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

Historic Inter-American Hearing on Impacts to Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights from Uranium Exploitation

Members of Indigenous communities provided testimony to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at an historic hearing in Washington, DC this week about the impacts of uranium exploitation on their human rights.  The New Mexico Environmental Law Center represents the communities.  https://nmelc.org/

As the United States doubles down on the false notion that nuclear power is a solution to the climate crisis, the uranium development industry is beginning to benefit from generous taxpayer giveaways to the nuclear industry as a whole.  Subsidies from the Biden administration have spurred uranium-mining production to restart in at least three mines in the last few months in Utah, Wyoming, and on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

In 2015 the Commission held a thematic hearing on the “Impact of Extractive Industries on the Sacred Sites of Indigenous Peoples in the United States,” where the Navajo Nation, Pueblos of Laguna, San Carlos and others participated.

As has been the case since the dawn of the Atomic Age, the impacts of uranium mining are largely left out of the debate over nuclear power.  The hearing allowed Native communities who have lived for generations with the waste from historic uranium mining and milling to hold U.S. government officials to account in a public forum for the government’s failure to address waste from uranium development in any meaningful way.

Witnesses in this week’s hearing came from the Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Oglala Lakota and Havasupai Nations,

Edith Hood and Teracita Keyanna, members of the Red Water Pond Road Community Association, spoke about how for generations the federal government has ignored the public health, environmental and cultural crises uranium development has caused in their communities.  https://swuraniumimpacts.org/red-water-pond-road-community-association/

Yolanda Badback, a member of the White Mesa Concerned Community, spoke about how state and federal officials have refused to listen to their concerns about the uranium mill in their community.  https://protectwhitemesa.org/

Tonia Stands, a member of the Magpie Buffalo Organizing, spoke about the difficulties of living under the threat of new uranium mining, while legacy waste remains unaddressed.  https://www.ienearth.org/iachr-grants-thematic-hearing-on-impacts-to-indigenous-peoples/

Carletta Tilousi. of the Havasupai Tribe Anti-Uranium Subcommittee, provided testimony about the effects of the Pinyon Plain uranium mine located on top of the tribe’s aquifer at the south rim of Grand Canyon in Arizona that began operations in January of this year.   https://www.nhonews.com/news/2024/jan/23/uranium-mining-operations-begin-pinyon-plain-mine/

In addition to community testimony, the U.S. government had the opportunity to respond, and the Commission had the opportunity to ask questions of community members and government officials.

To watch the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing, go to You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEP4EuEFS5o.  To watch the New Mexico Environmental Law Center post-hearing press conference, go to Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nmelc/.


  1. Friday, March 1, 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, February 29 (Leap Year Day) at 5 pm Mountain Time – Warheads to Windmills: Preventing Climate Catastrophe and Nuclear Warhead Webinar on Twin Existential Threats, hosted by Veterans for Peace.  Speakers are:  Ivana Hughes, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Timmon Wallis, Nuclear Ban:  U.S., Warheads to Windmills.  Registration at https://vfpgoldenruleproject.org/event/warheads-to-windmills-addressing-the-threats-of-climate-and-nuclear-weapons-before-its-too-late/

 

 

  1. Tuesday, March 5 at 11 am Mountain Time – Nuclear Survivors: Uranium Mining online discussion. Host:  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  Speakers:  Dimity Hawkins (Nuclear Truth Project, ICAN Australia), Myrriah Gómez (University of New Mexico) and Yaroslav Koshelev (Technical University of Berlin)  Registration at https://www.icanw.de/neuigkeiten/online-discussion-uranium-mining/

 

 

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

 

On March 6th, Robert M. Gould, MD, President of the San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility will present The Global Nuclear Threat and Nuclear Landscapes in the United StatesFor more information and registration:  https://iecho.org/echo-institute-programs/climate-change-and-human-health

  1. Wednesday, March 6th at 6 pm – Santa Fe County Solicits Public Input into Hazard Mitigation Plan. In person meeting at Santa Fe County Fire Station 70, Municipal Way, Edgewood, NM.  Take the survey here:  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/events/detail/hazard-mitigation-plan-update-fire

 

 

  1. Thursday, March 7th at 6 pm – Santa Fe County Solicits Public Input into Hazard Mitigation Plan. In person meeting at Santa Fe County Fire Station 50, 17919 U.S. 84/285.  Take the survey here:  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/events/detail/hazard-mitigation-plan-update-fire

 

  1. Thursday – Friday, March 7 – 8: International Uranium Film Festival at the Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock, AZ.  For more information:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/  Schedule:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/en/usa-2024   

 

 

  1. Wednesday, March 13th – [Comment period extended from Feb. 12th to March 13, 2024.] Comments due about LANL proposed Chromium Interim Measure and “final” Remedy of the Hexavalent Chromium Plume (DOE/EA-2216) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  For more information and to download the document:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2216-chromium-interim-measure-and-final-remedy-los-alamos-new-mexico    Check back to CCNS’s website at http://www.nuclearactive.org for sample public comments you can use to craft your own. 

 

 

  1. Tuesday, March 19th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm – in-person and virtual WIPP Community Forum and Open House at Lawrence C. Harris Occupational Technology Center Room, 124 Seminar Room (OTC), Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell, 20 West Mathis. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Carlsbad Field Office and Salado Isolation Mining Contractors (SIMCO) will provide a short update about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) with an extensive question and answer period.  For more information and registration:  https://wipp.energy.gov/wipp_news_20240215.asp

 

 

Los Alamos County Moves Forward with Solar Power Through Proposed Electrical Line Across the Caja del Rio

This week, at the same time as the National Nuclear Security Administrative was requesting public comments about its need for 173 megawatts (MW) of electricity, the County of Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities was considering a proposal for 170 megawatts from the proposed Foxtail Flats Solar and Battery Energy Storage System in San Juan County, New Mexico.  The NNSA comment period ended on Tuesday, February 20th, and the next day the Public Utilities Board voted 4 to 1 to approve the Foxtail Flats project.  https://losalamos.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx, scroll down to Board of Public Utilities, 2/21/2024 Meeting Date, Agenda and Agenda Packets.

Since 1985, Los Alamos County and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have pooled their power resources through an Electric Energy and Coordination Agreement, also known as the Los Alamos Power Pool, or LAPP.  Generally LANL consumes about 80 percent of the total energy produced or purchased by the LAPP.

NNSA claimed that the 173 megawatts were needed to run the supercomputer at LANL.  The County did not define the need.  During the NNSA process, many speculated that the energy was needed to fabricate 30 plutonium triggers, or pits, for nuclear weapons.  In some statements NNSA said it needed the power on or before 2027, in others by 2030, which is an important deadline for fabricating pits.  If approved by the County Council, the Foxtail Flats project would come on line in 2026.

It appears now that the County and NNSA worked to double the amount of energy in order to run the supercomputer in support of the Stockpile Stewardship Program that includes plutonium pit fabrication.  CCNS has made some observations that support this unacknowledged outcome.

When NNSA proposed building a new 14-mile long, 115-kilovolt electrical line across the sacred, historical and culturally important Caja del Rio and the Rio Grande to LANL, they requested public comments about the project, called the Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Environmental Assessment.  http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-on-lanl-proposed-electrical-line-due-on-tuesday-february-20th/ , https://environment.lanl.gov/resources/epcu/

The environmental assessment cited out-of-date reference documents, such as a 2017 integrated resource report for the Cayman Islands (Global 2017). https://www.energy.gov/nepa/articles/doeea-2199-draft-environmental-assessment , p. 97 of pdf, or p. 6-2.   This report does not mention Los Alamos County or LANL.

The correct reference would have been the 2022 LANL and Los Alamos County Integrated Resource Plan that comprehensively addressed the LAPP’s near-term and long-term resource strategies for a projected 20-year planning horizon from 2022 – 2041 and LANL’s use of 80% of the energy captured by the Los Alamos Power Pool.    https://www.losalamosnm.us/files/sharedassets/public/v/1/departments/utilities/documents/integrated-resource-plan-irp-2022-final-report.pdf  The omission of the 2022 report did not allow the public to review the latest energy needs, use and analyses of Los Alamos County, LANL and the LAPP.  The 2022 report was not available during the time when public comments were requested by NNSA.

CCNS found the 2022 report referenced in the Foxtail Flats Solar + Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) powerpoint presentation, dated February 21, 2024, and provided in the February 21, 2024 Los Alamos County Board of Public Utilities Agenda Packets.  https://losalamos.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx, scroll down to Board of Public Utilities, 2/21/2024 Meeting Date for the Agenda and Agenda Packets.

CCNS must ask why the essential 2022 Integrated Resource Plan report was omitted from the draft Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project (EPCUP) Environmental Assessment.  CCNS must ask whether such a key omission of the 2022 Integrated Resource Plan report requires the draft EPCUP Environmental Assessment to be withdrawn and for the public process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to begin again.

The Los Alamos County Council may consider the Foxtail Flats agreements at its next meeting on Tuesday, February 27 at 6 pm.  To access the agenda and agenda packets when they are posted prior to the meeting, go to:  https://losalamos.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx


  1. Friday, February 23, 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. Sunday, February 25th at 1 pm – BAN The BOMB! Multimedia event MOVIE SCREENING, MARCH & RALLY.

1:00 pm – Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM

Screening of “Television Event.” a riveting documentary about the world-changing 1983 TV movie “The Day After” that profoundly impacted US nuclear policies, impacted then-president Reagan, ended the cold war, and led to a reduction in our nuclear arsenal.  Tickets go on sale at 12:40 pm.

Guild write-up: https://www.guildcinema.com/movies/television-event

See the trailer for Television Event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ftJ-I-yAu8

2:45 pm – We will march from the Guild Cinema to Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

3:00 pm – Rally against nuclear weapons in Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

We will gather to share ideas about how we can change public opinion the way the movie did and bring about the abolition of nuclear weapons. Featuring music by Eileen O’Shaughnessy, Paul Pino, and the Raging Grannies.

 

  1. Wednesday, February 28 at 9 am Mountain Time – Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ (IACHR) Thematic Hearing about the Impacts of Uranium Exploitation on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States. Speakers include representatives and tribal members from the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute, Oglala Lakota and Havasupai Tribes.  How to attend:  on IACHR’s website https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/sessions/?S=189   or on the IACHR YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/@comisionIDH   For more information:  https://nmelc.org/2024/02/13/iachr-grants-thematic-hearing-on-impacts-to-indigenous-peoples-human-rights-from-uranium-exploitation/

 

 

  1. Thursday, February 29 (Leap Year Day) at 5 pm Mountain Time – Warheads to Windmills: Preventing Climate Catastrophe and Nuclear Warhead Webinar on Twin Existential Threats, hosted by Veterans for Peace.  Speakers will be:  Ivana Hughes, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Timmon Wallis, Nuclear Ban:  U.S., Warheads to Windmills.  Registration at https://vfpgoldenruleproject.org/event/warheads-to-windmills-addressing-the-threats-of-climate-and-nuclear-weapons-before-its-too-late/

 

 

  1. Tuesday, March 5 at 11 am Mountain Time – Nuclear Survivors: Uranium Mining online discussion. Host:  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  Speakers:  Dimity Hawkins (Nuclear Truth Project, ICAN Australia), Myrriah Gómez (University of New Mexico) and Yaroslav Koshelev (Technical University of Berlin)  Registration at https://www.icanw.de/neuigkeiten/online-discussion-uranium-mining/

 

 

  1. Wednesday, March 6th at 6 pm – Santa Fe County Solicits Public Input into Hazard Mitigation Plan. In person meeting at Santa Fe County Fire Station 70, Municipal Way, Edgewood, NM.  Take the survey here:  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/events/detail/hazard-mitigation-plan-update-fire

 

 

  1. Thursday, March 7th at 6 pm – Santa Fe County Solicits Public Input into Hazard Mitigation Plan. In person meeting at Santa Fe County Fire Station 50, 17919 U.S. 84/285.  Take the survey here:  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/events/detail/hazard-mitigation-plan-update-fire

 

  1. Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time– Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health.  To register:  https://echo.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkdO6opj8vEtDjCQltPzQPt5tyKKtkMz6T#/registration

 

 

  1. Thursday – Friday, March 7 – 8: International Uranium Film Festival at the Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock, AZ.  For more information:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/    Schedule:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/en/usa-2024   

 

 

  1. Wednesday, March 13th – [Comment period extended from Feb. 12th to March 13, 2024.] Comments due about LANL and its entities’ proposed Chromium Interim Measure and “final” Remedy of the hexavalent chromium plume (DOE/EA-2216) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  For more information and to download the document:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2216-chromium-interim-measure-and-final-remedy-los-alamos-new-mexico    Check back to CCNS’s website at http://www.nuclearactive.org for sample public comments you can use to craft your own. 
 

