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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Current Activities

Please submit your comments for DP-1132 before 5pm tonight 11/18/19

Good morning,

Thursday’s public hearing about the draft groundwater discharge permit (DP-1132) for LANL’s Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility (RLWTF) has ended.  Upon motion by the “Citizen groups,” Tewa Women United, New Mexico Acequia Association, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, and CCNS, the Hearing Officer agreed to keep the record open until Monday, Nov. 18 at 5 pm for public comments.  Here is a sample public comment letter you can use.  DP-1132 public comment 11-16-19 Feel free to modify to express your concerns.  Please share with your networks, friends and family. 

We need public comments to let the Environment Department know that this 24-year odyssey must end with regulation of the RLWTF by federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as implemented by the NM Hazardous Waste Act.  The RLWTF handles, manages, treats, and stores hazardous and radioactive wastes.  Real regulation is required – not a figleaf/gimmick groundwater permit under the NM Water Quality Act.

Here are additional talking points you can use that focus on how the federal Resource Conservation and NM Hazardous Waste Act:

*    The RLWTF is a key facility for treating liquid radioactive and hazardous wastes from the production of plutonium pits (the triggers for nuclear weapons);

*    The NM Hazardous Waste Act is more protective of human health and the environment than the NM Water Quality Act;

*    Two RLWTF storage units, one inside and one outside, are covered by the NM Hazardous Waste Permit;

*    The RLWTF storage and treatment operations rely on tanks and ancillary equipment, such as sumps, pumps and pipes.  For new tank systems, the regulations require a Professional Engineer (P.E.) to review and certify that the tank system has sufficient structural integrity for storing and treating hazardous waste.  For example, the regulations require the P.E. assessment “must show that the foundation, structural support, seams, connections, and pressure controls are adequately designed and that the tank system has sufficient structural strength, compatibility with the waste(s) to be stored or treated, and corrosion protection to ensure that it will not collapse, rupture, or fall.”

These include a requirement that the design ensure that the tank system will not be dislodged if it is place in a seismic fault zone.  This is a factor in Los Alamos.  And the NM Water Quality Act does not have seismic requirements – unless the NMED Secretary requires additional information – which has not happened.  See below.

LANL-PAJARITO-FAULT-SYSTEM-FIGURES

*    The RLWTF is located within one block of the Plutonium Facility-4 and the Chemistry & Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project, including the Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building (RLUOB).  In the mid-2000s, DOE proposed to build a Super Walmart sized Nuclear Facility, which was eventually canceled by the Obama Administration due to rising costs to address the increasing seismic threats on the Pajarito Plateau.  DOE initially said the Project would cost $600 million, which escalated to $6 billion.

Attached is a series of maps that Bob Gilkeson put together to show the Pajarito Fault System (PFS).  In Fig. 2, the RLWTF is located one block east of the CMRR and TA-55 Plutonium Facility.

*    On Fig. 4, Gilkeson wrote:  “An additional important factor is that the youthful PFS is currently at a growth stage where the interaction between the primary Pajarito Fault (PF or PAF) and the subsidiary Rendija Canyon Fault (RCF) and Guaje Mountain Fault (GMF) often results in multiple ground-breaking ruptures from two of the three faults (Lewis et al., 2009). The powerful multiple surface-rupturing earthquakes are described on page 3-25 in the DOE 2011 draft SEIS [Supplemental Environment Impact Statement] as follows:”

DOE’s assessment in 2011:  “New paleoseismic data argue for three Holocene (past 11,000 years) surface-rupturing earthquakes, including an earthquake on the Pajarito Fault, approximately 1,400 years ago; an earthquake on the Pajarito Fault approximately 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, which is consistent with an event during the same general time frame on the Guaje Mountain Fault; and a third earthquake on both the Pajarito and the Rendija Canyon Faults, approximately 9,000 years ago. This paleoseismic event chronology demonstrates that the Pajarito Fault often ruptures alone, but sometimes ruptures either with the Rendija Canyon Fault or Guaje Mountain Fault. When this occurs, the resultant seismic moment and, therefore, the earthquake magnitude are larger than when the main Pajarito Fault ruptures alone. Given the evidence for youthful movement on the Pajarito Fault system, future ruptures should be expected.  [Emphasis added.]” 

Additional seismic information is available at http://nuclearactive.org/gilkeson/

Thank you for taking the time to read this and create your own comments.  We learned on Thursday that DOE/NNSA and their contractor, Triad National Security, LLC, are saying that the LANL will have to close if they don’t get the groundwater discharge permit – the jobs v. protection of well-being, health, water, air, and soil argument.

Take a stand!  Get your comments in!  Please email us a copy so we can keep track of them to ensure they are placed in the hearing record.

