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.

“The threat of nuclear war has dangled over humankind for much too long. We have survived so far through luck and brinkmanship. But the old, limited safeguards that kept the Cold War cold are long gone. Nuclear powers are getting more numerous and less cautious. We’ve condemned another generation to live on a planet that is one grave act of hubris or human error away from destruction without demanding any action from our leaders. That must change...

Over the past several months, I’ve been asked, including by colleagues, why I want to raise awareness on nuclear arms control when the world faces so many other challenges — climate change, rising authoritarianism and economic inequality, as well as the ongoing wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Part of the answer is that both of those active conflicts would be far more catastrophic if nuclear weapons were introduced into them...The other answer lies in our recent history. When people around the world in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s began to understand the nuclear peril of that era, a vocal constituency demanded — and achieved — change.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

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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

Banner displaying “Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal” at the entrance in front of the Los Alamos National Lab to celebrate the Entry Into Force of the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty on January 22, 2021

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Follow the Money!

Map of “Nuclear New Mexico”

In 1985, US President Ronald Reagan and Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev declared that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev shake hands after signing the arms control agreement banning the use of intermediate-range nuclear missles, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty.

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

New & Updated

New York Times - Trinity Nuclear Tests Fallout Reached 46 States Canada and Mexico Study Finds

New York Times: Trinity Nuclear Test’s Fallout Reached 46 States, Canada and Mexico, Study Finds

“A new study, released on Thursday ahead of submission to a scientific journal for peer review, shows that the cloud and its fallout went farther than anyone in the Manhattan Project had imagined in 1945. Using state-of-the-art modeling software and recently uncovered historical weather data, the study’s authors say that radioactive fallout from the Trinity test reached 46 states, Canada and Mexico within 10 days of detonation.”

| July 20, 2023 nytimes.com

In July 1945, as J. Robert Oppenheimer and the other researchers of the Manhattan Project prepared to test their brand-new atomic bomb in a New Mexico desert, they knew relatively little about how that mega-weapon would behave.

On July 16, when the plutonium-implosion device was set off atop a hundred-foot metal tower in a test code-named “Trinity,” the resultant blast was much stronger than anticipated. The irradiated mushroom cloud also went many times higher into the atmosphere than expected: some 50,000 to 70,000 feet. Where it would ultimately go was anyone’s guess.

Wester says New Mexico has to lead on nuclear weapon disarmament

“Counting on luck is not a winning strategy,” – Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester.

| July 16, 2023 santafenewmexican.com

040423 jw wester antinuke3.jpg (copy)
Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester stands to denounce nuclear weapons on April 4, 2023, during a community meeting with representatives from Los Alamos National Laboratory at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Wester and representatives of other faiths and anti-nuclear groups organized a prayer and remembrance ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Santa María de la Paz Community Hall on the anniversary of the Trinity test north of Alamogordo and a 1979 uranium mill spill near Church Rock. Jim Weber/New Mexican file photo

On July 16, 1945, the world was changed forever by a flash in the New Mexico desert.

The state’s link to that fateful day — from the builders of the first atomic bomb, to its 1945 detonation in a test at Trinity Site, to the victims of contamination decades later — gives New Mexico a special responsibility to lead the way to a peaceful future free of nuclear weapons, Archbishop of Santa Fe John Wester said Sunday afternoon…

…Seventy-eight years after the device was exploded in a test north of Alamogordo, its reverberations are still being felt. Wester has made nuclear disarmament one of his key causes. He and representatives of other faiths and anti-nuclear groups organized a prayer and remembrance ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Santa María de la Paz Community Hall on the anniversary of the Trinity test north of Alamogordo and a 1979 uranium mill spill near Church Rock.

“These are two examples of nuclear colonialism in rural New Mexican communities and what makes today such a politically and emotionally charged day,” said Myrriah Gómez, author of Nuclear Nuevo México, a book that examines the state’s nuclear history in the context of the Spanish and American colonialism that preceded it.

Gómez said the national laboratories that employ so many New Mexicans could be repurposed to discover cures for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Local Faith Groups To Host Interfaith Vigil Marking Anniversary Of Trinity Nuclear Test July 16 In Santa Fe

Submitted by , LOS ALAMOS DAILY POST | July 7, 2023 ladailypost.com

Nuclear Watch New Mexico News:

SANTA FE — To commemorate the anniversary of the first detonation of an atomic weapon in 1945 at the nearby Trinity Test Site, the complete elimination of nuclear weapons must be prioritized. “From Reflection to Action:

An Interfaith Remembrance of the Trinity Test” will be held at the Santa Maria de la Paz Community Hall in Santa Fe, featuring music, speakers, exhibitions, and moments of reflection and prayer. The free public event is 4-6 p.m. (doors open at 3:15 p.m.), Sunday, July 16, 2023. Pre-registration is encouraged, and the event will be live streamed.

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Russian Nuclear Threat Returns With Kyiv’s Warnings Over Plant

Alarm is intensifying in Kyiv over the possibility that a Russian-occupied nuclear reactor in southern Ukraine could become a target of attack.

By and , BLOOMBERG NEWS | July 5, 2023 bloomberg.com

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reinforced warnings that Russia may be planning to sabotage the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which Moscow’s forces have occupied since the start of the war. In response, the Kremlin accused the government in Kyiv of planning its own provocation. Concern has run high since last month’s destruction of the Kakhovka dam triggered catastrophic flooding and drained a reservoir used for the plant’s cooling system. The UN’s atomic watchdog agency, which has said it’s seen no evidence of explosives, is seeking fresh access to rooftops of reactors and other parts of the complex, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Environment Department Negotiates Settlement Agreement For Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Renewal Permit

“Communities in New Mexico and around the U.S. benefit from the clean-up of legacy waste and its disposal at WIPP,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “The new permit conditions affirm New Mexico’s authority and position that all roads lead from WIPP – we are no longer the last stop for clean-up but the driving force in that process that begins here.”

LOS ALMOS REPORTER | July 2, 2023 losalamosreporter.com

New Mexico Environment Departement NEWS RELEASE

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Salado Isolation Mining Contractors LLC (SIMCO), successfully negotiated a settlement agreement last week with multiple parties that invited a hearing and that opposed the draft 10-year renewal permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) located in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The agreement includes modified conditions that provide greater regulatory oversight, improve safeguards, and authorize disposal of waste in two new underground panels over the next ten-year permit term. The modified conditions also prioritize legacy waste from cleanup activities, including from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

NEW YORK TIMES: The Terror of Threes in the Heavens and on Earth

The tripolar nuclear age could put human survival at risk. But some experts cite a number of three-body lessons from nature — starting with Newton’s — that illuminate the issue and suggest possible ways forward.

By William J. Broad, THE NEW YORK TIMES | June 26, 2023 nytimes.com

NEW YORK TIMES: The Terror of Threes in the Heavens and on EarthPhysicists have long explored how phenomena in groups of three can sow chaos. A new three-body problem, they warn, could lead to not only global races for new armaments but also thermonuclear war. . If achieved, the rise would represent a fivefold increase from the “minimum deterrent” that Beijing possessed for more than a half-century and would make it a nuclear peer of Moscow and Washington.

Dr. Newman calls the tripolar state “much less resilient” than the bipolar standoff. Even so, three-body theorists see a number of ways that the unthinkable might be avoided.

For instance, Dr. Krepinevich, in a Foreign Affairs article last year, argued that Moscow could fade into economic and strategic insignificance, leaving a strong Beijing and Washington to “navigate their way to a new bipolar equilibrium.” The armed revolt over the weekend in Russia drives home not only Moscow’s weakness but the threat of new instability in an atomic superpower.

On a different note, Siegfried S. Hecker , a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico, argued that Washington should aim to deal with the rival superpowers as separate entities.

“I don’t see Russia and China getting together” on atomic strategies, he said. “I see it as two bipolars.” As the Ukraine war rages and Washington has little interaction with Moscow…

Russia mercenary threat revives concern over nuclear arsenal security

“…the safety of these weapons is a persistent worry for Washington. U.S. intelligence agencies said in their 2023 Annual Threat assessment that ‘Russia’s nuclear material security … remains a concern despite improvements to material protection, control, and accounting at Russia’s nuclear sites since the 1990s.'”

