NukeWatch Fact Sheets and Documents

Atomic Histories & Nuclear Testing

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

House Passes $768 Billion Defense Policy Bill

“I support having by far the strongest military in the world and the good-paying defense jobs in my district that protect our troops,” said Representative Andy Levin, Democrat of Michigan. “But I cannot support ever-increasing military spending in the face of so much human need across our country.”

By: The New York Times | December 7, 2021 

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a $768 billion defense policy bill after lawmakers abruptly dropped proposals that would have required women to register for the draft, repealed the 2002 authorization of the Iraq war and imposed sanctions for a Russian gas pipeline, in a late-year drive to salvage a bipartisan priority.

The legislation, unveiled hours before the vote, put the Democratic-led Congress on track to increase the Pentagon’s budget by roughly $24 billion above what President Biden had requested, angering antiwar progressives who had hoped that their party’s control of the White House and both houses of Congress would lead to cuts to military programs after decades of growth.

Instead, the measure provides significant increases for initiatives intended to counter China and bolster Ukraine, as well as the procurement of new aircraft and ships, underscoring the bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill for continuing to spend huge amounts of federal money on defense initiatives, even as Republicans lash Democrats for spending freely on social programs.

NukeWatch Compilation of the DOE/NNSA FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

LANL FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

Sandia FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

Livermore Lab FY 2020 Budget Chart – Courtesy TriValley CAREs – VIEW

Plutonium Pit Production Fact Sheet - New & Updated

The Facts

• The Trump administration wants the United States to produce at least 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030 without offering any concrete justification for the additional nuclear bomb cores.
• Multiple studies by government agencies have found that pits last for at least 100 years. The average pit age in the active stockpile is less than 40 years old.
• More than 15,000 existing pits are already stored at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, TX.
• Independent experts find it nearly impossible that the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Savannah River Site will be able to meet the unjustified requirement for 80 pits per year by 2030, and billions of taxpayer dollars will be thrown down the drain in the meantime.
Read/Download the full fact sheet HERE 

Plutonium Pit Production Fact Sheet - November

Read/Download the full fact sheet pdf HERE 

Plutonium Pit Production Fact Sheet - July

Read/Download the full fact sheet pdf HERE 

Is Los Alamos Lab Half Empty or Over Full of Radioactive Wastes?

August 22, 2019

The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Environmental Management Los Alamos (EMLA) field office has repeatedly claimed that “> [i.e., more than] ½ of legacy cleanup has been completed.”1 This claim doesn’t explain how this is measured. Does it mean ½ of the time, ½ of the cost, ½ of the sites, or ½ of the wastes? However it is measured, New Mexicans need to know that DOE and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are NOT talking about real comprehensive cleanup.

When EMLA and its cleanup contractor (N3B) talk about cleanup, they mean specific narrow measures for specific sites, including much paperwork and studies instead of actual cleanup. Contrary to EMLA’s self-proclaimed openness and transparency, the claim of greater that half-completed cleanup is based on decisions made without public input to leave the vast majority of radioactive and toxic wastes permanently buried above our precious groundwater.

While some Lab cleanup started in the late 1980s, tracking of the cleanup budget didn’t start until 1997, which is the date used as the beginning of “prior costs” in recent DOE Congressional Budget Requests. 2 EMLA’s current estimated date for completion of planned cleanup is 2037. That would be 22 years down and 18 to go, if we look at 1997 to 2037, which would be ½ of the time if EMLA completes its planned cleanup by 2037. If decisions are made to remove more wastes, which would be the right thing to do, cleanup could last for decades more while generating 100’s of high-paying jobs. Real, comprehensive cleanup would be well worth the wait!

A Tale of Two Consent Orders and What Is Needed

On March 1, 2005, after arduous negotiations and threats of litigation, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), Department of Energy (DOE), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) entered into a Consent Order specifying the schedule for investigation and cleanup of the Lab’s hundreds of contaminated sites.

In June 2016, NMED and LANL signed a new Consent Order that solved many of LANL’s problems by removing fines and enforceable schedules.

Read/Download the full fact sheet pdf HERE 

Worker moves drums of transuranic (TRU) waste at a staging area curtesy

Los Alamos Cleanup

Over the last decade funding for the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL’s) nuclear weapons programs has increased by 20%. However, funding for needed cleanup has remained flat at one-tenth of the $1.9 billion requested for nuclear weapons programs in FY 2019 ($191.6 million requested for cleanup in FY 2019). Continue reading

Expanded Plutonium Pit Production at LANL Will Not Result in Significant Positive Effect On Job Creation and the Regional Economy

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s own documents have explicitly stated that expanded pit production would have no significant positive effect on job creation and the regional economy of northern New Mexico. Nuclear Watch argues that expanded plutonium pit production could actually have negative effect if it blocks other economic alternatives such as comprehensive cleanup, which could be the real job producer.Continue reading

How to Build A Nuke

Plutonium Pit Production at LANL


Plutonium pit production is a chokepoint of resumed U.S. nuclear weapons production. Citizens have defeated four past government attempts to expand pit production. Now Trump promises to increase military spending, and Congress has already required expanded pit production at the Los Alamos Lab regardless of the technical needs of the stockpile. This will enable the continuing evolution of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile with new military capabilities. Trump’s pending federal budget will likely fund new and upgraded plutonium facilities expected to be operational for at least the next half-century. Continue reading

Amicus Brief in Support of Marshall Islands Lawsuit

In April 2015 the U.S. State Department issued a so-called Fact Sheet entitled Myths and Facts Regarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Regime. Its targeted audience was international delegations attending the 2015 NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. Given the increasing dissatisfaction of non-nuclear weapons states, the State Department argued that numerical stockpile reductions since the end of the Cold War is ample evidence that the U.S. is complying with the NPT’s Article VI obligation for nuclear disarmament.Continue reading

As We Head Into the New Year…

December 26, 2020
Dear Friends,

For most of us, the holidays are a time to give thanks, take stock and look forward to a new year. We at Nuclear Watch are doing just that – and we want you to know how grateful we are for your support. Without you, we couldn’t make important strides toward building a safer world and a safer New Mexico.
At a time when sensibilities are being challenged on every front, our well-informed analysis and advocacy are needed now more than ever, especially with the proposed expanded production of plutonium pit triggers. We all can have the world we deserve, but we will need to work toward it. Our ultimate goal is a world free of nuclear weapons, and we have new opportunities.
As the political landscape begins to shift under a new president, we have increased hope that we can better protect the environment as well.
Again, thank you for all your support this past year (and it’s not too late to send a tax-deductible contribution before the end of this year). We are poised to make ever-greater progress in 2021!


Please help us do what we do. Thank you!
Sincerely,  Jay Coghlan, Executive Director
                  Scott Kovac, Research and Operations Director
                  Sophie Stroud, Digital Content Manager and Youth Outreach
Nuclear Watch New Mexico, 903 W. Alameda #325, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Please make checks out to “SRIC”, our fiscal agent. You can also donate online using the button below. All donations are fully tax deductible.

JERRY E. FUENTES, 66, a resident of Truchas who was falsely accused in the 1980s of attempted murder at Los Alamos National Laboratory, passed away in his home surrounded by his family on Thursday, October 15, 2020. He was preceded in death by his mother Floy, his father Gilbert, and his brother Tom Fuentes.

Jerry’s favorite thing to do was go fishing, and he loved the land we live on with a fierceness that showed in his advocacy and stewardship.

He will be missed and loved by his children Adam Fuentes, Matthew Fuentes, grandson Julias Fuentes and his partner Gloria Castillo, sisters Elena Fuentes-Ortiz, Dolores Guzman and brother Patrick Fuentes.

His memory and talent live on in the numerous movies and films in which he was featured.  He fought a valiant battle with cancer which was much longer than any of us realized and that takes its toll on the mind and spirit.

Continue reading

In Memoriam: Ardeth Platte, OP, Will Be Remembered as a Prophet of Peace

Photo by Adam Bird of Bird + Bird Studio.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – September 30, 2020 – Ardeth Platte, OP: justice preacher, peace seeker, teacher, compassionate neighbor and friend stood with people on the margins—God’s people—and helped to lift up their cries again and again, each and every day. As the sun rose this morning, we discovered that God called home our prophet of peace.

Sister Ardeth died in her sleep in the early morning hours of September 30, 2020.

Today, we remember and are grateful for her 66 years as a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, and we grieve as we prepare for a farewell, unexpected in our time. We hold Sr. Ardeth’s family and friends, her religious community, local community, and the global community in which she served in our hearts and prayers. May she rest in the loving embrace of our God.

Sr. Ardeth carried the burdens of the world willingly, preaching love, peace, and human dignity always. She stood for restorative justice and rehabilitation against a broken criminal justice system, even if it meant being imprisoned herself. Her commitment to universal human rights meant living her life fully dedicated to peace and the abolishment of nuclear weapons. She reminded us that hunger is a real and present danger in the United States of America; and she did something about it: sowing and harvesting a garden and offering God’s bounty to neighbors.

Continue reading

Two High-level Nuclear Waste “Interim” Storage sites for nuclear power (‘spent’) nuclear fuel are targeted for New Mexico (company: Holtec) and Texas (company: WCS/ISP)

The rest of the country will also be impacted as the waste must travel to get there through or near your state and region on rails/roads/waterways regularly over the next 40+ years if they open.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is processing both applications, and is now asking for public input on the environmental impacts. Comments were already due on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Holtec and are due on 11-3-2020 on WCS ISP. The draft environmental impact statements both ridiculously claim that most environmental impacts will be ‘small,’ and a very few ‘moderate.’
This is for transport and storage of over 90% of the radioactivity in the nuclear power and weapons fuel chain! It cannot be so minimal.

Read NukeWatch’s Holtec comments here and below:

WCS/ISP comments for the proposed site in west Texas were due November 3, 2020.


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: