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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Help us help you. We gratefully accept donations to assist our organization in protecting all living beings and the environment from the effects of radioactive and other hazardous materials now and in the future.

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Current Activities

A Third Attempt at Consent-Based Siting for High-Level Radioactive Waste

On Tuesday, November 30th, the Department of Energy (DOE) held a press conference to announce the third attempt to find communities, sovereign tribal nations, or local or state governments to host an interim federal storage facility for high-level radioactive waste from commercial nuclear reactors.  DOE issued a request for information in which it “especially welcome[s] insight from people, communities, and groups that have historically not been well-represented in these discussions.”  In the past, almost all communities have rejected hosting such a site because it might become a “forever” site as no permanent disposal site has been identified.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have both definitively stated that they do not consent to interim storage of commercial nuclear power plant waste at the proposed Holtec site in southeastern New Mexico or at Waste Control Specialists / Interim Storage Partners site in west Texas, on the New Mexico border.  http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NM-Governor-Holtec-Ltr-060719.pdf  and http://nuclearactive.org/texas-bans-high-level-nuclear-waste-storage-nrc-approves-high-level-radioactive-waste-dump-there/

Despite the Governors’ statements that the states do not consent, Dr. Kathryn Huff, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, said that she would be glad to hear from New Mexico and Texas communities, noting that those sites are proposed by private companies and are different from the consent-based process.  Huff said she expects thousands of comments on the request for information.  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/12/01/2021-25724/notice-of-request-for-information-rfi-on-using-a-consent-based-siting-process-to-identify-federal

In the early 1990s, the first attempt was made with the appointment of a Nuclear Waste Negotiator who granted funds to communities to consider hosting an interim site.  The Mescalero Apaches of New Mexico accepted funding to consider it, but in the end, rejected hosting an interim storage site.  http://nuclearactive.org/report-from-december-9th-summit-to-halt-high-level-radioactive-waste-dumping-in-new-mexico-and-west-texas/

Under the Obama administration, a second attempt was made through a number of public meetings throughout the country, though no funding was provided.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, passed by Congress, supports the third attempt.  It provides $20 million to DOE to begin the consent-based siting process “to support near-term action in managing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and is an important component of an integrated waste management system.”

DOE asks for commenters to address questions, such as:  “How should [DOE] build considerations of social equity and environmental justice into a consent-based siting process?” and “What barriers might prevent meaningful participation in a consent-based siting process and how could those barriers be mitigated or removed?”  https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-restarts-consent-based-siting-program-spent-nuclear-fuel-requests-input-interim

On Tuesday, December 7th at 2 pm Eastern Time, Dr. Huff will be available for a virtual question and answer.  https://pnnl.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_37M0wNLUTImCkpOJdM11fQ?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Comments are due by 5 pm Eastern Time on Friday, March 4, 2022 and may be submitted to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.


  1. TODAY! Dec. 2nd from 5:30 to 7 pm MT – New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Environmental Justice Series, featuring Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA).  Join the community conversation with YUCCA leaders who will present their work and the importance of youth leadership and involvement in the legislative session.  Register here: https://nmelc-ejseries-yucca.eventbrite.com

 

Here is also a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/603594134428078?ref=newsfeed

 

  1. Thurs. Dec. 2nd from 3 pm to 5:30 pm MT and Fri. Dec. 3rd from midnight to 2:30 am MT – World Nuclear Survivor’s Forum 2021 – a virtual event. From the organizer Akira Kawasaki; Peace Boat:  +81(0)3 3363 7561

Mobile/WhatsApp: +81(0)90 8310 5370  Skype: akirakawas :

 

This will be a unique opportunity to hear powerful stories and vital messages, directly from nuclear survivors from around the globe. The Forum will be open for anyone to join, held over two time blocks to cover different timezones) and available for viewing directly on the nuclearsurvivors.org website and on Youtube.

 

“No registration is needed – you can just come straight to the web site and view the Youtube videos immediately from there.

“We also encourage you to join the conversation on Youtube by actively sharing your comments, thoughts, questions and so on – these will be fed into the discussions on the day and also the summary documents and outcomes to follow.”

 

“The videos will remain available on Youtube as an archive so please do take a look even if you are not able to join in real time.”

 

Happy Holidays! It’s Giving Tuesday and We Need Your Support

November 29, 2021

 

Season’s Greetings,

 

   We’ll get right to the point.  We need your financial support.  Year in and year out, you rely on CCNS’s experience and strategic positioning of nuclear weapons complex issues to provide your input into the process.  We want to continue this important work in 2022.

   Perhaps most importantly, we will continue to urge the Governor to utilize the tools she has to prevent the expansion of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  Extending WIPP operations from 2024 to 2080, if successful, would threaten to normalize the idea that the rest of the country may treat New Mexico as a nuclear dumping ground.  It would make it harder to oppose increased levels of nuclear pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) by creating the false impression that plutonium-contaminated waste can be carted away to WIPP and then ignored.  We need a safe and clean environment in New Mexico:  we do not need more plutonium pits. 

   With your help, we’ll celebrate the first anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on January 22, 2022.  We’ll launch a campaign to ask our congressional delegation about the plan to transition LANL away from nuclear weapons to life-affirming science, such as cleanup. 

   CCNS will continue to produce our weekly CCNS News Update and social media outreach. 

   We will continue to challenge WIPP expansion through the administrative hearing processes and in the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

   Protecting water from LANL contamination is essential.  Since the May 2000 Cerro Grande fire, CCNS has taken a lead role in that effort.  We continue to monitor the monthly meetings of the Buckman Direct Diversion Board, oppose the proposed return flow pipeline from the Paseo Rael Wastewater Treatment Plant (on Airport Road) to the Buckman, and challenge groundwater discharge permits that do not protect water quality.

   Working with diverse groups of young people from the Communities for Clean Water and St. John’s College is continuing.  They are sensitive to environmental and social justice, civil rights, and environmental protection and are eager to learn and participate in the public processes.  It is exciting work! 

   We thank you in advance for your moral support and for your financial contributions in any amount you are able to give at this time.  Please consider:

  • joining our amazing group of monthly contributors at http://nuclearactive.org/
  • donating mutual funds, stocks and securities
  • giving through an IRA Charitable Rollover
  • leaving an estate gift such as a bequest or other planned gift
  • Spread the word by sharing our message via email with your contacts
  • Make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram

Best wishes for a healthy, safe and peaceful 2022!

Grant Franks, Myrriah Gómez and Basia Miller, CCNS Board

Joni Arends, Co-founder and Executive Director

 

Public Comments Needed for Public Hearing on WIPP Panel 8

The Department of Energy (DOE) has raised the height of the underground waste disposal Panel 8 from 13 feet to 16 feet at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in violation of the Permit.  DOE also did not inform the New Mexico Environment Department of that change, another violation of the Permit.  DOE is now asking the Environment Department to ignore the Permit violations and approve the increased height and to adjust the potential volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that workers may be exposed to.

The VOCs of concern are:  carbon tetrachloride, chlorobenzene, chloroform, 1,1-dichloroethylene, 1,2-Dichloroethane, methylene chloride, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, toluene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and trichloroethylene.

This is the fourth permit modification request with opportunity for public comment this year.  If you have been keeping track, the requests have been for the construction and operation of a new Shaft No. 5 and associated drifts –  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/, scroll down to October 27, 2021 entry; operation of a new Salt Cell No. 5 and Salt Storage Pond No. 5 – https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/, scroll down to GWQB 21-19 Groundwater Discharge Permit DP-831, Administrative Appeal to Cabinet Secretary;  construction and use of new Panels 11 and 12 – https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/ , scroll down to August 3, 2021 entry; and now the Panel 8 VOC room-based limits –   https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/ , scroll down to October 15, 2021 entry.

Last month, the Environment Department Secretary approved new Shaft No. 5, which decision Southwest Research and Information Center and Cynthia Weehler have appealed to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.  http://nuclearactive.org/appeal-filed-against-nmed-approval-of-the-new-shaft-at-wipp/

Excavation of Panel 8 began in December 2013.  At that time the ceiling was mined to 13 feet high, as the Permit requires.

Panel 8 excavation was halted when on February 14th, 2014 one or more drums of radioactive and hazardous waste exploded and contaminated the underground and the exhaust shaft.  When Panel 8 excavation resumed in 2018, the room height was increased to 16 feet.  But there was no notice of the change to the Environment Department, another violation of the Permit.

Mining of Panel 8 has been completed and DOE plans to begin disposing of waste next spring.  This means DOE is rushing to obtain Environment Department approval.  

As part of its plans to expand WIPP and keep it open until 2080, DOE submitted a Class 2 permit modification request to the Environment Department to authorize changes in Panel 8 to account for the increased ceiling height and adjust the VOC limits.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/ , scroll down to October 15, 2021 entry.

A Class 2 request may be approved by the Environment Department following a public comment period, which ends on December 20th, 2021.  Because of the Permit violations and significant public concerns about WIPP expansion, CCNS and colleague non-governmental organizations believe the request should be denied or subject to a public hearing.

CCNS prepared a sample public comment letter you can use to show significant public concern about the DOE’s permit modification request.  Rev. 1 Public comment WIPP Panel 8 11-23-21

 


 

  1. GIVING TUESDAY – Nov. 30th. You rely on CCNS to provide you with the latest nuclear safety issues and ways you can respond – links to key meetings, sample public comment letters, etc. On Giving Tuesday, please give as generously as you are able to keep us going to oppose expansion of WIPP and LANL.  One way we are doing that is to push for the NM Environment Department to release its draft hazardous waste permits – already two years late – for WIPP and LANL for public review and comment.  Thank you!

 

 

  1. Nov. 30th from 2 to 4 pm MT – EPA Individual Stormwater Permit for LANL required virtual public meeting. The meeting agenda includes:  an update from Communities for Clean Water; updates on Individual Permit and copper site-specific water quality criteria; monitoring year 2021 sample results; control measure construction update; and questions and answers.  Links to meeting available at:  https://n3b-la.com/individual-permit-public-meeting-november-30-2021/ and https://ext.em-la.doe.gov/ips.

 

 

  1. Dec. 2nd from 5:30 to 7 pm MT – New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Environmental Justice Series, featuring Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA). Join the community conversation with YUCCA leaders who will present their work and the importance of youth leadership and involvement in the legislative session.  Register here: https://nmelc-ejseries-yucca.eventbrite.com      Here is also a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/603594134428078?ref=newsfeed
 

Appeal Filed Against NMED Approval of the New Shaft at WIPP

On October 27th, New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James Kenney granted the Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, the latest approval they requested to expand the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and keep it open for decades, essentially forever.  The Secretary approved the excavation and operation of new Shaft No. 5 and its drifts, or corridors, all located west of the existing underground disposal site, 2,150 feet below the surface.  See October 27, 2021 entries at https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/

Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) and Cynthia Weehler have now appealed that Final Decision to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.  http://sric.org/ They are asking the Court to overturn the decision because of many factual and legal mistakes made by the Hearing Officer, all of which were approved without change. For example, the Secretary’s decision stated that the new shaft will restore the ventilation system to full operations. However, a permit change in 2018, which did not include the new shaft, would provide that ventilation.

SRIC has also asked the Secretary to put construction of the new shaft on hold until the Court can rule on the appeal. That is because if the shaft is constructed, the Court will not be able to hear the case and make a decision to prevent the construction. The Secretary can approve or deny the stay or take no action.  His decision on the stay can also be appealed to the Court of Appeals.

The stay request was supported by three affidavits. One was from Steve Zappe, who was the Environment Department WIPP Permit writer for 17 years. Mr. Zappe’s affidavit stressed that under the Environment Department’s 2020 permission, construction on the new shaft was specifically conditioned on it being reversed, if it was not ultimately approved. Construction was stopped in October 2020. But if the construction resumed, there would be no such requirement that it could be reversed.

Kathleen Sanchez and Cynthia Weehler also gave affidavits. Ms. Sanchez stated that her Tewa Pueblo land is on the WIPP shipment route from Los Alamos to WIPP. She strongly opposes WIPP expansion, and the hundreds of new shipments that would endanger her. No Tewa translation services were provided during the shaft hearing and her comments were not considered.

Cynthia Weehler lives on U.S. 285 near Santa Fe on the WIPP route. She purchased her home knowing the WIPP Permit stated that the last WIPP shipments would be in 2024. However, the new shaft and WIPP expansion will keep WIPP open for decades beyond that date and endanger her. Similarly, her comments were not considered in the Secretary’s decision.

 


  1. Please give as generously as you are able to CCNS. We really need your financial support. We’re carrying a heavy load to push for the draft hazardous waste permits for WIPP and LANL to be released by the NM Environment Department for public review and comment.  Thank you for your continuing support!

 

  1. This weekend: Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC), on Report from Santa Fe, with Lorene Mills.  It will be aired throughout NM:
  • Saturday night, November 20, 2021, 6:00 p.m. for the entire east side of the state, on Channel 3, KENW-TV, the PBS station in Portales.
  • STATEWIDE the DISH-TV network also airs it on Channel 3 at this time.
  • Sunday morning, November 21, 8:00 a.m. for Las Cruces and the Southern part of the State, on KRWG-TV, the PBS station in Las Cruces, Channel 22.
  • Sunday morning, November 21, 8:00 a.m. for Albuquerque and Santa Fe and all of Northern New Mexico, on Channel 5, KNME-TV, the PBS station in Albuquerque.
  • Sunday afternoon, November 21, 4:30 pm Channel 5.4 for Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Northern NM (Ch.5.4 over the air, can also be seen on Comcast Cable Ch. 204).
  • The interview will be heard on the radio on Monday morning, November 22, at 9:30 a.m. KANW-FM, 89.1 over the air and streaming online.

 

  1. Nov. 21st at 8 pm ET, 6 pm MT, 5 pm PT – In the Dark of the Valley documentary about the “cleanup” and on-going community health issues related to the DOE/NASA/Boeing Santa Susana Field Laboratory, near Simi Valley, CA.

In addition, the film can be viewed at any time via:

  • NBC’s website  https://www.nbc.com/in-the-dark-of-the-valley/video/in-the-dark-of-the-valley/8000004910 – you can log-in with your TV/Cable provider info or click “sign up”
  • The MSNBC app – Again, you’ll need to log-in with your TV/Cable provider info. The MSNBC Apple app can be downloaded here, Android via Amazon here
  • Hulu (only the pricier Hulu + Live TV package) – if you don’t have Hulu or the Hulu + Live TV package, you can sign up for a free 7 day trial
  • It can also be viewed via the Spectrum, going to On Demand, then MSNBC.  It may also apply on Roku, Fubo, and similar streaming services that offer access to cable channels.

 

  1. Nov. 22nd from 10 am – noon – Virtual Public Meeting – Weather Modification Application for License by Western Weather Consultants, LLC
    Proposed project – Two to two and a half month cloud seeding project proposed to start in December, 2021

Please register for PUBLIC MEETING – Weather Modification Application for License by Western Weather Consultants, LLC Proposed project – on Nov 22, 2021 10:00 AM MST to Noon at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6190940277286566411

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  Please note, if you prefer to use your phone, you must select “Use Telephone” after joining the webinar and call in using the numbers below.
United States: +1 (213) 929-4212
Access Code: 455-042-101
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the webinar

For more information:  https://lajicarita.wordpress.com/2021/11/18/virtual-public-meeting-on-proposed-cloud-seeding-in-the-sangre-de-cristos/

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 30th from 2 to 4 pm MT – EPA Individual Stormwater Permit for LANL required virtual public meeting. The meeting agenda includes:  an update from Communities for Clean Water; updates on Individual Permit and copper site-specific water quality criteria; monitoring year 2021 sample results; control measure construction update; and questions and answers.  Links to meeting available at:  https://n3b-la.com/individual-permit-public-meeting-november-30-2021/ and https://ext.em-la.doe.gov/ips

 

 

N3B Puts Profits before the Public’s Concerns about Permit Renewal at LANL

It is always interesting to learn how the Department of Energy and its contractors prioritize their work at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  This week, the public learned that DOE asked the LANL cleanup contractor, N3B, to request that the New Mexico Environment Department move 19 hazardous waste sites from one part of the hazardous waste permit to another.  https://n3b-la.com/n3b-los-alamos-hosts-public-meeting-on-cleanup-status-of-19-historical-lanl-sites-in-pueblo-canyon/

During this week’s virtual public meeting, Joni Arends of CCNS, asked why the request comes at a time when the hazardous waste permit renewal is already two years behind schedule.  N3B reported that DOE had asked it to submit the request.  Later, when pressed by Arends, it became clear that the request was made to meet an arbitrary contract performance measure resulting in a possible monetary bonus to N3B.

Unlike DOE, CCNS’s concern is for the Environment Department to issue LANL’s draft hazardous waste permit for public review and comment.  Every ten years, the hazardous waste permit is up for renewal.  The current permit was issued in December 2010.  Since spring 2020, when LANL submitted its renewal application, the Environment Department has failed to issue a timely draft permit.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl-permit/

The beauty of the permit renewal process is that it provides for enhanced public participation. The entire permit is open for public review and comment on all aspects of hazardous waste operations at key nuclear weapons facilities, including those associated with plutonium pits, or the triggers, for nuclear weapons.  They are Technical Area 3 (the old Chemistry & Metallurgy Research Building); TA-50 (the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility); TA-54 (Areas G (radioactive, hazardous & toxic waste disposal), H (buried classified shapes, photos, lithimun, etc.)) and L (liquid radioactive, hazardous and toxic liquids); TA-55 (Plutonium Facility); and TA-63 (the Transuranic Waste Facility).

The hazardous waste permit covers operations at only those five of the many LANL sites that handle, treat and store hazardous waste. For this reason, the public process is critical.  Nevertheless, due to the lack of the necessary funding for staffing across the Environment Department, and the Hazardous Waste Bureau in particular, the draft LANL renewal permit is already two years late.

Similarly, the hazardous waste renewal permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is already two years late.  WIPP has submitted many permit modifications which review is limited to the proposed modifications.  As a result, DOE’s expansion plans are not receiving the full required public examination as provided for in the permit renewal process.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/

CCNS views the N3B proposal to move the 19 sites within the LANL hazardous waste permit as a diversion from the Environment Department’s requirement to issue timely draft renewal permits.  Scroll down the page – https://n3b-la.com/outreach/

CCNS will prepare sample public comments you can use to submit to the Environment Department asking that N3B’s request for the 19 sites be shelved until the draft renewal permit is released for public review and comment.  Public comments are due by December 5, 2021.


Please give as generously as you are able to CCNS. We really need your financial support.  We’re carrying a heavy load to push for the draft hazardous waste permits to be released by the NM Environment Department for public review and comment.  Thank you for your continuing support!

 

 

COP26 and Nuclear Power: Direct Support for Nuclear Weapons

Our colleague, Linda Pentz Gunter, the International Specialist at Beyond Nuclear, has written a brilliant piece, about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, which we post in its entirety.

HIDDEN AGENDA:  The unspoken argument for more nuclear power

By Linda Pentz Gunter

“So here we are again at another COP (Conference of the Parties). Well, some of us are in Glasgow, Scotland at the COP itself, and some of us, this writer included, are sitting at a distance, trying to feel hopeful.

“But this is COP 26. That means there have already been 25 tries at dealing with the once impending and now upon us climate crisis. Twenty five rounds of “blah, blah, blah” as youth climate activist, Greta Thunberg, so aptly put it.

“So if some of us do not feel the blush of optimism on our cheeks, we can be forgiven. I mean, even the Queen of England has had enough of the all-talk-and-no-action of our world leaders, who have been, by and large, thoroughly useless. Even, this time, absent. Some of them have been worse than that.

“Not doing anything radical on climate at this stage is fundamentally a crime against humanity. And everything else living on Earth. It should be grounds for an appearance at the International Criminal Court. In the dock.

PHOTO:  Will the COP26 be more “blah, blah, blah” on climate change, as Greta Thunberg (pictured at a pre-COP26 event) has warned against? And will nuclear power slither under the door as a bogus climate solution? (Photo:  MAURO UJETTO/Shutterstock)

 

“But what are the world’s greatest greenhouse gas emitters consumed with right now? Upgrading and expanding their nuclear weapons arsenals. Another crime against humanity. It’s as if they haven’t even noticed that our planet is already going quite rapidly to hell in a handbasket. They’d just like to hasten things along a bit by inflicting a nuclear armageddon on us as well.

“Not that the two things are unconnected. The civilian nuclear power industry is desperately scrambling to find a way into the COP climate solutions. It has rebranded itself as ‘zero-carbon,’ which is a lie. And this lie goes unchallenged by our willing politicians who blithely repeat it. Are they really that lazy and stupid? Possibly not. Read on.

“Nuclear power isn’t a climate solution of course. It can make no plausible financial case, compared with renewables and energy efficiency, nor can it deliver nearly enough electricity in time to stay the inexorable onrush of climate catastrophe. It is too slow, too expensive, too dangerous, hasn’t solved its lethal waste problem and presents a potentially disastrous security and proliferation risk.

“Nuclear power is so slow and expensive that it doesn’t even matter whether or not it is ‘low-carbon’ (let alone ‘zero-carbon’). As the scientist, Amory Lovins, says, ‘Being carbon-free does not establish climate-effectiveness.’ If an energy source is too slow and too costly, it will ‘reduce and retard achievable climate protection’ no matter how ‘low-carbon’ it is.  https://rmi.org/people/amory-lovins/

“This leaves only one possible rationale for the political obsession with keeping the nuclear power industry alive: its indispensability to the nuclear weapons sector.

“New, small, fast reactors will make plutonium, essential to the nuclear weapons industry as Henry Sokolski and Victor Gilinsky of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center continue to point out. https://npolicy.org/ Some of these so-called micro-reactors would be used to power the military battlefield. The Tennessee Valley Authority is already using two of its civilian nuclear reactors to produce tritium, another key ‘ingredient’ for nuclear weapons and a dangerous blurring of the military and civil nuclear lines.

PHOTO:  ”Tennessee Valley Authority is already using its two Watts Bar civilian reactors to produce tritium for the nuclear weapons sector, an ominous blurring of the civil-military line. (Photo: TVA Web team)

 

“Keeping existing reactors going, and building new ones, maintains the lifeline of personnel and know-how needed by the nuclear weapons sector. Dire warnings are being sounded in the halls of power about the threat to national security should the civil nuclear sector fade away.

“This is more than a hypothesis. It is all spelled out in numerous documents from bodies such as The Atlantic Council  https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/ to The Energy Futures Initiative. https://energyfuturesinitiative.org/ It has been well researched by two stellar academics at the University of Sussex in the UK — Andy Stirling and Phil Johnstone. It’s just almost never talked about. Including by those of us in the anti-nuclear power movement, much to Stirling and Johnstone’s consternation. https://www.sussex.ac.uk/research/explore-our-research/business-and-economics/shining-light-on-nuclear-deterrent

“But in a way it’s just glaringly obvious. Although, just to be clear, this more-than-a-theory excuse for perpetuating nuclear power doesn’t make it a good or valid reason. It’s as bogus as all the other lame justifications, and just as damaging. We don’t need nuclear power to prop up the nuclear weapons sector, because the very last thing we need right now, ever and at all, is any — let alone more — nuclear weapons. Using one crime against humanity (deploying nuclear power ostensibly to mitigate climate change, only to worsen it) in the name of another (the ‘need’ for nuclear weapons) is doubly heinous.

“Consequently, as we in the anti-nuclear movement wrack our brains to understand why our perfectly empirical and compelling arguments against using nuclear power for climate fall perpetually on deaf ears, we are maybe missing the fact that the nuclear-is-essential-for-climate arguments we hear are just one big smokescreen.

“At least, let’s hope so. Because the alternative means that our politicians really are that lazy and stupid, and also gullible, or in the pockets of the big polluters, whether nuclear or fossil fuel, or possibly all of the above. And if that’s the case, we must brace ourselves for more ‘blah, blah, blah’ at COP 26 and a truly horrible outlook for present and future generations.

“We are grateful, therefore, to our colleagues attending COP 26, who will be promoting— rather than tilting at —windmills as they make their case, one more time, that nuclear power has no place in, and in fact hinders, climate solutions.

“And I hope they will also point out that expensive and obsolete nuclear power should never be promoted — under the false guise of a climate solution — as an excuse to perpetuate the nuclear weapons industry.”  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/10/31/hidden-agenda/


We are Podcasting! 

Government agencies have scheduled a number of IMPORTANT meetings in the next week.  As a result, the Did You Know? is longer than usual.     

 

  1. Thank you for your contributions to CCNS!!! We are grateful for your continuing support so we can produce the weekly CCNS News Update.  Since 1988, CCNS has produced the Update to keep you informed about the latest nuclear news and distribute it through social media.  We could use your financial support right now to continue this service.

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 9th from 3:30 to 5 pm – LANL will host a virtual public meeting to discuss the permit modification request to Remove 19 Corrective-Action Complete Sites in the Pueblo Canyon Aggregate Area (including old septic tanks in the town site and contaminated areas in Acid Canyon). The comment period ends Dec. 5, 2021.  For more information, go to https://n3b-la.com/outreach/ or contact Lee Bishop, DOE-EM, at (505) 257-7902.

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 9th from 4:30 – 5:30 pm – DOE/Triad/N3B/LANL will host Public Training for the Electronic Public Reading Room. For questions or to register, please email envoutreach@lanl.gov or call 505 551-4514.    

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 9th from 5 to 7 pm –WIPP virtual public meeting about its Class 2 permit modification request to the NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau to Update the Volatile Organic Compound Room-Based Limits in Panel 8. Comments are due to NMED by Dec. 20, 2021.  To register:   https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrf-Crqj0rGNVU_mUK3pBlGg_Pv5_59hMd       DraftPublicNotice_Panel8VOCUpdate

 

 

  1. Th. Fri. Nov. 11th Armistice/Remembrance Day Is for Ending War. See World Beyond War at https://worldbeyondwar.org/armistice-remembrance-day/

 

 

  1. Fri. Nov. 12th at 9 am – live (State Capitol, Senate Chambers) and virtual meeting – NM Legislature Interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee meeting.  Presentations include:  Environment Department Cleanup Actions; LANL Operations & Updates; LANL Legacy Waste Cleanup; Weapons Grade Plutonium Transportation Concerns, Community Concerns about Resumption of Plutonium Pit Production at LANL; Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board; Northern NM Citizens’ Advisory Board.  Public comment opportunities are available.  For more information, see agenda at https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC   
 

DOE’s Santa Came Early: NMED Approves FOREVER WIPP

Santa Claus came early this year and granted the Department of Energy what it wanted – approval to excavate and use new Shaft No. 5 and its associated drifts in the WIPP underground.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, the New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James C. Kenney granted DOE and its contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, LLC, the latest approval they wanted to expand the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and keep it open for decades, essentially forever.  https://wipp.energy.gov/

The Secretary approved the excavation and operation of new Shaft No. 5 and its drifts, or corridors, all located west of the existing underground disposal site, 2,150 feet below the surface.  Approval of the new shaft is a key step for doubling the size of the WIPP underground disposal area, implicitly allowing WIPP to stay open forever.   NMED_Sec_WIPP_Shaft5_FinalOrder102721_rev

And who received coal in their stockings?  The People of New Mexico.  DOE has not made its plans public.  Other agencies, including the National Academies of Science and Government Accountability Office (GAO), reviewed DOE’s plans in two reports released in 2020.  Disposal of Surplus Plutonium in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant,  https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/disposal-of-surplus-plutonium-in-the-waste-isolation-pilot-plant and Nuclear Waste Disposal:  Better Planning Needed to Avoid Potential Disruptions at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-21-48

Using interviews and document reviews, GAO created a new conceptual map of the WIPP underground.  The map reveals nine new waste disposal panels, each containing eight rooms.  The new panels would be connected to the 30-foot in diameter new Shaft No. 5.

For decades, even before WIPP accepted its first shipment of plutonium-contaminated waste from nuclear weapons fabrication on March 26, 1999, DOE told the People of New Mexico that WIPP would operate for 25 years and then close.  Accordingly, the WIPP Permit provides that the site would stop receiving waste in 2024 and begin an estimated 10-year period where the four existing shafts and underground drifts would be filled in and closed.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp-permit-page/

During the May 2021 Environment Department’s public hearing about permitting the proposed new shaft, Deborah Reade and CCNS addressed the lack of translated information and the lack of proper public notification about the shaft, among other issues.

The demographics of Southeastern New Mexico required that key information be translated into Spanish, but most was not.  Radio announcements in English and Spanish were made from radio stations that had no signal in the WIPP area.  These defective notices and other problems mean that New Mexicans were denied meaningful involvement in the permitting process. 2021-8-16_ HWB 21-02 WIPP CCNS-Reade_CLOSING-ARGUMENT

Summarizing this situation, Deborah Reade said, “Spanish speakers had far less access to information about this permit than English speakers had. The Secretary could have denied the permit on civil rights grounds alone, but he did not do so.”

To get involved, please join the Stop Forever WIPP, una coalición dedicada a detener la expansión de WIPP, effort at https://stopforeverwipp.org/.  There are three action items:  (1) Sign the petition to NM Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham; (2) Send NM Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham a personalized email urging her to take action against the expansion of WIPP; and (3) donate to this effort.  Thank you!

 


 

We are Podcasting! 

 

 

 

Government agencies have scheduled a number of IMPORTANT meetings in the next two weeks.  As a result, the Did You Know? is longer than usual.     

 

  1. Thank you for your contributions to CCNS!!! We are grateful for your continuing support so we can produce the weekly CCNS News Update.  Since 1988, CCNS has produced the Update to keep you informed about the latest nuclear news and distribute it through social media.  We could use your financial support right now to continue this service.

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 2nd from 6:30 – 8:30 pm and Wed. Nov. 3rd from 10 am to noon – U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will host two live virtual meetings about the San Juan – Chama Return Flow Project. The City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County are proposing to “fully consume” San Juan Chama Project (SJCP) waters.  Currently “unconsumed” SJCP waters from the Paseo Real Water Reclamation Facility wastewater treatment plant (near 599 bypass and Airport Road) are used to water parks and are discharged to the Santa Fe River.  The City and County are proposing to build a $20 million, 17-mile pipeline from Paseo Real to the Rio Grande near the Buckman Direct Diversion Project.  Comments due by close of business on Nov. 19, 2021.  https://www.santafenm.gov/san_juan_chama_return_flow_pipeline

 

 

  1. Th. Nov. 4th at 1 pm MDT webinar The Past and Future of Armistice / Remembrance Day: A Global Webinar, by World Beyond War, and co-sponsored by RootsAction.org. https://worldbeyondwar.org/

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 9th from 3:30 to 5 pm – LANL will host a virtual public meeting to discuss the permit modification request to Remove 19 Corrective-Action Complete Sites in the Pueblo Canyon Aggregate Area (including old septic tanks in the town site and contaminated areas in Acid Canyon). The comment period ends Dec. 5, 2021.  For more information, go to https://n3b-la.com/outreach/ or contact Lee Bishop, DOE-EM, at (505) 257-7902.

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 9th from 4:30 – 5:30 pm – DOE/Triad/N3B/LANL will host Public Training for the Electronic Public Reading Room. For questions or to register, please email envoutreach@lanl.gov or call 505 551-4514.    

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 9th from 5 to 7 pm –WIPP virtual public meeting about its Class 2 permit modification request to the NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau to Update the Volatile Organic Compound Room-Based Limits in Panel 8. Comments are due to NMED by Dec. 20, 2021.  To register:   https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrf-Crqj0rGNVU_mUK3pBlGg_Pv5_59hMd        DraftPublicNotice_Panel8VOCUpdate
 

WIPP Shipments Stopped Due to Maintenance Problems at Site

Due to on-going maintenance problems in the underground disposal facility, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) requested an extension of time from the New Mexico Environment Department to store waste in the Waste Handling Building.  https://wipp.energy.gov/ The request for a 45-day extension to store 13 shipments of plutonium- contaminated waste comes on the heels of on-going maintenance problems at WIPP. DOE 45-Day Ext of Time Storage Request to NMED 10-13-21 On October 14th, 2021, the Environment Department approved the extension to November 30th, 2021.  2021-10-14_HWB_WIPP_Approval_WHB_Extension_Request(Final)  All waste shipments to WIPP had previously been stopped from August 25th until September 30th.

Maintenance problems include ventilation problems on the surface in the Waste Handling Building and managing the floors in the underground.  The salt can heave and create uneven surfaces where waste is transported for disposal.

Other maintenance problems are so similar to those that caused the February 2014 salt truck fire in the underground, that one questions why preventive maintenance is not the priority.  In 2014, oily rags were left on a hot motor and caught fire, resulting in evacuation of all workers from the underground.  Less than a week later, one or more waste drums exploded and contaminated the underground.  WIPP was closed down for almost three years at a cost of at least $2 billion.

On October 8th, 2021, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board reported a leak of nearly 100 gallons of hydraulic fluid from a bolter.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/ As a preventive maintenance measure, the bolter is used to install long bolts into the ceilings to keep the salt from falling onto the waste containers.  DNFSB WIPP Monthly Ending September 2021 10-8-21

The Board reported that the WIPP contractor knew about a small leak in the hydraulic lines as early as August 20th.  Attempts to repair the leak were done with fittings that were not rated for the pressure in the hydraulic lines.  The Board stated, Nuclear Waste Partnership, the WIPP contractor, “did not document the leak or the repair and did not tag the bolter as out of service,” and “[t]his event appears to be similar to issues with the maintenance of underground equipment documents in a letter the Board sent to the Department of Energy on September 24, 2018.” At that time three years ago, the Board wrote, “[t]hese problems could affect the performance and reliability of various safety systems.”  DNFSB WIPP Monthly Ending September 2018 10-5-18

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “As early as November 2013, Nuclear Waste Partnership, LLC, began to physically expand the WIPP underground.  The fire and explosion shutdown that work.  It remains evident that NWP is more interested in doubling the size of the WIPP underground and keeping it open forever than doing preventive maintenance.”

Please contact the New Mexico Governor and New Mexico Environment Department to express you concerns and the need for NMED to issue Notice(s) of Violation to WIPP.  Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, https://www.governor.state.nm.us/contact-the-governor/ , Stephanie Stringer, Deputy NMED Cabinet Secretary, stephanie.stringer@state.nm.us , and Ricardo Maestas, Acting Chief of the NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau, ricardo.maestas@state.nm.us .

 


 

We are Podcasting! 

 

  1. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to CCNS!!! We are grateful for your continuing support so we can produce the weekly CCNS News Update.  Since 1988, CCNS has produced the Update to keep you informed about the latest nuclear news and distribute it through social media.  We could use your financial support right now to continue this work.

 

 

  1. Fri. Oct. 29th virtual 13th Official Cold War Patriots National Day of Remembrance. To register, visit https://coldwarpatriots.org/about-us/national-day-remembrance-2021/ or call  866-311-5760.

 

 

  1. Th. Nov. 4th at 1 pm MDT webinar The Past and Future of Armistice / Remembrance Day: A Global Webinar, by World Beyond War, and co-sponsored by RootsAction.org.

 

 

  1. Tues. Nov. 9th from 4:30 – 5:30 pm – DOE/Triad/N3B/LANL will host Public Training for the Electronic Public Reading Room. For questions or to register, please email envoutreach@lanl.gov or call  505 551-4514.     
 

Nuclear Waste Emergency Response Town Hall TODAY at 6pm

Join me today from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Nancy Rodriguez Community Center

Please join Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen (D-2), Santa Fe County Fire Chief Jackie L. Lindsey, NM State Representative Tara Lujan (D-48), and Cynthia Weehler at this town hall and hear about the Department of Energy’s proposal to transport plutonium along NM 599 and the County’s emergency preparedness and response in the unlikely event of a toxic and radioactive waste incident.

Attendees will have an opportunity to express concerns and ask questions. View the agenda.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Nancy Rodriguez Community Center, 1 Prairie Dog Loop in Santa Fe. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to complete a COVID-screening and wear your mask. Pre-registration is highly encouraged, please RSVP here

If you prefer not to attend this event in person, you can view the live stream by clicking on the link below at 6 p.m. tomorrow. For more information, please contact Sara Smith, Constituent Services Liaison, at ssmith@santafecountynm.gov.


 

  Commissioner Anna Hansen
505-986-6329
ahansen@santafecountynm.gov

Sara Smith
Constituent Services Liaison
505-986-6263
ssmith@santafecountynm.gov

 

Santa Fe County Nuclear Waste Emergency Response Town Hall on Tuesday, October 19th from 6 to 7:30 pm

In response to community concerns about the proposed increased shipments of more dangerous forms of plutonium along New Mexico State Road 599, Santa Fe County District 2 Commissioner Anna Hansen will host a Nuclear Waste Emergency Response Town Hall on Tuesday, October 19th from 6 to 7:30 pm.  Town Hall Nuclear Waste Flyer 10-19-21 The Department of Energy (DOE) has made elaborate plans to transport plutonium nuclear weapons triggers to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for processing. The triggers are currently stored at the Pantex facility, north of Amarillo, Texas.  Questions and comments from the public are encouraged during the Town Hall. Town Hall Nuclear Waste Meeting Agenda 10-19-21

The proposed route is approximately 3,300 miles.  Interstate 40 at Clines Corners would be the primary route to U.S. Route 285.  The shipments would then head north to Interstate 25, past the Eldorado communities, before connecting with the 599 Bypass around Santa Fe.  Much of the bypass is located within Commissioner Hansen’s district.  From the bypass, the shipments would travel north on 285 to Pojoaque, then west on 502 to LANL.  After processing, the shipments would follow the reverse route to Interstate 40 and east to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina for further processing.  The shipments would once more head west to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), near Carlsbad, New Mexico.  Up to 47 metric tons of what is called “surplus” plutonium could be shipped, processed and disposed at WIPP.

In response to constituent concerns, Santa Fe County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Anna Hamilton held a similar Town Hall at the Arroyo Hondo Fire Station in August.  https://www.sfreporter.com/news/2021/08/10/waste-on-wheels/

During the October 19th Town Hall, Cynthia Weehler, citizen activist and former chemistry teacher, will present highlights of the DOE’s proposal to expand the WIPP repository, including the transportation of additional weapons-grade plutonium throughout Santa Fe County.  https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/new-mexico-weighs-changes-to-permit-for-nuclear-waste-dump/6119251/ , https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/speak-out-on-the-future-of-wipp/article_c45eca72-b43a-11eb-bf29-cf1bd8295f0a.html

Santa Fe County Fire Chief Jackie L. Lindsey will give a presentation about Santa Fe County’s emergency preparedness and response in the unlikely event of a toxic and radioactive waste incident.  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/fire/fire_chief_and_command_staff

New Mexico State Representative Tara Lujan will also be in attendance.  https://nmlegis.gov/Members/Legislator?SponCode=HLUTA

The Town Hall will be held at the Nancy Rodriguez Community Center, at One Prairie Dog Loop, in Santa Fe, which is off County Road 62 between the Agua Fria Fire Station and La Familia Medical Center.

Attendees are asked to arrive 15 minutes early to complete a COVID-screening.  Masks will be required.

For more information, please contact Anna Hansen, Santa Fe County Commissioner, at 505-986-6329, or ahansen@santafecountynm.govhttps://www.santafecountynm.gov/county_commissioners/anna_hansen


We are Podcasting! 

 

  1. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to CCNS!!! We are grateful for your continuing support so we can produce the weekly CCNS News Update.  Since 1988, CCNS has produced the Update to keep you informed about the latest nuclear news and distribute it through social media.

 

  1. If you missed WIPP’s 47-minute Oct. 12th virtual public meeting about changing the VOC levels in Panel 8, thanks to the work of Nick Maxwell, you can view DOE’s technically challenging meeting and the chat on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxUDBBuceC0

 

This week DOE announced that Panel 8 has been completed.  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/us-nuclear-repository-completes-key-mining-project/ar-AAPttZ4

 

  1. Fri. Oct. 15, 1990 – 31 years ago – President H.W. Bush signed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. It did not include the New Mexico Downwinders and the Post’71 Uranium Workers.  Get involved!  Contact your congressional members to support the proposed amendments to RECA to include Post’71 Uranium Workers and New Mexico Downwinders – Senate Bill 2798 and House Bill 5338.

 

  1. Th. Oct. 21st at 6 pm – Kirtland AFB virtual public meeting about groundwater contamination and proposed changes to the NM Environment Department hazardous waste permit. https://www.kirtland.af.mil/Home/Environment/