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

Northrop could get $85 billion award to make next-gen ICBMs sooner than expected

Within just a few years, the estimated cost of GBSD skyrocketed from $62 billion to $85 billion to $150 billion, and is now likely to be even higher.

ARTICLE BY: VALERIE INSINNA| defensenews.com

Northrop could get $85 billion award to make next-gen ICBMs sooner than expected
Airmen from the 90th Maintenance Group are responsible for maintaining and repairing ICBMs on alert status within the F.E. Warren missile complex. (Senior Airman Abbigayle Williams/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — An award for the U.S. Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program is slated to be granted by the end of September, but it could happen earlier, the service’s acquisition executive said Thursday.

“I think early award is possible on GBSD,” Will Roper told reporters during a teleconference. “I’m very hopeful, but because GBSD has a large component of classified work, that team is having to go in and maintain workforce in our [sensitive compartmented information facilities] and in our classified spaces. So we’re watching very carefully to make sure the installations are open to allow that work.”

As the sole bidder on the GBSD program, Northrop Grumman is anticipated to win an estimated $85 billion to design and build the Air Force’s next-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany to SRS? Dumping-for-Profit Scheme Drags On & On & Should be Terminated

FOIA Documents Confirm Profiteers Still Pursuing Scheme to Dump Highly Radioactive German Spent Fuel (Graphite “Pebbles”) at SRS – Should be Terminated

SRS and the German entity Jülicher Entsorgungsgesellschaft für Nuklearanlagen (JEN) are still working on the scheme to import German highly radioactive graphite spent fuel from the Jülich, Germany storage site to SRS for reprocessing and dumping.  That this bad idea to import the nuclear waste in large CASTOR casks is continuing has been confirmed in documents obtained by SRS Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request received on April 7, 2020.

SRS Watch first alerted the public in 2013 – at a SRS Citizens Advisory Board meeting – that the US-Germany waste deal was at hand, forcing SRS to admit that was indeed the case.  Pursuit of he deal has been dragging on since 2012.
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How nuclear forces worldwide are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic

In recent weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has elicited at least a few tone-deaf comments from top US defense officials about the readiness of their nuclear forces. In mid-March, the commander of US Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richard, reassured his audience that the United States’ nuclear forces had not been adversely affected by the pandemic and that they “remain ready to execute the nation’s strategic deterrence mission.” In effect, Adm. Richard was telling his audience that the United States was still capable of launching a massive nuclear retaliation that would undoubtedly kill millions. Similarly, at the beginning of April, the commander of the US Air Force’s Global Strike Command told Popular Mechanics that, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, “its nukes are still ready to fly.” These officials were apparently oblivious to the notion that, with the pandemic already causing enough fear and dread on its own, now may not be the best time to remind the general public about other ways the world could end.

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What the United States loses by quitting the Open Skies treaty, in one chart

Reports emerged this week that the White House may be moving “soon”  on withdrawing from the Open Skies treaty, a nearly two-decade-old agreement that allows 34 countries to fly and share reconnaissance missions over each other to promote military cooperation and transparency.

Last month, defense secretary Mark Esper said he was freezing a long-overdue replacement of the aging OC-135B aircraft used for flights under the treaty. “Until we make a final decision on the path forward, I am not prepared to recapitalize aircraft,” Esper told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Although more than 1,500 observation flights have been flown since the treaty took effect in 2002, vocal Republican opponents like Sens. Tom Cotton, Richard Burr, and Ted Cruz claim its benefit is “marginal” because US satellites make aerial imagery unnecessary, and the United States gives up more to its adversaries under the treaty than it gains. Their criticism extends from complaints about the costs of the OC-135B upgrade to protests over Russian compliance with the treaty—specifically, restrictions on missions flown over Kaliningrad and along Russia’s border with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Cotton and Cruz introduced a resolution calling for withdrawal in October.

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NNSA Production Sites Hunker Down Amid COVID-19 Crisis

All but one of the main Department of Energy nuclear weapons production sites have now hunkered down into minimum mission-critical operations because of COVID-19, keeping only the personnel needed to assemble nuclear weapons and components, maintain key infrastructure, or provide security.

The Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., both announced the switch to minimum mission-critical operations this week, joining the Savannah River Site of Aiken, S.C., which adopted a similar posture late last month.

Only the Kansas City National Security Campus, which sits in the middle of a far worse outbreak than Pantex, Y-12, and Savannah River combined, had not gone down to the minimum mission-critical level of operations. The plant, which makes the non-nuclear parts of nuclear weapons, has reduced the number of people onsite since the outbreak and confirmed its first case of COVID-19 this week, saying Friday an employee “recently tested positive.”

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The Coronavirus Can’t Stop America’s Nukes

Relying on a high-state of readiness, the nuclear triad is under threat from the coronavirus. But the head of Global Strike Command tells Popular Mechanics that its nukes are still ready to fly.

As the world fights against the COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear weapons have taken a backseat in most people’s minds. But for Global Strike Command (AFGSC)—the Air Force unit in control of two of the three legs of America’s nuclear triad—their mission remains top priority.

And it’s an unforgiving business. Nuclear deterrence requires extreme levels of readiness among pilots, maintenance crews, and security teams. Adversaries that don’t think the U.S. can respond with conventional bombing strikes or nukes could be emboldened to act aggressively.

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OAK RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL PEACE ALLIANCE CALLS FOR PUBLIC HEARING ON DOCUMENT ANALYZING HEIGHTENED EARTHQUAKE RISK AT NUCLEAR BOMB PLANT, ASKS FOR EXTENSION OF COMMENT PERIOD DUE TO PANDEMIC

The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance today filed a formal request with the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration seeking an indefinite extension of the comment period and a public hearing on the NNSA’s study of earthquake and accident consequences at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

 Citing a letter from twenty-two Senators that called for an indefinite extension of public comment periods until such time as the COVID-19 national state of emergency has ended, OREPA asked NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty and Secretary of Energy Dan Brouilette to recognize the significant disruption in public and private life due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to respond appropriately.

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New & Updated

Trump Admin Sprints to Weaken Environmental Protections During Pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bulging Deficits May Threaten Prized Pentagon Arms Projects

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: 2019 GLOBAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS SPENDING

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

FULL REPORT

Help Us Stop Expanded Plutonium Pit Production at the Los Alamos Lab! Submit Written Formal Comment.
Click to See Suggested Comments

Due Saturday May 9 but generally the government will accept comments for the following week.

See Updated Plutonium Pit Production Fact Sheet Here

Cleanup of US Nuclear Waste Takes Back Seat as Virus Spreads

FILE – In this April 2019 file photo provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory, barrels of radioactive waste are loaded for transport to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) at the Radioactive Assay Nondestructive Testing (RANT) facility in Los Alamos, N.M. The U.S. government’s efforts to clean up decades worth of Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has chugged along, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment. Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as WIPP, the nation’s only underground repository for nuclear waste, finished ramping down operations Wednesday, April 1, 2020, to keep workers safe. (Nestor Trujillo/Los Alamos National Laboratory via AP, File)

Over more than 20 years, tons of waste have been stashed deep in the salt caverns that make up the southern New Mexico site. Until recently, several shipments a week of special boxes and barrels packed with lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements were being trucked to the remote facility from South Carolina, Idaho and other spots.

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OREPA Accuses NNSA of Mendacity on Nuclear Criticality Safety

OREPA Accuses NNSA of Mendacity on Nuclear Criticality Safety

OREPA | orepa.org

A letter dated April 6, 2020 from Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, to Consolidated Nuclear Services, operating contractor of the Pantex and Y-12 nuclear weapons facilities, highlights ongoing criticality safety deficiencies at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The letter, a Preliminary Notice of Violation, characterizes the nuclear criticality safety deficiencies as “of high safety significance.” In the letter, NNSA reveals that CNS has failed to implement the criticality safety plan that was in place when it took over operations at the facility in 2014.

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Russia Says Using New U.S. Warheads Would Provoke Nuclear Retaliation

Fires are still blazing near the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited firefighters trying to extinguish the flames, marking the 34th anniversary of the accident.

ARTICLE BY: CLYDE HUGHES | upi.com

The Pentagon said the W76-2 nuclear warhead was first deployed with the USS Tennessee, pictured, late last year. File Photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Bryan Tomforde/U.S. Navy/UPI

Wednesday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova cautioned the U.S. military that using those weapons against Russia would warrant a nuclear retaliatory strike.

“Any attack involving a U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missile, regardless of its weapon specifications, would be perceived as a nuclear aggression,” Zakharova said. “Those who like to theorize about the flexibility of American nuclear potential must understand that in line with the Russian military doctrine such actions are seen as warranting retaliatory use of nuclear weapons by Russia.”

The U.S. State Department suggested last week that equipping Navy submarines with the low-yield nukes — which have explosive power similar to the atomic bombs dropped in Japan during World War II — would only serve to deter military provocation from Russia and China.

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Defense Budget Brawl Looms After Pandemic

Defense budget cuts are looming as the coronavirus pandemic places pressure on the federal budget across various agencies.

ARTICLE BY: REBECCA KHEEL | thehill.com

© Greg Nash

The Pentagon had already been expecting relatively flat budgets for the next few years due to economic constraints caused by the widening deficits in the country.

But with the pandemic, the deficit is projected to explode after Congress passed trillions of dollars in coronavirus relief packages, with more aid bills expected. Defense budget analysts are predicting that will mean cuts to defense spending down the line.

Meanwhile, Democrats say the crisis should result in a rethinking of national security that gives less money to the Pentagon and more to areas like public health.

Continue reading

Agency seeks $8K reimbursement from former executive director

REGIONAL COALITION OF LANL COMMUNITIES
Two years after parting ways with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, state Rep. Andrea Romero is still being haunted by improper reimbursements that cast a dark cloud over her tenure as the agency’s executive director.

Agency seeks $8K reimbursement from former executive director

The board of the taxpayer-funded agency that represents local governments around Los Alamos National Laboratory recently decided to ask Romero to return $8,000 in questionable reimbursements she received for travel and entertainment expenses while she was at the helm of the organization, which occurred before she was elected to a seat in the state House of Representatives.

But the board is unlikely to pursue the matter further if Romero rejects the request.

The board reached its decision to try to recoup the money after receiving a review of past audits of the agency, also known as RCLC, from its contracted legal counsel, Nancy Long.

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Action Alerts

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Critical Events

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Nuclear News

Russia’s nuclear workers isolated onsite as coronavirus spreads

Workers at Russia’s nuclear power plants will be isolated from the general public and required to live in onsite clinics at their respective stations as nuclear authorities tighten their response to the coronavirus after a number of industry infections.

BY CHARLES DIGGS | bellona.org

The order came Tuesday from Rosenergoatom, Russia’s nuclear utility, and specified that both primary and back up crews of nuclear technicians, who “facilitate process continuity” would now be required check in to dispensaries at their plants, where they would be provided with daily living essentials and isolated from outside contact.

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Legacy Nuclear Weapons Maintenance Wastes

Every base where legacy nuclear weapons (early-generation) were deployed (Bomber, Fighter Interceptor Squadrons (FIS), Nike Ajax, BOMARC Missile, ICBM), were maintained, or decommissioned, is potentially contaminated with highly classified 91(b) radioactive material (RAM) from the maintenance of the nuclear weapons during the replacing of the polonium-beryllium (Po-Be) TOM initiators.

BY ANNETTE CARY | georgeafb.info

There is an under-reported news story about radioactive contamination at Air Force bases that were closed and transferred to the public by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).

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Most Hanford workers to stay home over coronavirus concerns. No word on for how long

The site in Eastern Washington was used during World War II and the Cold War to produce plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. It was left massively contaminated with radioactive and hazardous chemical waste, which is being cleaned up now at a cost of about $2.5 billion a year.

BY ANNETTE CARY | tricityherald.com

Most Hanford nuclear reservation workers will stay home temporarily as planning is done to increase safety related to COVID-19 coronavirus. Essential employees will report to the site. COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Thousands of Hanford workers will stay home for a second day Tuesday after the Department of Energy announced Sunday evening that the site was going into a temporary planning status to ensure the safety of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only workers essential to the nuclear reservation’s safety and security should report to work, unless they receive a call from their supervisor saying they are needed for planning work, DOE said.

Hanford employs about 9,300 workers, plus some additional subcontractor employees.

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Coronavirus pandemic could delay licensing of nuclear waste facility near Carlsbad

New Mexico’s congresspeople called on the federal government to extend a public comment period for an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposal by Holtec International to build a nuclear waste repository in southeast New Mexico.

ADRIAN HEDDEN | currentargus.com

Gov. Chris Christie, Camden Mayor Dana Redd and other officials spoke about the international firm’s role in reviving the city during a Sept. 7 ribbon-cutting.

The letter signed by U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and U.S. Reps. Xochitl Torres Small, Ben Ray Lujan Deb Haaland (D-NM), urged the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to extend the 60-day public comment period until public hearings could be held in New Mexico.

The request followed a State ban on gatherings of more than 10 people amid a global outbreak of coronavirus that left thousands dead across the world.

The comment period began Friday as the draft environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register.

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Navy asks Lockheed Martin to build additional Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missiles

The Trident II D5 is the primary U.S. sea-based nuclear ballistic missile, and is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.

BY JOHN KELLER | tricityherald.com

Navy asks Lockheed Martin to build additional Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missilesWASHINGTON – Strategic weapons experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will build additional UGM-133A Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missiles and support deployed D5 nuclear weapons under terms of a half-billion-dollar order announced Thursday.

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U.S. Department of Energy to continue cleaning up New Mexico nuke sites

During the Cold War and Manhattan Project, Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico was used to develop and test nuclear weapons, leaving behind a legacy of nuclear waste and environmental contamination.

ADRIAN HEDDEN | currentargus.com

For the next decade, the U.S. Department of Energy planned to continue disposing of nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, while also improving infrastructure at the site and continuing clean-up efforts at nuclear facilities across New Mexico and the U.S.

In its 2020-2030 “Vision” released this month, the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) outlined plans for WIPP, and two other national laboratories it owns in New Mexico: Los Alamos (LANL) and Sandia (SNL) national laboratories.

WIPP is the nation’s only permanent repository for low-level transuranic (TRU) waste, which is permanently buried in an underground salt formation about 2,150 feet underground.

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Political Battle Brewing Over New Nuclear Program

“Congressional leadership has yet to receive the military requirement or justification for another new nuclear warhead,” a spokesperson for HASC Democrats said in an email.

“As recently as July 2019, the Department of Energy projected it would begin work on this warhead in 2023. Work on this new warhead will add billions of dollars to an already strained nuclear modernization plan.”

BY JON HARPER | nationaldefensemagazine.com

Political Battle Brewing Over New Nuclear Program

The Trump administration’s proposal to begin work on a new nuclear warhead program to modernize the nation’s aging stockpile is expected to be hotly contested.

For fiscal year 2021, President Donald Trump requested $28.9 billion for the Pentagon’s nuclear enterprise. He requested an additional $15.6 billion for efforts by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the stockpile, including $53 million for NNSA work on a new warhead, dubbed the W93.

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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

Trump Admin Sprints to Weaken Environmental Protections During Pandemic

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

Bulging Deficits May Threaten Prized Pentagon Arms Projects

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: 2019 GLOBAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS SPENDING

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

FULL REPORT

Help Us Stop Expanded Plutonium Pit Production at the Los Alamos Lab! Submit Written Formal Comment.
Click to See Suggested Comments

Due Saturday May 9 but generally the government will accept comments for the following week.

See Updated Plutonium Pit Production Fact Sheet Here

Cleanup of US Nuclear Waste Takes Back Seat as Virus Spreads

FILE – In this April 2019 file photo provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory, barrels of radioactive waste are loaded for transport to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) at the Radioactive Assay Nondestructive Testing (RANT) facility in Los Alamos, N.M. The U.S. government’s efforts to clean up decades worth of Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has chugged along, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment. Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as WIPP, the nation’s only underground repository for nuclear waste, finished ramping down operations Wednesday, April 1, 2020, to keep workers safe. (Nestor Trujillo/Los Alamos National Laboratory via AP, File)

Over more than 20 years, tons of waste have been stashed deep in the salt caverns that make up the southern New Mexico site. Until recently, several shipments a week of special boxes and barrels packed with lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements were being trucked to the remote facility from South Carolina, Idaho and other spots.

Continue reading

OREPA Accuses NNSA of Mendacity on Nuclear Criticality Safety

OREPA Accuses NNSA of Mendacity on Nuclear Criticality Safety

OREPA | orepa.org

A letter dated April 6, 2020 from Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, to Consolidated Nuclear Services, operating contractor of the Pantex and Y-12 nuclear weapons facilities, highlights ongoing criticality safety deficiencies at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The letter, a Preliminary Notice of Violation, characterizes the nuclear criticality safety deficiencies as “of high safety significance.” In the letter, NNSA reveals that CNS has failed to implement the criticality safety plan that was in place when it took over operations at the facility in 2014.

Continue reading

Russia Says Using New U.S. Warheads Would Provoke Nuclear Retaliation

Fires are still blazing near the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited firefighters trying to extinguish the flames, marking the 34th anniversary of the accident.

ARTICLE BY: CLYDE HUGHES | upi.com

The Pentagon said the W76-2 nuclear warhead was first deployed with the USS Tennessee, pictured, late last year. File Photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Bryan Tomforde/U.S. Navy/UPI

Wednesday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova cautioned the U.S. military that using those weapons against Russia would warrant a nuclear retaliatory strike.

“Any attack involving a U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missile, regardless of its weapon specifications, would be perceived as a nuclear aggression,” Zakharova said. “Those who like to theorize about the flexibility of American nuclear potential must understand that in line with the Russian military doctrine such actions are seen as warranting retaliatory use of nuclear weapons by Russia.”

The U.S. State Department suggested last week that equipping Navy submarines with the low-yield nukes — which have explosive power similar to the atomic bombs dropped in Japan during World War II — would only serve to deter military provocation from Russia and China.

Continue reading

Defense Budget Brawl Looms After Pandemic

Defense budget cuts are looming as the coronavirus pandemic places pressure on the federal budget across various agencies.

ARTICLE BY: REBECCA KHEEL | thehill.com

© Greg Nash

The Pentagon had already been expecting relatively flat budgets for the next few years due to economic constraints caused by the widening deficits in the country.

But with the pandemic, the deficit is projected to explode after Congress passed trillions of dollars in coronavirus relief packages, with more aid bills expected. Defense budget analysts are predicting that will mean cuts to defense spending down the line.

Meanwhile, Democrats say the crisis should result in a rethinking of national security that gives less money to the Pentagon and more to areas like public health.

Continue reading

Agency seeks $8K reimbursement from former executive director

REGIONAL COALITION OF LANL COMMUNITIES
Two years after parting ways with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, state Rep. Andrea Romero is still being haunted by improper reimbursements that cast a dark cloud over her tenure as the agency’s executive director.

Agency seeks $8K reimbursement from former executive director

The board of the taxpayer-funded agency that represents local governments around Los Alamos National Laboratory recently decided to ask Romero to return $8,000 in questionable reimbursements she received for travel and entertainment expenses while she was at the helm of the organization, which occurred before she was elected to a seat in the state House of Representatives.

But the board is unlikely to pursue the matter further if Romero rejects the request.

The board reached its decision to try to recoup the money after receiving a review of past audits of the agency, also known as RCLC, from its contracted legal counsel, Nancy Long.

Continue reading

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.'”

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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

“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

“This destabilizing deployment further increases the potential for miscalculation during a crisis,”

 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), an opponent of the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review report’s call for new low-yield warhead capabilities, on the decision to deploy the W76-2. He further described it as “misguided and dangerous.” — armscontrol.org

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee returns to base in Kings Bay, Georgia in 2011. The boat is reportedly the first to have some of its missiles armed with low-yield nuclear warheads. (Photo: James Kimber/U.S. Navy)
The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee returns to base in Kings Bay, Georgia in 2011. The boat is reportedly the first to have some of its missiles armed with low-yield nuclear warheads. (Photo: James Kimber/U.S. Navy)

U.S. Deploys Low-Yield Nuclear Warhead Shannon Bugos

The U.S. Navy has fielded a low-yield nuclear warhead for some of its submarine-launched ballistic missiles for the first time, the Defense Department confirmed in February.

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“[Even] a “limited” India-Pakistan nuclear war would significantly affect every person on the globe, be they a school teacher in Nebraska, a factory-worker in Shaanxi province or a fisherman in Mombasa.”
Sebastien Roblinnationalinterest.com 

“Nowhere On Earth Would Be Safe From An India-Pakistan Nuclear War”

An Indian Agni-II intermediate range ballistic missile on a road-mobile launcher, displayed at the Republic Day Parade on New Delhi’s Rajpath, January 26, 2004

The India-Pakistan conflict is the world’s most dangerous.

India’s official policy is that it will never be first to strike with nuclear weapons—but that once any nukes are used against it, New Dehli will unleash an all-out retaliation.

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“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