 

All Pueblo Council of Governors Oppose Holtec and WCS/ISP

On October 17th, the All Pueblo Council of Governors affirmed their commitment to protect Pueblo natural and cultural resources from risks associated with the transport and storage of the nation’s growing inventory of high-level radioactive waste from sites across the country to proposed semi-permanent sites in southeastern New Mexico and mid-western Texas.  The Council adopted a resolution expressing opposition to the license applications by two private companies, Holtec International and Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners, LLC, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  AIPC Resolution 2019  If both licenses are approved, transportation of high-level radioactive waste would begin to the proposed multi-billion dollar consolidated interim storage facilities in Lea County, New Mexico, and Andrews County, Texas.  https://holtecinternational.com/products-and-services/hi-store-cis/ and https://interimstoragepartners.com/  The All Pueblo Council of Governors represents the collective voice of the member 20 sovereign Pueblo nations of New Mexico and Texas.  https://www.apcg.org/

The All Pueblo Council of Governors opposes the proposed massive transportation campaign for nuclear waste crisscrossing the U.S.  Their concerns include the lack of federal tribal consultation regarding determination of transport routes and availability of resources, training, and infrastructure for tribal emergency preparedness, response, and risk management for potential incidents during shipment.  The resolution urges meaningful government-to-government consultation with the Pueblos by federal regulators about transport concerns, and calls upon the five members of New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation to take proactive steps in support of Pueblos.

Council Chairman E. Paul Torres, said “We are very concerned that this project, proposing the transport of nuclear material currently stored at 80 commercial reactors in 35 states across the country, lacks meaningful consultation afforded our Pueblos and subjects our communities, environment, and sacred sites to unimaginable risk over many decades.”

The Council joins with the growing local opposition and concern about the project, including New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NM-Governor-Holtec-Ltr-060719.pdf , the New Mexico State Land Commissioner http://nuclearactive.org/holtec-ignores-new-mexico-state-land-office-authority/ , four members of New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation, Fasken Oil and Ranch and the Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners, and environmental and public health groups.  There are growing concerns that the federal government is not meeting its responsibilities to create a permanent repository for the high-level radioactive waste.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland, said, “Every community deserves to live free from the impacts of radiation, but transportation of nuclear materials puts native communities at risk of radiation contamination along the route to Holtec’s proposed storage facility.  Our communities have already borne the brunt of the nuclear fuel cycle, and this country is still failing to address those contaminated sites.  I stand with the All Pueblo Council of Governors to protect our resources and our families from the brutal consequences of storing nuclear materials at a temporary facility New Mexico or Texas.”  https://haaland.house.gov/


1. There are a number of BAD nuclear waste and consolidated interim storage facility bills moving through Congress that must be stopped.  PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE TO OPPOSE THE BILLS.  These bills include:

U.S. House Bill H.R. 2699 – Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019, “which would rush the opening of the Yucca Mountain dump in Nevada, targeting Western Shoshone Indian Lands. It would even significantly increase the amount of high-level radioactive waste that could be buried there, thus increasing the number of Mobile Chernobyl and Floating Fukushima shipments, by truck, train, and/or barge, through most states, scores of major urban center, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts, bound for the dump.”

It “would also authorize the U.S. Department of Energy to take ownership of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel at private, consolidated interim storage facilities (CISF).  This radical change to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, would risk “interim” becoming de facto permanent surface storage, meaning loss of institutional control over time would guarantee large-scale releases of hazrdous radioactivity directly into the environment.”

For more information, please check out Kevin Kamps’ Beyond Nuclear report at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/yucca-mountain/2019/10/10/radioactive-racism-is-not-progressive-urge-your-congress-mem.html

2. December 4, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, at Cities of Gold Hotel & Casino Conference Center in Pojoaque – LANL will hold a public meeting about the application they will be submitting to NMED for renewal of the Hazardous Waste Act permit.  They want NMED to continuing regulating 27 hazardous waste units, as well as to add three interim status units.

3. We anticipate a LANL public meeting before the end of the year as required by the 2016 Consent Order.  Here’s a link to a recent posting of the Updated Fiscal Year 2020 Appendices A, B, and C to the Consent Order – https://ext.em-la.doe.gov/eprr/repo-file.aspx?oid=0902e3a6800c30b4&n=EMID-700658_FY20_Consent_Order_Apps_A,B,C_110719.pdf

4. If you appreciate our community leadership and work to keep you informed, please support CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/

5. The DP-1132 hearing is over!  We’ll be in touch about next steps after some rest.  Today’s hearing was about the NM Environment Department DP-1132 groundwater discharge permit hearing for LANL’s Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility.  Public comments will remain open until close of business (5 pm) on Monday, November 18, 2019.  We’ll email out a sample public comment letter you can use this weekend.

 

Public Hearing about LANL Groundwater Permit Next Week

Beginning on Thursday, November 14th, at 9 am, the New Mexico Environment Department will hold a public hearing in Los Alamos about a draft groundwater discharge permit for a key facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  The draft permit for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility would allow the discharge of 40,000 gallons per day of water containing state regulated contaminants through the existing Outfall 051.  It also would allow use of an existing and a new evaporation disposal unit, thus creating exposure pathways into the air.  One of these units has been operating for almost a decade.  It is called the Mechanical Evaporative System.  The other is called the Solar Evaporative Tanks and has not been used because it does not have a permit.  https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/public-notice/

The Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility began operations in 1963.  It receives contaminated liquid wastes from facilities across the LANL site, including the Plutonium Facility, or PF-4.  After treatment and over many decades, the Facility has discharged millions of gallons of liquid wastes into Effluent Canyon, a tributary of Mortandad Canyon, which discharges to the Rio Grande.  Pollutants include radionuclides for which the Department of Energy (DOE) is self-regulating.  These include plutonium, americium, tritium, cesium, strontium, and uranium.  Other contaminants include metals, high explosives, as well as volatile organic compounds, including perchlorate, which is a fast moving hazardous chemical.

Tewa Women United http://tewawomenunited.org/ , the New Mexico Acequia Association https://lasacequias.org/ , Honor Our Pueblo Existence https://honorourpuebloexistence.com/ , and CCNS oppose the issuance of the permit.  Since December 2013, the groups have argued that because the Facility handles, treats, and stores hazardous waste, the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act, which adopts most of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, also known as RCRA, should regulate it.  http://nuclearactive.org/ccns-august-19th-meeting-about-fake-lanl-discharge-permit/ and http://www.nuclearactive.org/docs/RiceFS.pdf

Further, LANL is located on the Pajarito Plateau in the Jemez Mountains, above the Rio Grande.  The mountains and Valles Caldera were formed by volcanic action.  The Pajarito Fault System is extensive on and below LANL.

Seismic issues were raised in the mid-2000s when DOE proposed to build a Super Walmart-sized Nuclear Facility.  After several years of controversy and increasing cost estimates to meet the applicable seismic standards, the Obama Administration canceled it.

The proposed Nuclear Facility, PF-4, and the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility are all located within one block of one another.   Under RCRA and the Hazardous Waste Act, the Treatment Facility would be required to meet stringent seismic requirements.

The hearing will take place at Fuller Lodge, Pajarito Room, located at 2132 Central Avenue, in Los Alamos.  If needed, it will continue into Friday, November 15th.  The public is invited to attend and present their concerns.


1.   December 4, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  LANL will hold a public meeting about the application they will be submitting to NMED for renewal of the Hazardous Waste Act permit.  They want NMED to continuing regulating 27 hazardous waste units, as well as to add three interim status units.

The meeting will be held at the Cities of Gold Hotel & Casino Conference Center in Pojoaque.

2.    If you appreciate our work to keep you informed, please support CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/

 

“The First Dirty Bomb: Trinity” Presentations in NM

Next week, Joseph J. Shonka, Ph.D., will present his lecture, entitled, “The First Dirty Bomb:  Trinity,” at New Mexico universities and colleges.  His presentation will include key facts about the July 16, 1945, test of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity site in south central New Mexico.  That bomb was packed with 13 pounds of plutonium, a highly carcinogenic radioactive substance.  Like a dirty bomb, only a small portion – three pounds – went critical.  The remaining ten pounds were spread throughout the bomb plume, over water, and into the soil.  Cattle grazing on the Chupadera Mesa, northeast of the test site, lost patches of hair from their hides from overexposure to the radioactive fallout – estimated to be approximately 20,000 Rem.

Following the test, tens of thousands of people living within a 50-mile radius of the test site, were not notified or evacuated.  They continued their sustainable lifeways – drinking, bathing, irrigating their gardens and fields, and putting up the harvest with the contaminated water, breathing the air, and celebrating their lives.

Dr. Shonka is a key researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  https://wwwn.cdc.gov/LAHDRA/  He has worked in nuclear engineering and health physics for over 40 years.

The LAHDRA Project began in 1999.  After reviewing documents stored in over 40,000 boxes, the final LAHDRA report was released in November 2010.  Chapter 10 is devoted to the Trinity test.  https://wwwn.cdc.gov/LAHDRA/Content/pubs/reports/sections/Chapter%2010-%20Trinity%20Test.pdf

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is hosting Dr. Shonka’s lecture series.  They seek justice for the unknowing, unwilling, and uncompensated participants of the July 16, 1945, Trinity test.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

Dr. Shonka’s educational presentations will begin on Monday, November 4th and run through Thursday, November 7thRegistration for each event will begin one half hour before the start time.  Space is limited.

On Monday, November 4th, at the University of New Mexico Centennial Engineering Auditorium in Albuquerque, the presentation will begin at 6 pm.  https://engineering.unm.edu/about/visit-us.html

On Tuesday, November 5th, at the New Mexico Mining and Technology Institute Workman Center, in Room 101, at 20 Olive Lane, in Socorro, the presentation will begin at 7 pm.  https://nmt.edu/calendar/index.php?com=location&lID=11

On Wednesday, November 6th, at the New Mexico State University Hardman Jacobs Learning Center, Room 210, in Las Cruces, the presentation will begin at 3 pm.  https://hjlc.nmsu.edu/

On Thursday, November 7th, at the Northern New Mexico College Little Theatre in the Fine Arts Center, in Española, the presentation will begin at 6 pm.  https://nnmc.edu/home/about-northern/espanola-campus-map/  TBDC Shonka NNMC Flyer

For more information, please contact Tina Cordova of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium at 505-897-6787 or via email at info@trinitydownwinders.com



1.   Friday, November 1st – Ban Nuclear Weapons – National Call-in Day organized by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.  Call your House representative to co-sponsor H.R. 2419 Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Energy and Economic Conversation Act, introduced by DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.  Call your representative’s  DC office at 202-224-3121.  For more info:  https://wilpfus.org/news/updates/action-alert-national-call-day-hr-2419-friday-november-1

2.    Monday, November 4th and Tuesday, November 5th, the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, a NM Legislature Interim Committee, will hold its final meeting of 2019 at the Roundhouse.  The agenda is available here:  https://www.nmlegis.gov/agendas/RHMCageNov04.19.pdf

3.    Monday, November 4th – Thursday, November 7th – The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is bringing Joseph J. Shonka, Ph.D., to New Mexico in early November to present his recent lecture “The First Dirty Bomb, Trinity.”   Please see today’s Update for more information.

4.    Thursday and Friday, November 14 and 15th, beginning at 9 am – the New Mexico Environment Department will hold its second hearing on the Ground Water Discharge Permit (DP-1132) for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  The hearing will take place in the historic Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos.  The public notice is available at https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/public-notice/#Hearings

5.    If you appreciate our work to keep you informed, please support CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/

 

Join Us to Count the Nuclear Weapons Money & Redirect It

The campaign to count the proposed 13 billion dollars for Los Alamos National Laboratory to modernize its nuclear weapons infrastructure began on Thursday in Taos.  CCNS joined with peace, disarmament, climate and social justice activists across New Mexico to hand-count the mock one million dollar bills and redirect them to life-affirming projects, such as peace and humanitarian needs, rather than the threat of nuclear annihilation.  Three more New Mexico events are planned – in Santa Fe, Socorro, and Los Alamos – as part of the global Count the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign.

To learn more about the campaign, listen to the interview between Robin Collier, of Cultural Energy, with Sheri Kotowski and Suzie Schwartz, Taos organizers, at http://www.culturalenergy.org/listenlinks.htm#CountNuclearDollars19oct19 and the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money blog at http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/news/13-billion-of-public-money-to-be-counted-for-peace-at-new-mexico-nuclear-weapons-facilities/.

Volunteers are needed to count and redirect the money!  Contact CCNS at 505 986-1973 or ccns@nuclearactive.org 

On Friday, October 25th, from noon to 2 pm, in collaboration with Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA), you are invited to gather at the State Capitol to bring attention to two existential threats – the climate crisis and nuclear weapons.

Artemisio Romero y Carver, a YUCCA Steering Committee member, said, “While the members of Frontline communities and all members of the human species are under threat from the constantly growing danger of the climate crisis, our government is using their money and resources to make weapons. Weapons whose production requires the creation of ecologically catastrophic waste. By so heavily funding nuclear development, the US government is not just diverting resources from the solution to the climate crisis, but in fact perpetuating an additional existential threat that our generation will have to face[.  I]nstead of spending billions of dollars on death and destruction, we should be using those funds to address critical social needs in our communities, build economic vitality [and] family-supporting jobs that people can be proud to hold, [and] facilitate a just transition to a fossil-fuel and nuclear-free energy future.”  https://www.youthunited4climatecrisisaction.org/

Please join us as we address these two existential threats, count the nuclear weapons money, and redirect it.

On Saturday, October 26th, from 2 to 4 pm, we will gather with the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium in the Socorro Plaza Gazebo to count 2.4 billion dollars – the amount of money provided to Downwinders and Uranium Workers under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act since 2000.  Despite their overexposure to radiation from the first atomic test on July 16, 1945 at the Trinity Site, the Trinity Downwinders have never been included in the compensation program.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

On Monday, October 28th, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, we will gather in Los Alamos to count 13 billion dollars, the amount proposed to modernize Los Alamos National Laboratory, and redirect it.

To volunteer, please contact CCNS at (505) 986-1973 or ccns@nuclearactive.org .


1.  Saturday, October 26th from 6 pm to 8 pm – the first Candlelight Vigil on the Socorro Plaza in Socorro, NM, hosted by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/home   Socorro Candlelight Vigil 10-26-19

2.  Monday, November 4th and Tuesday, November 5th, the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, a NM Legislature Interim Committee, will hold its final meeting of 2019 at the Roundhouse.  The agenda is available here:  https://www.nmlegis.gov/agendas/RHMCageNov04.19.pdf

3.  Monday, November 4th – Thursday, November 7th – The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is bringing Joseph J. Shonka, Ph.D., to New Mexico in early November to present his recent lecture “The First Dirty Bomb, Trinity.”

Dr. Shonka worked extensively on the Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) study and is an expert on the Trinity test of July 16, 1945. LAHDRA was a ten-year study conducted on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chapter 10 of the study focuses on the Trinity test.  https://wwwn.cdc.gov/LAHDRA/

The public is invited to attend these events and hear about why the Trinity test was so dangerous as a result of the radioactive fallout and subsequent impacts to human health.

Mark your calendars!  

Monday, November 4 – 6:00 to 7:30 PM – Centennial Engineering Auditorium at the University of New Mexico – Albuquerque

Tuesday, November 5 – 7:00 – 8:30 pm – Workman Center, Room 101, at New Mexico Tech – Socorro

Wednesday, Nov. 6 – 3:00 – 4:30 PM – Hardman Jacobs Learning Center, Room 210, at New Mexico State University – Las Cruces

Thursday, Nov. 7 – 5:30 – 8:00 PM – The Little Theater, Center for Fine Arts, Northern New Mexico College – Espanola   Registration at 5:30 – Space is limited

4. Thursday and Friday, November 14 and 15th, beginning at 9 am – the New Mexico Environment Department will hold its second hearing on the Ground Water Discharge Permit (DP-1132) for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  The hearing will take place in the historic Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos.  The public notice is available at https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/public-notice/#Hearings 

 

Four New Mexico Count the Nuclear Weapons Money Events

In less than seven days, CCNS will join with other peace, disarmament, climate and social justice activists across New Mexico to count out one trillion dollars in one million dollar bills at four planned events in Taos, Santa Fe, Socorro, and Los Alamos as part of the global Count the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign.  One trillion dollars is the amount proposed for the U.S. nuclear weapons budget over ten years.

The campaign’s goal is to demonstrate the scale of a one trillion dollar investment and how it could be devoted to peace and humanitarian needs, rather than the threat of nuclear annihilation.  The scale will be profound in terms of time, the number of bills, the number of people counting the money by hand, and the impact of seeing people around the world counting the money.  The events will be live-streamed so people can learn what benefits this money could bring if re-directed to climate protection, just transitions, and sustainable development goals.

The campaign will begin on Thursday, October 24th and continue through Wednesday October 30th, during the United Nations’ Disarmament Week.  Volunteers are needed!  To sign up, contact CCNS at ccns@nuclearactive.org or by phone at 505 986-1973.

On Thursday, October 24th, New Mexico’s Opening Ceremony will take place in Taos from 3 to 5 pm.  It will coincide with the Opening Ceremony in New York City.  For more information and to volunteer, please contact Suzie at (575) 770-2629.

On Friday, October 25th, we will gather at the State Capitol to bring attention to two existential threats – the climate crisis and nuclear weapons.  There will be a counting event and an opportunity to present a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

On Saturday, October 26th, we will gather in the Socorro Plaza Gazebo from 2 to 4 pm to count 2.4 billion dollars – the amount provided to Downwinders and Uranium Workers under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act since 2000.  Despite being overexposed to radiation from the first atomic test at the Trinity Site on July 16, 1945, the Trinity Downwinders have never been included in the compensation program.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/home

On Monday, October 28th, we will gather in Los Alamos from 2:30 to 4:30 pm to count 13 billion dollars, the amount proposed to modernize the nuclear weapons complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  The event will coincide with colleagues counting outside of major banking institutions invested in nuclear weapons work.  Participants will urge divestment.

For more information and to volunteer to count the money, please contact CCNS at (505) 986-1973.

To learn more about the Campaign, go to http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/count-the-money/


Did You Know about these opportunities to voice your concerns? 

1.    Monday, October 21st – Get your written comments in to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about their Field Oversight Hearing in Albuquerque about “America’s Nuclear Past:  Examining the Effects of Radiation in Indian Country.”  The written testimonies are available at https://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/field-oversight-hearing-america-s-nuclear-past-examining-effects-radiation-indian-country

Video of the hearing is available at https://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/field-oversight-hearing-america-s-nuclear-past-examining-effects-radiation-indian-country

2. Wednesday, October 23rd, LANL training for their Electronic Public Reading Room at the J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center, Retro Room, West Jemez Road at Casa Grande, Los Alamos, NM from 4:30 to 6 pm.  Email envoutreach@lanl.gov to get answers to your questions and to register for the training.

3. Saturday, October 26th at 6 pm – the first Candlelight Vigil on the Socorro Plaza in Socorro, NM, hosted by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.   https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/home  Event flyer:Socorro Candlelight Vigil 10-26-19

4. Monday, November 4th, the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, a NM Legislature Interim Committee, will hold its final meeting of 2019 at the Roundhouse.  The agenda has not been posted, but will be available https://www.nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC

5. Thursday and Friday, November 14 and 15th, beginning at 9 am – the New Mexico Environment Department will hold its second hearing on the Ground Water Discharge Permit (DP-1132) for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  The hearing will take place in the historic Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos.

The first hearing was voided due to the fact that during the hearing process, the Hearing Officer applied for a job with LANL.  Under the NM regulations, she was required to disqualify herself from the proceeding – but she did not.  The public notice is available at https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/public-notice/#Hearings 

 

Cold War Victims: Babies in New Mexico

Babies born near to the date of the first atomic test at Trinity on July 16, 1945 and survived are lucky to be alive.  They are our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.  A recent scientific study revealed that in the months following the Trinity test the infant mortality in New Mexico rose dramatically after a ten-year decline. 

Infant mortality is reported as the number of deaths per 1,000 live births. The highest rate occurred in September, 1945.  In August, the infant mortality rate was 152.3 per 1,000 live births.  In September, the rate was 187.8.  In October, it fell to 123.1.

The community work done by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, also know as the Trinity Downwinders, reveals that many families did not talk about losing a baby.  Slowly, the stories are being told.  Many people have read the report and are coming forward to talk about the babies that were lost and the miscarriages that occurred in their families after the test.

The study authors, Kathleen M. Tucker and Robert Alvarez, wrote, “Evidence collected by the New Mexico health department but ignored for some 70 years shows an unusually high rate of infant mortality in New Mexico counties downwind from the [Trinity] explosion and raises a serious question whether or not the first victims of the first atomic explosion might have been American children.”  https://thebulletin.org/2019/07/trinity-the-most-significant-hazard-of-the-entire-manhattan-project/

Uranium was mined in northwest New Mexico for the first atomic bombs and for decades during the Cold War.  Cleanup has been very slow in coming.

Uranium is radioactive and a heavy metal.  When exposed, radiation harms the body.  The heavy metal aspects harm the kidneys.

Another recent study, the Navajo Birth Cohort Study, found that some babies are being born with high concentrations of uranium in their bodies.  https://www.indian.senate.gov/sites/default/files/10.07.19%20Dr.%20Christensen%20IHS%20Testimony%20on%20Radiation%20in%20Indian%20Country.pdf The exposures continue into the first year of life.  From a small sample size, elevated levels of uranium and arsenic have been found in five-year olds.  These levels impact learning capacities.

The study found higher concentrations of uranium in the urine of men and women in the Navajo Nation.  Those concentrations exceeded the levels found in the highest five percent of the U.S. population.

The first phase of the study was concluded in August 2018.  The study will continue in collaboration with the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) and the National Institutes of Health.

Tina Cordova, of the Trinity Downwinders, said, “It is unconscionable that our children have been so negatively affected by the nuclear industry in our state.  We should all be outraged at the information that has now come to light.”  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

 


Did You Know about these opportunities to get involved?

1.   Monday, October 21st – The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is keeping the record open for written public comments about their Oversight Field Hearing about “America’s Nuclear Past:  Examining the Effects of Radiation in Indian Country.”  The written testimonies are available at https://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/field-oversight-hearing-america-s-nuclear-past-examining-effects-radiation-indian-country

Video of the hearing will be available soon at https://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/field-oversight-hearing-america-s-nuclear-past-examining-effects-radiation-indian-country

2.  Thursday, October 24th – Wednesday, October 30th – Worldwide Count the Nuclear Weapons Money.  Events are being organized in New Mexico where 40% of the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons is spent!  Let’s show the world that we support a just transition away from nuclear weapons! For more information:  http://nuclearactive.org/worldwide-count-the-nuclear-weapons-money-oct-24th-30th/
and email ccns@nuclearactive.org

3.  Saturday, October 26th at 6 pm – the first Candlelight Vigil in Socorro at the Socorro Plaza, Socorro, NM by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium. Socorro Candlelight Vigil 10-26-19

 

U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hrg on Monday in ALB

On Monday morning, October 7th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a Field Oversight Hearing about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) in Albuquerque to receive testimony from Native Americans, a Trinity Downwinder, a physician, and officials from the Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Their focus is “America’s Nuclear Past:  Examining the Effects of Radiation in Indian Country.”  The hearing will be held in the auditorium of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, beginning at 10:30 am Mountain Standard Time.  It will be livestreamed at indian.senate.gov.  https://www.indian.senate.gov/hearings

Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico is the Committee’s Vice-Chairman.  Last year, he was instrumental in facilitating a RECA hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC.  Two witnesses at that hearing will be appearing Monday.  They are The Honorable Jonathan Nez, President of the Navajo Nation, and Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.  https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/examining-the-eligibility-requirements-for-the-radiation-exposure-compensation-program-to-ensure-all-downwinders-receive-coverage

On Monday, there will be two panels of witnesses.  The first panel will include the EPA Deputy Regional Administrator at Region 6, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, David W. Gray; the Deputy Director of the DOE’s Office of Legacy Management in Washington, DC, Peter O’Konski; and the Chief Medical Officer of the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, in Window Rock, Arizona, Dr. Loretta Christensen.

The second panel will include the Chairman of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblo Council, The Honorable Michael Chavarria, of Santa Clara Pueblo; The Honorable Jonathan Nez; a Laguna Pueblo Council Representative, Ryan Riley; an Advocate for the Navajo Uranium Radiation Victims Committee, Phil Harrison; and Tina Cordova, of Albuquerque.

RECA is a federal program, begun in 1990, that provides health care and compensation to those overexposed to radiation from uranium and above-ground atomic bomb tests.  https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca  Proposed amendments to RECA are working their way through Congress to include the Post’71 Uranium Workers and the New Mexico Downwinders exposed to fallout from the 1945 Trinity test and tests at the Nevada Test Site.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/947 and https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3783  The New Mexico congressional delegation is in full support of the amendments.     

Tina Cordova, said, “I’m honored that Senator Udall and his staff thought of me to testify before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about the issues that plague the Downwind communities of New Mexico.  In 2020 we will reach the 75th anniversary of the nuclear test at Trinity that forever changed our world and set a history of suffering in place for the people of New Mexico.  It is time for the people of New Mexico to stand together and demand that our government grants the justice that generations have cried out for.” https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/


1.    Saturday, October 5th – Trinity Site open.  Join the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (“Trinity Downwinders”) for a peaceful demonstration at the Stallion Gate on State Hwy. 380.    https://www.wsmr.army.mil/Trinity/Pages/Home.aspx 

2.    Monday, October 7th – U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Field Hearing – see today’s Update.

3.    Thursday, October 24th – Wednesday, October 30th – Worldwide Count the Nuclear Weapons Money.  Let’s organize events in New Mexico where 40% of the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons is spent!  Let’s show the world that we support a just transition away from nuclear weapons!  For more information:  http://nuclearactive.org/worldwide-count-the-nuclear-weapons-money-oct-24th-30th/

4.  Saturday, October 26th at 6 pm – the first Candlelight Vigil in Socorro at the Socorro Plaza, Socorro, NM. Socorro Candlelight Vigil 10-26-19

 

Court Vacates Uranium Processing Facility Key Decisions

Judge Pamela Reeves, Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee, declared the Department of Energy (DOE), and its semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in violation of the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) and vacated key decisions regarding NNSA’s enriched uranium operations at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  http://orepa.org/

Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, noted, “With this ruling the NNSA no longer has any legal authority to continue construction of the Uranium Processing Facility bomb plant.”

Reeves’ 104-page well researched ruling declares “the 2016 Supplement Analysis, the 2016 Amended Record of Decision (ROD), the 2018 Supplement Analysis…are vacated.”  The 2016 Amended ROD was prepared by NNSA to “reflect its decision to implement a revised approach for meeting enriched uranium requirements, by upgrading existing [enriched uranium] processing buildings and constructing a new Uranium Processing Facility.”  2016 Y-12 Amended ROD

The 2016 Amended ROD was the first formal statement of NNSA’s plan to separate its single-structure “big box” Uranium Processing Facility design into multiple buildings and to continue using two out-of-compliance facilities for enriched uranium operations for at least twenty more years.

Reeves ruled on a lawsuit brought by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance http://orepa.org/ , Nuclear Watch New Mexico https://nukewatch.org/ , the Natural Resources Defense Council https://nukewatch.org/ , and several individual plaintiffs challenging the federal government’s environmental analysis for its nuclear weapons operations in Oak Ridge.  Nick Lawton, of the public interest law firm Eubanks & Associates, LLC, represented the plaintiffs.  https://www.eubankslegal.com/

After reviewing the decision, Lawton said, “In holding the NNSA accountable for its failure to seriously consider new information on seismic hazards, the court recognized the seriousness of this case. We are pleased that the court is requiring the agency to prepare a new, more specific consideration of earthquake risks, and we encourage the agency to come into compliance with NEPA by fully disclosing these serious risks and by properly involving the public in any ongoing decision-making process.”

Reeves rejected two of the plaintiff’s claims but validated their argument that new earthquake data, published in 2014, must be considered in NNSA’s environmental analysis.

Dismissing one of the government’s arguments—that its analysis of potential seismic impacts was sufficient—Reeves wrote, “Y-12 is located in a populous and quickly growing part of the country. Within the range of possible NEPA cases that might come through this courthouse, the Court is hard-pressed to imagine a more dramatic hypothetical than this, where it must contemplate what might occur if a major earthquake struck a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility located in a major population center.”

The court ruling also points out the crucial role the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board plays in monitoring safety issues at Y-12 and across the nuclear weapons complex.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/  Since last year, the DOE has worked to reduce the Safety Board’s access to some nuclear facilities, even issuing a revised Order to limit the information available to the Board and restricting whom the Board can and cannot speak to directly.

Hutchinson noted, “The court relied, as we did, on the excellent work of the Safety Board in coming to an understanding of the issues surrounding the safety of the old buildings in Oak Ridge.  We urge the Department of Energy to abandon its efforts to constrain the oversight powers of the Board. The Board has always been scrupulous about adhering to its limited mandate, and it has also been a window into the world of DOE. This case shows why we need that transparency—it’s the last line of accountability we have left.”  http://nuclearactive.org/livestreamed-nuclear-safety-board-hearing-on-february-21st-in-albuquerque/

The decision may also have serious ramifications for NNSA’s efforts to expand nuclear weapons production at other sites, including Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

Jay Coghlan, director of co-plaintiff Nuclear Watch New Mexico, commented, “Uranium and plutonium components manufacturing are two sides of the same coin of expanding nuclear weapons production for a new global arms race. The Department of Energy should take this court ruling against its Uranium Processing Facility as a warning that it must also comply with [NEPA] requirements while ill-advisedly expanding the production of plutonium pits, the radioactive cores of nuclear weapons.”


