands the production of radioactive plutonium bomb cores for the new nuclear arms race,”

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

The consortium of nonprofits that operates Los Alamos National Laboratory struggled with safety, security and waste-management problems during the first year of its contract, including the accidental release of highly flammable cesium that required a multimillion-dollar cleanup, said an annual federal report card.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Putin wants to extend arms control. What’s Trump waiting for?

“Arms control takes political willpower. Binding and verifiable treaties are worth the effort. The weapons themselves are as cataclysmic in their power as ever. Have we lost the willpower to keep them in check?”

EDITORIAL BOARD | washingtonpost.com

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit

The clock is ticking toward expiration of the last major nuclear arms control treaty, New Start, which will end a year from now if not extended by the United States and Russia. Should it lapse, the path will be open to another dangerous arms race, hardly what the world needs. Right now, all signs are pointing in the wrong direction.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

WIPP Notes Need for Infrastructure Upgrades

DOE hopes to ramp up shipments of nuclear waste to NM repository

BY: ADRIAN HEDDEN | abqjournal.com

CARLSBAD CURRENT-ARGUS

Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy are hoping to ramp up shipments of nuclear waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad to about 17 per week by 2023. The facility is currently accepting about 10 per week. To meet the goal of increasing shipments, Acting Manager of the DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office Greg Sosson said numerous ongoing infrastructure upgrades at the facility were needed.

“Infrastructure ages. We understand we have a lot more waste stream we’re going to tackle,” Sosson said. “These are really good projects to make sure WIPP is sustainable in the future so we can perform our important mission.”

Sosson, at Monday’s annual WIPP Legislative Breakfast in Santa Fe, said officials plan on WIPP accepting up to 350 shipments of transuranic nuclear waste in the next year from numerous DOE facilities, including 80 from Los Alamos National Laboratory and 195 from Idaho National Laboratory.

But to continue to accept waste at an increasing pace, Sosson said the facility must solve its airflow problem.

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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.

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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” 

The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs

Nuclear disarmament activists challenge the security and legality of America’s nuclear weapons when they break into two top-secret facilities: The “Fort Knox of Uranium” and a U.S. Navy Trident nuclear submarine base.

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Action Alerts

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

Critical Events

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

Nuclear News

Report: Nuclear waste cleanup efforts could be delayed

“It is shocking that DOE would propose to delay projects like the cesium-strontium capsules and the 324 Building contamination, which pose such great risks to the workers and public,” said Tom Carpenter, executive director for Hanford Challenge, a watchdog and worker advocacy group.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | sanluisobispo.com

The Department of Energy has announced priority plans for environmental cleanup nationwide and indicates a slower process for the decommissioned nuclear site in Washington state, a report said.

The focus at the Hanford Site will be to start treating waste at the $17 billion vitrification plant, but the report does not detail other work at the 580-square-mile (1,500-square-kilometer) site, the Tri-City Herald reported Tuesday.

The report does not mention moving radioactive capsules to safer storage and cleaning up a radioactive spill under one of the buildings a mile north of Richland.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Public invited to comment on LANL impact statement

“NNSA [is] shutting the public out, while steamrolling exorbitantly expensive expanded pit production…There is a clear need for a nationwide programmatic environmental impact statement to justify or not expanded plutonium pit production, followed by a new site-wide environmental impact statement for Los Alamos,” — Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch New Mexico

BY T.S. LAST | abqjournal.com Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The National Nuclear Security Administration on Tuesday released its draft Supplement Analysis to the 2008 Site-wide Environmental Impact Statement for Los Alamos National Laboratory, concluding that it doesn’t have to complete an environmental impact statement.

The study examines whether environmental analysis for expanded plutonium pit production at LANL should be required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

“Based on analysis in this SA, NNSA preliminarily concludes that no further National Environmental Policy Act documentation for LANL at a site-specific level is required,” the document says. “However, NNSA will consider comments on this draft SA prior to publishing a final SA.”

Demand the Need for Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Expanded Pit Production

Joint Declaration between the Anishinabek Nation and the Iroquois Caucus on the Transport and Abandonment of Radioactive Waste

Preamble

The Anishinabek Nation and Iroquois Caucus have renewed their relationship and commitment of unity by smoking the sacred pipe. The two nations have met to discuss radioactive waste matters that are within their traditional and treaty territories

Central to the discussions were ceremony, and spirituality, as reflected in our inherent responsibilities and intimate relationship to the land, waters, and all our relations.

We the Anishinabek Nation and Iroquois Caucus have jurisdiction over the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basins as a result of Aboriginal titles, and the treaties that have been entered into by First Nations and the Crown. We have our own territories and exercise our jurisdiction on a Nation-to-Nation basis.

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

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

ARTICLE BY: RACHEL FRAZIN | thehill.com

© Cameron Lancaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

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

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

BY: RYAN BROWNE | cnn.com

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

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

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Holes found in protective liner at SC nuclear fuel factory

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

ARTICLE BY SAMMY FRETWELL | thestate.com

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

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

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

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

ARTICLE BY CONNER REED | pdxmonthly.com

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

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

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

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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

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.

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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” 

The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs

Nuclear disarmament activists challenge the security and legality of America’s nuclear weapons when they break into two top-secret facilities: The “Fort Knox of Uranium” and a U.S. Navy Trident nuclear submarine base.

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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

“So as this evolved over time, nuclear deterrence and nuclear war fighting became almost indistinguishable — and that’s the rabbit hole that some presidents in times of crisis have tried to scramble out of. Once you accept a couple of premises, you can get caught down this rabbit hole very quickly, where it almost becomes an inevitable thing that you end up using these weapons…”
— Quote from “The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War,” by Fred Kaplan

“Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction, or the threat of total annihilation,”

In Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Pope Francis calls for abolishing nuclear weapons

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Martin Luther King and the Bomb

 

“It’s in everyone’s interest to carefully, and most of all publicly, assess whether it’s a good idea to aggressively expand the manufacturing of key components of nuclear weapons,”

— Geoff Fettus, Senior Attorney at National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

NNSA: No new programmatic environment study needed for plutonium pit production at LANL

“The Pacific was victimized in the past as we all know by the scores of nuclear weapons tests above ground, on the ground and underwater in the Marshalls. The consequences of these have been quite dramatic, in relation to health, in relation to the poisoning of waters in some areas,”

– United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Congress Directs Repairs to Nuclear Waste ‘Coffin’ Left Over from Atomic Bomb Tests

Congress has taken notice of the otherworldly concrete dome on a spit of coral in the central Pacific that serves as a massive radioactive trash can for doomsday weapons waste.

ARTICLE BY: RICHARD SISK | military.com

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