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.

PBS Special: The Vow From Hiroshima

Where the film “Oppenheimer” failed to explore the devastating impact of nuclear destruction on victims and the environment, "The Vow From Hiroshima" offers a poignant and timely counter-narrative. It shares an intimate, uplifting glimpse into the life of Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the atomic bombing who dedicated her life to peace and the elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Special on PBS |

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

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

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

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

Briefing: Plutonium Migration at the Los Alamos National Laboratory

Plutonium Sampling at Los Alamos National Laboratory

New & Updated

“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

Searchlight New Mexico – The ABCs of a nuclear education

New Mexico’s local colleges are training students to work in a plutonium pit factory. What does this mean for their future — and the world’s?

By, SEARCHLIGHT NEW MEXICO | June 7, 2023 searchlightnm.org

Searchlight New Mexico - The ABCs of a nuclear education

Illustration by Kevin Beaty

Every day, thousands of people from all parts of El Norte make the vertiginous drive up to Los Alamos National Laboratory. It’s a trek that generations of New Mexicans have been making, like worker ants to the queen, from the eastern edge of the great Tewa Basin to the craggy Pajarito Plateau.

All in the pursuit of “good jobs.”

Some, inevitably, are bound for that most secretive and fortified place, Technical Area 55, the very heart of the weapons complex — home to PF-4, the lab’s plutonium handling facility, with its armed guards, concrete walls, steel doors and sporadic sirens. To enter “the plant,” as it’s known, is to get as close as possible to the existential nature of the nuclear age.

Over the next few years, the Los Alamos Plutonium Facility (PF-4) will undergo a paradigm shift to a large-scale production facility for weapon components, with the largest number of workers in its history. NNSA is investing billions of dollars in production-related infrastructure at Los Alamos, and the Board is continuing to urge commensurate investment in the safety infrastructure needed to ensure workers and the public are adequately protected from potential accidents at PF-4.

 THE DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD

For 40 years, some 250 workers were tasked, mostly, with research and design. But a multibillion-dollar mission to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal has brought about “a paradigm shift,” in the words of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a federal watchdog. Today, the plant is in the middle of a colossal expansion — growing from a single, aged building to what the safety board calls “a large-scale production facility for weapon components with the largest number of workers in its history.”


Safe Storage Key to Dealing with Waste, Climate Change

“Much has been written about constructing a nuclear waste storage facility in southeastern New Mexico. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already granted Holtec an initial license for construction and for a similar facility in west Texas. The mayor of Carlsbad, speaking also for Hobbs, has written a letter supporting this. This facility would be halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs. Nuclear Watch NM and the Los Alamos Study Group oppose the facility…”

BY ABQ JOURNAL NEWS STAFF, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL | April 23, 2023 – Updated June 7, 2023 abqjournal.com

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and our congressional delegation have all spoken against it. Senate Bill 53, signed into law this session, bans such facilities in the state.

Atomic journalism: C&J co-sponsors conference on nuclear reporting

“New Mexico provides a particularly relevant space for this event. For instance, participants will learn about the history and the social, health, and economic impact of the Trinity nuclear test in 1945 for south central communities,” C&J Department Chair Ilia Rodriguez Nazario said.

In addition to Rodriguez Nazario featured at this unique event, local speakers are coming from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nuclear Watch New Mexico and the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium. Covering the Atomic File is also welcoming experts from the National Security Council, the International Red Cross, Stanford University and George Washington University.

BY SAVANNAH PEAT, UNM NEWS | June 5, 2023 news.unm.edu

Whether it was the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War or even New Mexico’s own Manhattan Project, nuclear tensions have been a longstanding component of international relations. Across each of these situations, journalists have been at the forefront of carefully understanding and reporting nuclear crises.

New Mexico: America’s Nuclear Colony

Money doesn’t talk, it swears. (Bob Dylan)

Quick Facts

Nuclear New Mexico

• DOE FY 2024 budget in NM is $10 billion (double next state).
– 75% core nuclear weapons research and production programs
– 28% life extended and new-design nuclear warheads ($2.65B)
– 20% expanded nuclear weapons production ($2 billion)
– $1.75B expanded plutonium “pit” bomb core production
– 5% for dumping radioactive bomb wastes (WIPP $484 million)
• Expanding nuclear weapons programs sold as jobs, jobs, jobs
• Los Alamos County (LAC) 70.6% non-Hispanic Caucasian
• LAC is 11th richest county in USA, most millionaires per capita
• Los Alamos County median household income $123,677
• Los Alamos County per capita income $64,521
• Los Alamos County persons in poverty 3.7%
• Los Alamos County has least children living in poverty in USA
• Los Alamos County rated best county to live in in USA
• Historically LAC schools subsidized added $8 million/yr from DOE
• LAC receives >$50 million in annual state gross receipts taxes
• Dept of Energy renewable spending in NM is 0.5% of $10B budget
• Indigenous and Hispanic lands unjustly seized for LANL
• World’s first atomic bomb detonated at Trinity Test
• 75 years still no govt tally of sick Navajo/Laguna uranium miners
• At least 8,280 sick Los Alamos and Sandia Labs workers
• Major hexavalent chromium groundwater contamination at LANL
• LANL plans to “cap and cover” and leave >200,000 yd3 of waste
• USA’s largest repository of warheads 2 miles south of ABQ airport
• Nation’s only plutonium “pit” bomb core production site at LANL
• Nation’s only dump for bomb wastes at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
• NM targeted for all of nation’s lethal radioactive high-level wastes

New Mexico

• NM’s entire FY24 state operating budget is 6% less ($9.4 billion).
– 54% public education K-12 and higher
– 34% public health and safety

• NM per capita income falls from 32nd (1959) to 47th (2022)
• New Mexico 50% Hispanic, 11.2% Native American
• New Mexico 4th poorest state
• Median household income $54,020
• Average per capita income $29,624
• New Mexicans in poverty 18.4% (3rd highest in USA)
• 30% of New Mexican children live in poverty (highest rate in USA).
• New Mexico rated worst in well-being of children
• New Mexico is dead last in quality of public education
• Six surrounding county govts suffer net economic loss from LANL
• New Mexico has very abundant renewable energy resources
• DOE transfers excess land to white, wealthy Los Alamos County
• Generational cancers, Downwinders never compensated
• Chronically delayed remediation of 260 uranium mines and 7 mills

• NM facing decreasing water resources and increasing wildfires
• Lab commonly hires away senior NM Environment Dept officials
• >$5B for plutonium facilities, more than all NM schools & hospitals
• DOE threatens to sue NM over new WIPP state permit conditions
• Federal Nuclear Reg. Comm. grants license despite state opposition

New Mexico: America’s Nuclear Colony

New Mexico is the birthplace place of nuclear weapons. The “Land of Enchantment” has always been the single most important state within the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. The Department of Energy (DOE) will spend $10 billion in NM in FY 2024, 6% more than the operating budget of the entire state government.

Continue reading

Los Alamos Reporter – Triad Hit By DOE With Preliminary Notice Of Violation For 5 Nuclear Safety Issues At Plutonium Facility PF4 In 2021

“Under Work Processes, the document says contrary to the requirements, Triad failed to perform work consistent with the approved instructions, procedures or other appropriate needs.”

BY MAIRE O’NEILL, LOS ALAMOS REPORTER | May 31, 2023 losalamosreporter.com

Plutonium Facility PF4 at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Photo Courtesy LANL

Jill Hruby, the Department of Energy Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration has issued a preliminary notice of violation (PNOV) to Triad National Security, LLC citing five Severity Level II violations linked to four nuclear safety events between February and July 2021 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Plutonium Facility PF4.

A DOE investigation into the facts and circumstances associated with the four events alleges multiple violations of DOE nuclear safety requirements by Triad National Security, LLC, the management and operations contractor for LANL. The events were summarized as follows:

On February 11, 2021, fissionable materials placed in an area contrary to the criticality safety posting exceeded criticality safety mass-control requirements.

On March 3, 2021, a glove breach released radioactive contamination resulting in skin contamination of three workers.

On March 31, 2021, an over-filled water bath resulted in flooding of a vault containing fissionable materials.

Lastly, on July 19, 2021, a water tank for the wet vacuum system in LANL’s PF4 overflowed into the negative pressure chilled cooling water (NPCCW) tank, which then flowed into the glovebox ventilation system that supplies multiple rooms and gloveboxes containing fissionable materials.

Washington Post – Opinion: Nuclear dangers are rising once more. Here’s how the U.S. should respond.

“…The nuclear arms control treaties that did so much to reduce the danger at the end of the Cold War are now disintegrating. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987, the first to liquidate an entire class of nuclear-armed missiles, ended in 2019 with U.S. withdrawal under President Donald Trump over alleged Russian violations.”

By the Editorial Board | May 31, 2023 washingtonpost.com

The world is sliding into a new age of nuclear risk — in which miscalculation or accident could lead to catastrophe. The great progress the nuclear powers made in the 1990s through arms control and nonproliferation, reducing nuclear weapons and securing loose materials, is being undone.

The latest retreat came in Minsk, Belarus, on May 25, when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin signed a formal agreement paving the way for Russia to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. These are short-range nuclear weapons such as artillery shells, bombs and missiles for use in battlefield operations — not the long-range weapons deployed on intercontinental missiles. It is not known when Russia will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, but the agreement seems to represent the latest act of saber-rattling by President Vladimir Putin since he invaded Ukraine last year. Mr. Putin had earlier said that Belarus would have nuclear facilities ready by July 1 and that Russia would remain in control of them. The United States maintains about 100 tactical nuclear weapons at six bases across five NATO countries.

US urged not to use bomb-grade uranium in nuclear power experiment

“It is shocking that the Energy Department, without even notifying the public, would undermine a decades-old, bipartisan U.S. policy to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” said Alan Kuperman, a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, who organized the letter.

By , REUTERS | May 30, 2023 reuters.com

Undated publicity photograph shows the "material and fuels complex" facility at the The Idaho National Laboratory
An undated publicity photograph released to Reuters on November 8, 2011 shows the “material and fuels complex” facility at the The Idaho National Laboratory, a U.S. Energy Department nuclear research site in eastern Idaho. REUTERS/Idaho National Laboratory/Handout/File Photo

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) – Former U.S. State Department and nuclear regulatory officials on Tuesday urged the U.S. Energy Department to reconsider a plan to use bomb-grade uranium in a nuclear power experiment, saying that its use could encourage such tests in other countries.

The Energy Department and two companies aim to share costs on the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE) at the Idaho National Laboratory and use more than 1,322 pounds (600 kg) of fuel containing 93% enriched uranium.

CNN – Lukashenko offers nuclear weapons to nations willing ‘to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus’

“We must do everything to prevent Putin’s plan to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus…It directly violates our constitutional non-nuclear status and would secure Russia’s control over Belarus for years ahead. And it would further threaten the security of Ukraine and all of Europe,” — exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

By  and , CNN | May 28, 2023 cnn.com

Lukashenko offers nuclear weapons to nations willing ‘to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus’(CNN)—Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that nations who are willing “to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus” will be given nuclear weapons, days after confirming the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow to Minsk had begun.

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the comments in an on-camera interview released Sunday on the state-run Russia 1 channel.

During the interview, Lukashenko said, “no one minds Kazakhstan and other countries having the same close relations that we have with the Russian Federation.”

“It’s very simple,” he added. “Join the Union State of Belarus and Russia. That’s all: there will be nuclear weapons for everyone.”

Stronger Global Governance is the Only Way to a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

“We can begin uncovering this route to a safer, saner world when we recognize that a great many people and governments cling to nuclear weapons because of their desire for national security. After all, it has been and remains a dangerous world, and for thousands of years nations (and before the existence of nations, rival territories) have protected themselves from aggression by wielding military might….

But what if global governance were strengthened to the extent that it could provide national security? ”

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY/Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press) HISTORY NEWS NETWORK | May 21, 2023 historynewsnetwork.org

Some of the 800 members of Women Strike for Peace who marched at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan to demand UN mediation of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

It should come as no surprise that the world is currently facing an existential nuclear danger.  In fact, it has been caught up in that danger since 1945, when atomic bombs were used to annihilate the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Today, however, the danger of a nuclear holocaust is probably greater than in the past.  There are now nine nuclear powers―the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea―and they are currently engaged in a new nuclear arms race, building ever more efficient weapons of mass destruction.  The latest entry in their nuclear scramble, the hypersonic missile, travels at more than five times the speed of sound and is adept at evading missile defense systems.

ACTION ALERTS

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.

New Nuclear Media: Art, Films, Books & More