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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Sample Public Comments for You to Use about the NMED proposed 2016 Consent Order – Comments due Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 5 pm MDT


CCNS and Nuclear Watch New Mexico teamed up to create these sample public comments that you can use to create your own comments to submit to the New Mexico Environment Department about their proposed 2016 Consent Order.  Sample public comments NMED d CO 5-27-16

We invite you to change up the comments, make additions, deletions and changes.  NMED likes to count comments that look the same as one comment regardless of how many people submitted them.

Please also email your comments to ccns@nuclearactive.org


Public Comments about draft LANL Cleanup Order due Tuesday, May 31st; Does Not Cleanup Legacy Waste, Creates Further Delays


play3Public comments about the New Mexico Environment Department’s draft 2016 Compliance Order on Consent, or the Cleanup Consent Order, for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are due to the Environment Department by 5 pm mountain daylight time on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016.  4/1/16 Update (or see chart below)  CCNS and Nuclear Watch New Mexico have teamed up to provide sample public comments you can use.  They are available on the home pages of http://www.nuclearactive.org and http://www.nukewatch.org

Unfortunately, the draft Cleanup Consent Order creates more delays for cleaning up the legacy radioactive and hazardous waste dumped at LANL during the Cold War, which are above drinking water supplies for Pueblo de San Ildefonso and Los Alamos and Santa Fe Counties.  Over the past four and one-half years, the Environment Department granted LANL more than 150 extensions of time under the currently operating 2005 Consent Order.  Now the draft Order allows the Department of Energy (DOE), the owner of LANL, to opt out of cleanup because of “impracticability” or if it costs too much.  The Environment Department proposes to relinquish its regulatory power by allowing DOE to dictate the terms of cleanup, including the levels of pollutants allowed to remain in soil and water.

The draft order substantially changes the focus of cleanup from work at specific sites to a broad “campaign approach.”  NMED:DOE FrameworkAgreement for LANL Jan. 2011 and NMED Summary Framework Agreement 01-5-2012.  That approach failed when it was used to expedite shipping plutonium-contaminated waste from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  One or more of those drums exploded in the WIPP underground causing a more than two-year shutdown.  Over 600 potentially exploding drums are disposed of in the WIPP underground.

It also limits public participation in the review and comment about cleanup proposals and specifically removes all public participation in any modification of a finalized 2016 Cleanup Consent Order.

The draft Order does not include a final compliance date, which the 2005 Consent Order contains.  The legacy waste cleanup was supposed to be done by December 6, 2015 with the cleanup of the 63-acre Area G dump.  That did not happen.  For that reason and others, Nuclear Watch New Mexico filed a citizens’ suit under the hazardous waste laws against DOE and Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), the management contractor, for missing the 2005 Consent Order cleanup deadlines.  Nuclear Watch is asking for a court order requiring DOE and LANS to come into compliance with the 2005 Consent Order “according to a reasonable but aggressive schedule.”  http://www.nukewatch.org/pressreleases/NW-PR-Lawsuit-5-17-16.pdf

Public comments are due to the Environment Department on Tuesday, May 31th, 2016 by 5 pm mountain daylight time.  Please reference “Draft LANL Consent Order” and submit your comments to:

Kathryn Roberts, Director

Resource Protection Division

New Mexico Environment Department

P.O. Box 5469

Santa Fe, NM  87502-5469

By email to:  kathryn.roberts@state.nm.us

Compliance Order on Consent (March 30, 2016)
March 30, 2016 Public Notice of Consent Order is issued for public comment.  The comment period will end on Monday, May 31, 2016 at 5:00 PM MDT.
     PublicNotice dCO English 3-30-16
     d CO Public Notice Spanish 3-30-16
     d CO LISTOFACRONYMS 3-30-16
     d CO APP A SWMUAOCStatusList 3-30-16
     d CO APP B Milestones & Targets 3-30-16
     d CO APP C Campaigns 3-30-16
     d CO APP D DocumentReview-Comment & RevisionsSchedule 3-30-16
     d CO App E-DocumentTemplates 3-30-16
     d CO App F-SamplingAnalyticalFieldMethodRegGuidance 3-30-16
     https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/lanlperm.html#COOC   accessed March 30, 2016



Contact: Rev. Holly Beaumont




Over fifty religious leaders from across the United States including the three Roman Catholic Bishops in New Mexico, where at the Trinity Site in the Tularosa Basin the first denotation of an atomic bomb took place on July 16, 1945, have signed a letter to President Obama urging him to keep his promise to advance international nuclear disarmament before he leaves office.  a-Final-Letter-to-Obama-on-Disarmament-1

The letter comes as President Obama is preparing for a May 27 visit to Hiroshima in Japan, a city devastated by an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. The letter reminds President Obama of the promise he made to the global community in his Prague speech in April of 2009 that one of his highest priorities would be to seek “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The urgency shared by these religious leaders is captured in a quote from the writer James Agee, who wrote in Time Magazine just days after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “…the demonstration of power against living creatures instead of dead matter created a bottomless wound in the living conscience of the race.”

The compelling words of Pope Francis are cited as well: “Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states….Now is the time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, and so foster a climate of trust and sincere dialogue.”

The religious leaders who signed the letter call into question the movement underway to overhaul and modernize US nuclear forces at a cost of $1 trillion dollars over the next decade, asking how this plan can be squared with President Obama’s priority in his Prague speech to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy while urging other nations to do the same.

Signatories along with Catholic Bishops Most Reverend John C. Wester, Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, and Most Reverend James Wall include top leaders of the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Church of the Brethren, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Unitarian Universalists, the Alliance of Baptists, and the Presidents of Union Theological Seminary and Auburn Theological Seminary in New York and the President of the National Council of Churches.

Representing a wide spectrum of religious life in America, they are united in their commitment to prayer and study and specific actions that can treat “the bottomless wound” in the living conscience of the human race. One of the drafters of the letter, the Rev. James D. Brown of Santa Fe, NM, expresses his “gratitude for the remarkable support of the letter by diverse religious leaders at a time when American life is so often marred by divisiveness and sectarianism. This witness of solidarity is something we hope will inspire and encourage President Obama as he makes his way to Japan.”


To read the letter, a Final Letter to Obama on Disarmament-1


President Obama Going to Hiroshima on May 27th; Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Invites Him to Tularosa for July 16th Trinity Test Commemoration Events


play3In a historic trip, President Obama will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Friday, May 27th following the G-7 summit.  For the first visit by a U.S. siting president, Obama will visit the park located in the center of Hiroshima, which is dedicated to those harmed by the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing.  The President will  “offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.”

Many non-governmental organizations, military and technical experts, and the public are urging Obama to announce his vision with four definitive steps towards “a world without nuclear weapons.”  They suggest Obama call for a United Nations resolution for a global moratorium on nuclear testing; reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal from 1,550, as required by the New START Treaty with Russia, to about 1,000; and retire all 400 U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.  Further, they suggest taking all ICBMs off alert status and cancelation of the $30 billion nuclear cruise missile and the $60 billion ICBM replacement.

Alliance for Nuclear Accountability 2016 “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck” report at http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52311edfe4b0830625de8366/t/570ff2bed210b8a7d566f530/1460662985134/trillion_trainwreck.pdf,

Beyond Nuclear at http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1117799148730&ca=91cfd12f-97bc-4bd8-af56-4bc782e84258,

Democracy Now at http://www.democracynow.org/2016/5/11/obama_to_make_history_with_hiroshima,

Foreign Policy at http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/05/10/what-obama-really-needs-to-say-in-hiroshima/, and

Peace Action at https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/peace-action-statement-obama-must-not-go-to-hiroshima-empty-handed/.

As Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor, wrote, “The President and his team will make this visit knowing that the open recognition of history is essential to understanding our shared past, the forces that shape the world we live in today, and the future that we seek for our children and grandchildren.”  https://medium.com/@rhodes44/the-first-sitting-u-s-president-to-visit-hiroshima-1992461baf4c#.qk9bh42ua

“The open recognition of history is essential to understanding our shared past” is also one of the goals of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.  For that reason and others, the Consortium invited President Obama to visit Tularosa, New Mexico and attend the Saturday, July 16th commemoration events of the first atomic bomb explosion on July 16th, 1945 at the Trinity Test Site.  July 16, 2016 event flyer and ACTION ALERT TBDC Jan 2016

The events include the Seventh Annual Candlelight Vigil that memorializes those who have lost their lives to cancer and honors those who are living with or who have survived cancer.  It will begin at 8 pm at the Tularosa Little League Field in West Tularosa.  Luminarias will be available beginning at 7 pm.

Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the Consortium, said, “By all means President Obama should visit Japan later this month and acknowledge the catastrophic results of the use of an atomic bomb.  However, he should also visit the American citizens who were the first victims of an atomic bomb as a result of the Trinity test.  We’ve been waiting 71 years for acknowledgement and help with the horrible health effects we’ve suffered ever since the bomb was tested at Trinity.  It’s high time for our government to right the wrong that was done to us.”


  1. Albuquerque Journal opinion editorial by Dr. Maureen Merritt, published Sun. 5/8/16 at http://www.abqjournal.com/770538/71-years-later-downwinders-are-still-ignored.html with seven comments
  1. Al Jazeera 2/16/16 – “Inside America’s Atomic state: Residents of New Mexico reflect on the toxic legacy of life at the centre of the US nuclear complex at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/01/america-atomic-state-160107102647937.html
  1. Al Jazeera 7/15/15 – “The first victims of the bomb were American: The deadly legacy of nuclear tests in New Mexico continues to affect communities around the White Sands site,” at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/7/16/the-first-victims-of-the-bomb-were-american.html with 11 comments that include stories
  1. Associated Press, “Residents Near Trinity Test Want Obama to Also Visit Village,” by Russell Contreras

a.      5/11/16 at http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/residents-near-trinity-test-want-obama-to-also-visit-village/4133898/#.Vz1GB9dcNP7

b.     5/11/16 at http://m.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Residents-near-Trinity-Test-want-Obama-to-also-7461279.php?cmpid=twitter-desktop#photo-10034528 with four photos

c.      5/11/16 at http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/residents-mexico-nuclear-test-site-seek-obama-visit-39043313

  1. CCNS News Update – published on 5/6/16 at http://nuclearactive.org/%E2%80%A2dr-merritt-responds-to-los-alamos-historical-museum-trip-to-japan-to-obtain-perspective-about-1945-u-s-bombings/ and broadcast on KUNM-FM 89.9 on 5/7/16
  1. Fox News Latino, aired on 5/12/16 at http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2016/05/12/as-obama-plans-hiroshima-trip-nm-town-near-bomb-test-site-wants-visit-apology/?intcmp=bigtopteaser
  1. KOB-TV Albuquerque, aired on 5/11/16 at http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/residents-near-trinity-test-want-obama-to-also-visit-village/4133898/#.Vz6WUNdcNP5
  1. KRQE-TV Albuquerque, aired on 5/11/16 at http://krqe.com/2016/05/11/new-mexicans-call-on-president-to-recognize-how-atomic-bomb-test-hurt-community/
  1. Las Cruces Sun News, published 5/14/16 at http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/opinion/2016/05/15/lab-team-visits-japan-ignores-bomb-victims/84290802/
  1. New York Times, published on 5/11/16 at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/05/11/us/ap-us-obama-hiroshima-new-mexico.html?partner=IFTTT&_r=1
  1. Ruidoso News – published on 5/12/16 at http://www.ruidosonews.com/story/opinion/editorials/2016/05/09/guest-editorial-downwinders—grievous-wrong-has-yet-righted/84145946/
  1. Santa Fe New Mexican editorial “Our View” where the TBDC is mentioned – published 5/12/16 at http://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/editorials/our-view-at-hiroshima-time-to-reassess/article_ba06d63c-0f9a-57f1-8d82-ffe293cf0e5c.html#.VzXSZZpVi44.gmail
  2. Socorro Chieftain – published on 5/12/16 at http://www.dchieftain.com/opinion/downwinders-still-ignored/article_d78fea30-17b5-11e6-bc34-ab05e28519fb.html

NMED Grants Extension of Public Comment Period for LANL Cleanup “Consent” Order to Tuesday, May 31, 2016


At the request of CCNS and others, on Friday, May 13, 2016, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) granted an extension of time for the public to submit comments about the proposed draft Compliance Order on Consent (cleanup “Consent Order”) for Los Alamos National Laaboratory (LANL) to Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 5 pm MDT.  Extension Public Notice No. 16-08 5-2016

Stay tuned here to download sample public comments you can use to compose your own comments on this important document.  Also, see the  CCNS News Update below about some of the concerns we have about the draft document.

Submit your comments to:

Kathryn Roberts, Director

Resource Protection Division

New Mexico Environment Department

P. O. Box 5469

Santa Fe, NM  87502-5469

OR at kathryn.roberts@state.nm.us and reference “draft LANL Consent Order”


Public Comments about draft Cleanup Order for LANL due Monday, May 16th ; Regulations Require Additional Time

LANL-CLEANUP--A LANL crew takes soil samples from the Lab's first landfill, used from 1944-1948.  About 24,000 cubic yards of soil will be excavated and the area will be cleaned to residential standards.  (photo courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory) wjohnson@abqjournal.com Mon Sep 21 17:42:31 -0600 2009 1253576546 FILENAME: 69872.jpg

play3The New Mexico Environment Department released a draft Compliance Order on Consent, or the Cleanup Consent Order, for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for a limited 45-day public review and comment period.  The hazardous waste regulations require at least a 60-day comment period for this type of document.

Currently, comments are due to the Environment Department by 5 pm mountain daylight time on Monday, May 16th.  https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/PublicNotice__English.pdf and https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/Public_Notice_Spanish.pdf

Sample public comments that you can use are available at nuclearactive.org.

A few of the general purposes of the order are to “provide a framework for current and future actions to implement regulatory requirements;  … drive toward cost-effective work resulting in tangible, measurable environmental clean-up, … and provide for effective public participation.”  https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/ConsentOrder_Main_Document.pdf, see Sec. II.B, p. 4.  The Environment Department is failing at effective public participation by not providing at least a 60-day comment period.

The Environment Department states this draft will “supersede” the Consent Order signed on March 1, 2005 by representatives of the Department, the New Mexico Attorney General, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the LANL contractor, the Regents of the University of California.  https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/ConsentOrder_Main_Document.pdf, see Sec. II.A, p. 4.

This draft Consent Order is a complete replacement of the 2005 order, requiring additional time for public comments.

Back in the spring of 2002, when the first Consent Order was released for public comment, the Environment Department provided a 60-day public comment period, as required by regulations governing the handling and storage of hazardous waste.  But the Martinez Environment Department has cut that time to 45-days for a document that is over 200 pages long that essentially revokes the 2005 order.

The draft order substantially changes the focus of cleanup from individual work at specific sites to a broad “campaign approach” that was used to expedite shipping of plutonium-contaminated waste from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  One or more of those drums exploded in WIPP causing it to shutdown for over two years.  Over 600 potentially exploding drums are currently disposed of at WIPP.

On Wednesday, May 18th, from 2 pm to 4 pm, Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn will discuss the public comments received at an afternoon meeting of the Northern New Mexico Citizens’ Advisory Board.  It will be held at the Cities of Gold Conference Center in Pojoaque.  http://energy.gov/em/nnmcab/downloads/nmed-revised-lanl-consent-order-draft-march-2016  It is unclear whether the Department will provide written responses to the public comments as has been done in the past with previous draft Consent Orders.

Your comments should be submitted to Kathryn Roberts, Director of the Resource Protection Division of the Environment Department at Kathryn.roberts@state.nm.us.


To view the proposed draft 2016 Consent Order with its appendices, go to:  https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/ConsentOrder_Main_Document.pdf

Appendix A – Solid Waste Management Unit/Area of Concern List – https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/APPENDIXA_SWMUAOCStatusList.pdf

Appendix B – Milestones and Targets – https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/APPENDIXA_SWMUAOCStatusList.pdf

Appendix C – Future Campaigns – https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/APPENDIXC_Campaigns.pdf

Appendix D – Document Review/Comment and Revision Schedule – https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/APPENDIXD-DocumentReview-CommentandRevisionsSchedule.pdf

Appendix E – Example Document Templates – https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/APPENDIXD-DocumentReview-CommentandRevisionsSchedule.pdf

Appendix F – Sampling/Analytical/Field Method Regulatory Guidance – https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/documents/AppendixF-SamplingAnalyticalFieldMethodRegGuidance.pdf


Dr. Merritt Responds to Los Alamos Historical Museum Trip to Japan to Obtain Perspective About 1945 U.S. Bombings


play3After reading a series of blog posts by the three-member Los Alamos Historical Museum delegation about their recent trip to Japan to gain perspective about the August 1945 U.S. atomic bombings, Dr. Maureen Merritt wrote in an opinion editorial that her “first reaction was anger. “  She is angry that the Museum team could “spend tens of thousands of dollars to travel to Japan to find out how the Japanese feel about us bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki 71 years ago, but can’t even mention the 1945 atomic blast at the Trinity site, or how our own New Mexico ‘downwinders’ feel about that fateful event.”

In the works for two years, the trip will result in an exhibit opening in December.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation gave the Museum a $10,000 grant.  The New Mexico Japanese Citizens League supports the project.  Judith Stauber, director of the Museum, said the exhibit would also explore the World War II internment camps established in New Mexico for Japanese Americans and German and Italian prisoners of war.

Nevertheless, the exhibit will not explore what happened to the victims of the first U.S. atomic bombing on July 16, 1945 at the Trinity Test Site in south central New Mexico.  The morbidity and mortality statistics for many of the counties surrounding Trinity are higher than those in the rest of the U.S.  Dr. Merritt writes that nuclear bomb survivors “living in and around the Tularosa basin feel much the same way the Japanese survivors do.”

Through Dr. Merritt’s editorial, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium invites the Los Alamos Historical Museum to learn about the first atomic blast by visiting with the Trinity downwinders, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  They will learn of the downwinders’ tremendous suffering from being bombed by their own country by an atomic weapon created at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Merritt continues, “New Mexico‘s downwinders’ have been written out of the history books, including Los Alamos National Laboratory’s museums and carefully crafted stories of the Manhattan Project.  As a physician advocate and active member of Physicians for Social Responsibility [and a core member of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium], I am angry because a grievous wrong has yet to be righted.  The people of New Mexico, the United States, and indeed the world including Japan, deserve the full truth.  [The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium] demand[s] equal time.  And that time is now.  71 years later.”

Museum registrar, Stephanie Yeamans, and Los Alamos High School student intern, Kallie Funk, joined Stauber on the trip. To read Dr. Merritt’s opinion editorial and to obtain the links to the Los Alamos Historical Museum blog posts, click here…Trinity op ed by Dr. Merritt TBDC 4.25.2016-2


DOE Consent-Based Siting Meetings Continue; New Mexico Does Not Consent


play3CCNS brought the New Mexico perspective to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) latest public meeting to develop a process for communities to step forward to volunteer, or “consent,” to siting future nuclear storage and disposal facilities in their community.  The meeting, the fourth of nine, was held in Sacramento, California.  The next meeting is scheduled for Denver on May 24th at the Embassy Suites Denver – Stapleton.

The federal DOE has the responsibility to find a disposal site for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel now in storage at more than 100 nuclear reactors across the U.S.  DOE is also charged to find a disposal site for waste generated from the research, development and manufacturing of nuclear weapons.  DOE is not responsible for consolidated storage sites for irradiated fuel, though that is a major focus of the current process.

Through a non-regulatory process, DOE is asking the public “to share their values, experiences and perspectives on issues that are important to DOE’s development of a consent-based siting process.”  DOE is searching to define “consent,” to learn how consent is granted and withdrawn, and how “community well-being” is incorporated into siting decisions, among other things.  The U.S. should have done a similar exercise before generating more than 75,000 metric tons of irradiated fuel, with more being produced every day.

CCNS is concerned that DOE is pushing a process on states, including New Mexico, that have already emphatically said they do not consent to new facilities.  In New Mexico, the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance is proposing a storage facility for commercial irradiated fuel.

At the Sacramento meeting, Joni Arends, of CCNS, stated, “For over 35 years, New Mexico has told DOE and the nuclear corporations that it DOES NOT CONSENT to commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and defense high-level waste being stored or disposed in the state.  In fact, Section 12 of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act states, ‘The Secretary [of DOE] shall not transport high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel to WIPP or emplace or dispose of such waste or fuel at WIPP.’  Yet DOE continues to ignore the law and continues to push for expansion of WIPP even though it has failed in its ‘start clean, stay clean’ mission.”

CCNS requested that DOE “publicly affirm that states that do not consent will be excluded from any future nuclear facility siting processes.”  CCNS CBS Sacramento 4-26-16

To learn more about DOE’s consent-based siting initiative, please visit http://www.energy.gov/ne/consent-based-siting, where you can view the previous meetings held in Washington, DC, Chicago, and Atlanta.  DOE will webcast future meetings live.

To learn more about the community perspective, please visit the websites of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service at www.nirs.org and the Nuclear Energy Information Service at http://neis.org/  The NEIS public comments are NEIS POSITIONS ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE DOE meeting in Chicago 3-29-16,   RECOMMENDATIONS ON DOE’S “CONSENT-BASED” SITING OF Radioactive waste facilities 3-29-16

See also, Dr. James David Ballard’s “The Four T’s to Consider” Powerpoint presentation at DOE Consent Based Siting Meeting, Sacramento, CA on April 26, 2016 at http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/4-Ts-to-Consider-Ballard-CBS-SacraTomato-4-26-16.pdf


Goals of U.S. Department of Energy Meeting in Sacramento April 26 would Trigger Largest Nuclear Shipping Campaign in History: California Cities Would be Fukushima Freeways

CaptureConcerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety * Nuclear Information and Resource Service * Redwood Alliance
SEED Coalition
April 25, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contacts: Mary Olson, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (828-242-5621) cell
Joni Arends, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, NM (505-986-1973) cell
Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition, NM (512-797-8481)
Graphics: See attached maps –  CAnuclearNuclear Waste Routes National, Texas–National Nuclear Waste Likely Routes

Goals of U.S. Department of Energy Meeting in Sacramento April 26 would Trigger Largest Nuclear Shipping Campaign in History:  California Cities Would be Fukushima Freeways

Tuesday April 26, on the 30th commemoration of one of history’s catastrophic releases of radioactivity from Chernobyl Unit 4 reactor in the former Soviet Union, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is holding a public meeting in Sacramento to under-pin its program to expand nuclear energy. First goal: get the nation’s highly radioactive waste on to trucks and trains, moving off nuclear reactor sites to one or more “consolidated storage” sites. In order to achieve the goal of moving so-called “spent” nuclear fuel from the power generating sites where it was made, the DOE must get Congress, currently divided on the next step for this waste, to pull together and change the law. This meeting, fourth in a nation-wide series of nine is designed, perhaps, to reassure law makers that the “public” has been “consulted.”

The meeting, at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 begins at 4 pm with an open house. The meeting will convene at 5 pm and will also be live web-cast with webinar features. See: http://www.energy.gov/ne/downloads/meeting-materials-consent-based-siting-public-meeting-sacramento-april-26-2016

“In order to move this most deadly of wastes any time soon, DOE will ask Congress to gut any remaining protections in the existing law,” said Mary Olson, Southeast Coordinator for Nuclear Information and Resource Service who on April 10th attended another of the DOE’s public meetings, in Atlanta GA. “The Nuclear Waste Policy Act requires a licensed permanent site for the waste before the DOE can take the waste anywhere. It keeps liability with the waste generator until the real, long-term problem of what to do with this waste has been solved. This makes sense, especially when the hazard of transporting the waste is multiplied by adding a “temporary” site to the plan.” NIRS calls this “Fukushima Freeways” since the shipments would carry the same material, irradiated nuclear fuel, as spewed from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors five years ago. Under some accident scenarios, local areas could be contaminated just like Fukushima Prefecture. See: http://www.nirs.org/fukushimafreeways/stopfukushimafreeways.htm

“Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a state with no nuclear power plants, but with a long history of having DOE and its corporate contractors break their promises of safety at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). DOE also has tried to ignore federal and state laws that limit WIPP’s mission. New Mexico has for decades told DOE and nuclear corporations that it DOES NOT CONSENT to irradiated fuel being stored or disposed in the state. DOE’s “consent-based siting” is a sham, since it wants to offer incentive packages for volunteer sites, including to a few people with the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance in southeastern New Mexico and the nuclear corporation Holtec. Congress should not provide funding for the incentives, and DOE should publicly affirm that states that do not consent will be excluded from any future nuclear facility siting processes,” said Joni Arends of CCNS, who will be attending the Tuesday meeting.

A second site, only miles away in West Texas is also being proffered by Energy Solutions / Waste Control Specialists, where, like New Mexico, many people oppose “consolidated storage” because it is unnecessary and dangerous to the local communities all along the transportation routes.

“We do not consent to the plan to dump dangerous radioactive waste on us,” said Rose Gardner a SEED Coalition member who lives in Eunice, New Mexico, a town of nearly 3000 people that is 40% Hispanic. It lies five miles west of the WCS site. “Andrews County officials say that we want this waste, but no one has ever asked me if I consent. I would definitely say no, and many others here feel the same way. We never got to vote on this issue. The Department of Energy (DOE) is saying that our community consents to having radioactive waste dumped in our backyard, but this isn’t true. The DOE scheduled eight hearings around the country, but not a single one for New Mexico or Texas, the targeted region. Clearly they don’t want to hear our voices.”

Michael Welch, spokesperson for Redwood Alliance in Arcata, CA said, “Here in Humboldt County, CA, we have a nuclear power plant that has nearly completed the decommissioning process. With no rail lines, roads into and out of the area are so narrow and twisting, and they closely follow important bodies of water, that it makes waste transportation especially hazardous. Local citizens have worked with the utility to store the high level waste, on the reactor site to avoid that dangerous transportation. DOE would undercut our local effort to keep the waste as safe as possible, while increasing dangerous transport across the nation.”

“Nuclear power reactors have generated both electricity and this waste over the last 40 years. We still don’t know how to keep it safe for a million years. An energy policy based on making more just does not make sense when we have better alternatives,” said Olson, NIRS Southeast Office.


April 26th Marks the 30th Anniversary of the Catastrophic Chernobyl Accident

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play3For the millions of people who were evacuated from their communities located downwind of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant Reactor Number 4 that exploded and released vast quantities of radiation and other toxins 30 years ago, they have not returned home to live.  As a result, the Russian government built new communities, but for many, it is not home.

Further, more than 800,000 emergency responders, firefighters, soldiers, engineers, farmers, miners and volunteers, called “liquidators,” were exposed to high levels of radiation as they worked to evacuate the people in the estimated 3,600 to 4,500 buses, trucks and military vehicles needed for the task.  For years, the liquidators worked at the impossible task to cleanup the area, which is the size of Rhode Island.

Most of the liquidators were 18 to 22 years of age from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, the areas hardest hit by the release of radiation and other harmful toxins.  Twenty percent of them died in the first 20 years following the 1986 catastrophe.

It is these populations that have suffered the worst health effects, including heart disease; thyroid and other radiation-induced cancers, genetic damage and birth defects, fully developed eye cataracts in young people, psychological problems and damaged immune systems. In this case, a damaged immune system can open the body to non-radiation related diseases, colds and flus, and chronic infections.  See:  Cathy Sullivan’s Update stories about “One Nuclear Reactor Can Pollute Half the Globe” at http://www.nuclearactive.org/news/102910.html  and http://www.nuclearactive.org/news/110510.html  The millions exposed to high levels of radiation have received little support and medical care from the government.

Sergey Krasilnikov, 65, was a liquidator and a foreman in the reconstruction of the power plant.  He told his story to USA Today about his sacrifice during the disaster to protect family living in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine with a population of over 2.5 million people.  http://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/chernobyl/

Krasilnikov explained, “Then in 1994, I got sick.  After my medical assessment they said my stroke and paralysis were a direct result of my work as a liquidator.

“Yet it still took a long time before I got any disability assistance from the government, and we lived hand-to-mouth and had to sell a lot of things.  I now get about [$200] a month.  I pay [about $136] each month for treatment.

“Had I known with what indifference and scorn the state would treat me now, I may not have agreed to be a liquidator.  Nevertheless, I had family in Kiev.  I wasn’t saving state bureaucrats, I was protecting the people of Ukraine.”

For the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, a number of publications, including USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/chernobyl/, The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/environment/chernobyl-nuclear-disaster, and the website enformable http://enformable.com/2015/09/experiencing-the-chernobyl-nuclear-power-plant-nearly-30-years-later/ have extensive stories about the evacuees, liquidators and those who stayed, along with photo essays and videos.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, Beyond Nuclear and the Goethe-Institut, DC will co-host an afternoon and evening program that will mark the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl and the 5th anniversary of Fukushima.  The program is called Lessons from Fukushima and Chernobyl:  The Risks of Normalizing Radiation.  Leading international experts and compelling short films will headline the special event.  It will be held at the Goethe-Institut, DC, at 1990 K Street, NW (event entrance on 20th Street) from 2 to 5 pm and 7:30 to 9 pm.  All events are free and open to the public.  No registration is required.  For more information and to view the full program, visit  http://www.beyondnuclear.org/chernobyl30-fukushima5/

Lots of deeply moving 30th anniversary Chernobyl major media coverage recently, including: