Watchblog

Watchblog

NNSA Suppresses How Taxpayers Money Is Spent

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has just released cursory two or three page summaries of contractors’ performance paid for by the American taxpayer. For the just ended fiscal year 2023, NNSA gave nothing less than grades of “Excellent” or “Very Good” in six broad mission goals for its major contractors. This is despite the... Continue reading

U.S. Strategic Posture Commission Ratchets Up Nuclear Arms Race

Today, America’s Strategic Posture, The Final Report was released by the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. In its own words: “The Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States was established by the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and concludes that America’s defense strategy... Continue reading

Los Alamos Lab’s Future at a Crossroads: Cleanup or More Nuclear Weapons? NukeWatch Applauds NM State Rejection of Fake Cleanup

Santa Fe, NM – In an important win for genuine cleanup at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has rejected the Lab’s plans for so-called cleanup through “cap and cover.” LANL’s plan would leave existing radioactive and toxic wastes uncharacterized and forever buried in unlined pits and trenches as... Continue reading

DNFSB Recommendation February 8, 2024 – Excerpts Pertaining to LANL

Published 2/8/24 in the Federal Register at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2024-02-08/pdf/2024-02513.pdf Pre-published at: https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2024-02513.pdf Page numbers below are from that. All excerpts are verbatim. DNFSB Recommendation 2003-01 Onsite Transportation Safety [TSD = “Transportation Safety Document” MAR = “Materials at Risk”, typically plutonium] Page 2: however, more work is necessary to ensure the LANL TSD appropriately identifies all hazards, analyzes... Continue reading

As New Mexicans Struggle, Sen. Heinrich is Proud of Nuclear Weapons Money

Sen. Heinrich is so proud of all of the nuclear weapons money in New Mexico. He is one of the chief congressional architects of expanded production of plutonium “pit” bomb cores and sits on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee from where he can direct $$billions to the Sandia and Los Alamos Labs. But... Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons Issues & The Accelerating Arms Race: January 2024

FEDERAL BUDGET NEWS Half of the federal budget (including Energy and Water appropriations which funds DOE) shuts down January 19 and the other half February 2 if a Continuing Resolution (CR) is not reached. House Speaker Johnson agreed to a previous funding agreement with the Biden Administration but the so-called Freedom Caucus is now in... Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons Issues & The Accelerating Arms Race: December 2023

Nuclear weapons issues Final conference by Senate and House Armed Services Committee deleted expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act that would have covered Trinity Test Downwinders, among others. In contrast, it authorized tens of billions for expanding nuclear weapons programs. So, it’s nothing for those harmed by nuclear weapons testing and production in New... Continue reading

Homily and Statement by Archbishop Wester to the Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On November 29, 2023, the 34th anniversary of the death of Dorothy Day, and in conjunction with the Second Meeting of the State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester gave a homily on nuclear disarmament at Our Church of the Savior near the United... Continue reading

The Second Meeting of States Parties on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Since the invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, to the recent situation in Israel/Gaza, the risk of impending nuclear war has been a reality considered by many for the first time.  As stated at a side event during the weeklong meeting of States Parties on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) held last week... Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons Issues & The Accelerating Arms Race: November 2023

Nuclear Weapons Issues & The Accelerating Arms Race: November 2023

Nuclear weapons issues New bomb: The Pentagon has announced a new nuclear bomb, the B61-13. The B61-12 is now in production and will be forward deployed in Europe. But it has a dial-a-yield that maxes out at 50 kilotons. The new B61-13 will max out at 360 kt to get at hardened deeply buried targets... Continue reading

National Nuclear Security Administration: New Assessments of Major Projects from the Government Accountability Office

National Nuclear Security Administration: Assessments of Major Projects GAO-23-104402 Published: Aug 17, 2023. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 2023. The National Nuclear Security Administration plans to invest over $30 billion in its major projects to modernize the research and production infrastructure supporting the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. This is our first biennial assessment of NNSA’s major projects. As... Continue reading

Breakthrough Study Bolsters RECA Claims for New Mexicans Exposed to Trinity Test Site Radiation

Plutonium Detections From Trinity Test Discovered 78 years After Test – Confirm RECA Must Be Expanded Located in the Tularosa Basin in southern New Mexico, the Trinity Test Site marks the location of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” would have you believe this area is desolate, inhospitable and uninhabited. Contrary... Continue reading

Does New Mexico Deserve Downwinder Status: Definitely Yes, as Evident Via Plutonium Isotopes in 2023 Soil Samples

Michael E. Ketterer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Northern Arizona University , Flagstaff AZ Introduction/objective: to investigate whether plutonium from the July 16, 1945 Trinity Test can be identified in contemporary soils and dusts near the Trinity Site. A proof-of concept study was conducted via a small-scale July 2023 collection of soil samples... Continue reading

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,... Continue reading

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... Continue reading

Holtec International, the U.S. Federal Government, and the State of New Mexico – What Do We Know?

Nuclear power is a trending topic lately. What’s missing from most of these conversations is the nitty gritty details of the nuclear waste produced from nuclear power plants, and how to handle it. In mainstream and social media, nuclear is often hyped up as a climate solution and the issue of what to do with... Continue reading

Biden Releases Record NNSA Nuclear Weapons Budget

President Biden has released his proposed FY 2024 budget for the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous nuclear weapons agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The budget for NNSA’s “Total Weapons Activities” for nuclear weapons research and production programs is slated to increase by 10% to $18.8 billion. Of that $18.8 billion requested for FY 2024,... Continue reading

In Response to Lawsuit, NNSA Releases FY 2022 Performance Evaluation Reports as “Frequently Requested Documents” as Required by FOIA; Reveals Pit Production Schedule is Likely Increasingly Delayed

Today, the National Nuclear Security Administration[1] (NNSA) finally posted its FY 2022 Performance Evaluation Reports to its electronic “FOIA Reading Room.” These reports are “Frequently Requested Documents” as defined by the Freedom of Information Act (meaning three or more requests) and are therefore required to be posted under the law. The catalyst for this was... Continue reading

Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s Follow-up to News about the Chromium Plume: Santa Fe New Mexican article, “San Ildefonso governor says halt of plume cleanup will lead to spread onto pueblo”

“Nuclear Watch New Mexico believes that it is past time that this dangerous contaminant is cleaned up at the source. Extracted treated groundwater should be pumped or trucked uphill to flush out the remaining 90% of the chromium so that it can be decisively dealt with instead of with only marginally effective “pump and treat”... Continue reading

THE FUTURE OF WIPP: PLUTONIUM BOMB WASTE

THE FUTURE OF WIPP: PLUTONIUM BOMB WASTE

NNSA’s mission is plutonium pit production…for the next 30 years and beyond. NNSA HAS STATED CLEARLY: “WIPP IS ESSENTIAL FOR PIT PRODUCTION UNTIL 2080.” As you can see clearly in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s chart above, NNSA is getting ready to dump radioactive wastes from plutonium pit production at WIPP for the next 30... Continue reading

State Environment Department Begins to Rein in Work On LANL’s Chromium Plume Given Major Differences With DOE

At a February 9, 2023 public community forum hosted by the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management Los Alamos Office, there were strong indications that the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is convinced that DOE’s plans to remediate the chromium groundwater contamination plume under Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is not working. Kimberly Lebak, program manager... Continue reading

Top Environment Official Takes Inside Info to Nuclear Weapons Agency, Gets Puny Slap-on-Wrist for Ethical Violation; Governor Should Enforce State Code of Conduct

Santa Fe, NM – The Department of Energy (DOE) will spend $9.4 billion dollars in New Mexico during this fiscal year 2023, 10% more than the State’s entire operating budget of $8.5 billion. To help enable its agenda of expanding nuclear weapons production that will cause more radioactive wastes and contamination, the DOE’s semi-autonomous National... Continue reading

Independent Government Accountability Office Releases Scathing Report on Expanding Plutonium Pit Production; Pressure Mounts on Los Alamos Lab to Increase Production

Santa Fe, NM – Today, the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a scathing report entitled NNSA Does Not Have a Comprehensive Schedule or Cost Estimate for Pit Production Capability. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its parent Department of Energy have been on the GAO’s High Risk List for project mismanagement since 1991.... Continue reading

RE: The Santa Fe New Mexican “GAO: Cost, time estimates for making nuclear bomb cores flawed” – Underneath it All is the Nuclear Elephant in the Room: Future Pit Production is Actually Unnecessary.

BY JAY COGHLAN Good article indeed. Kudos to Scott Wyland. But to add to it: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) cannot do, or rather will not do, good governance 101 for its largest program ever (i.e., expanded plutonium pit production), which is credible cost estimates and schedules. Why won’t NNSA do that? Because of... Continue reading

New Mexico’s Revolving Nuclear Door: Top Environment Officials Sell Out to Nuclear Weapons Labs

As part of a long, ingrained history, senior officials at the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) have repeatedly resigned to go to work for the nuclear weapons labs, the Department of Energy, or DOE contractors. In a number of cases that is where they came from to begin with. The hierarchy of leadership at NMED... Continue reading

Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review Fuels the New Nuclear Arms Race

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October 27, 2022 | Jay Coghlan, 505.989.7342 [email protected] Santa Fe, NM– Today, the Biden Administration has released its long awaited unclassified Nuclear Posture Review. It headlines a “Comprehensive, balanced approach to defending vital national security interests and reducing nuclear dangers.” It also declares that “deterrence alone will not reduce nuclear dangers.” “Deterrence”... Continue reading

The Cuban Missile Crisis 60 Years Ago, Ukraine Today: What, if Anything, Have we Learned?

By: Sophia Stroud | October 27, 2022 The 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis this year coincides with a world again in a moment of impeding nuclear conflict with the perilous escalation of the situation in Ukraine. The Cuban Missile Crisis has been viewed as the defining confrontation of the modern age, the world’s... Continue reading

Watchdogs File Suit for NNSA’s Performance Evaluation Reports

Santa Fe, NM – Today, Nuclear Watch New Mexico has once again filed a lawsuit to pry loose the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) full and complete Performance Evaluation Reports that evaluate contractor performance at its eight nuclear weapons sites. Approximately 57,000 people are employed by NNSA’s nuclear weapons production complex, 95% of them contractor... Continue reading

A Guide to “Scoping” the New LANL SWEIS

“Scoping” means determining the issues that should be included in public analyses required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of proposed major actions by the federal government. According to the Department of Energy ‘s own NEPA implementation regulations, DOE must prepare a new or supplemental site-wide environmental impact statement (SWEIS) for its major sites... Continue reading

The Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament is the Treaty PROHIBITING Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

The Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament is in Danger is the Treaty PROHIBITING Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) After a month of negotiations, the tenth review conference (RevCon) of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded on August 26 without a consensus final document, A “Council of Councils” Global Memo... Continue reading

“Each Day Begins with the Sun Rising” – 77 Years Later, 4 Artists from Hiroshima Reflect

Today marks the 77 years since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan during World War II. Three days ago, August 6, marks the same anniversary for the bombing of the city of Hiroshima, Japan. In both cities the blast completely annihilated everything within a 1-mile radius from the center of explosion.... Continue reading

“LAZY format”: A Failed WIPP Community Engagement Meeting in Santa Fe

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Environmental Management held a Presentation and “Community Forum” for Santa Fe on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), formatted as a hybrid in-person and Zoom meeting on Thursday, July 7, 2022. Nuclear Watch New Mexico is extremely unsatisfied with the outcome of this meeting, and is... Continue reading

Why Funding for the SLCM Nuclear Warhead Should Be Deleted

Introduction: In 1991, in response to the ongoing collapse of the Soviet Union, President George H. Bush ordered the withdrawal of all nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) from U.S. surface ships and submarines. In 2018 President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review proposed to redeploy SLCMs on Virginia-class attack submarines, saying they would provide the United States... Continue reading

The Twisted Myth that Nuclear Weapons Make Us Safer

“Mutually Assured Destruction” has been the MO of the world’s nuclear powers for decades. If Russia points a giant nuclear warhead toward the U.S., we would gear up to point an even more massive missile their way, and then, in theory, Russia shrugs its shoulders and says, “Eh, not worth it.” They would be completely... Continue reading

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability DC Days 2022: NukeWatch Visits DC

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability DC Days 2022: NukeWatch (Virtually) Visits Washington DC

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability held its annual DC Days conference virtually again this year beginning May 16, 2022. Nuclear Watch New Mexico was proud to participate in this week-long event, where we discussed issues related to nuclear waste and nuclear weapons modernization under the Biden Administration, especially regarding expanded plutonium pit production at Los... Continue reading

The W93 Warhead and Other Future New-Design Nuclear Weapons: Funding and Schedules

The W93 warhead is a proposed new-design submarine-launched nuclear weapon for the Navy. Its need is not clear given that the Navy’s W76 warhead recently completed a major “Life Extension Program” that extended its service life by at least 30 years and increased its accuracy through a new arming, fuzing and firing set. The Navy’s... Continue reading

What’s the Current Status of U.S. and Russian Nuclear Weapons? How Many Exist and Just How Powerful Are They?

The interest in this question has gone up immensely over the past 50 days, since Russia first invaded Ukraine on February 24, and since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country’s nuclear forces had been placed on “high alert” just a few days later on the 27th. In 1986, there were 70,000 nuclear weapons... Continue reading

How are we Back Here…? Reflecting on the History of Nuclear Close Calls as Putin’s Threat Reignites Cold War Fears of Nuclear War

“Sadly, we are treading back through old historical patterns that we said that we would never permit to happen again,” – Fiona Hill, Former Senior Director for Europe and Russia at the United States National Security Council, in an interview with POLITICO, today, February 28, 2022: ‘Yes, He Would’: Fiona Hill on Putin and Nukes... Continue reading

Current U.S. Nuclear Weapons Issues: New Year’s Update — January 15, 2022

U.S. nuclear weapons issues: In anticipation of the NonProliferation Treaty Review Conference that was to start January 4 the P-5 (original nuclear weapons powers U.S., Russia, China, France and U.K.) came out with an unbelievable collective statement on how they are in compliance with the NPT Article VI mandate to disarm. Then the Review Conference... Continue reading