  1. Thursday, September 26th – Sunday, September 29th – Tewa Women United’s 23rd Gathering for Mother Earth.  http://tewawomenunited.org/2019-gathering-for-mother-earth-schedule-and-information/
  2.  Monday, September 30th – Comments due about the “WIPP Forever” Strategic Plan.  Sample public comments you can use are available at http://nuclearactive.org/
    Strategic Plan individual letter 091719
  3. Monday, September 30th Community Meeting from 6 to 8 pm at the Loma Colorado Library, 755 Loma Colorado Blvd NE, in Rio Rancho, about the brine wells and infrastructure in Rio West and Rio Rancho – West Mesa. The sites have been contaminated and there are health and safety issues. The radioactivity is caused by Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, called NORM. The Common Ground Community Trust will give a presentation about the contamination issue, the infrastructure of new roads, and what residents will be facing in the future. There are potential impacts to the ABQ Basin. This is a call to action! http://commongroundrising.org/ For more information, email info@commongroundrising.org
  4. Saturday, October 5th – Trinity Site open.  Join the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (“Trinity Downwinders”) for a peaceful demonstration at the Stallion Gate on State Hwy. 380.    https://www.wsmr.army.mil/Trinity/Pages/Home.aspx 
  5. Thursday, October 24th – Wednesday, October 30th – Worldwide Count the Nuclear Weapons Money.  Let’s organize some events in New Mexico! For more information:  http://nuclearactive.org/worldwide-count-the-nuclear-weapons-money-oct-24th-30th/
 

Worldwide Count the Nuclear Weapons Money Oct. 24th – 30th

People around the world will be counting out one trillion dollars – the amount of money planned to be spent on modernizing the nuclear weapons of nine countries over the next ten years – with artist-created one million dollar bills.  People will be counting the bills while governments will be meeting at the United Nations for the United Nations Disarmament Week and the United Nations General Assembly, from Thursday, October 24 through Wednesday, October 30, 2019.  Mark your calendar!  You can help!

This week, Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd, released a video message supporting the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign of the Basel Peace Office.  http://www.baselpeaceoffice.org/  In 1973, Pink Floyd released the hit song, “Money,” about the seductive and corrosive power of money.

In the video message, Waters holds up a mock one million dollar note and says we have a choice:  “We can either spend this million bucks on this – MAD, mutually assured destruction.  Or on this:  kids, our future, the planet, education, equality.”  http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/news/roger-waters-pink-floyd-nuclear-money-from-evil-to-good/

Waters also calls on individuals to “join the hundreds of organizations and millions of people around the world who are participating in the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action this October,” and “after the counting talk with your mates and work and write to your congress[people] to urge them to take action as well.”

The campaign’s goal is to demonstrate the scale of a one trillion dollar investment and how it could be devoted to peace and humanitarian needs, rather than the threat of nuclear annihilation.  The scale will be profound in terms of time, the number of bills, the number of people counting the money by hand, and the impact of seeing people around the world counting the money.  The event will be live-streamed so that anyone in the world can follow the counting and learn what benefits this money could bring if re-directed to economics, social, and environmental needs.

Artists from many countries are designing the one million dollar currency notes.

People will be counting the money by hand at a rate of one hundred million dollars per minute in one million dollar bills.  They will be doing this in front of the United Nations and at other publicly visible places in New York City.  It will take seven days and nights.

You can help by joining a team of two to count for half an hour or more.  The teams will include people of all ages, nations, and backgrounds, including artists, activists, politicians, United Nations officials, diplomats, religious leaders, refugees, moms, dads, children, sportspeople, and others.  http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/take-action/

To learn more, go to http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/count-the-money/

 


  1. Friday, September 20th – Youth United for Climate Crisis Action at the Roundhouse from 11:15 – 1:30 pm.  There are activities in Albuquerque as well.  For more information, go to:  https://www.earthcarenm.org/
  2. Friday, September 20th – comments due to DOE about the scope of the hazardous waste permit renewal application.  CCNS submitted comments that you can use to create your own.  f CCNS WIPP permit renewal comments 9-19-19
  3. Monday, September 23rd by 5 pm MST – comments due to the New Mexico Environment Department about the “fake” draft groundwater discharge permit DP-1132 for LANL’s Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility.  NMED is issuing the wrong permit.  They should be issuing a Hazardous Waste Permit, not a Groundwater Discharge Permit.  Sample public comments for you to use are available at f Sample DP-1132 Public Comment 9-19-19
  4. Thursday, September 26th – International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.  https://www.un.org/en/events/nuclearweaponelimination/
  5. Thursday, September 26th – Sunday, September 29th – Tewa Women United’s 23rd Gathering for Mother Earth.  http://tewawomenunited.org/2019-gathering-for-mother-earth-schedule-and-information/
  6. Monday, September 30th – Comments due about the “WIPP Forever” Strategic Plan.  Sample public comments you can uses are available at Strategic Plan individual letter 091719
  7. Saturday, October 5th – Trinity Site open.  Join the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (“Trinity Downwinders”) for a peaceful demonstration at the Stallion Gate on State Hwy. 380.    https://www.wsmr.army.mil/Trinity/Pages/Home.aspx