JAPAN TIMES | June 25, 2023 japantimes.co.jp

The Wagner mercenary group’s march on Moscow has revived an old fear in Washington: What happens to Russia’s nuclear stockpile in the event of domestic upheaval?

An agreement on Saturday by Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to order his fighters back to their camps quelled immediate worries of major conflict inside Russia. But the episode signaled that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grasp on power is weakening.

Russia thermonuclear bomb scientist dies, Putin boosts nuke force

Grigory Klinishov, who was in his 90s, has reportedly died by suicide in Moscow.

ALJAZEERA | June 22, 2023 aljazeera.com

Russian nuclear physicist Grigory Klinishov, one of the creators of the Soviet Union’s first two-stage thermonuclear bombs, has been found dead in Moscow apparently by suicide, Russia’s state news agencies have reported.

Klinishov, who was in his early 90s, was reported to have died on June 17. A suicide note was found next to his body at an apartment residence in central Moscow, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.

(ABC NEWS) Plan to discharge water into Hudson River from closed nuclear plant sparks uproar; (Spectrum News 1) Legislature approves bill to prohibit disposal of nuclear wastewater in Hudson River

The Indian Point nuclear plant along the Hudson River is at the center of a controversy two years after it was shut down

ABC NEWS – ByMICHAEL HILL Associated Press | June 20, 2023 abcnews.go.com

The latest flashpoint revolves around plans to release 1.3 million gallons of water with traces of radioactive tritium into the river as part of the plant’s decommissioning.


Leg­is­lature approves bill to prohibit disposal of nuclear waste­water in Hudson River

Hudson River

The Legislature passed a bill that would prevent the dumping of nuclear wastewater into the Hudson River. (Spectrum News 1)

SPECTRUM NEWS 1, BY HUDSON VALLEY | June 20, 2023 spectrumlocalnews.com

Santosh Nandabalan, a senior organizer for the environmental group Food & Water Watch, said new legislation that would halt the dumping of all radiological wastewater into the Hudson River is critical to preserving one of the state’s most important ecological features.

“It is a huge threat not only to that water, but to the local communities along the river,” he said. “Then, there’s a vibrant economy that’s linked to this river, which would take a massive hit if that dumping went forward.”

The bill is a response to a plan by Holtec that would dispose of about 300,000 gallons of wastewater into the Hudson in September…

“The Doomsday Machine”: Confessions of Daniel Ellsberg, Former Nuclear War Planner

Daniel Ellsberg was best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers, but he was also a lifelong anti-nuclear activist, stemming from his time working as a nuclear planner for the U.S. government. In December 2017, he joined us to discuss his memoir, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. “This was an actual war plan for how we would use the existing weapons,” he noted, “many of which I had seen already that time.”

| June 20, 2023 democracynow.org

“The Doomsday Machine”: Confessions of Daniel Ellsberg, Former Nuclear War Planner

CNN: Putin warns NATO over being drawn into Ukraine war, says Russia has more nuclear weapons

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned there is a “serious danger” of NATO being drawn further into the Ukraine war if members of the alliance continue to supply military weaponry to Kyiv.

By Zahid Mahmood, CNN | June 17, 2023 cnn.com

…“This is a serious danger of further drawing NATO into this military conflict,” he added.

During his speech to the forum, Putin also suggested Russia’s large number of nuclear weapons would “guarantee” its security – noting that Russia had more such weapons than NATO countries.

Russia has a total stockpile of around 6,250 nuclear warheads as of January 2021, according to the Arms Control Association. The US has more than 5,500 while two other NATO member states, Britain and France, have about 220 and 290 nuclear warheads, respectively.

“Nuclear weapons are created to guarantee our security in the broader sense and the existence of the Russian state,” Putin said.

“But first of all, there is no need and secondly the very fact of talking about it reduces the possibility of the threshold for using these weapons being reduced.”

Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending – New Report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

In its report “Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending” the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons shows in 2022, the year of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nine nuclear-armed states spent $82.9 billion on their nuclear weapons, more than $157,000 per minute, an overall increase of $2.5 billion from 2021.

By | June 12, 2023 icanw.org

Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending - New Report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear WeaponsDownload the Executive Summary
Read the Executive Summary in Italian
Download the full report

Nine countries spent $82.9 billion on nuclear weapons, of which the private sector earned at least $29 billion in 2022. The United States spent more than all of the other nuclear armed states combined, $43.7 billion. Russia spent 22% of what the U.S. did, at $9.6 billion, and China spent just over a quarter of the U.S. total, at $11.7 billion.

This is the fourth annual report documenting massive investments in global nuclear weapons spending. Through an ever-changing and challenging security environment, from security threats of climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nuclear weapons spending has steadily increased, with no resulting measurable improvement on the security environment. If anything, the situation is getting worse.

As companies throw money at lobbyists and researchers to assert the continued relevance and value of nuclear weapons, the record shows the inutility of weapons of mass destruction to address modern security challenges — and the legitimate fear, backed by peer-reviewed scientific evidence, that they can end global civilisation as we know it.

Los Alamos labs contractor settles state violation; has federal notice for more issues – Source NM

New allegations from 2021 include contamination issues, flooding, improper staffing and dismissing hazardous waste protocols

 | June 12, 2023 sourcenm.com

As contractors at Los Alamos National Lab resolved allegations of mislabeling hazardous waste in 2020 after a New Mexico Environment Department inspection, federal overseers recently reported additional significant safety violations from 2021.

Triad National Security, LLC is a contractor that manages the national lab, including LANL’s plutonium weapons program. Triad is co-owned by the Battelle Memorial Institute, Texas A&M University System, and the University of California.

On May 31, Triad and New Mexico’s environment department agreed to a $20,000 settlement, after the agency alleged Triad violated state laws during a 2020 inspection.

ICAN: The U.S. Spent $43.7 Billion on Nuclear Weapons Last Year—More Than EVERY Other Nuclear-Armed Nation COMBINED

A new report from the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons shows that the world’s nine nuclear-armed countries spent a total of $82.9 billion on nuclear weapons, “of which the private sector earned at least $29 billion in 2022.” The United States spent more than all of the other nuclear armed states combined, $43.7 billion. Russia spent 22% of what the U.S. did, at $9.6 billion, and China spent just over a quarter of the U.S. total, at $11.7 billion.

Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending – New Report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

ICAN states, “The nine nuclear-armed states may have wasted $157,644 a minute on nuclear weapons in 2022, but no matter how much they spend, their nuclear weapons remain tools of terror and intimidation propped up by a mythical tale of deterrence that is rapidly unravelling.

“Through an ever-changing and challenging security environment, from security threats of climate change to the Covid-19 pandemic to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nuclear weapons spending has steadily increased, with no resulting measurable improvement on the security environment…If anything, the situation is getting worse.”

“Luck, not reason or strategy, has kept nuclear weapons from being used in warfare for the past 78 years. But we can’t count on our luck to hold in perpetuity.”

If you need any more convincing of this fact, or of how “unacceptably dangerous nine countries’ reliance on nuclear weapons is,” watch this POV video where you’re the President and a nuclear attack is imminent. What do you do?

@kurz_gesagt POV: You’re the President and a nuclear attack is imminent. What do you do? #kurzgesagt #kurzgesagt_inanutshell #inanutshell #kurzgesagt_discover #nuclearwar #nuclearattack #nuclearattackwarning #pov #warzone #atomicbombs #emergency #urgent #decision #now ♬ original sound – Kurzgesagt – In A Nutshell

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New Nuclear Media: Art, Films, Books & More

BACK FROM THE BRINK: ENDING NUCLEAR WEAPONS BEFORE THEY END US

Opportunities Under the Biden Administration to Take Action

EVENT VIDEOS AND RESOURCES: Click below to view video recordings, learning resources and actions you can take to eliminate nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war.

preventnuclearwar.org/enw-resources

Former Nuclear Watch New Mexico Intern Alicia Sanders-Zakre Presentation on What the Entry into Force of the TPNW Mean in the United States: