Mission

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Our mission is to protect all living beings and the environment from the effects of radioactive and other hazardous materials now and in the future.

P.O. Box 31147
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87594

Telephone: (505) 986-1973
Fax: (505) 986-0997
Email: ccns@nuclearactive.org

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Our Work

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Current Activities

Texas Bans High-Level Nuclear Waste Storage; NRC Approves High-Level Radioactive Waste Dump There

In a rare bi-partisan effort this month, the Texas state legislature passed a nearly unanimous bill prohibiting the future storage or disposal of high-level radioactive waste. After the Texas Senate voted unanimously and the House passed the bill (House Bill No. 7) by a vote of 119-3, Governor Greg Abbott signed it on Thursday, September 9th.  It became law that day and prohibits the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) from issuing related water and construction permits.  https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=872&Bill=HB7

However, on Monday, September 13th, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensed the construction and operation of a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility for high-level radioactive waste in Andrews County, Texas.  The license was issued to Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP), which includes Waste Control Specialists, LLC, and their partner, Orano, to expand its existing facility located on the Texas – New Mexico border, five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico.   https://interimstoragepartners.com/ and https://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/waste-control-specialist.html

Interim Storage Partners proposes temporary storage of up to 40,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive nuclear power plant waste on concrete pads.

The State of Texas may consider court challenges to the NRC licensing.   Those already involved in federal litigation over the license proceedings are four non-governmental organizations:  Beyond Nuclear – for all the details and new fact sheets, please visit:  http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2021/9/14/beyond-nuclear-press-release-nrc-approves-texas-nuclear-wast.html , Sierra Club https://www.sierraclub.org/ , the Austin-based Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition https://www.seedcoalition.org/ , and Don’t Waste Michigan, et al. national coalition of watchdog groups https://www.dontwastemichigan.org/index.html   Those cases are on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

Fasken Oil and Ranch, Limited, of Midland, Texas, which is located in the Permian Basin, joined the federal case.

Tommy Taylor, the Fasken assistant general manager, said, “We think [the ISP operation] is a crazy idea.  If there’s a release, it’s going to contaminate the air and be a hazard for all the oil field workers and surface water in the area.”

The non-governmental organizations and Fasken also oppose the licensing of the proposed Holtec Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico, located in the Permian Basin about 35 miles west of the ISP site.  An NRC decision is expected in early 2022.  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/new-mexico-files-lawsuit-to-block-holtec-nuclear-waste-facility-cites-risk-to-oil-and-gas/ar-BB1f5YJk

The opponents have argued in separate cases that both the proposed ISP and Holtec plans violate federal law.

Karen Hadden, with the Austin-based SEED Coalition, stated, “We’ll keep fighting, continuing our legal challenges and community organizing.  The NRC has licensed other facilities that never got built, including two nuclear reactors planned for the South Texas Project site and the Private Fuel Storage facility in Utah for storage of high-level radioactive waste.”

Rose Gardner, of Alliance for Environmental Strategies, a declarant in the federal court challenges, and a resident of Eunice, New Mexico, stated,  “I am thankful that the Texas Legislature voted to stop this dangerous nuclear waste from coming to their state.  I live less than five miles from the site, yet my community in New Mexico has no vote and no choice, and gave no consent for nuclear waste to be stored at the facility. I have long been concerned about [Interim Storage Partners] and its voracious appetite for bringing more and more nuclear waste to my area, claiming it now needs a license for high-level radioactive waste because the waste disposal business wasn’t making enough money.  I hope my concerns will be heard by a higher court than the NRC.”  https://www.facebook.com/Alliance-for-Environmental-Strategies-1959311804080514/

 


We are podcasting!

 

  1. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to CCNS!!! We are grateful for your continuing support!

 

  1. Mon., Sept. 20 at 9 am – In-person [subject to change] NM Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee meeting at Student Services & Technology Center 200, UNM-Gallup, 705 Gurley Avenue, Gallup, NM. The first panel discussion will be about The Legacy of Uranium Mining, Community Impacts, Cleanup and Challenges.  The second panel discussion will be about Compensation for Downwinders and Uranium Mine Workers.  A 30-minute public comment period will begin at approximately 12:15 pm.  There will be a third panel after lunch updating the Committee on the Gold King Mine Spill and Restoration Project Program.  The final session will be a report from the State Emergency Response Commission.  For more information:   https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC

 

  1. Mon., October 4th: Public comments are due to NM Environment Department about the proposed construction and use of hazardous waste disposal Units 11 and 12.  This is DOE’s plan to “replace” the panels that were contaminated due to years of mismanagement (also known as “DOE’s mismanagement panels”).  For more information see http://nuclearactive.org/does-latest-plan-for-expanding-wipp-three-new-drifts-and-two-new-waste-disposal-panels/https://nuclearactive.org/doe-continues-its-push-for-wipp-expansion/  and https://wipp.energy.gov/wipp_news_20210810.asp   A sample public comment letter you can use is available here.  f DP-831 (WIPP GWDP) Comment Ltr 8-30-21
 

DOE’s Latest Plan for Expanding WIPP – Three New Drifts and Two New Waste Disposal Panels

Were you wondering about the next step in the Department of Energy’s piecemeal approach to expanding the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)?  You don’t have to wait any longer.  Last week DOE held a virtual public meeting on a new permit modification request to the New Mexico Environment Department.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/ , scroll down to August 3, 2021 post.  That request includes mining three new access drifts to the west of the existing underground disposal site, starting next month.  In total, DOE plans five new west access drifts, approximately 2,400 feet long.  From the new drifts, two new waste disposal panels would be constructed directly to the south of the proposed Shaft 5.

When asked what regulatory agency gave DOE permission to begin mining before the public comment period ends on October 4th, it responded that it gave itself permission.  So here we go again, DOE trying to move forward with construction before the required public comment period ends.  However, the New Mexico Environment Department can prevent the mining now, until there is a final decision on the permit modification, which could take at least 18 months.

You may be asking yourself, “What is WIPP?”  And “Why should I care?”  WIPP is the country’s only underground disposal site for waste generated from the production of nuclear weapons.  The waste is contaminated with radioactive plutonium that must be isolated from the environment.  WIPP is located in a salt formation 2,150 feet below ground surface about 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico.  https://wipp.energy.gov/

WIPP was supposed to stop receiving waste in 2024 after 25 years of operation.

Although WIPP is not supposed to be the only disposal site, DOE has made no attempts to find another site, rather it is spending tax dollars to double the disposal space and keep WIPP open forever.  https://stopforeverwipp.org/ , check out Current News.

DOE says the proposed panels are “replacement” panels 11 and 12, claiming they are needed because of space lost, including from the radiological release on February 14th, 2014.  Twenty-two workers were exposed and 8,000 feet of the underground were contaminated.  https://nuclearactive.org/doe-inspector-general-releases-report-about-failure-of-waste-procedures-resulting-in-indefinite-wipp-shut-down/

Some observe that the proposed panels should be named the “mismanagement” panels because of the large amount of space that was left unfilled or contaminated.  Each new panel would have seven rooms, each 300 feet in length, 33 feet wide and 14 feet high.

A local community group of which CCNS is a member, the Stop Forever WIPP Coalition, has prepared a sample public comment letter you can find at https://stopforeverwipp.org/ or download right here: f DP-831 (WIPP GWDP) Comment Ltr 8-30-21   Comments are due by 5 pm Mountain Daylight Time on Monday, October 4th.

 


 

Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

  1. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to CCNS!!! We actively participated in the groundwater discharge permit public hearing Tuesday and Wednesday.  We’ll start working on the post-hearing filings soon to support an Information Repository that DOE will manage on the WIPP website. 

 

          In the meantime, DOE is leapfrogging a new permit modification to construct and use three new drifts and two new panels in the ”west wing.”  DOE plans to start mining next month.  See today’s Update.  CCNS would appreciate your financial support right now as we continue to oppose FOREVER WIPP. Your tax-deductible donation is greatly appreciated!  Please go to http://nuclearactive.org/ to make your greatly needed contribution or mail it to:  CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147.  Thank you!

 

  1. Fri., Sept. 10 by 5 pm MDT – If you didn’t get your comments in about the groundwater discharge permit for WIPP (DP-831), there’s still a little bit of time. The Hearing Officer is keeping the record open until 5 pm on Friday, Sept. 10th at 5 pm MDT.  Every comment counts!   f DP-831 (WIPP GWDP) Comment Ltr 8-30-21

 

  1. Mon., Sept. 20 at 9 am – In-person [subject to change] NM Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee meeting at Student Services & Technology Center 200, UNM-Gallup, 705 Gurley Avenue, Gallup, NM. The first panel discussion will be about The Legacy of Uranium Mining, Community Impacts, Cleanup and Challenges.  The second panel discussion will be about Compensation for Downwinders and Uranium Mine Workers.  A 30-minute public comment period will begin at approximately 12:15 pm.  There will be a third panel after lunch updating the Committee on the Gold King Mine Spill and Restoration Project Program.  The final session will be a report from the State Emergency Response Commission.  For more information:   https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC

 

  1. Mon., October 4th: Public comments are due to NM Environment Department about the proposed construction and use of hazardous waste disposal Units 11 and 12.  This is DOE’s plan to “replace” the panels that were contaminated due to years of mismanagement (also known as “DOE’s mismanagement panels”).  For more information see https://nuclearactive.org/doe-continues-its-push-for-wipp-expansion/ and https://wipp.energy.gov/wipp_news_20210810.asp   CCNS will prepare talking points and sample public comments you can use.  Stay tuned!
 

Public Hearing for Groundwater Discharge Permit at WIPP Begins Tuesday, September 7th

Beginning at noon on Tuesday, September 7th, the New Mexico Environment Department will hold a virtual public hearing for a groundwater discharge permit that includes the construction and use of a Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5, which are integral to the expansion of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  Allowing construction and use of those two new surface facilities would directly support the proposed plans of the Department of Energy (DOE) to excavate the Shaft 5 and associated underground drifts. The public overwhelmingly opposes permitting the “5’s” – the proposed Shaft 5, the Salt Cell 5, and the Salt Storage Pond 5.

Breaking News:  On September 2, 2021, the Environment Department, Ground Water Quality Bureau, posted its September 29 – 30, 2020 Inspection Report at the WIPP site.  On p. 2 of 8, the public learns – despite the information released to the public to prepare for the public hearing – that the Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5 have been constructed!!!

 

 

More Breaking News:  On September 2, 2021, the public also learns that Environment Department staff, “Inspected the newly constructed Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5. Salt Cell 5 will have to be recompacted due to the extended period between construction and it being utilized. Fencing and signage around Salt Storage Pond 5 still need to be installed.”

 

 

Meeting Information:

https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D153319292

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CCNS now asks:  Where did DOE put the overburden from the first 116 feet from digging Shaft 5? 

 

The Stop Forever WIPP Coalition, formed to oppose WIPP expansion, has prepared a sample public comment letter you can use to oppose the inclusion of Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5 in the groundwater discharge permit.  It is available at https://stopforeverwipp.org/ , with a one-click comment option.  Please include your personal concerns.  The comment letter is also available on CCNS’s webpage at http://nuclearactive.org/

If Shaft 5 excavation were approved, it would facilitate DOE’s plans to double the size of WIPP, the underground mine for the disposal of plutonium-contaminated waste from nuclear weapons production.  http://nuclearactive.org/doe-continues-its-push-for-wipp-expansion/  During the public hearing in May, CCNS, Southwest Research and Information Center, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Citizen Action New Mexico, and individual Deborah Reade opposed Shaft 5.  As of September 3rd, no decision on Shaft 5 has been made.

Excavation of Shaft 5 would require a place to store the salt mined from a 30-foot diameter hole down into the waste facility 2,150 feet below ground.  The salt would be stored in a new Salt Cell 5.  Storm water runoff from the Cell would be collected in a new Salt Storage Pond 5, which would have a capacity of 1.3 million gallons.

On Tuesday, at the virtual public hearing on zoom, CCNS and Southwest Research and Information Center will oppose the permitting of Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5.  https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/

Click link to go to the Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/97150104794?pwd=SU10MXdJQWxWeHV1OGRSb1hKdU1SQT09

CCNS also will argue that the Environment Department’s public notification process was defective and does not meet the basic regulatory requirements.

Further, CCNS discovered in the administrative record that key monitoring equipment, including pressure gages and flow meters, have been out of service for 2 ½ years or more.  In another case, a control panel alarm does not light up and has not been repaired making it difficult to identify the danger.  DP-831 Monitoring Rpt 6-24 to 6-30-19

This reminds us that negligent maintenance caused the salt truck fire underground at WIPP in 2014.  https://nuclearactive.org/salt-hauling-vehicle-catches-fire-in-wipp-underground/  and https://nuclearactive.org/wipp-worker-harmed-by-vehicle-fire-sues-operators-for-negligence/

 


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

  1. CCNS could really use your financial support right now as we prepare testimony to oppose the “5’s,” Shaft 5, Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5 at WIPP during the Sept. 7th DP-831 groundwater discharge permit public hearing. It is a laborious technical process.  Your tax-deductible donation would be greatly appreciated!  Please go to http://nuclearactive.org/ to make your greatly needed contribution or mail it to:  CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147.  Thank you!

 

 

  1. Monday, October 4th: Public comments are due to NM Environment Department about the proposed construction and use of hazardous waste disposal Units 11 and 12.  This is DOE’s plan to “replace” the panels that were contaminated due to years of mismanagement (also known as “DOE’s mismanagement panels”).  For more information see https://nuclearactive.org/doe-continues-its-push-for-wipp-expansion/ and https://wipp.energy.gov/wipp_news_20210810.asp   CCNS will prepare talking points and sample public comments you can use.  Stay tuned!

 

 

  1. Mon. Sept. 20 – Virtual NM Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee meeting in Gallup, NM. More information about the agenda and invited presenters will be posted here prior to the meeting:  Tina Cordova, of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, will present about the proposed amendments to the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).  https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC

 

 

Another Example of NMED’s Staff Support of WIPP Expansion

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is holding a virtual public hearing for a groundwater discharge permit that would allow the construction and use of a Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5, which are for the expansion of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  Allowing construction and use of those two new surface facilities directly supports the proposed plans of the Department of Energy (DOE) to excavate the proposed Shaft 5 and associated underground drifts.  http://nuclearactive.org/proposed-wipp-utility-shaft-not-needed/ and https://stopforeverwipp.org/current-news  The Environment Department Secretary has not yet received the Shaft permit for review.  There is overwhelming public opposition to permitting it.

If Shaft 5 excavation were approved, it would facilitate DOE’s plans to double the size of WIPP, the underground mine for the disposal of plutonium-contaminated waste from nuclear weapons production.

Excavation of Shaft 5 would require a place to store salt from mining the 30-foot diameter hole into the waste facility that is 2,150 feet below ground surface.  Storm water runoff from the new Salt Cell would be collected in Salt Storage Pond, which has a capacity of 1,292,499 gallons, or approximately four acre feet, based on a 24-hour storm event of 5.84 inches.

The Stop Forever WIPP Coalition, formed to oppose WIPP expansion, consists of groups and individuals, including CCNS, Southwest Research and Information Center, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping, and the Southwest Alliance for a Safe Future.  https://stopforeverwipp.org/

WIPP is currently scheduled to end its disposal operations in 2024.  But DOE instead has plans to expand the WIPP underground for the disposal of other kinds of radioactive waste and extend the closing date to 2080 or beyond.  Hence, Forever WIPP.  http://nuclearactive.org/doe-continues-its-push-for-wipp-expansion/

Further, Congress has long recognized that WIPP is the first, but not only, site for the disposal of nuclear weapons waste.  But DOE has not taken any action to develop other repositories, instead leaving WIPP as the only site, which is also contrary to its July 1, 1981, Consultation and Cooperation Agreement, as amended in November 1984, August 1987, and June 1988, with the State of New Mexico.

The Environment Department’s virtual public hearing about the groundwater discharge permit begins on Tuesday, September 7th at noon.  https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/, click on Environment Department Cabinet Secretary, then on Groundwater Discharge Permit DP-831, Administrative Appeal to Cabinet Secretary, or click here for key information:

Several groups, including CCNS, and individuals have testimony to eliminate the two surface facilities from the discharge permit.

The Stop Forever WIPP Coalition has prepared a sample public comment letter you can use to oppose the inclusion of Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5 in the groundwater discharge permit.  It is available at https://stopforeverwipp.org/ with a one-click comment option. Or you can download it here: f DP-831 (WIPP GWDP) Comment Ltr 8-26-21 Please modify to include your personal concerns.


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

  1. CCNS could really use your financial support right now as we prepare testimony to oppose the proposed Salt Cell 5 and Salt Storage Pond 5 (to support proposed Shaft 5) at the Sept. 7th DP-831 groundwater discharge permit public hearing. It is a laborious technical process.  Your tax-deductible donation would be greatly appreciated!  Please go to http://nuclearactive.org/ to make your greatly needed contribution or mail it to:  CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147.  Thank you!

 

  1. Th. Sept. 2 from 5 to 7 pm – Virtual DOE/WIPP Public Meeting regarding DOE’s proposal to Expand WIPP – this time, for Construction and Use of Hazardous Waste Disposal Units 11 and 12. This is DOE’s plan to “replace” the panels that were contaminated due to mismanagement (also known as “DOE’s mismanagement panels.”)  This is a required information meeting for DOE to conduct.  However, public comments made at the meeting will not be provided to the NM Environment Department.

 

         Monday, October 4th:  Public comments are due to NM Environment Department about the proposed construction and use of hazardous waste disposal Units 11 and 12.  For more information see https://nuclearactive.org/doe-continues-its-push-for-wipp-expansion/ and https://wipp.energy.gov/wipp_news_20210810.asp   CCNS will prepare talking points and sample public comments you can use.  Stay tuned!

 

 

  1. Mon. Sept. 20 – Virtual NM Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee meeting in Gallup, NM. Tina Cordova, of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC), the “Trinity Downwinders,” has been asked to present.  More information will be posted here prior to the meeting:  https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC
 

DOE Continues Its Push for WIPP Expansion

While publicly denying that it plans to double the size of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the Department of Energy (DOE) continues to ask federal and state regulators to allow a new “west wing” in the underground nuclear waste disposal facility.  DOE’s documents reveal that the west wing needs a new, fifth shaft and associated drifts that have not been permitted by the New Mexico Environment Department for two new waste panels.

On July 30th, DOE submitted a Class 3 permit modification request to the Environment Department’s Hazardous Waste Bureau to construct two new west wing waste areas, named Panels 11 and 12, directly south of the proposed fifth shaft. A virtual public meeting will take place on Thursday, September 2nd from 5 to 7 pm.  Written public comments are invited until October 4th.

Construction of a 2,200-foot deep fifth shaft into the underground would require two new surface facilities, which are a new salt storage cell and a pond to evaporate brine.  CCNS and other groups oppose the proposed cell and pond because the Hazardous Waste Bureau has not permitted the new shaft.  CCNS and other groups that oppose the new shaft submitted filings to the Hearing Officer on Monday of this week, while DOE and the Hazardous Waste Bureau support the new shaft.

The proposed cell and pond will be explored at the virtual public hearing on a draft Environment Department groundwater discharge permit.  The hearing begins on Tuesday, September 7th and public comments are invited.  Talking points and sample public comments will be available soon at http://nuclearactive.org/

From the NMED website, https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/, click on the Environment Department Cabinet Secretary link, then click on Groundwater Discharge Permit DP-831, Administrative Appeal to Cabinet Secretary, or click here for key information:

DOE is also asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recertify that WIPP will not leak for 10,000 years, or 500 generations.

EPA regulates the long-term performance of the WIPP disposal system for plutonium-contaminated nuclear weapons waste.  One way EPA estimates the long-term performance is to run computer models.  The basis of the models includes the configuration of the repository when it closes.  Since 1999 when WIPP opened, the configuration has remained the same, with no new shaft and west wing.

On April 20th, EPA wrote a letter to DOE about the proposed physical changes to the repository stating that prior EPA approval would be required.  Such approval would require a two-year formal rulemaking process.

EPA also asked for additional information about the waste that DOE plans to emplace in an expanded facility.  DOE will not provide the requested information until next year.  DOE wants to keep WIPP open until 2080, though the existing Permit anticipates ending waste disposal in 2024.  See EPA’s website about the August 17, 2021, Informal Virtual Public Meeting on WIPP Recertification:  Slides and Documents (including the EPA’s April 20, 2021 letter and DOE’s August 12, 2021 response)https://www.epa.gov/radiation/informal-virtual-public-meeting-wipp-recertification-slides-and-documents

 


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting

 

  1. CCNS could really use your financial support right now to produce the weekly CCNS News Update and keep our social media network running. Your donation will also allow us to distribute the Update via numerous platforms to hundreds of people around the world.  Please go to http://nuclearactive.org/ to make your tax-deductible contribution or mail it to:  CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147.  Thank you!

 

  1. Three ways to listen or watch the August 8, 2021 Taos Environmental Film Festival (TEFF) Taos August Peace Pilgrimage panel discussion with peace and environmental activists discussing the importance of the prohibition of nuclear weapons, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant:

 

             TEFF at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acPhqL7D4TM

            Nuclear Hotseat broadcast at http://nuclearhotseat.com/2021/08/18/new-mexico-nuclear-activists-lanl-wipp-taos/

KCEI 90.1 FM – Cultural Energy & Taos Local Television at https://culturalenergy.org/listenlinks.htm#aug2021

 

  1. Th. Sept. 2 from 5 to 7 pm – Virtual WIPP Public Meeting regarding DOE’s proposal to Expand WIPP – this time, for Construction and Use of Hazardous Waste Disposal Units 11 and 12. This is DOE’s plan to “replace” the panels that were contaminated due to mismanagement (also known as “DOE’s mismanagement panels.”) Public comments are due to NM Environment Department on Monday, October 4, 2021.  For more information see today’s CCNS News Update and https://wipp.energy.gov/wipp_news_20210810.asp   CCNS will prepare talking points and sample public comments you can use.  Stay tuned!

 

  1. Tues. Sept. 7th – Virtual Public Hearing about the NM Environment Department’s draft groundwater discharge permit, DP-831, for WIPP. For more information see today’s CCNS News Update and https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/dp-831/  CCNS will prepare talking points and sample public comments you can use.  Stay tuned!

 

  1. Mon. Sept. 20 – Virtual NM Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee meeting in Gallup, NM. Tina Cordova, of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC), the “Trinity Downwinders,” has been asked to present.  More information will be posted here prior to the meeting:  https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC

 

 

Northern New Mexico Activists Hold Events Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On August 6th and 9th, 1945, the U.S. Government dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.  Over 200,000 people died instantly, while survivors suffered radiation exposure.  The harm that was done is formally acknowledged every August at commemoration events around the world.  This year, commemoration events were held in Los Alamos on Saturday, August 7th and in Taos on Sunday, August 8th.

On Saturday, at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos, Ken Mayers, chair of the Joan Duffy Santa Fe Chapter of the Veterans for Peace, led a two-hour vigil, “In Remembrance: Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 1945.”  http://www.vfp-santafe.org/home.html

The program included Judith Rane reading a series of haiku that she had written.  Her haiku, a short form of Japanese poetry, recalled the plans for and the disaster that resulted from bombing Japan.  https://www.taosnews.com/tempo/film/pilgrimage-of-peace/article_d9de4599-f6e5-5c0d-83cb-525894fb6208.html

Then came songs from the Albuquerque Raging Grannies, a chapter of an international organization that has a wide repertoire of songs with anti-war lyrics set to familiar tunes.  https://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/485700nm08-21-06.htm

After the program, there was consensus that the New Mexico Congressional Delegation needs to know that many people continue to oppose the Department of Energy (DOE) plans to increase the production of plutonium pits, or triggers, for nuclear weapons at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

On Sunday, the Taos August Peace Pilgrimage organized by Jean Stevens and Judith Rane began with four powerful films shown at the community auditorium, including The Forgotten Bomb, by Bud Ryan and Stuart Overbey and Hibakusha: Our Life to Live, by David Rothauser.  https://taosenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/

At 5:30, before the closing candlelight ceremony, a peace forum convened to discuss the urgent need to abolish nuclear weapons.  The forum, moderated by filmmaker Bud Ryan, included five longtime activists who each told how they came to be committed to peace.  When they spoke about the present situation at LANL, the panelists shared the broad concern that weapons production over the past 78 years has released radioactive contamination into the air, water, and soil that the people depend on but which also carry illness into their bodies.  As one panelist observed, weapons production at LANL is “like a dirty bomb exploding in slow motion.”

Activist Ken Mayers noted that while it costs $50 million to produce just one pit, New Mexico’s communities often lack funds to support basic needs such as education, healthcare and broadband.

Finally, moderator Bud Ryan asked the panel to suggest how to get more people involved and resist the DOE’s build-up of programs, facilities and weapons production at LANL.

To listen to the panel discussion, courtesy of Robin Collier and KCEI-FM, go to https://culturalenergy.org/listenlinks.htm#aug2021

 

 


 

WE ARE PODCASTING

 

  1. CCNS could really use your financial support right now to continue our social media network and producing the weekly CCNS News Update. Please mail your tax-deductible contribution to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or go to http://nuclearactive.org/ to donate.  Thank you!

 

 

  1. Th. Sept. 2 from 5 to 7 pm – Virtual WIPP Public Meeting regarding DOE’s proposal to Expand WIPP – this time, for Construction and Use of Hazardous Waste Disposal Units 11 and 12. Public comments are due to NM Environment Department on Monday, October 4, 2021.  For more information:  https://wipp.energy.gov/wipp_news_20210810.asp   CCNS will prepare talking points and sample public comments you can use.  Stay tuned!

 

 

  1. Tues. Sept. 7th – Virtual Public Hearing about the NM Environment Department’s draft groundwater discharge permit, DP-831, for WIPP. For more information:  https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/dp-831/  CCNS will prepare talking points and sample public comments you can use.  Stay tuned!

 

 

  1. Mon. Sept. 20 – Virtual NM Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee meeting in Gallup, NM. More information will be posted here prior to the meeting:  https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC
 

DOE’s Planned Expansion Could Mean that “It ain’t your Daddy’s WIPP anymore.”

Over 60 people attended a town hall to learn about Santa Fe County’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities.  The town hall focused on the proposed expansion of the types of plutonium-contaminated nuclear waste that could be transported through New Mexico should the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) plan to bring 50 metric tons of surplus plutonium to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/disposal-of-surplus-plutonium-in-the-waste-isolation-pilot-plant

Santa Fe County Commissioners Anna Hamilton and Hank Hughes, along with the 285 ALL community group, organized the event to address growing community concerns about the proposed shipments.  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/committees/board_of_county_commissioners_bcc

If DOE decides to bring this waste via Highway 285 to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for processing, every community along the way must be more fully prepared to respond to an accident or a package failure during transport.

Santa Fe County Assistant Fire Chief Martin Vigil addressed some of these community concerns.  He poignantly said that for incidents involving radiation and nuclear releases there is no difference between real and perceived risks.  It is essential to address both.  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/fire/fire_chief_and_command_staff

County Fire Department personnel have participated in on-going trainings to build core capabilities and strengthen relationships.  Training exercises sometime last three days with 110 patients.  Such extensive trainings allow the discovery of what Vigil calls “gaps.”  He noted, for example, that following decontamination a person needs some type of foot covering to walk to the medical post.  As a result, the County purchased foot coverings.

Vigil emphasized that local governments must make real investments in emergency preparedness and response.  That burden would fall on taxpayers.  He reported that the federal WIPP facility provides $15,000 a year to Santa Fe County.

The 285 ALL presentation focused on the proposed transportation of the triggers, or plutonium pits, for nuclear weapons from the Pantex facility, located north of Amarillo, Texas, to LANL on Highway 285, then to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and finally to WIPP for disposal in the underground salt mine, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico.  At each stage DOE plans to make a significant change to the form and chemical composition of the shipment.

 

Cindy Weehler, of 285 ALL, explained that DOE’s expansion plans for WIPP means that “It ain’t your Daddy’s WIPP anymore.”

285 ALL is “a neighborhood issues awareness group working to help protect our quality of life and maintain property values.”

All are welcome to attend the next 285 ALL meeting on Wednesday, August 11th at 6 pm at the Vista Grande Library in El Dorado.  To contact 285 ALL, email 285ALL@gmail.com.

Handout Nuclear Waste Transport Through your Neighborhood2

 

 

 


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

  1. August 6 – 9: Links to Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration events at Physicians for Social Responsibility website:  https://www.psr.org/calendar/tag_ids~111/

 

          LOCAL NEW MEXICO EVENTS:

 

         *  Friday, August 6th from 4 to 6 pm at Q Station, 3225 Central Ave NE in Albuquerque.   Join the Picket at “Q-Station” in Albuquerque on Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemorations.

The ANSWER Coalition, Los Alamos Study Group, Stop the War Machine, and Veterans for Peace Albuquerque Chapter will be holding a picket at the “Q Station,” a new military-driven storefront in Nob Hill designed to find startups to sell technology to the U.S. military for the purpose of fighting the next war. While marketing itself as hip and innovative, the “Q Station” is nothing more than a way to direct science and technology into building the war machine.

 

           *  Saturday, August 7th from 1 to 3 pm – Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration Event in Los Alamos, NM at Ashley Pond.  A two-hour vigil at the site of the first a-bomb’s creation to commemorate the bombings that fundamentally changed the world.   We must remind ourselves and others of the living hell created by that bomb in hopes that we can avoid any future use of such devices of death.  For more information, contact kenmayers@vfp-santafe.org

 

Sunday, August 8th from 2 – 9 pm – Taos August Peace Pilgrimage at Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM.  Free and open to the public – films, forum and ceremony.  For more information and to view the agenda, please visit https://tcataos.org/calendar/#event=67243093;instance=20210808140000

 

Unable to participate?  Check out Nuclear Games “a new and innovative educational platform about the risks and human impact of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. It is developed by Docmine, a Swiss-based creative studio and produced in the English and German languages. Youth Fusion, along with Physicians for Social Responsibility Switzerland and the Basel Peace Office will facilitate its distribution and promotion, including the organization of virtual screening events and other activities.”  https://www.youth-fusion.org/nuclear-games/

 

 

 

  1. Saturday, August 7th – Written public comments due about the proposed renewal of the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine (recently renamed “Pinyon Plain Mine”), located in Grand Canyon National Park near the south rim. For more information and a click to comment form, go to the Grand Canyon Trust website.  https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/arizona-poised-permit-canyon-uranium-mine

 

 

  1. Monday, August 9th at 7 pm MDT – Virtual public hearing about the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine near the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Make Your Voice Heard!  Register to speak at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1138760210686510351   

 

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration Events in Los Alamos and Taos August 7th and 8th

Near the end of World War Two, on August 6th, 1945, the U.S. Government dropped a uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  Three days later, on August 9th, the U.S. Government dropped a plutonium atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.  Over 200,000 people died instantly.  Those that lived have suffered external and internal radiation effects, among other injuries.  That harm will be commemorated in Los Alamos on Saturday, August 7th, and in Taos on Sunday, August 8th.

On Saturday, August 7th, from 1 to 3 pm, the Joan Duffy Santa Fe Chapter of the Veterans for Peace will hold a two-hour Vigil in Remembrance:  Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 1945, in Los Alamos, the location where the first atomic bombs were developed.  The vigil will commemorate the bombings that fundamentally changed the world.  Everyone is invited to join the vigil at Ashley Pond.

Ken Mayers, of the Veterans for Peace, said, “We must remind ourselves and others of the living hell created by that bomb in hopes that we can avoid any future use of such devices of death.”  For more information, contact kenmayers@vfp-santafe.org and http://www.vfp-santafe.org/home.html

On Sunday, August 8th, from 2 to 9 pm, the Taos August Peace Pilgrimage will take place with films, a Peace Forum, a candlelight ceremony, art and poetry at the Taos Community Auditorium, located at 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.  The event is free and open to the public.  https://taosenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/

Four remarkable and illuminating films will be screened in support of global peace and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  The films are:  The Forgotten Bomb, by Bud Ryan and Stuart Overbey; Hibakusha:  Our Life to Live, by David Rothauser; Vow from Hiroshima, by Susan C. Strickler, and Ashes of Nagasaki, by Emiko Omori.

At 5:30 pm, the Peace Forum entitled What’s Going on at LANL and What is to be Done? begins.  An esteemed panel of New Mexico’s Peace and Justice community will discuss the urgent need to abolish nuclear weapons and the existential global threat of mass extinction they pose.  The panelist are:  Ken Mayers, of the Veterans for Peace https://taosenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/ ; Scott Kovac, of Nuclear Watch New Mexico https://nukewatch.org/ ; Artist and Taos Peace Activist, Serit Kotowski https://seritdelbosque.com/about/ ; Taos Peace Activist, Erich Kuerschner http://www.riograndesun.com/news/northern-new-mexico-demonstrations-question-defense-spending/article_5f9f31ac-fc22-11e9-b35c-335107b2657c.html ; and Joni Arends, of CCNS http://nuclearactive.org/ .

Filmmaker Bud Ryan will moderate the lively panel.  https://www.ksfr.org/people/bud-ryan#stream/0

Finally, a Candlelight Ceremony in Remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 1945, with Sensei Sean Murphy, begins at 8 pm.   https://www.zgatl.org/sensei-sean-murphy.html 

Jean Stevens, Director of the Taos Environmental Film Festival, shares a quote from the former Soviet leader and 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mikhail Gorbachev. He said,  “We should never let ourselves embark on a course of developing nuclear weapons again and of a new arms race.  We have to stop working on pipe dreams, and engage with realpolitik.  We don’t need an apocalypse!  We need peace!”  The source of the Gorbachev quote is from an interview published May 29, 2020 in Tokyo’s The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/25751654.2020.1769529

For more information and schedule, please visit https://taosenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/

 


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

1. Thursday, July 29thThe U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the license application from Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP), formerly Waste Control Specialists (WCS), to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C radioactive waste in Andrews County, Texas. The FEIS is available at this direct link:  https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML2120/ML21209A955.pdf   The NRC notice of the FEIS’s availability is expected to appear in the Federal Register on August 6, 2021.  The NRC also will be filing its FEIS electronically with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the EPA will notice its receipt of the FEIS in the Federal Register on August 13.

 

 

2.  Wednesday, August 4th from 6 to 7:15 pm – Santa Fe County Nuclear Waste Emergency Response Town Hall Meeting, with Santa Fe County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Anna Hamilton.  Hondo Regional Fire Station, Old Las Vegas Hwy. and Hwy. 285 (across from Café Fina), Santa Fe. Town Hall Flyer 2-1

 

 

3.  Links to Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration events at Physicians for Social Responsibility website: https://www.psr.org/calendar/tag_ids~111/    Unable to participate?  Check out Nuclear Games “a new and innovative educational platform about the risks and human impact of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. It is developed by Docmine, a Swiss-based creative studio and produced in the English and German languages. Youth Fusion, along with Physicians for Social Responsibility Switzerland and the Basel Peace Office will facilitate its distribution and promotion, including the organization of virtual screening events and other activities.”  https://www.youth-fusion.org/nuclear-games/

 

 

4.  Saturday, August 7thWritten public comments due about the proposed renewal of the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine (recently renamed “Pinyon Plain Mine”), located in Grand Canyon National Park near the south rim. For more information and a click to comment form, go to the Grand Canyon Trust website.  https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/arizona-poised-permit-canyon-uranium-mine

 

 

5.  Monday, August 9th at 7 pm MDT – Virtual public hearing about the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine near the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Make Your Voice Heard!  Register to speak at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1138760210686510351   

 

 

Santa Fe County Nuclear Waste Transportation Emergency Response Town-Hall

Stop FOREVER WIPP!

 

 A Coalition Opposing the Expansion of WIPP

 

Make Plans to Come!

 

Santa Fe County

Nuclear Waste Transportation

Emergency Response

 Town-Hall

 

August 4, 2021

at 6:00 pm

 

at The Hondo Fire Station

on Old Las Vegas Highway and Hwy 285

across from Café Fina

 

 

 

  •     County Fire Chief Martin Vigil will discuss emergency response systems for nuclear waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

 

  •     285ALL Co-Chair Cynthia Weehler will ask how the expansion of WIPP affects emergency preparedness.

 

  •     There will be time for Q & A and actions YOU can take.

 

  •     Sponsored by County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Anna Hamilton and 285ALL

 

 

 

 

 

“If you are in one of the communities along the route, you have something to worry about.”

 

High-level Energy Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.  https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nuclear-couriers-20170310-story.html 

 

Know your risk

 

 

These trucks will carry the waste past our homes

(Images: National Nuclear Security Administration and DOE)

—————————————————————————–

For More Information contact:

 stopforeverwipp@gmail.com

 

Environment Department Ignores Sandia’s Plan to Excavate the Mixed Waste Landfill

Even though Sandia National Laboratory stated it could completely excavate the Mixed Waste Landfill, the New Mexico Environment Department replied that continued sampling and monitoring would be sufficient to address its potential risks.  Sandia stated that it would take ten years to excavate the radioactive and hazardous waste dump.  The unlined dump, sitting above Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer is located five miles from the Albuquerque Sunport and one mile from Mesa del Sol.

In 2004, the Environment Department held a contentious public hearing about a proposed modification to Sandia’s hazardous waste permit to determine whether to clean up the dump or put a dirt cover on it.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/snl-mwl-2/

Citizen Action New Mexico, Dr. Eric Nuttal, and others opposed the dirt cover because their research and analyses of the conditions on the ground and in the groundwater required that the waste should be excavated, treated and disposed of onsite or offsite in licensed facilities.  https://radfreenm.org/  and  https://radfreenm.org/index.php/sandia-national-laboratories-mixed-waste-lanfill/195-mixed-waste-landfill-facts

The hearing resulted in the Environment Department approving the installation of a dirt cover and requiring a Five-Year Review of the decision.

Nevertheless, despite a number of complicated delays and frustrating twists and turns, the Environment Department’s issued a 2016 Final Order for the dump that called for Sandia to meet one of two options.  The first was to install a landfill that meets hazardous waste management laws and regulations.  The waste would be excavated and placed in a licensed landfill with double liners and leachate collection systems beneath both the cover and the liners.  The second option was to excavate the radioactive and hazardous wastes, treat them and dispose of them onsite or ship them offsite.   2016-02-12 Final Order – MWL  The month, the Environment Department chose neither.

In January 2019, Sandia submitted the first Five-Year Review and stated:  “Complete excavation with offsite and onsite disposal are remedial alternatives that could be implemented, if necessary.”  Sandia explained that there have been significant changes over time that makes excavation of the 2.6 acre dump a reasonable option.  These include the decay of the radioactive cobalt-60 in the dump to levels where it no longer poses a threat to workers and the public; and use of conventional excavation approaches and streamlined waste management systems. Sandia MWL Five Year Rpt. Ex. Sum. 12-14-18 See p. iii of Executive Summary, pdf p. 8.  

In May 2019, the public had its opportunity to provide comments about the first Five Year Review.  Over 400 public comments were submitted, to which the Environment Department has provided written responses. 2021-07-09-MWL-RTC-table-5-yr-Review

On July 9th, 2021, the Environment Department approved the Five-Year Review without recommending either option outlined in its 2016 Final Order.  2021-07-09-NMED-approves-Five-Year-Report-for-Mixed-Waste-Landfill

For more information, please visit Citizen Action New Mexico at https://radfreenm.org/  and watch the new informative video about Sandia’s Mixed Waste Landfill Facts, with Eileen O’Shaughnessy of the Nuclear Issues Study Group, Dave McCoy of Citizen Action New Mexico, and hosted by Robin Seydel. https://radfreenm.org/index.php


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

 

1.Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda. JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others.  We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

2.  EVENT MAY BE CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER:  Thursday, July 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 pm:  In-Person Open House for Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) Bulk Fuels Facility Remediation Project.  It will be held at the KAFB Groundwater Treatment System facility, located just inside the Ridgecrest Drive Gate near Bullhead Park.  Normal security procedures not required because this is a special event.  For more information, please contact Brannon Lamar, 377 Air Base Wing Public Affairs, at (505) 846-5991, or by email, brannon.lamar@us.af.mil.   GWTS22July2021OpenHouseINVITE.docx

 

 

3.  Wednesday, August 4th from 6 to 7:15 pm Santa Fe County Nuclear Waste Emergency Response Town Hall Meeting, with Santa Fe County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Anna Hamilton. Hondo 2 Fire Station, 645 Old Las Vegas Hwy., Santa Fe.

Town Hall Flyer 2-1

 

 

4.  Saturday, August 7th from 1 to 3 pm – Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration Event in Los Alamos, NM at Ashley Pond.  A two-hour vigil at the site of the first a-bomb’s creation to commemorate the bombings that fundamentally changed the world.   We must remind ourselves and others of the living hell created by that bomb in hopes that we can avoid any future use of such devices of death.  For more information, contact kenmayers@vfp-santafe.org

 

 

 5.  Sunday, August 8th from 2 – 9 pm – Taos August Peace Pilgrimage at Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM. Free and open to the public – films, forum and ceremony.  For more information and to view the agenda, please visit https://tcataos.org/calendar/#event=67243093;instance=20210808140000