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
Email: ccns@nuclearactive.org

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Our Work

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Current Activities

DNFSB Still Concerned about Flaws in Emergency Air Monitoring at WIPP

Just as there were problems encountered with air monitoring during the February 14, 2014 explosion and release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a nuclear bomb waste dump, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board continues to raise questions about that issue.

In a May 15th, 2024 report, the independent Board discussed the inadequacies of the final design of the continuous air monitor, or CAM, system located in the WIPP underground mine located in a salt formation 2,150 feet below the surface.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/30566/WIPP%20SSCVS%20Cam%20Design.pdf The CAM’s safety function is to detect a radiological release in an environment possibly filled with airborne combustion products from fire and salt particles from mining activities.

In a perfect world, the CAM system would detect the release and convey that information to the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS).  The ventilation’s dampers would be closed so that the air would be diverted into the high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters within 60 seconds of when the CAM system detected the release – ultimately avoiding a radiation and toxic materials release to the environment.

But that is not what happened during the February 14, 2014 explosion and release.  The HEPA filtration system kicked in.  Nevertheless, plutonium and americium, main components of the waste disposed of at WIPP, was found in an air monitoring station more than a half mile northwest of the WIPP exhaust shaft where filtered air is released.  This means that the radioactivity traveled more than a mile and a half from the site of the underground explosion.

In 2019, the Board expressed its safety concerns that included the need for a complete final design of the CAM system.  In its recent review of the final design, the Board found that the WIPP contractor, the Salado Isolation Mining Contractors, LLC, or SIMCO, “has not demonstrated that the CAM system will perform its safety function in this environment.”  https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/30566/WIPP%20SSCVS%20Cam%20Design.pdf    

In order to protect public health and the environment, the CAM system and the nearly $500 million ventilation system are supposed to work together seamlessly.  However, the Board says in the current state, the systems will not work together and more needs to be done before the ventilation system comes on line to ensure operations are in sync.

The ventilation system is undergoing testing right now to bring it into service. The Board has identified multiple quality assurance program issues found in facility walkdowns.  Now is the time for WIPP to fully address the Board’s concerns.


Did You Know? about A Special Announcement from the New Mexico PeaceFest: 

 

This Friday, May 24th, there will be an anti-nuke demonstration and march in Santa Fe. A group of Veterans for Peace and others have been holding an anti-nuke vigil every Friday at noon on the corners of Sandoval and W Alameda. This Friday they will be joined by a larger group of demonstrators, including the Raging Grannies, followed by a march. Everyone is invited to participate and to bring friends. And signs. This being Memorial Day weekend, there will be plenty of people in town – a good opportunity to make a visible statement in the streets of Santa Fe.

 

We will gather on the four corners of Sandoval St. and W Alameda at 12 noon. The Raging Grannies will lead a half hour sing-along of anti-nuke songs from noon until 12:30 (perhaps on just one of the corners, or perhaps moving from corner to corner to give everyone a chance to sing along).

 

At 12:30pm the march will begin, carrying signs and banners. We will walk north on Sandoval, then east on W San Francisco past the Plaza, then south on Shelby and Old Santa Fe Tr to the state Capitol building. Then we’ll return to our starting point by way of S Capitol St, E DeVargas, Don Gaspar, and Alameda. While walking we will sing Peace Salaam Shalom (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V00_Wg_7Yxs).  If you happen to park along the route, you can peel off before the end.

 

The march will be a slow, calm procession, sticking together. The point is not to get somewhere; the point is to be seen in the streets. The slowest walkers will be asked to lead, and everyone else will be asked to follow, to ensure that fast walkers don’t sprint ahead and split up the procession.  The route is a total of 1.2 miles round trip. It would take an average walker a half hour, but this march will probably take 45 minutes, maybe even a bit longer. It will be finished about 1:15 or 1:30 at the latest. If you happen to park along the route of the march, you can peel off before the end.

 

Anyone who doesn’t feel up to walking 1.2 miles may choose to skip the march. Some of the VFP folks will choose to remain standing on the corner until 1pm, as they usually do every Friday, so if you’re not marching you may wish to stand in solidarity with them.

 

Let’s show Santa Fe and the tourists that there is major opposition to the endless production of weapons of mass destruction.  SEE YOU FRIDAY!

 

  1. Wednesday, May 29th at 6 pm MT – A Conversation with Annie Jacobsen, Author of NYT Bestseller, Nuclear War: A Scenario.  Hosted by Back from the Brink:  Bringing Communities Together to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.  CCNS is a co-sponsor.  Register:   https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VSNspz8jSsGBiA6f0gRu_w#/registration

 

 

  1. Monday, May 20th PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED TO THURSDAY, JUNE 20th, 2024to EPA about its proposed rule allowing open burning / open detonation of hazardous wastes.  Use Earthjustice’s Action Alert to Ban the Practice of Open Burning and Open Detonation of Hazardous Wastes at:  https://earthjustice.org/action/ban-the-practice-of-open-burning-and-open-detonation-of-hazardous-wastes

 See the May 2nd Update for more information: http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-needed-to-ban-open-burning-and-open-detonation-of-pfas-toxic-and-carcinogenic-explosive-materials/

 

 

  1. Monday, July 1st – Friday, July 5th (no hearing on Th. July 4th) NM Water Quality Control Commission public hearing about reuse of fracking waste continues. https://www.defendnmwater.org/post/hearing-extended-into-july-so-far-fracking-waste-reuse-looks-as-risky-as-we-thought

 

 

  1. June 17th to 24th MOVED TO SEPTEMBER 16th to 22nd Global Week of Action – No Money for Nuclear Weapons, by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Join the efforts to push back against the unacceptable squandering of vast sums of money on weapons of mass destruction ($82.9 billion in 2022).  https://www.icanw.org/global_week_of_action_on_nuclear_spending
 

DOE Seeks EPA Permission to Operate Panels 11 and 12 in the WIPP Underground

On March 12th, the Department of Energy (DOE) submitted its Planned Change Request (PCR) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use new Panels 11 and 12 in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) underground nuclear waste facility. The Planned Change Request also outlines the plans for seven additional panels for waste from expanded plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the disposition of 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium from that site.  https://www.epa.gov/radiation/wipp-news#WIPP-PCR

The WIPP plan that EPA approved in 1998 provided that all waste would be disposed in the existing eight panels by no later than 2033.  EPA needs to fully understand DOE’s new plans for a much larger underground area, for large amounts of waste not included in the original approval, and for the facility to operate for many more decades.

So far EPA has sent three sets of questions.  They ask about the geologic setting for all nine of the additional panels.  EPA also asked about the solubility of plutonium in the underground, the chemical changes that can result in the underground where waste drums may come in contact with brine, etc.  EPA also detailed DOE’s omissions of key reports and data.  It is anticipated that EPA will have further questions as its review moves forward.  https://www.epa.gov/radiation/wipp-news#WIPP-PCR , scroll down to “Update:  [EPA] Comments/Questions for DOE on the PCR.”

DOE states that Panels 11 and 12 are “replacement” panels for the underground disposal space that is no longer available due to the February 14, 2014 explosion of one or more LANL drums.  The drums were packaged with the wrong kind of kitty litter that is used to absorb small amounts of liquids in the waste.  WIPP was closed for three years at a cost of at least one billion dollars.

The proposed panels are all part of DOE’s plan to keep WIPP open forever, or until 2083 at the earliest.

DOE’s cover letter to EPA states: “The timing for the need of additional panels, beyond replacement Panels 11 and 12, will require further analyses. The DOE will submit a separate [Planned Change Request] for additional panels, when further analyses are completed and a future request is finalized.”  https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2024-03/24-0168-wipp-pcr-panels-letter-enclosures.pdf, p. 3 of the pdf.

To learn more about the magnitude of these issues, please visit EPA’s WIPP News at https://www.epa.gov/radiation/wipp-news

EPA plans to hold public meetings in New Mexico in late summer to discuss DOE’s request.  To learn more and to sign up to receive information from the Stop Forever WIPP Coalition, go to https://stopforeverwipp.org/


  1. Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17th – Message from Defend New Mexico Water:

 We have two more days left of the Water Quality Control Commission Wastewater Reuse hearing and we are asking folks to comment if you have yet to share your voice! You have four more opportunities, either in person (NM STATE CAPITAL, 411 South Capitol St., Room 317) or online via WebEx, at 9 am and 1 pm Thursday and Friday this week.

We are also asking folks to sign and share our petition about the rule! 

We need more voices, as we see oil and gas organize for greater numbers for public comment. We hope you all continue the united front to protect our water and share this information with your organizational networks!

HEARING OVERVIEW

THE PUBLIC CAN PARTICIPATE IN-PERSON OR ONLINE
IN-PERSON LOCATION: NM STATE CAPITAL, (411 South Capitol St.), Room 317
VIRTUAL HEARING LINK on Webex: 
Bit.ly/WQCC23-84-Hearing

    • The public comment sessions for Thursday and Friday will be 9AM and 1PM; please email Pamela Jones at jones@env.nm.gov
    • Public comment is 3 minutes per person
    • Folks can submit as many written comments as they’d like before the end of the hearing but may only give one oral testimony.

Talking Point Links: 

 

 

  1. Friday, May 17th through Sunday, May 19thFree screenings of the documentary, First We Bombed New Mexico.

To receive access, visit watch.showandtell.film/watch/firstwebombednm.

For more information:  firstwebombednewmexico.com.

 

 

  1. Friday, May 17th, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi and others.

 

 

  1. Monday, May 20th PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED TO THURSDAY, JUNE 20th, 2024 to EPA about its proposed rule allowing open burning / open detonation of hazardous wastes.  Use Earthjustice’s Action Alert to Ban the Practice of Open Burning and Open Detonation of Hazardous Wastes at:  https://earthjustice.org/action/ban-the-practice-of-open-burning-and-open-detonation-of-hazardous-wastes

 See the May 2nd Update for more information:  http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-needed-to-ban-open-burning-and-open-detonation-of-pfas-toxic-and-carcinogenic-explosive-materials/

 

 

  1. Wednesday, May 22nd at 1 pm MDT webinar – Join DOE’s Consent-Based Siting Consortia for a Public Roundtable on Successes in Siting one or more federal consolidated interim storage facilities for commercial spent nuclear fuel. To register:  https://pnnl.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_yP30QO6WTLqHjSJw-Kifqw?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery#/registration

Submit your questions prior to the meeting:  consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov

 

From DOE’s May 1, 2024 post:   DOE Releases Interactive Tool for Audiences Wishing to Learn More About DOE’s Plans to Manage Spent Nuclear Fuel StoryMap to help communities evaluate interest and suitability in being considered as a potential host for a federal consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released an interactive StoryMap for audiences wishing to learn more about federal consolidated interim storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The “Integrated Waste Management (IWM) StoryMap: Consent-Based Siting for Consolidated Interim Storage,” is a free, easy-to-access tool on DOE’s approach to identifying one or more locations for siting facilities to store spent nuclear fuel on an interim basis. It details DOE’s concept for an integrated waste management system, federal consolidated interim storage design and operations, potential benefits and impacts, among other topics.

Submit your questions prior to the meeting:  consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov

 

From DOE’s May 1, 2024 post:   DOE Releases Interactive Tool for Audiences Wishing to Learn More About DOE’s Plans to Manage Spent Nuclear Fuel StoryMap to help communities evaluate interest and suitability in being considered as a potential host for a federal consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released an interactive StoryMap for audiences wishing to learn more about federal consolidated interim storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The “Integrated Waste Management (IWM) StoryMap: Consent-Based Siting for Consolidated Interim Storage,” is a free, easy-to-access tool on DOE’s approach to identifying one or more locations for siting facilities to store spent nuclear fuel on an interim basis. It details DOE’s concept for an integrated waste management system, federal consolidated interim storage design and operations, potential benefits and impacts, among other topics.

 

 

  1. Sunday, May 26thThe Vow from Hiroshima documentary will air on PBS across the United States and on The World Channel nationwide. The film highlights the life and legacy of Setsuko Thurlow, a hibakusha from the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.  https://www.thevowfromhiroshima.com/   

 

 

  1. June 17th to 24th – Global Week of Action – No Money for Nuclear Weapons, by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Join the efforts to push back against the unacceptable squandering of vast sums of money on weapons of mass destruction ($82.9 billion in 2022).  https://www.icanw.org/global_week_of_action_on_nuclear_spending
 

Defend New Mexico Water from Fracking Waste Contamination by Proposed Wastewater Reuse Rule

Beginning on Monday, May 13th, at an in-person and virtual public hearing in Santa Fe, the New Mexico Environment Department will present its proposal to vastly expand the reuse of produced water from the production of oil and gas to the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission.  The proposed regulation, called the Wastewater Reuse Rule, would expand the use of fracking waste called “produced water” outside of the oilfield by enabling the development of large-scale demonstration projects and industrial applications throughout the state, with the a prohibition that there be no discharge to surface water or ground water as part of the project.  https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/, scroll down to green bar for the Water Quality Control Commission and click there, go to first entry “WQCC 23-84:  In the Matter of Proposed Rule 20.6.8 NMAC – Ground and Surface Water Protection – Supplemental Requirements for Water Reuse.”  To review filings in the case, click on the WQCC 23-84 bar.

You can submit your written comments at the last link at “Submit Comments Here.”

In 2022 over 38,700 spills took place in the Permian Basin.  In New Mexico, the statewide average is four spills per day.  State agencies do not have the staff to investigate; thus the majority of those spills do not result in penalties and fines.  Such spills pose significant additional threats to New Mexico’s waterways, land, air and human health. 

There is only one restriction in the Environment Department’s proposed rule: there be no discharge to surface waters or groundwater.  Are spills considered a discharge?

There are no minimum standards required for applying to use produced water within the oilfield other than describing the plan for research, handling, treatment, transportation, disposal, risk abatement, cleanup when a spill occurs, and financial assurance that the project has the financial resources for cleanup after operations cease.  The Environment Department has no discretion to weigh the risks and possible benefits of the plan.  It must approve the plan.

Destiny Ray, an organizer with the New Mexico No False Solutions Campaign, expressed her concern about the proposed rule.  She explained, “As young people who envision a better future for ourselves and generations to come, it’s abundantly clear that the reuse of toxic waste containing hazardous chemicals that cause life-threatening and life-altering disease off the oil field is utterly irresponsible.  We cannot allow state agencies, pressured by industry interests, to gamble with the health of New Mexicans and our collective future.”

The broad Coalition of Indigenous, frontline, youth and climate justice advocates are calling for safe and scientifically sound measures to address New Mexico’s water shortage concerns.  They state:  “Unless and until the effective treatment of the toxic radioactive waste is proven possible and scientific standards for treatment, specific reuse applications, and disposal are established, toxic fracking waste ‘water’ has no place in our communities.”

For instructions about how to give public comment and to learn more:  https://www.nofalsesolutions.com/


  1. Friday, May 10th, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Code Pink Taos will be joining us with the giant puppets Sadako and Amy Goodman.

 

 

  1. Monday, May 13th through Friday, May 17th and beyond? – Public Hearing before the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) about the proposed New Mexico Environment Department’s Wastewater Reuse Rule 23-84 (R) at the NM Capitol. NMED proposes to “solve” the oil and gas industry’s enormous waste problem by reusing toxic fracking waste, aka produced water, for “agriculture, irrigation, potable water supplies, aquifer recharge, industrial processes or environmental restoration.  https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D172190191 – links to the public notices and links to participate virtually.

To review the filings in the case:  https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/ , scroll down to the Water Quality Control Commission green tab, click on WQCC 23-84:  In the Matter of Proposed Rule 20.6.8 NMAC – Ground and Surface Water Protection – Supplemental Requirements for Water Reuse. 

For more information:  https://www.nofalsesolutions.com/

 

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health. https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health

 

May 15th Environmental Justice and Environmental Toxicities Panel –  a 90-minute session.  The panel speakers are: 

    • Yohanna Barth-Rogers, MD, Chief Medical Officer, UMMA Community Clinic, Los Angeles, CA
    • Dino Chavarria, Tribal Superfund Working Group, Santa Clara Pueblo, NM
    • Jackie Medcalf, Texas Health & Environment Alliance (THEA) Founder and Executive Director, Houston, TX
    • Sterling Stokes, Campaign Manager for the Portland Harbor Community Coalition, OR

 

 

  1. Thursday, May 16 from 5 pm to 8:30 pm – Nuclear Communities in the Southwest, presentation by Myrriah Gómez, PhD at the Albuquerque Museum, 2000 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, NM.   https://www.cabq.gov/artsculture/albuquerque-museum/events/third-thursday-nuclear-communities-of-the-southwest   

Hear a presentation by Myrriah Gómez author of the book, Nuclear Nuevo México Colonialism and the Effects of the Nuclear Industrial Complex on Nuevomexicanos. Gómez tells a new story of New Mexico, one in which the nuclear history is not separate from the collective colonial history of Nuevo México.

Enjoy the first outdoor concert of the year, with Son Como Son – Salsa Cuban Style.  Make art related to the exhibitions, or do yoga in the galleries.

 

 

  1. Monday, May 20thpublic comments due to EPA about its proposed rule allowing open burning / open detonation of hazardous wastes.  Use Earthjustice’s Action Alert to Ban the Practice of Open Burning and Open Detonation of Hazardous Wastes at:  https://earthjustice.org/action/ban-the-practice-of-open-burning-and-open-detonation-of-hazardous-wastes

 See last week’s Update for more information:  http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-needed-to-ban-open-burning-and-open-detonation-of-pfas-toxic-and-carcinogenic-explosive-materials/

 

 

  1. Wednesday, May 22nd at 1 pm MDT webinar – Join DOE’s Consent-Based Siting Consortia for a Public Roundtable on Successes in Siting one or more federal consolidated interim storage facilities for commercial spent nuclear fuel. To register:  https://pnnl.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_yP30QO6WTLqHjSJw-Kifqw?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery#/registration  Submit your questions prior to the meeting:  consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov

From DOE’s May 1, 2024 post:   DOE Releases Interactive Tool for Audiences Wishing to Learn More About DOE’s Plans to Manage Spent Nuclear Fuel StoryMap to help communities evaluate interest and suitability in being considered as a potential host for a federal consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released an interactive StoryMap for audiences wishing to learn more about federal consolidated interim storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The “Integrated Waste Management (IWM) StoryMap: Consent-Based Siting for Consolidated Interim Storage,” is a free, easy-to-access tool on DOE’s approach to identifying one or more locations for siting facilities to store spent nuclear fuel on an interim basis. It details DOE’s concept for an integrated waste management system, federal consolidated interim storage design and operations, potential benefits and impacts, among other topics.

 

 

  1. New Book – The Scientists Who Alerted Us to Radiation’s Dangers by Ian Fairlie, PhD and Beyond Nuclear’s Cindy Folkers, MS about the systemic cover-up of radiation risks and scientists. https://ethicspress.com/products/the-scientists-who-alerted-us-to-the-dangers-of-radiation
 

Public Comments Needed to Ban Open Burning and Open Detonation of PFAS, Toxic and Carcinogenic Explosive Materials

See Tell EPA to BAN Open Burning of PFAS, Toxic Munitions! CEASE FIRE CAMPAIGN Action Alert at the end of the Update

Did you know the federal Departments of Defense and Energy, NASA and the private industry sector currently operate more than 60 open burn pits across the U.S. and its territories – causing the uncontrolled release of PFAS and other toxic chemicals to the environment?  Open detonation and open burning of these dangerous energetic hazardous wastes result in environmental contamination and places the health of soldiers, workers and neighbors at risk.

In New Mexico, opening burning and open detonation are permitted by the New Mexico Environment Department at Holloman Air Force Base, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory.

For nearly 50 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exempted open burning and open detonation activities at federal and private sector sites from regulation.  A proposed EPA rule would allow these uncontrolled releases to continue.  Communities that live in the shadows of these sites say the proposed rule does not go far enough to protect public health and the environment and urge the complete ban.

Now is the time to raise your voice with the members of the national CEASE FIRE Campaign to require EPA to ban open burning and open detonation of these wastes and clean up the sites.  The CEASE FIRE Campaign seeks to protect human health and the environment by calling for the immediate implementation of safer alternatives to open air burning, detonation and incineration/combustion of military munitions.  The Campaign states, “A complete ban is the only way to provide fair and equitable treatment to communities by protecting ALL communities.”  https://cswab.org/cease-fire-campaign/about-the-campaign/#:~:text=The%20CEASE%20FIRE%20Campaign%20seeks%20to%20protect%20human,air%20burning%2C%20detonation%20and%20incineration%2Fcombustion%20of%20military%20munitions.

The Campaign emphasizes that only a ban will protect communities, incentivize the development of safer treatment technologies and secure federal funding for the deployment of alternative technologies.

Four New Mexico non-governmental organizations are involved in the Cease Fire Campaign.  They are:  Citizen Action New Mexico https://www.radfreenm.org/index.php , CCNS http://nuclearactive.org/ , Tewa Women United https://tewawomenunited.org/ , and the Tribal Environmental Watch Alliance.

Jane Williams, of the California Communities Against Toxics, said, “The taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to cleanup contaminated soils and groundwater from past releases at burn pits across the country; we don’t need to add more pollution to that burden.  EPA needs to enact a ban on the open burning of these dangerous chemicals which pollute our air, water, and soils if we are to protect the environmental justice communities hosting these facilities.”

Public comments are due on or before Monday, May 20th, 2024.  Even if you signed a petition in the past, we need EVERYONE to submit comments via the Federal Register today.   Numbers matter.  Share this Update with friends and family.  For talking points and instructions to submit comments, see below.

 

CEASE FIRE CAMPAIGN ACTION ALERT

Tell EPA to BAN Open Burning of PFAS, Toxic Munitions!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting public comment on proposed regulations that will allow for the open burning and detonation (OB/OD) of waste explosives. In communities across America, open burning and detonation of energetic hazardous waste results in the uncontrolled release of toxic heavy metals, PFAS, energetic compounds, perchlorate, nitrogen oxides, dioxins and other carcinogens to the environment, placing the health of our soldiers, workers and neighbors at risk.

How and Where to Submit a Comment:

The DEADLINE for public comment is Monday May 20, 2024.

Comments can be submitted through the online form on the Federal Register website OR use this full link:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2024/03/20/2024-05088/revisions-to-standards-for-the-open-burningopen-detonation-of-waste-explosives

Click on the green Submit A Formal Comment button on the right side of the page.

Instructions:  Include the Docket ID Number EPA–HQ–OLEM–2021–0397 in your comments.

Comments received may be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov/​, including any personal information provided.

Alternative ways to submit comments: 

Mail to:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA Docket Center, OLEM Docket, Mail Code 28221T

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20460

 

Hand Delivery or Courier to:    EPA Docket Center

WJC West Building, Room 3334

1301 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20004

The Docket Center’s hours of operations are 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday (except Federal Holidays).

 

Suggested CEASE FIRE CAMPAIGN Talking Points:

Only a BAN on OB/OD will:

  • Prevent the uncontrolled release of PFAS and other toxic and carcinogenic emissions to the environment.
  • Incentivize the development of newer safer treatment technologies.
  • Readily secure federal funding for the deployment of alternative technologies.
  • Encourage the development and transition to “green” munitions.
  • Protect the integrity and sustainability of natural systems including soil, water, air and biodiversity.
  • Prevent the uncontrolled release of emerging unregulated toxic chemicals like RDX and PFAS.
  • Close de facto exemptions to the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other environmental standards and laws.
  • Only a BAN will provide fair and equitable treatment for all communities by protecting ALL communities.

p.s. Even if you signed a petition in the past, we still need EVERYONE to submit a comment via the federal register today!

 

Tips for How to Submit a Public Comment:

  • Be respectful and polite in your comments.
  • Get personal, share your experiences, and why you care. Personal messages carry more sentiment and weight which are more meaningful and can have a bigger impact on policymakers.
  • Avoid pre-written copy-and-paste templates. New practices have passed that make it so pre-written templates only get counted once. Meaning if multiple people submit the same exact comment, it will only be recorded once. Make it personal and unique to make sure it is counted.
  • Cite relevant data that supports your comment.

  1. Friday, May 3rd, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!

 

  1. Monday, May 13th – Friday, May 17thPublic Hearing before the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) about the proposed New Mexico Environment Department’s Wastewater Reuse Rule at the NM Capitol. Case No. WQCC 23-84 (R).  NMED proposes to “solve” the oil and gas industry’s enormous waste problem by reusing toxic fracking waste, aka produced water, for “agriculture, irrigation, potable water supplies, aquifer recharge, industrial processes or environmental restoration.  https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D172190191 – links to the public notices and links to participate virtually.

To review the filings in the case:  https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/ , scroll down to the Water Quality Control Commission green tab, click on WQCC 23-84:  In the Matter of Proposed Rule 20.6.8 NMAC – Ground and Surface Water Protection – Supplemental Requirements for Water Reuse. 

Sign the New Energy Economy petition to NMED to withdraw its produced water reuse rule.  https://newenergyeconomy.salsalabs.org/nmed-withdraw-produced-water-reuse-rule/index.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=4d528081-2d60-4940-b04c-c75c3d84fbfe

For more information:  https://www.newenergyeconomy.org/

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health. https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health

May 15th Environmental Justice and Environmental Toxicities Panel –  a 90-minute session.  The panel speakers are: 

    • Yohanna Barth-Rogers, MD, Chief Medical Officer, UMMA Community Clinic, Los Angeles, CA
    • Dino Chavarria, Tribal Superfund Working Group, Santa Clara Pueblo, NM
    • Jackie Medcalf, Texas Health & Environment Alliance (THEA) Founder and Executive Director, Houston, TX
    • Sterling Stokes, Campaign Manager for the Portland Harbor Community Coalition, OR

 

  1. Wednesday, May 22nd at 1 pm MDT webinar – Join DOE’s Consent-Based Siting Consortia for a Public Roundtable on Successes in Siting one or more federal consolidated interim storage facilities for commercial spent nuclear fuel. To register:  https://pnnl.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_yP30QO6WTLqHjSJw-Kifqw?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery#/registration

 Submit your questions prior to the meeting:  consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov

From DOE’s May 1, 2024 post:   DOE Releases Interactive Tool for Audiences Wishing to Learn More About DOE’s Plans to Manage Spent Nuclear Fuel StoryMap to help communities evaluate interest and suitability in being considered as a potential host for a federal consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released an interactive StoryMap for audiences wishing to learn more about federal consolidated interim storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel.

The “Integrated Waste Management (IWM) StoryMap: Consent-Based Siting for Consolidated Interim Storage,” is a free, easy-to-access tool on DOE’s approach to identifying one or more locations for siting facilities to store spent nuclear fuel on an interim basis. It details DOE’s concept for an integrated waste management system, federal consolidated interim storage design and operations, potential benefits and impacts, among other topics.

 

NNSA Delays Urgent Research on Plutonium “Pit” Aging But Spends Billions on Nuclear Weapons Bomb Cores

This week, CCNS highlights portions of a recent press release by Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (Tri-Valley CARES), and the Savannah River Site Watch about the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).  Their piece suggests NNSA does not have its priorities straight in neither producing up-to-date information on the way plutonium appears to age nor providing this information in a timely manner to the public.  The entire press release is here: 240417 NWNM SRSW TVC Plutonium-Aging-PR

The press release reads:  “Nearly three years after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch has finally received [] the congressionally required Research Program Plan for Plutonium and Pit Aging.  However, the document is 40% blacked out, including references and acronyms.  Plutonium ‘pits’ are the radioactive cores of all U.S. nuclear weapons.  The NNSA claims that potential aging effects are justification for a ~$60 billion program to expand production.  However, the Plan fails to show that aging is a current problem.  To the contrary, it demonstrates that NNSA is delaying urgently needed updated plutonium pit aging research.

“In 2006 independent scientific experts known as the JASONs concluded that plutonium pits last at least 85 years without specifying an end date.  The average pit age is now around 40 years.  A 2012 follow-on study by the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab concluded:

“’This continuing work shows that no unexpected aging issues are appearing in plutonium that has been accelerated to an equivalent of [approximately] 150 years of age.  The results of this work are consistent with, and further reinforce, the Department of Energy Record of Decision to pursue a limited pit manufacturing capability in existing and planned facilities at Los Alamos instead of constructing a new, very large pit manufacturing facility…’

“Since then NNSA has reversed itself.  In 2018 the agency decided to pursue the simultaneous production of at least 30 pits per year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in northern New Mexico and at least 50 pits per year at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.  Upgrades to plutonium facilities at LANL are slated to cost $8 billion over the next five years.  The redundant Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility in South Carolina will cost up to $25 billion, making it the second most expensive building in human history.

“Hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars and future international nuclear weapons policies are at stake.  …


  1. Friday, April 26, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Thursday, April 25th at 6 pm MT – Nuclear Energy Information Service will host historian and author, Jacob Hamlin, for its monthly “Night with the Experts.” Registration for the Zoom is required. Hamlin will explore promotion of atomic energy “solutions” around the world, the role of “the peaceful atom” in propaganda, and connections between nuclear energy and environmental crises.  He will also comment about the reception of his 2021 book The Wretched Atom.  Hamlin is principal investigator on the Oregon State University OSU Downwinders Project for the Hanford Nuclear Site Downwinders.  The Project develops archival collections, conducts oral histories, and researches the history of radiation and dose reconstruction related to cancer victims and nuclear sites. Last year, he co-edited Making the Unseen Visible: Science and the Contested Histories of Radiation Exposure.

 

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health.  https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health

 

May 1st – Identifying the Source of Chemical Solvents and Their Health-Related Impacts and Microplastics are Here.  Speakers are: 

  • Michelle Hunter, MS – Deputy Director, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, The Office of the State Engineer
  • Matthew J. Campen, PhD – Regents Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Director, UNM Environmental Health Signature Program
 

Continuing Safety Problems with New WIPP Shaft

Recent monthly reports by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board relate disturbing stories about near-miss operational incidents in the fifth shaft, under construction, at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  The underground federal radioactive waste disposal site is located 2,150 feet below ground surface in a salt formation almost 30 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico.  The Board has reported broken cables, misaligned transport platforms for workers to reach the underground, and workers stuck in the new shaft.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/

On November 20th, 2023, the third incident in that month occurred when a basket for transporting materials fell 2,150 feet down the new shaft.  SIMCO, the management and operating contractor at WIPP, issued a formal stop work order to Harrison Western Shaft Sinkers JV, LLC, the subcontractor.  Preliminary findings indicate the subcontractor did not implement formal controls for hoisting and rigging activities and allowed informal operator actions to take their place.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/29506/WIPP%20Monthly%20Ending%20November%202023.pdf and https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/29776/WIPP%20Monthly%20Ending%20December%202023.pdf

The Shaft Sinkers hired a safety culture expert to make improvements to the operating practices and procedures.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/30376/WIPP%20Monthly%20Ending%20March%202024.pdf      

For most of January 2024, construction work did not occur.  Working under a partial and limited authorization, a work crew was threatened again.  Approximately 900 feet of a line used for blasting in the shaft fell past them and landed on an unattended steelwork structure below.  The work crew was under a metal overhead cover.  No injuries were reported.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/30001/WIPP%20Monthly%20Ending%20January%202024.pdf

On January 23rd, 2024, two miners in a man cage were descending the shaft when it stopped at 1,500 feet below ground surface.  The hoisting brake system became engaged and stopped.  Within 30 minutes the cage was lowered to the underground mine.  The hoisting brake system is comprised of four safety significant components included in the Department of Energy’s Documented Safety Analysis and for that reason must be reported to DOE’s Occurrence Reporting and Processing System, or ORPS.

Because food, water and an escape route were provided, SIMCO argued that it was not required to make an ORPS report.

The Board’s staff considers a loss of hoist control to be an unsafe condition that should have been reported.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/30141/WIPP%20Monthly%20Ending%20February%202024.pdf

WIPP’s design had never included a fifth shaft and there was strong public opposition to the new shaft, which is costing at least $288 million and won’t be operational for at least two more years.

The new shaft problems continue as reported in the Board’s monthly reports.  To learn more and to keep an eye on what is happening at WIPP, download the Board’s monthly reports at https://www.dnfsb.gov/documents/reports


  1. Friday, April 19, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health.  https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health

 

May 1st – Identifying the Source of Chemical Solvents and Their Health-Related Impacts and Microplastics are Here.  Speakers are: 

    • Michelle Hunter, MS – Deputy Director, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, The Office of the State Engineer
    • Matthew J. Campen, PhD – Regents Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Director, UNM Environmental Health Signature Program

 

 

  1. Saturday, April 20th from 9 am to 2 pm – Earth Day at the Caja del Rio Hike & Clean-Up, Santa Fe, NM. Activities include a hike, lunch and cleanup activities.  For more information:  https://cajadelrio.org/earthdayevent/

 

 

  1. Sunday, April 21st from 10 to 4 pm – La Montanita EarthFest 2024 at Nob Hill Location in Albuquerque. https://lamontanita.coop/earthfest/

 

 

  1. Sunday, April 21st at 6 pm – Wildflower Playhouse and Taos Center for the Arts present: Dance, Live Performance – Stories from Home by Yvonne Montoya / Safos Dance Theatre.  Stories From Home is a series of dances embodying the oral traditions of Nuevomexicano, Chicano, and Mexican American communities in the American Southwest.  Choreographer Yvonne Montoya, a 23rd-generation Nuevomexicana, and an all-Mexican American cast of dancers draw upon personal histories and ancestral knowledge, including stories from Montoya’s great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunts, and father. Tickets:  https://tcataos.org/calendar/#event=77457614;instance=20240421180000?popup=1   

 

 

  1. Tuesday, April 23rd from 6 to 8 pm – DOE/DOD Semiannual Public Meeting about what is going on at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and Kirtland Air Force Base (Kirtland AFB) at New Mexico Veterans Memorial, 1100 Louisiana Blvd. SE, Albuquerque. For more info:  https://www.sandia.gov/about/environment/environmental-management-system/public-meetings/

 

 

Dozens Participate in First Annual Plutonium Trail Caravan

On a cold and windy Saturday morning, dozens of eager people got in their vehicles to participate in the First Annual Plutonium Trail Caravan beginning at the Camel Rock geologic formation.  Throughout the day the Caravan traveled through Santa Fe and El Dorado and made stops along the way.  The Caravan ended with a press conference at the Lamy Train Station.  Throughout the day, the participants engaged with the public to inform them of the growing threat of increased transportation of plutonium contaminated radioactive waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Back in the day, the federal Department of Energy (DOE) promised The People that once WIPP opened, the federal agency would clean up all the plutonium-contaminated waste across its nuclear weapons complex, including at LANL, in 25 years and close WIPP.  DOE failed to meet the 25-year cleanup deadline on March 26, 2024.  Now DOE is planning to keep WIPP open to at least 2083 for waste from LANL’s expanded fabrication of plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons.

 

The New Mexico Raging Grannies documented this story with satirical lyrics to well-known sing-along tunes, which the caravan participants sang with gusto.  For example to the tune, Hit the Road, Jack.

Bait ‘n’ switch is the game that the DOE

Has been playing on The People,

But The People can see

That for 25 years you’ve been lyin’ to us

‘bout the terrible danger, you keep it hush-hush

‘cause if you told the truth to us,

you’d surely make the devil blush.

Hit the road, Jack, and don’t ya come back no more, no more, no more, no more; Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more. 

 

Myrriah Gómez, author of Nuclear Nuevo México:  Colonialism and the Effects of the Nuclear Industrial Complex on Nuevomexicanos, spoke at the press conference at the Lamy Train Station.  https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/nuclear-nuevo-mexico  She highlighted the need to educate young people about the nuclear weapons complex in New Mexico and its impacts on New Mexicans.   Right now DOE and LANL are in the schools beginning the recruitment process for future workers.

At the same time the number of workers who are being injured and exposed to radiation in the fabrication processes are increasing.

The planning process for the 2025 Second Annual Plutonium Trail Caravan is beginning now.  Please contact the Stop Forever WIPP Coalition at stopforeverwipp.org if you would like to get involved.  https://stopforeverwipp.org/


  1. Friday, April 12, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Thursday, April 11 at 5 pm MDT on Zoom – Oppenheimer, Einstein, and Resistance to Nuclear Destruction – THE FULL STORY, with historians Lawrence Wittner & Blanche Wiesen Cook. Hosted by Peace Action New York State.  Registration:  https://calendar.google.com/calendar/event?eid=NmFkdGRzbnNtdjRpNXIxcjQ1bWtzcWFkdmsgNXBsdjNqYmY2MmNuYTAxcnUzYnY0ZzdkMm9AZw&ctz=America/New_York  

 

 

  1. Friday to Sunday, April 12 – 15 – PeaceWorks is issuing a CALL TO ACTION to oppose the start of a NEW 21st Century NUCLEAR ARMS RACE beginning in Kansas City NOW!  The KC National Security Campus fabricates nearly all the non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons. It announced that the plant plans to DOUBLE in size next year and increase its number of workers to Cold War levels of 9,000! https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2023/11/07/nnsa-honeywell-office-manufacturing-campus-nuclear.html

PeaceWorks invites you to join in a Resistance Retreat at Jerusalem Farm, 520 Garfield Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. Register using the QR code in the flier to the right. For more info, contact PeaceWorks Vice-Chair Ann Suellentrop at annsuellen@gmail.com or 913-271-7925.

 

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health.  https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health   

April 17thEnvironmental Exposures and Superfund Sites and Nuclear SUPERfund Sites in New Mexico.  Speakers are: 

    • Myrriah Gómez, PhD – Assistant Professor in the Honors College, University of New Mexico
    • Michelle Hunter, MS – Deputy Director, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, The Office of the State Engineer

 

  1. Wednesday, April 17th from 2 to 4 pm – WIPP public meeting about two Class 2 permit modifications to the NM Hazardous Waste Permit for
    • adding four new shielded containers for management of remote-handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) mixed waste as contact-handled (CH) TRU mixed waste in the WIPP underground disposal facility.
    • Changing the site recertification audit schedule from annual to a graded approach.

To review the proposed permit modifications at https://wipp.energy.gov/Library/Information_Repository_A/Class_2_Permit_Modifications/24-0241_Redacted.pdf

To attend the zoom meeting, REGISTER: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ocu2oqTMiGNJqe0L3TrFNplEgXfMzdZUy#/registration

Public comments must be received by 5 pm MDT on Saturday, June 1, 2024 to Megan McLean, NM Environment Department, Hazardous Waste Bureau at megan.mclean@env.nm.gov or the NMED Public Comment Portal at https://nmed.commentinput.com/?id=rRcW83jAC

 

  1. Thursday, April 18th from 11 am to noon MDT – EPA Public Meeting about proposed revisions to Standards for the Open Burning-Open Detonation (OB/OD) of Waste Explosives for a 60-day comment period, ending on Monday, May 20, 2024.

On Thursday, April 18th at 11 am MDT, EPA will host a public webinar to discuss the proposal.  To register: https://www.epa.gov/remedytech/forms/registration-revisions-standards-open-burningopen-detonation-waste-explosives

Both Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory use OB/OD to dispose of waste explosives.  EPA is not proposing to ban OB/OD.  https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2024-03-20/pdf/2024-05088.pdf

CCNS and colleagues will be preparing sample public comments you can use to create your comments.  Submit your comments at: https://www.regulations.gov/document/EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0397-0001

 

  1. Thursday, April 18th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm MDT – in-person and virtual LANL Cleanup Forum, hosted by the DOE Environmental Management-LANL (EM-LA) and N3B (cleanup contactor). The forum will feature discussions and public input on the environmental cleanup mission at LANL, recent progress in shipping waste off-site and work to protect water quality. The community discussion and Q&A will follow two short presentations by EM-LA and N3B.  In –person meeting at SALA Event Center, 2551 Central Avenue, Los Alamos.  For more info and virtual Microsoft Teams access numbers:  https://n3b-la.com/emcf_apr_18_2024/

 

 

  1. Saturday, April 20th from 9 am to 2 pm – Earth Day at the Caja del Rio Hike & Clean-Up, Santa Fe, NM. Activities include a hike, lunch and cleanup activities.  For more information:  https://cajadelrio.org/earthdayevent/

 

 

  1. Sunday, April 21st from 10 to 4 pm – La Montanita EarthFest 2024 at Nob Hill Location in Albuquerque. https://lamontanita.coop/earthfest/

 

 

  1. Sunday, April 21st at 6 pm – Wildflower Playhouse and Taos Center for the Arts present: Dance, Live Performance – Stories from Home by Yvonne Montoya / Safos Dance Theatre.  Stories From Home is a series of dances embodying the oral traditions of Nuevomexicano, Chicano, and Mexican American communities in the American Southwest.  Choreographer Yvonne Montoya, a 23rd-generation Nuevomexicana, and an all-Mexican American cast of dancers draw upon personal histories and ancestral knowledge, including stories from Montoya’s great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunts, and father.

Tickets:  https://tcataos.org/calendar/#event=77457614;instance=20240421180000?popup=1   

 

 

  1. Tuesday, April 23rd from 6 to 8 pm – DOE/DOD Semiannual Public Meeting about what is going on at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and Kirtland Air Force Base (Kirtland AFB) at New Mexico Veterans Memorial, 1100 Louisiana Blvd. SE, Albuquerque. For more info:  https://www.sandia.gov/about/environment/environmental-management-system/public-meetings/
 

Stop Forever WIPP Coalition’s First Annual Plutonium Trail Caravan on Saturday, April 6th from Camel Rock to Lamy – Join Us!

The Coalition invites you to join the Saturday, April 6th Caravan in your vehicle at the Camel Rock geologic formation on the Camel Rock Frontage Road in Tesuque at 9:30 am.  The Stop Forever WIPP Coalition is hosting the First Annual Plutonium Trail Caravan from Tesuque to Lamy, New Mexico in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the receipt of the first shipment of plutonium-contaminated waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  https://stopforeverwipp.org/

The Stop Forever WIPP Coalition seeks to remind those along the route that the federal Department of Energy (DOE) broke its promises to the People of New Mexico that it would cleanup all the plutonium-contaminated waste around its nuclear weapons complex sites located across the USA in 25 years, ship it to WIPP for disposal and begin closing the underground repository.

But DOE did not keep its promises.  In fact, the plutonium-contaminated waste LANL is making now while fueling a new nuclear arms race can only be disposed of at WIPP.

The Caravan plans to make four stops between Camel Rock and Lamy.  Each stop will provide you with an opportunity to collect information, ask questions and join the Caravan.  Plutonium Trail Caravan t-shirts, buttons and decals will be available for purchase.

The times for the stops are approximate and a map with exit numbers and directions will be available for the nearly 30-mile route. 

  • The first stop will be near the Tesuque Village Market at approximately 10:15 a.m.
  • The second stop will be at the Solano Shopping Center in Santa Fe, where La Montanita Co-op is located, at approximately 11 a.m.
  • The third stop will be near the 599 By-Pass and Airport Road, near the turnoff to the Santa Fe Airport, at approximately 1 p.m.
  • The fourth stop will be at the Agora Shopping Center in El Dorado at approximately 1:45 p.m.

A 3:15 p.m. a press conference held at the Lamy Train Station will end the Caravan for this year.  The speakers include Joni Arends, a co-founder of CCNS; and Myrriah Gómez, author of Nuclear Nuevo México.  https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/nuclear-nuevo-mexico

Our first year’s Caravan path symbolically ends at the place where the Manhattan Project scientists got off the train to travel to Los Alamos to develop atomic bombs during World War II.

The plan for next year’s Caravan path is to travel a longer portion of the WIPP Route in New Mexico, starting at Lamy.

Please join the Caravan on Saturday, April 6th at your convenience.  Be sure to join the Raging Grannies as we sing together to oppose expanded plutonium operations at LANL and expanded plutonium-contaminated waste disposal at WIPP.


  1. Friday, April 5, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Thursday, April 11 at 5 pm MDT on Zoom – Oppenheimer, Einstein, and Resistance to Nuclear Destruction – THE FULL STORY, with historians Lawrence Wittner & Blanche Wiesen Cook. Hosted by Peace Action New York State.  Registration:  https://calendar.google.com/calendar/event?eid=NmFkdGRzbnNtdjRpNXIxcjQ1bWtzcWFkdmsgNXBsdjNqYmY2MmNuYTAxcnUzYnY0ZzdkMm9AZw&ctz=America/New_York  

 

 

  1. Friday to Sunday, April 12 – 15 – PeaceWorks is issuing a CALL TO ACTION to oppose the start of a NEW 21st Century NUCLEAR ARMS RACE beginning in Kansas City NOW!  The KC National Security Campus fabricates nearly all the non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons. It announced that the plant plans to DOUBLE in size next year and increase its number of workers to Cold War levels of 9,000! https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2023/11/07/nnsa-honeywell-office-manufacturing-campus-nuclear.html   PeaceWorks invites you to join in a Resistance Retreat at Jerusalem Farm, 520 Garfield Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. Register using the QR code in the flier to the right. For more info, contact PeaceWorks Vice-Chair Ann Suellentrop at annsuellen@gmail.com or 913-271-7925.

 

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health.  https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health   

April 17thEnvironmental Exposures and Superfund Sites and Nuclear SUPERfund Sites in New Mexico.  Speakers are: 

    • Myrriah Gómez, PhD – Assistant Professor in the Honors College, University of New Mexico
    • Michelle Hunter, MS – Deputy Director, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, The Office of the State Engineer

 

 

  1. Thursday, April 18th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm MDT – in-person and virtual LANL Cleanup Forum, hosted by the DOE Environmental Management-LANL (EM-LA) and N3B (cleanup contactor). This event will feature discussions and public input on the environmental cleanup mission at LANL, recent progress in shipping waste off-site and work to protect water quality. The community discussion and Q&A will follow two short presentations by EM-LA and N3B.  In –person meeting at SALA Event Center, 2551 Central Avenue, Los Alamos.  For more info and virtual Microsoft Teams access numbers:  https://n3b-la.com/emcf_apr_18_2024/

 

 

  1. Sunday, April 21st from 10 to 4 pm – La Montanita EarthFest 2024 at Nob Hill Location in Albuquerque. https://lamontanita.coop/earthfest/

 

 

  1. Tuesday, April 23rd from 6 to 8 pm – DOE/DOD Semiannual Public Meeting about what is going on at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and Kirtland Air Force Base (Kirtland AFB) at New Mexico Veterans Memorial, 1100 Louisiana Blvd. SE, Albuquerque. For more info:  https://www.sandia.gov/about/environment/environmental-management-system/public-meetings/
 

The First Annual Plutonium Trail Caravan is on Saturday April 6th – Join Us!

Did you know that the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was supposed to complete its 25-year waste disposal mission and begin closing on Tuesday, March 26th?  You may know about it because WIPP officials had a party.  https://www.rdrnews.com/news/state/new-mexico-regulators-worry-about-us-plans-to-ship-radioactive-waste-back-from-texas/article_00e04fb6-ed72-5ec6-aabb-cc35a01d12f0.html   But for those living downwind and downstream of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and along the WIPP transportation routes, the risk of the federal Department of Energy (DOE) operations at both facilities will continue to threaten us, and if DOE has its way, for decades to come.

DOE, which owns both facilities, is not planning to close either site.  LANL is to continue to generate plutonium-contaminated wastes by fabricating the triggers, or pits, for new nuclear weapons.  DOE hopes to leave some of that waste at LANL forever. Some waste would be shipped to WIPP, a journey of 315 miles, for disposal.

Rather than closing WIPP, DOE has no plans for any other repository, so the world’s only operating deep underground facility would also operate forever.

But many New Mexicans oppose “Forever WIPP.”  https://stopforeverwipp.org/

On Saturday, April 6th, the first annual Plutonium Trail Caravan will travel along the WIPP transportation route.  It will begin at Camel Rock and end with a press conference at the Lamy Train Station.  The purpose is to highlight some of the dangers of WIPP and waste transportation and encourage people to join in the effort to Stop Forever WIPP.

The caravan will have literature about WIPP and items for sale. The participants can answer questions about present and future activities. More information is available at https://stopforeverwipp.org/

The caravan will gather at 9:30 am at the Camel Rock geologic formation on the frontage road to U.S. 84/285 in Tesuque for a blessing, a safety briefing, and a group photo.

There will be four stops along the WIPP waste transportation route– in the Tesuque Village, the Solano Shopping Center in Santa Fe, the intersection of Airport Road and the 599 By-pass around Santa Fe, and the Agora Shopping Center in El Dorado.

After the four stops, a press conference will be held at the Lamy Train Station at 3:15 pm.  Speakers include Hank Hughes, Santa Fe County Commission Chair; Myrriah Gómez, author of Nuclear Nuevo México; Destiny Ray, of Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, or YUCCA; and Ashley Schannauer, an activist and concerned citizen.  They will speak about their concerns and suggest ideas for working together to oppose Forever WIPP.  Please join us!


  1. Friday, March 29, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Thursday, March 28th at 6 pm MT – webinar about the new documentary RADIOACTIVE: The Women of Three Mile Island with the director Heidi Hutner and her team: 
  • Anna Rondon, who is Diné and founder of the New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute;
  • Krystal Curley, who is Diné and director of Indigenous Life Ways;
  • Mary Olson, founder of the Gender and Radiation Impact Project; and
  • Professor Mark Jacobson, Stanford University.
  • Cindy Folkers, of Beyond Nuclear, will moderate.

 The Sierra Club and Beyond Nuclear host the webinar.

 

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health. 

 

On Wednesday, April 3 (a 90-minute session), Environmental Justice and Nuclear Harms Panel with

    • Douglas Brugge, PhD, MS – UCONN Health, Dept. of Public Health Sciences, environmental and occupational health;
    • Ryan Edgington, PhD – Project ECHO Senior Program Manager – New Mexico Health Program Team, UNM Health Science Center
    • Jacqueline Cabasso – Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation, Mayors for Peace
    • Marylia Kelley – Senior Advisor for the Livermore Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
    • Tina Cordova, MSc, BSc – Trinity Downwinders, Co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium

For more information and registration: https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health

 

  1. April 4th at 2 pm MT, the National Council of Elders (NCOE) is hosting the “Breaking the Silence: Generations Uniting & Making Real Peace” live webinar.  In the spirit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the NCOE webinar will commemorate the anniversary of his “Breaking the Silence” Speech in 1967 with an intergenerational live webinar from Philadelphia.  To register:  https://kingandbreakingsilence.org/
 

WIPP Opened 25 Years Ago; It Was Supposed to Close Next Week

Did you know that on Friday, March 26, 1999, the first shipment of plutonium-contaminated nuclear weapons waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) reached the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)?

Earlier that week, on Monday, March 22, 1999, Federal Judge John Garrett Penn lifted a seven-year injunction allowing the shipment of purely radioactive waste to WIPP.  The shipment did not contain any hazardous waste.  In fact it wasn’t even Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons waste.  It was NASA waste from the production of the plutonium batteries for the Cassini space vehicle.

On Tuesday, March 23rd, LANL loaded waste drums into the three TRUPACT shipping containers.

On Wednesday, March 24th, final testing was done and the truck and trailer with three TRUPACTS was ready.

Peaceful protesters with signs had gathered at the intersection of Airport Road and 599 on the south side of Santa Fe.  National Guard, police and other security personnel dressed in combat gear lined the intersection for about a block in each direction.  Black Hawk helicopters flew over the area.  A little snow fell.  Nevertheless, tensions were high.

LANL checked the weather conditions and it was determined that the shipment could not leave LANL.  To ship, a five-hour clear weather window was required.  A dense fog had developed around Santa Rosa, New Mexico and the shipment did not depart from LANL.

LANL tried again, successfully, on Thursday, March 25th.  Again peaceful protesters and security personnel were at the intersection.

Early on the morning of Friday, March 26th, the shipment arrived at WIPP to cheers from those waiting to see the truck and trailer.  https://www.energy.gov/em/articles/fight-wipp-history-nations-deep-geologic-nuclear-waste-repository

Prior to the arrival of the first shipment at WIPP, DOE had promised the People of New Mexico that it would clean up all the transuranic, or plutonium-contaminated, waste across the nuclear weapons complex, including LANL, and dispose of it in the underground salt bed at WIPP in 25 years and begin a 10-year closure of the facility.   For example:  http://nuclearactive.org/elected-officials-question-doe-plans-to-keep-wipp-operating-forever/ (Aug. 11, 2022); http://nuclearactive.org/doe-breaks-its-promises-to-new-mexico-part-i/ (Jan. 12, 2021); and http://nuclearactive.org/doe-breaks-its-promises-to-new-mexico-part-2/ (Jan. 19, 2021).

Next Tuesday, March 26, 2024, is the 25-year deadline.  But DOE and WIPP will not make its deadline.  In fact, DOE plans to keep WIPP open until 2083, basically forever, for LANL waste from fabricating new and provocative nuclear weapons.  https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/politics/2024/03/21/wipp-will-receive-waste-until-2083-d-waste-site-near-carlsbad-to-double-in-size-take-waste-until-208/72986011007/ ; “Stop ‘Forever WIPP’” presentation by Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, before the New Mexico Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, on July 14, 2021 in Carlsbad.  https://www.nmlegis.gov/handouts/RHMC%20071421%20Item%202%20Southwest%20Research%20and%20Information%20Center.pdf ; and https://losalamosreporter.com/2019/04/12/lanl-first-shipment-from-rant-facility-to-wipp-in-five-years-successfully-completed/

The Stop Forever WIPP Coalition, of which CCNS is a member, has been working to limit WIPP expansion.  To learn more, please visit https://stopforeverwipp.org/

To witness the early days of public opposition to the opening of WIPP, please view the 1990 documentary entitled The WIPP Trail by Penelope Place and Gay Dillingham on the Internet Archive.  https://archive.org/details/AV_427-THE_WIPP_TRAIL


  1. Friday, March 22, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Thursday, March 21st at 6 pm Mountain Time – Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) Night with the Experts: Mary Beth Brangan, Producer/Director; James Heddle, Director/Director of Photography; and Morgan Peterson, Director/Editor speaking on How Cinema Can Counter Nuclear Revivalism:  Featuring their award-winning film SOS [The San Onofre Syndrome: Nuclear Power’s Legacy].  For more information and to register:  https://mailchi.mp/efb9db20e90c/optdwdhz7v-15553063?e=999f866a73

 

 

  1. Saturday, March 23rd at 1:15 pm – New Mexico PeaceFest, along with Veterans for Peace and the Raging Grannies will hold an anti-nuke demonstration on the southwest corner of Mountain Road and 19th Street, outside the Albuquerque Museum. This event is in conjunction with the Albuquerque Museum exhibit on Nuclear Communities of the Southwesthttps://www.cabq.gov/artsculture/albuquerque-museum/exhibitions/nuclear-communities-of-the-southwest  Please join us!  Let’s show Albuquerque that there is strong opposition to the ongoing and ever-expanding mission of producing more and more nuclear weapons, and more and more radioactive waste to irradiate our state.

At 2:00 pm that day, the museum will host a discussion exploring the long-term impacts of the 1945 Trinity Test on communities in New Mexico, led by downwinders Tina Cordova and Paul Pino. A few minutes before 2:00, we demonstrators will leave the corner and enter the museum to hear the discussion.

Following the discussion, we will MARCH to and around Old Town plaza with our signs and banners, and end back at the museum parking lot.  For more information:  https://abqpeacefest.org/

 

 

  1. Tuesday, March 26th25th anniversary of the first plutonium transuranic waste shipment arrived at WIPP for disposal. The first shipment was from LANL and contained plutonium contaminated waste from fabricating the batteries for the NASA Cassini spacecraft trip to Saturn – not nuclear weapons waste.

 For over a decade (at least) before WIPP opened, DOE had claimed that all of DOE’s plutonium transuranic contaminated nuclear weapons waste would be cleaned up across its nuclear weapons complex and WIPP would be closed in 25 years, or by March 26, 2024.  That did not happen due to mismanagement, accidents and releases.  DOE now plans to keep WIPP open until 2083 at the earliest.  For more information:  https://stopforeverwipp.org/  

 

 

  1. Thursday, March 28th at 6 pm MT – webinar about the new documentary RADIOACTIVE: The Women of Three Mile Island with the director Heidi Hutner and her team: 
  • Anna Rondon, who is Diné and founder of the New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute;
  • Krystal Curley, who is Diné and director of Indigenous Life Ways;
  • Mary Olson, founder of the Gender and Radiation Impact Project; and
  • Professor Mark Jacobson, Stanford University.
  • Cindy Folkers, of Beyond Nuclear, will moderate.

 The Sierra Club and Beyond Nuclear host the webinar.

 

 

  1. From Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time – UNM Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health. 

On Wednesday, April 3 (a 90-minute session), Environmental Justice and Nuclear Harms Panel with

    • Douglas Brugge, PhD, MS – UCONN Health, Dept. of Public Health Sciences, environmental and occupational health;
    • Ryan Edgington, PhD – Project ECHO Senior Program Manager – New Mexico Health Program Team, UNM Health Science Center
    • Jacqueline Cabasso – Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation, Mayors for Peace
    • Marylia Kelley – Senior Advisor for the Livermore Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
    • Tina Cordova, MSc, BSc – Trinity Downwinders, Co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium

For more information and registration: https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health

 

 

  1. Saturday, April 6th beginning at 9:30 am in Tesuque – The first annual Plutonium Trail Caravan will recognize the WIPP transportation route from Tesuque to Lamy (where the Manhattan Project scientists got off the train to develop the atomic bombs at LANL). Save the Date!