Nuclear Watch New Mexico

Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote safety and environmental protection at regional nuclear facilities; mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs; greater accountability and cleanup in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex; and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

Quote of the Week

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

LANL’s Central Mission: Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to “national security”, but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here’s the answer from one of its own documents:

LANL’s “Central Mission”- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11

LANL FY 2021 Budget Request – VIEW

Sandia FY 2021 Budget Request – VIEW

Pantex Plant FY 2021 Budget Chart – VIEW

KCP FY 2021 Budget Chart – VIEW

Livermore Lab FY 2021 Budget Chart – Courtesy Tri-Valley CAREs – VIEW

_____________________________________________

Click the image to view and download this large printable map of DOE sites, commercial reactors, nuclear waste dumps, nuclear transportation routes, surface waters near sites and transport routes, and underlying aquifers. This map was prepared by Deborah Reade for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.

Nuclear Watch Interactive Map – U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

The Wall St. Journal has compiled a searchable database of contaminated sites across the US. (view)
Related WSJ report: https://www.wsj.com

Recent Posts

Nuclear Weapons Have Always Been Immoral. Now They’re Illegal.

On 7 July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Just over three years later, the TPNW reached the 50 national ratifications needed to become international law. The treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2012, and nuclear weapons will become officially illegal under international law. This day will represent a culmination of years of campaigning for nuclear weapons to be reframed as a collective humanitarian problem, one which requires prohibition and elimination, rather than a national military defense asset that needs to be managed and even upgraded.

Continue reading

New Mexico’s oil fields have a sinkhole problem

The hunt for industrial brine has opened massive and unexpected sinkholes, which is taking delicate work, and more than $54 million, to fill.
“Carlsbad sits on the edge of the Permian Basin, an underground geological formation that stretches from southeastern New Mexico to West Texas and accounted for more than 35% of the U.S.’s domestic oil production in 2019. The surrounding desert is lined with rows of pumpjacks and the occasional white tower of a drilling rig.”

By: Elizabeth Miller | hcn.org

On a July morning in 2008, the ground below southeastern New Mexico began to shift and crack, shooting a huge plume of dust into the air. Within minutes, a massive sinkhole emerged, which eventually grew to roughly 120 feet deep and 400 feet in diameter.

“At the time, it was an unfortunate situation, but most people considered it to be a one-off,” says Jim Griswold, a special project manager with New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. But a few months later, in November, dust once again streamed toward the sky as another similarly sized sinkhole opened, cracking a nearby roadway.

Both holes — and later, a third in Texas — emerged at the site of brine wells, industrial wells through which freshwater is pumped into a subterranean layer of salt. The freshwater mixes with the salt, creating brine, which is brought to the surface for industrial purposes; in this case, oil drilling. After the second sinkhole emerged, Griswold’s department head gave him a new task: Characterize the stability of the state’s 30 other brine wells and report back on where the next crisis might arise.

Continue reading

Carlsbad Company Sues WIPP for $32 Million After Air System Subcontract Terminated

“The Program specifically states that ‘construction should not be allowed to proceed until the design is sufficiently mature to minimize change orders,’” the lawsuit read. “No one in NWP’s upper management in Carlsbad had ever borne responsibility for seeing a construction project of this magnitude to completion.”

By: Adrian Hedden | Carlsbad Current-Argus

WIPP

A $32 million lawsuit brought by a subcontractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant alleged the company that runs the facility breached its contract to rebuild the nuclear waste repository’s air system.

Critical Applications Alliance (CAA), a Carlsbad-based joint venture between Texas-based Christensen Building Group and Kilgore Industries was hired by Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) in 2018 to construct the ventilation system at WIPP for $135 million, but its contract was terminated on August 31, about two years into the project.

Known as the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS), the system was intended to increase airflow in WIPP’s underground waste disposal area to allow for waste emplacement and mining operations to occur simultaneously.

Available air at WIPP was reduced in 2014 due to an accidental radiological release that led to contamination in parts of the underground.

Continue reading

U.S. Nuclear Bomb Overseer Quits After Clash With Energy Chief

“Her resignation came after a budget dispute between the NNSA and Brouillette and other officials spilled into the open earlier this year.”

BY: and  

Lisa E Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security. (CREDIT: Reuters)

The U.S. official overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile resigned Friday after clashing with Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security, resigned after being told by Brouillette’s office that President Donald Trump had lost faith in her ability to do her job, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Some administration officials were disappointed that she’d been pushed out, saying that she was widely viewed by those in her field as capable, the people said.

Continue reading

Donald Trump fires defense secretary Mark Esper

In a pair of tweets Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he terminated his Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
Esper’s tenure as top Pentagon official followed the resignations of Trump’s first Secretary of Defense James Mattis and then-acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

By: Amanda Macias | cnbc.com

WASHINGTON — In a pair of tweets Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he terminated his Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

“I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately,” Trump wrote.

Continue reading

‘Our industry knows Joe Biden really well’: Defense contractors unconcerned as Biden clinches victory

“I think the industry will have, when it comes to national security, a very positive view” of a Biden presidency, Punaro said.

By: Aaron Gregg | washingtonpost.com

The defense industry is taking a largely positive view of its prospects under an administration led by Joe Biden, who clinched the presidency on Saturday.

Although defense manufacturers have benefited from increased spending, tax cuts and deregulation under President Trump, their executives have told investors that they expect the former vice president and longtime senator will largely maintain the status quo with respect to defense spending.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

THE CARCINOGENIC, MUTAGENIC, TERATOGENIC AND TRANSMUTATIONAL EFFECTS OF TRITIUM

“The dangers of tritium come from inhalation, ingestion, and absorption… when the radionuclide unites with carbon in the human body, plants, or animals, it becomes organically bound (OBT) and can remain in the human body for 450 to 650 days. One study found traces of tritium in the body 10 years after exposure.”

Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s Critique of Some NNSA Answers to Questions on LANL’s Planned Tritium Releases

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) proposes to vent up to 114,000 curies of radioactive tritium gas to the open atmosphere while claiming that it poses no public health and safety risks. Public outcry and congressional pressure prompted the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to host a public information virtual meeting on this issue on October 20. Due to the overwhelming turnout of some 150 interested citizens and ear-splitting technical difficulties NNSA is holding another public virtual meeting at 5:00 pm Thursday November 5.

Interested citizens can join the discussion at https://www.lanl.gov/environment/flanged-tritiumwaste-containers.shtml

If you wish to speak or ask questions you should pre-register at the same site.

Continue reading

New & Updated

Experts: Nuclear waste storage a concern in New Mexico, Southwest

Several nuclear waste experts are urging members of Congress and the public to oppose any proposals to transport highly radioactive nuclear waste from power plants to temporary or long-term storage sites.

BY: Michael Gerstein mgerstein@sfnewmexican.com 

Researchers with multiple groups dedicated to analyzing the potential consequences of nuclear waste storage said Friday they have major concerns with plans to transport spent fuel to other parts of the country — even for permanent storage at a place such as Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Work on the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository has been stalled for nearly a decade.

Waste is gathered at about 80 sites across the nation as the federal government continues looking for a permanent solution for highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel, spurring environmental and health worries.

The issue is of critical concern for New Mexico because Florida-based Holtec International has proposed creating a temporary storage facility about halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs, where nuclear waste would be stored until the federal government forms a permanent facility.

Continue reading

LANL Tritium Venting, Middle DP Road And Consent Order Dominate NMED Community Engagement Meeting

More than 100 people tuned in to a virtual community engagement meeting hosted by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Thursday evening where the proposed venting of four flanged tritium waste containers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, contain at Middle DP Road and the 2016 Consent Order were the main topics addressed.

BY: MAIRE O’NEILL 

Stephanie Stringer, NMED Resource Protection Division Director, discussed a temporary authorization request from LANL for the venting of four flanged tritium waste containers currently stored at LANL. She said the containers were packaged at LANL’s Weapon Engineering Tritium Facility in 1996 and 1997 and were moved to Technical Area 54 in 2007.

Stringer said radiolysis of tritiated water in the containers over time has potentially resulted in hazardous concentrations of flammable hydrogen and oxygen mixture in the headspace of the FTWCs. She said the containers where they’re stored right now do not meet the Department of Transportation requirements and cannot be moved without releasing that pressure or treating the waste containers, so they need to be vented prior to transport, treatment and final disposal.

Continue reading

USAF Plans To Expand Nuclear Bomber Bases

“It is difficult to imagine a military justification for such an increase in the number of nuclear bombers – even without New START.”

BY: HANS KRISTENSEN 

Posted on Nov.17, 2020 in Arms Control, B-2, B-21, B-52, bombers, Nuclear Weapons, Russia, United States by Hans M. Kristensen

The US Air Force is working to expand the number of strategic bomber bases that can store nuclear weapons from two today to five by the 2030s.

The plan will also significantly expand the number of bomber bases that store nuclear cruise missiles from one base today to all five bombers bases by the 2030s.

The expansion is the result of a decision to replace the non-nuclear B-1B bombers at Ellsworth AFB and Dyess AFB with the nuclear B-21 over the next decade-and-a-half and to reinstate nuclear weapons storage capability at Barksdale AFB as well.

The expansion is not expected to increase the total number of nuclear weapons assigned to the bomber force, but to broaden the infrastructure to “accommodate mission growth,” Air Force Global Strike Command Commander General Timothy Ray told Congress last year.

Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons Have Always Been Immoral. Now They’re Illegal.

On 7 July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Just over three years later, the TPNW reached the 50 national ratifications needed to become international law. The treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2012, and nuclear weapons will become officially illegal under international law. This day will represent a culmination of years of campaigning for nuclear weapons to be reframed as a collective humanitarian problem, one which requires prohibition and elimination, rather than a national military defense asset that needs to be managed and even upgraded.

Continue reading

U.S. Nuclear Bomb Overseer Quits After Clash With Energy Chief

“Her resignation came after a budget dispute between the NNSA and Brouillette and other officials spilled into the open earlier this year.”

BY: and  

Lisa E Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security. (CREDIT: Reuters)

The U.S. official overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile resigned Friday after clashing with Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security, resigned after being told by Brouillette’s office that President Donald Trump had lost faith in her ability to do her job, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Some administration officials were disappointed that she’d been pushed out, saying that she was widely viewed by those in her field as capable, the people said.

Continue reading

THE CARCINOGENIC, MUTAGENIC, TERATOGENIC AND TRANSMUTATIONAL EFFECTS OF TRITIUM

“The dangers of tritium come from inhalation, ingestion, and absorption… when the radionuclide unites with carbon in the human body, plants, or animals, it becomes organically bound (OBT) and can remain in the human body for 450 to 650 days. One study found traces of tritium in the body 10 years after exposure.”

Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s Critique of Some NNSA Answers to Questions on LANL’s Planned Tritium Releases

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) proposes to vent up to 114,000 curies of radioactive tritium gas to the open atmosphere while claiming that it poses no public health and safety risks. Public outcry and congressional pressure prompted the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to host a public information virtual meeting on this issue on October 20. Due to the overwhelming turnout of some 150 interested citizens and ear-splitting technical difficulties NNSA is holding another public virtual meeting at 5:00 pm Thursday November 5.

Interested citizens can join the discussion at https://www.lanl.gov/environment/flanged-tritiumwaste-containers.shtml

If you wish to speak or ask questions you should pre-register at the same site.

Continue reading

Nuclear Watch New Mexico Comments on U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Interim Storage Partners/Waste Control Specialists Consolidated Interim Storage Facility Draft Environmental Impact Statement

RE: Docket ID NRC-2016-0231/Report Number NUREG-2239, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Interim Storage Partners/Waste Control Specialists Consolidated Interim Storage Facility Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Dear U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioners and Staff,

We respectfully submit these comments in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Docket ID NRC-2016-0231) regarding Interim Storage Partner’s (ISP) application for a license to build and operate a “Consolidated Interim Storage Facility for Spent Nuclear Fuel in Andrews County, Texas” (NUREG-2239), which plans to bring at least 40,000 metric tons of spent fuel, high-level radioactive waste, from nuclear reactors around the country to west Texas. Please know that we do not consent to our region becoming a national radioactive high-level waste dumping ground or to transporting up to thousands of canisters of radioactive waste through thousands of communities. We should not have to risk the contamination of our land, aquifers, air, plants, wildlife, and livestock. We do not consent to endangering present and future generations.

Read/Download full comments HERE 

Release Of Radioactive Tritium A Bad Idea

BY DR. VIRGINIA NECOCHEA & CHARLES DE SAILLAN

Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. It emits beta radiation, which can be very dangerous if inhaled. Like other forms of ionizing radiation, tritium can cause cancer, genetic mutations and birth defects, and assorted other adverse health effects.

So it is not surprising that many people were dismayed when they learned that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractor at Los Alamos National Laboratory plan to release 114,000 curies of tritium gas into the atmosphere at Technical Area 54 and, possibly, at Technical Area 16. DOE has been storing this waste tritium in four steel canisters at TA-54 at the Laboratory for more than a decade. Over time, pressure has built up in the canisters, which DOE plans to relieve by venting the tritium gas into the atmosphere.

Continue reading

DOE Issues Controversial Decision to Pursue a Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP) at Savannah River Site (SRS); Inadequate Environmental Review and Lack of Justification for Production of 50 or More “Pits” per Year to Modernize Entire Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Open to Legal Challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a formal decision that it will pursue a massive Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP) at the DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, in order to produce plutonium “pits,” or cores, for nuclear warheads. The provocative decision, which adds fuel to concerns about a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China, drew immediate opposition from public interest groups near DOE sites in South Carolina, New Mexico and California.

The issuance by DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the “Record of Decision” (ROD) on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on pit production at SRS, issued in late September, officially affirms the “preferred alternative” that DOE intends to produce a minimum of 50 plutonium “pits” per year by 2030 at SRS. Also on November 5, NNSA issued an “Amended Record of Decision” (AROD) to its 2008 nation-wide Complex Transformation Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement that incorporated its SRS pit-production decision.

Second Public Meeting for Controversial Tritium Releases at the Los Alamos Lab

Because of overwhelming public demand and technical problems with the first virtual public meeting, the National Nuclear Security Administration is holding a second meeting on the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL’s) controversial plan to vent up to 100,000 curies of tritium gas. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, used to boost the explosive power of nuclear weapons. Most vented tritium will condense into water vapor which can then be readily ingested by living organisms, including humans. Fetuses are particularly at risk.

LANL’s nuclear weapons budget has doubled over the last decade to $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2021. But funding for so-called cleanup has remained flat at around $220 million, or 8% that of nuclear weapons. In fact, LANL plans to “cap and cover” some 200,000 cubic yards of radioactive and toxic wastes, leaving them permanently buried in unlined pits above our groundwater, some three miles uphill from the Rio Grande, and call it cleaned up. To add to this, the Lab now plans to dose the public by venting excess tritium.

Continue reading

Subcontractor sues WIPP for $32 million in canceled work

Critical Applications’ ventilation project was tied to a radiation leak in 2014 that often is recalled as the “kitty litter” incident.

BY:  | santafenewmexican.com

A subcontractor is suing the company that operates the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Southern New Mexico, claiming $32 million for what it says was gross mismanagement of a major construction project at the nuclear waste disposal site.

In a federal lawsuit, Texas-based Critical Applications Alliance LLC, which was hired to build a ventilation system at WIPP, says Nuclear Waste Partnership was such a disorganized project manager that it caused repeated delays and cost overruns, resulting in multiple breaches of contract.

The subcontractor also complains WIPP managers abruptly canceled its $135 million contract in August with no explanation and without paying millions owed.

Continue reading

Political strategist & lobbyist each plead guilty in federal public corruption racketeering conspiracy involving more than $60 million

United States Attorney David M. DeVillers

Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 THURSDAY, OCT. 29, 2020

JUSTICE.GOV/USAO-SDOH

CINCINNATI – A longtime campaign and political strategist for Ohio House Representative Larry Householder and a lobbyist hired by an energy company to funnel money to Householder’s enterprise each pleaded guilty in federal court today.

Jeffrey Longstreth, 44, and Juan Cespedes, 41, of Columbus, each pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy involving more than $60 million paid to a 501(c)(4) entity to pass and uphold a billion-dollar nuclear plant bailout.

Continue reading

Column: Yes, Santa Susana is a ‘landmark’ — as a historic environmental disaster

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory site is “one of the most toxic sites in the United States by any kind of definition,” Jared Blumenfeld, head of the California Environmental Protection Agency, told me. “It demands a full cleanup.”

BY: MICHAEL HILTZIK 

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory site, shown in a 2000 photo, is one of the most challenging cleanup jobs in the state, possibly the country.(Boeing)

One thing is certainly true about NASA’s curious effort to place 2,850 acres above the Simi Valley on the National Register of Historic Places: The parcel is certainly a landmark.

Among the points in dispute is what makes it so.

To several local Native American tribes, including the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Ventura County site’s cave drawings and rock shelters bespeak a cultural heritage dating back centuries.

The time has come for us to make sure that we hold the polluters accountable for their legacy….We will make sure the site gets cleaned up and we will exercise our legal authority in pursuit of that. – CALEPA SECRETARY JARED BLUMENFELD

To environmentalists and the site’s neighbors, it’s historic for the extent of its contamination by chemical and nuclear research performed there during the Cold War.

Continue reading

Critical Events

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

Click above for more information on the entry into force of the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Nuclear News

WIPP gets millions in COVID-19 relief funding, operations contract extended for one year

“Are WIPP workers getting infected at the site and taking it back into the communities?” Don Hancock said. “WIPP is clearly not always a safe place, but we don’t know if WIPP is a place where workers get infected or if infected workers brought it to WIPP.”

BY:  | currentargus.com


In August and September, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant received about $3.8 million per month of federal COVID-19 funding as the U.S. Department of Energy elected to renew the facility’s primary contractor for one year despite an option to keep Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) at the helm of the nuclear waste repository until 2022.

NWP spokesman Donavan Mager said the site received $3.816 million in August and $3.803 in September and that the funding was designated to “support operations” although he did not elaborate on how, specifically, the public money was to be spent.

Per the latest reports from WIPP, 39 workers had contracted COVID-19 as the pandemic appeared to pose a resurgence in New Mexico in recent weeks.

Continue reading

WIPP Resumes Nuclear Waste Shipments from California National Laboratory

Nuclear waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) near San Francisco, California resumed this month after a 10-year pause.

BY:  | currentargus.com

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., which was founded by the University of California in 1952, has grown to a 1-square-mile campus with almost 6,000 employees. A private contractor consortium now operates it. – National Nuclear Security Administration Via Flickr

The waste was received at WIPP and will be permanently disposed of in the underground repository about 2,000 feet beneath the surface.

The resumption of shipments from LLNL was the result of a multi-year project and collaboration between the Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO), WIPP contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the NNSA’s Livermore Field Office, read a DOE news release.

LLNL is primarily a research laboratory that generates transuranic (TRU) waste during its research and engineering operations related to nuclear weapons, plutonium and other technological aspects of the DOE’s nuclear complex.

Continue reading

Nuclear Ban Pact Should Not Erode Validity of NPT: Confab Chief

Noting that the current international security environment “is not very positive,” [Gustavo Zlauvinen, President-designate of the 2020 Review Conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)] said a lack of progress on nuclear disarmament will likely “play a big role, unfortunately” at the forthcoming NPT review conference.

KYODO NEWSkyodonews.com

Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi of Thailand, the chair of a UN working group on nuclear disarmament, accepts a global parliamentary appeal from Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in Geneva on May 3, 2016. / Wikimedia Commons

“You can’t have nuclear disarmament without the nuclear weapon states in that system. And that’s why, for the time being, the only treaty that has been accepted by at least five nuclear weapon states, that includes obligations on nuclear disarmament, is the NPT,” Gustavo Zlauvinen said in a recent exclusive interview with Kyodo News.

There is a “huge difference” between the NPT and the pact, Zlauvinen said, adding that it is necessary to make distinctions between the two treaties and “try not to erode the validity and the legitimacy of the NPT.”

He also noted that some members of the NPT are opposed to any reference to the nuclear ban pact at the review conference to be convened early next year and indicated that a wide gap between nuclear power states and those pushing for the nuclear ban treaty could be an “issue of contention” at the NPT gathering.

Continue reading

US, Russia to hold latest nuclear arms talks in Finland

“The Finnish president’s office says the United States and Russia will hold a round of nuclear arms control talks in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, on Monday to follow up on negotiations in Austria this summer

Associated Pressabcnews.com

The office said nuclear arms negotiators from Washington and Moscow met a previous time in Finland in 2017.

“Finland welcomes the negotiators, this time (U.S.) Ambassador (Marshall) Billingslea and (Russian) Deputy Foreign Minister (Sergei) Ryabkov,” the statement said, adding that Niinisto would meet both representatives after the talks.

Continue reading

Revival of Renewables Sought in Debate Over Nuclear Bailout

“Most of the effects of the law at the heart of a $60 million Statehouse bribery scandal are set to take effect Jan. 1. The law generally creates or expands consumer-fueled subsidies for legacy nuclear and coal-fired power plants in Ohio and offsets those costs by rolling back and eliminating existing surcharges designed to create markets for renewable sources like wind and solar and reduce energy consumption overall.”

Jim Provancelimaohio.com

COLUMBUS — EDP Renewables North America, the world’s fourth-largest wind developer, invested more than $700 million into projects in Paulding and Hardin counties when Ohio first rolled out the red carpet.

But more recent signals from the state — including last year’s passage of the $1 billion bailout of two nuclear plants — have convinced the company to look elsewhere for its future investments.

“HB 6 created a false dichotomy — that Ohio must sacrifice a clean-energy future at the expense of its energy past,” Erin Bowser, EDP’s director of project management, on Wednesday told a House of Representatives select committee now considering repealing House Bill 6.

Continue reading

Nuclear Power: A Gargantuan Threat

“But if we are truly to have a world free of the horrific threat of nuclear arms, the goal needs to be more. A world free of the other side of the nuclear coin – nuclear power –is also necessary. Radical? Yes, but consider the even more radical alternative: a world where many nations will be able to have nuclear weapons because they have nuclear technology. And the world continuing to try using carrots and sticks to try to stop nuclear proliferation — juggling on the road to nuclear catastrophe.

KARL GROSSMANindependentaustralia.net

Risk to the Earth from nuclear power sees the Doomsday Clock ticking ever closer to midnight, doomsday (Image via YouTube)

At the start of 2020, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight — the closest to midnight, doomsday, since the clock started in 1947.

There are two gargantuan threats — the climate crisis and nuclear weapons/nuclear power.

The only realistic way to secure a future for the world without nuclear war is for the entire planet to become a nuclear-free zone — no nuclear weapons, no nuclear power. A nuclear-free Earth.

How did India get an atomic bomb in 1974? Canada supplied a reactor and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission provided heavy water for it under the U.S. so-called “Atoms for Peace” program. From the reactor, India got the plutonium for its first nuclear weapon.

Any nation with a nuclear facility can use plutonium produced in it to construct nuclear arms.

Continue reading

Nuclear Media

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

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.

Critical Events

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

New & Updated

‘Devastating’: Top Pentagon leadership gutted as fears rise over national security

“Trio of resignations follow defense secretary’s firing.

BY: LARA SELIGMAN and DANIEL LIPPMAN | politico.com

The Pentagon | Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

The firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper kicked off a rapid-fire series of high-level departures at the Pentagon on Tuesday, setting off alarms on Capitol Hill that the White House was installing loyalists to carry out President Donald Trump’s wishes during an already tense transition.

In quick succession, top officials overseeing policy, intelligence and the defense secretary’s staff all had resigned by the end of the day Tuesday, replaced by political operatives who are fiercely loyal to Trump and have trafficked in “deep state” conspiracy theories.

Fears continue to swirl over what these newly installed leaders will do as Trump fights the results of last week’s election, and after he has shown he is willing to use troops to solve political problems.

Tuesday’s exodus led one top Democrat to accuse the administration of gutting the Pentagon in a way that could be “devastating” for national security.

“It is hard to overstate just how dangerous high-level turnover at the Department of Defense is during a period of presidential transition,” said House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith. “If this is the beginning of a trend — the President either firing or forcing out national security professionals in order to replace them with people perceived as more loyal to him — then the next 70 days will be precarious at best and downright dangerous at worst.”

Continue reading

NNSA Administrator Fired While on Leave; Energy Secretary Tracked Her for Months

“After Brouillette and Gordon-Hagerty feuded last winter over the size of the NNSA’s budget — a contest that broke in Gordon-Hagerty’s favor when President Donald Trump requested roughly $20 billion as she recommended, instead of the $17.5 billion Brouillette preferred — Trump’s second secretary of energy tightened his grip over the NNSA in ways that his predecessor, Rick Perry had not.”

BY: EXCHANGEMONITOR

Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette kept close tabs on then-National Nuclear Security Administration boss Lisa Gordon-Hagerty for months, sending chaperones to her meetings with Congress and monitoring her personal calendar before abruptly demanding her resignation last week, a source told Weapons Complex Morning Briefing.

It was a dramatic end to a year of strife between the two, who clashed over the size of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) budget and provided the Washington nuclear policy establishment with the latest experimental data about exactly how much autonomy the NNSA and its nuclear weapons programs have from the broader DOE’s nuclear-cleanup and energy programs.
Continue reading

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott objects to nuclear waste facility proposed in Permian Basin

“The proposed ISP facility imperils America’s energy security because it would be a prime target for attacks by terrorists, saboteurs, and other enemies,” read [Gov. Abbott’s] letter. “Spent nuclear fuel is currently scattered across the country at various reactor sites and storage installations.”

BY: Adrian Hedden | Carlsbad Current-Argus

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continued to voice his disapproval against nuclear waste storage in the Permian Basin region in a letter last week to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) opposing such a project in Andrews, Texas.

Interim Storage Partners (ISP), a joint venture between Waste Control Specialists and Orano USA, was formed in 2018 to request the NRC resume evaluation of an application submitted originally in 2016 to build a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) that would hold spent nuclear fuel rods temporarily at the surface while a permanent repository is developed.

Abbott has been a frequent critic of the concept of a CISF and of siting such a facility in the Permian Basin, writing a letter to President Donald Trump in September to oppose CISFs in both Texas and New Mexico.

Continue reading

Possible Link between Star Athlete’s Cancer Connected to Radioactive Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Next Door

Was DOE uranium enrichment plant responsible for star athlete’s cancer death?

BY:  

Was a star athlete's cancer connected to a facility next door? (Larry Farmer/WKRC)
Was a star athlete’s cancer connected to a facility next door? (Larry Farmer/WKRC)

PIKETON, Ohio (WKRC) – For the first time, Larry Farmer, the father of a local, All-American baseball pitcher, sat down for an exclusive interview with Local 12’s Chief Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman to talk about the life and death of his famous son, Zach Farmer, who passed away from leukemia five years ago, blaming his death on radioactive elements he believes drifted to his former family home from the now-closed Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

A LEGEND THAT LIVED TO BE ON THE MOUND

Larry says Zach — the legendary southpaw from Piketon — was a natural from the beginning.

“No one could hit off him,” Larry said with a grin, adding that his son would routinely have 15 to 19 strikeouts a game, often leading the Piketon Red Streaks to victory.

“He lived to be on the mound,” his dad said, looking away and pausing to recall his son’s brilliant playing days.

At Piketon High School, Zach achieved more than nearly every other baseball player in Ohio history, including 599 strikeouts (No. 2 in Ohio High School Athletic Association history) and an overall record of 38-7, (No. 3 on the OHSAA list). He was even incredible at the plate with a head-spinning .505 batting average.

Continue reading

Michèle Flournoy could become the first woman to run the Pentagon. Here’s what would change.

“Nuclear modernization plans may change. Flournoy’s desire for a strong deterrent for China includes a nuclear deterrent. But given the costs of the ongoing nuclear modernization strategy, Flournoy wants to consider all options.

BY:  

WASHINGTON — On June 20, 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden delivered keynote remarks at an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security, the think tank founded and, at that point, led by Michèle Flournoy.

Flournoy introduced Biden, praising him as a national security thinker and noting the ties between his staff at the White House and CNAS. Biden, in turn, acknowledged the little-kept secret of the defense world: that Flournoy was in line to become the first woman to serve as defense secretary under President Hillary Clinton.

“Well, madam secretary,” Biden said with a laugh as the crowd applauded. “I’m writing a recommendation for her, you know.”

The Clinton administration never materialized, following the election of President Donald Trump. But four years later, president-elect Biden is widely expected to fulfill his promise and tap Flournoy to lead the U.S. military.

Continue reading

Safety Board Notes “Hard Shutdown” of the Key Cesium-Removal Step during Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) Startup; For Second Time, DOE Failed to Publicly Reveal Operational Problems with SWPF, Shaking Trust in DOE’s Reporting about Status of Key High-Level Waste Management Facility

“Given the importance of SWPF and this initial phase of its operation, updates must be frequent and honest by DOE, not delayed and incomplete,” – Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch

Columbia, South Carolina – An independent safety board that monitors activities of the U.S. Department of Energy reports a “hard shutdown” during the initial startup of cesium removal from high-level nuclear waste at the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) at DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS).

This is the second time that DOE has failed to mention a significant startup problem at SWPF, potentially undermining trust in its reporting to the public on the initial operations of this key facility to process liquid high-level nuclear waste, according to the public interest organization Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch).  SWPF began “hot commissioning” involving radioactive liquid on October 5, 2020.

Continue reading

Experts: Nuclear waste storage a concern in New Mexico, Southwest

Several nuclear waste experts are urging members of Congress and the public to oppose any proposals to transport highly radioactive nuclear waste from power plants to temporary or long-term storage sites.

BY: Michael Gerstein mgerstein@sfnewmexican.com 

Researchers with multiple groups dedicated to analyzing the potential consequences of nuclear waste storage said Friday they have major concerns with plans to transport spent fuel to other parts of the country — even for permanent storage at a place such as Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Work on the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository has been stalled for nearly a decade.

Waste is gathered at about 80 sites across the nation as the federal government continues looking for a permanent solution for highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel, spurring environmental and health worries.

The issue is of critical concern for New Mexico because Florida-based Holtec International has proposed creating a temporary storage facility about halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs, where nuclear waste would be stored until the federal government forms a permanent facility.

Continue reading

LANL Tritium Venting, Middle DP Road And Consent Order Dominate NMED Community Engagement Meeting

More than 100 people tuned in to a virtual community engagement meeting hosted by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Thursday evening where the proposed venting of four flanged tritium waste containers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, contain at Middle DP Road and the 2016 Consent Order were the main topics addressed.

BY: MAIRE O’NEILL 

Stephanie Stringer, NMED Resource Protection Division Director, discussed a temporary authorization request from LANL for the venting of four flanged tritium waste containers currently stored at LANL. She said the containers were packaged at LANL’s Weapon Engineering Tritium Facility in 1996 and 1997 and were moved to Technical Area 54 in 2007.

Stringer said radiolysis of tritiated water in the containers over time has potentially resulted in hazardous concentrations of flammable hydrogen and oxygen mixture in the headspace of the FTWCs. She said the containers where they’re stored right now do not meet the Department of Transportation requirements and cannot be moved without releasing that pressure or treating the waste containers, so they need to be vented prior to transport, treatment and final disposal.

Continue reading

USAF Plans To Expand Nuclear Bomber Bases

“It is difficult to imagine a military justification for such an increase in the number of nuclear bombers – even without New START.”

BY: HANS KRISTENSEN 

Posted on Nov.17, 2020 in Arms Control, B-2, B-21, B-52, bombers, Nuclear Weapons, Russia, United States by Hans M. Kristensen

The US Air Force is working to expand the number of strategic bomber bases that can store nuclear weapons from two today to five by the 2030s.

The plan will also significantly expand the number of bomber bases that store nuclear cruise missiles from one base today to all five bombers bases by the 2030s.

The expansion is the result of a decision to replace the non-nuclear B-1B bombers at Ellsworth AFB and Dyess AFB with the nuclear B-21 over the next decade-and-a-half and to reinstate nuclear weapons storage capability at Barksdale AFB as well.

The expansion is not expected to increase the total number of nuclear weapons assigned to the bomber force, but to broaden the infrastructure to “accommodate mission growth,” Air Force Global Strike Command Commander General Timothy Ray told Congress last year.

Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons Have Always Been Immoral. Now They’re Illegal.

On 7 July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Just over three years later, the TPNW reached the 50 national ratifications needed to become international law. The treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2012, and nuclear weapons will become officially illegal under international law. This day will represent a culmination of years of campaigning for nuclear weapons to be reframed as a collective humanitarian problem, one which requires prohibition and elimination, rather than a national military defense asset that needs to be managed and even upgraded.

Continue reading

U.S. Nuclear Bomb Overseer Quits After Clash With Energy Chief

“Her resignation came after a budget dispute between the NNSA and Brouillette and other officials spilled into the open earlier this year.”

BY: and  

Lisa E Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security. (CREDIT: Reuters)

The U.S. official overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile resigned Friday after clashing with Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of Energy for nuclear security, resigned after being told by Brouillette’s office that President Donald Trump had lost faith in her ability to do her job, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Some administration officials were disappointed that she’d been pushed out, saying that she was widely viewed by those in her field as capable, the people said.

Continue reading

THE CARCINOGENIC, MUTAGENIC, TERATOGENIC AND TRANSMUTATIONAL EFFECTS OF TRITIUM

“The dangers of tritium come from inhalation, ingestion, and absorption… when the radionuclide unites with carbon in the human body, plants, or animals, it becomes organically bound (OBT) and can remain in the human body for 450 to 650 days. One study found traces of tritium in the body 10 years after exposure.”

Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s Critique of Some NNSA Answers to Questions on LANL’s Planned Tritium Releases

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) proposes to vent up to 114,000 curies of radioactive tritium gas to the open atmosphere while claiming that it poses no public health and safety risks. Public outcry and congressional pressure prompted the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to host a public information virtual meeting on this issue on October 20. Due to the overwhelming turnout of some 150 interested citizens and ear-splitting technical difficulties NNSA is holding another public virtual meeting at 5:00 pm Thursday November 5.

Interested citizens can join the discussion at https://www.lanl.gov/environment/flanged-tritiumwaste-containers.shtml

If you wish to speak or ask questions you should pre-register at the same site.

Continue reading

What If We Have A Nuclear War?

Browse the WatchBlog

Must Reads

My Journey at the Nuclear Brink

My Journey at the Nuclear Brink by William J. PerryWilliam J. Perry [Former Secretary of Defense]

Published by Stanford Security Studies, Nov. 2015

Perry argues that nuclear weapons now “endanger our society rather than securing it.” He is one of the founders, along with Sam Nunn, George Schultz, and Henry Kissinger, of the Nuclear Security Project.

In his own words:

“This book is a selective memoir of my experiences with nuclear weapons and nuclear crises, and its purpose is to alert the public to the real and growing dangers of a nuclear catastrophe. I hope you will read this book and learn from it. But I realize that this book, even if effective, will reach only a small audience. In particular, it will reach very few of our young people. The problems I have described are going to be with us for decades, so our young people must play a key role in dealing with them.

Therefore I have undertaken to put these concepts into a form more widely accessible and available to young people. I am doing this through the William J. Perry Project, whose goal is mass education on nuclear dangers… For some years I have taught a course at Stanford about nuclear dangers, and I am now developing that course into an online course that has the potential to reach not just hundreds of students, but hundreds of thousands… The broader series of educational materials under development is called “Nuclear Weapons: 20th-Century History, 21st-Century Decisions,” or 20-21 for short. We not only want people to understand the history, but to engage in current-day issues facing the United States, such as the impending nuclear arms race and the danger of a resumption of nuclear testing.

I hope to encourage young people to take the baton I am trying to pass to them. My generation created this existential problem- their generation must find a way to solve it.”

 

Los Alamos: A Whistleblower’s Diary

Los Alamos: A Whistleblower’s Diary, by Chuck Montaño, released April 28, 2015. Order your copy from Amazon, or better yet, from the author directly.

“A shocking account of foul play, theft and abuse at our nation’s premier nuclear R&D installation, uncovering a retaliatory culture where those who dare to question pay with their careers and, potentially, their lives.
Tommy was unrecognizable. His face was swollen, bruised, and stained with blood, his eyes barely visible through ballooning eyelids and a broken jaw. On his cheek was a ghostly imprint- the tread mark of someone’s shoe. Suddenly, with a slight movement of his hand, Tommy waved me in closer to hear him. Speaking softly through lips that barely moved, he said, ‘Be careful . . . They kept telling me to keep my fucking mouth shut; they kept telling me to keep my fucking mouth shut,’ he repeated.”

read more excerpts at the book’s website

Radio interview with Chuck Montaño on the book: KSFR Santa Fe.

Chuck Montaño was given the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s Whistleblower Award in Washington DC on April 19, 2016.

 

Quotes

“The riskiest period of the Cold War was its earliest stages, when military and political leaders didn’t yet fully understand the nature of what Hiroshima had demonstrated. Emerging technologies like AI [artificial intelligence] threaten to plunge us back into that uncertainty.”

Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard is a 52-minute documentary produced by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and written and directed by Bryan Leichhardt.
Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard is a 52-minute documentary produced by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and written and directed by Bryan Leichhardt.

How new tech raises the risk of nuclear war

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some experts believe the risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is as high now as it has been since the Cuban missile crisis. | axios.com

The reason we haven’t had nuclear disasters isn’t careful planning. It’s luck.

The United States tests a thermonuclear bomb on Nov. 1, 1952, in the Marshall Islands. (Los Alamos National Laboratory/AP) (AP)

“Betting on another half-century with nuclear weapons, but with no new nuclear explosions, is not betting on succeeding twice at a game of control after a first victory. It’s betting our luck won’t run out in the future — simply because it hasn’t run out yet.”

The reason we haven’t had nuclear disasters isn’t careful planning. It’s luck. The alarming role of good fortune in the history o nuclear weapons | washingtonpost.com

“Trump is dedicated to destroying the arms control regime. It may already be too late to renegotiate [the new START treaty], the last of the arms control treaties. He is now threatening to carry out nuclear weapons tests, tests that would undermine the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, almost 30 years. The United States never ratified it, but it has lived up to it. All of this opens the door wider for other countries to react the same way. The arms industry is of course euphoric. They’re getting huge new contracts to develop major weapons to destroy all of us. This encourages others to do the same. So there are new contracts down the road for hopeless means to try to defend ourselves against the monstrosities that we’re helping to construct. This is Trump, racing toward this, apparently enjoying it…Whether this can be contained within the constitutional structures of the United States, we don’t know.”

Noam Chomsky on Trump’s Troop Surge to Democratic Cities & Whether He’ll Leave Office if He Loses

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”

Robert Oppenheimer on the Trinity test; interview in The Decision to Drop the Bomb, Atomic Archive movie