Public Comments on LANL Proposed Electrical Line Due on Tuesday, February 20th

CCNS has prepared talking points and a sample public comment letter you can use to craft your oral and written comments about the proposed 14-mile long, 115-kilovolt electrical line across the Caja del Rio before it would cross the Rio Grande to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  https://environment.lanl.gov/resources/epcu/  Public comments about the draft Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Environmental Assessment are due on Tuesday, February 20th.  The sample comment letter that you can modify is available right here: 240216 proposed LANL EPCU public comments

The samples may spark a deeper interest in LANL’s proposal to increase the number of electrical transmission lines across the Caja del Rio from two to three.  The proposed third line would require new infrastructure, including the installation of new pole structures that would have the capacity to carry a fourth line.

Importantly, the draft assessment states that the third transmission line would be located within a 100-foot-wide utility right-of-way across the Caja del Rio.  Along the route, optical ground wires would be incorporated into the overhead transmission lines.  LANL reveals that “An optical fiber splice box [would be] mounted to a pole structure at an accessible location for future connection by others between the Norton Substation and the Rio Grande crossing.”  See Executive Summary, p. iii.

LANL has not given any indication who are the “others” nor where the future connection would be located along the 11-mile route between the Norton Substation and the Rio Grande crossing.

On Thursday, February 15th from 4 to 7 pm at the Santa Fe Community College, LANL is hosting a virtual and in-person public meeting to accept public comments on the proposal.  From 4 to 4:30 pm, there will be a poster information session.  At 4:30 pm LANL will give a presentation about the draft assessment.  Following the presentation public comments will begin.

The hybrid meeting will start at 4:30 pm.  The connection information is available at environment.lanl.gov/resources/epcu/

This is the second public comment period on the proposal.  Comments submitted during the first comment period do not have to be re-submitted.  However, in order for you to have standing to object to the proposal, the Forest Service requires you to submit specific comments.  The requirements are part of the Forest Service’s pre-decisional administrative review process.  For more information about how to place your objection, please see 36 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 218 and 219.

Please encourage your colleagues to get involved to protect the Caja del Rio and the Rio Grande.

For more information, please see previous Updates at:

http://nuclearactive.org/important-public-meetings-next-week-and-public-comment-deadlines/ ;

http://nuclearactive.org/february-15th-public-meeting-about-the-proposed-lanl-electrical-line-across-the-caja-del-rio/ ;

http://nuclearactive.org/caja-del-rio-coalition-requests-a-60-day-extension-of-time-to-comment-about-proposed-lanl-electrical-line/ ;

http://nuclearactive.org/lanl-releases-draft-environmental-assessment-for-a-third-electrical-line-to-cross-the-caja-del-rio-and-the-rio-grande/ ;

http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/2023.12.20-Letter-to-NNSA-re-Caja-del-Rio-Transmission-Line.pdf

 


  1. Friday, February 16, 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, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Saturday, February 17th WIPP shutdown for maintenance for 6 to 8 weeks.

 

 

  1. Tuesday, February 20thComments due about the LANL’s Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project for a 115 kV line across the Caja del Rio, the Rio Grande to LANL. See and utilize sample public comment letter at http://www.nuclearactive.org or you can craft your own.   The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project or https://environment.lanl.gov/resources/epcu/

 

 

  1. Sunday, February 25th at 1 pm – BAN The BOMB! Multimedia event MOVIE SCREENING, MARCH & RALLY.

 

1:00 pm – Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM

Screening of “Television Event.” a riveting documentary about the world-changing 1983 TV movie “The Day After” that profoundly impacted US nuclear policies, impacted then-president Reagan, ended the cold war, and led to a reduction in our nuclear arsenal.

Guild write-up: https://www.guildcinema.com/movies/television-event

See the trailer for Television Event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ftJ-I-yAu8

2:45 pm – We will march from the Guild Cinema to Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

3:00 pm – Rally against nuclear weapons in Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

We will gather to share ideas about how we can change public opinion the way the movie did and bring about the abolition of nuclear weapons. Featuring music by Eileen O’Shaughnessy, Paul Pino, and the Raging Grannies.

 

  1. Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time– Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health.  To register:  https://echo.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkdO6opj8vEtDjCQltPzQPt5tyKKtkMz6T#/registration       Flyer here: CCHH Global Nuclear Series_1.31.24

 

 

  1. Thursday – Friday, March 7 – 8: International Uranium Film Festival at the Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock, AZ.  For more information:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/  Schedule:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/en/usa-2024   

 

 

  1. Wednesday, March 13th – [Comment period extended from Feb. 12th to March 13, 2024.] Comments due about LANL and its entities’ proposed Chromium Interim Measure and “final” Remedy of the hexavalent chromium plume (DOE/EA-2216) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  For more information and to download the document:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2216-chromium-interim-measure-and-final-remedy-los-alamos-new-mexico    Check back to CCNS’s website at http://www.nuclearactive.org for sample public comments you can use to craft your own. 
 

**Important Public Meetings Next Week and Public Comment Deadlines**

Please mark your calendar to attend one or more of these meetings or submit public comments before the deadlines.  Links and more information are available under Did You Know? at nuclearactive.org

TODAY, THE DOE UNCEREMONIOUSLY EXTENDED THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD TO MARCH 13, 2024 FOR THE Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) proposed Chromium Interim Measure and “final” Remedy of the hexavalent chromium plume in the regional drinking water aquifer.  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2216-chromium-interim-measure-and-final-remedy-los-alamos-new-mexico  Check back at nuclearactive.org for sample public comments you can use to craft your own comments. 240208 Public Notice of Ext. of Time for Hexavalent Chromium NEPA Env’l Assessment

On Wednesday, February 13 from 6 to 9 pm the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a virtual public meeting about Certain Stormwater Discharges from Los Alamos County and LANL under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  To register:  https://www.epa.gov/nm/forms/virtual-public-meeting-tuesday-february-132024-600-pm-800-pm-mst-revised-designation   

On Wednesday, February 14th people who live along the radioactive transportation routes where plutonium-contaminated waste is hauled from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will mark the 10th anniversary of the explosion of one or more waste drums in the WIPP underground on February 14, 2014.

The event will begin at 12:45 pm at the East Entrance to the New Mexico Statehouse.  Musicians will perform songs of satire about WIPP.  Representatives from each of the 65 at-risk communities will hold a can of pinto beans that is wrapped with a radioactive symbol and the name of their community.  After the demonstration, the cans will be donated to the food bank.

At 1 pm the activities will move into the Rotunda for short statements about the communities’ concerns.  During that time, organizers will stack the 65 cans in a pyramid.  An invitation will be presented for the communities to sign up for a free presentation about current transportation issues.

The next stop will be the Governor’s office where a bouquet of roses carrying the names of the at-risk communities along the route will be presented to thank her for what she’s done and remind her that more is needed to keep New Mexicans safe.  https://stopforeverwipp.org/events/pressconference

Finally, on Thursday, February 15th beginning at 4 pm at the Santa Fe Community College a second in-person and virtual meeting will take place about the proposed LANL Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project.  For more information:  http://nuclearactive.org/february-15th-public-meeting-about-the-proposed-lanl-electrical-line-across-the-caja-del-rio/  For more information, please visit our website at http://nuclearactive.org/ and the Caja del Rio website at https://cajadelrio.org/ .

Also, see the February 8, 2024 Santa Fe New Mexican “Our View:  Before new power line, conduct environmental impact study” in which they state an environmental impact statement is required – not the inadequate environmental assessment.  See below to read the Our View.

On Tuesday, February 20th public comments due about the proposed LANL Electrical Power Upgrade Project.  Please check back at nuclearactive.org for talking points and sample public comments you can use to craft your own.

 


Our View – February 8, 2024

Before new power line, conduct environmental impact study

  • The New Mexican

More public comment about a proposed 14-mile high-voltage transmission line for Los Alamos National Laboratory is scheduled next week.

Critics of the power line — rightly — said 30 days of public comment, over the winter holidays, wouldn’t be enough time to gather feedback on this controversial proposal. The Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management all are involved in planning.

We supported additional public comment, which addresses concerns about the line, designed to connect the laboratory to additional power officials say will be needed in the years ahead. However, the public comment being taken concerns the environmental assessment conducted to determine the impact of a 115,000-volt line, complete with transmission towers, on sensitive lands.

Already, after reading the initial assessment — required before a special permit can be issued — it is clear a more detailed environmental impact statement should be mandated before the project can go forward. The second public comment hearing, scheduled Feb. 15 at Santa Fe Community College, must not be the final word on the proposed line.

A number of concerns exist about the proposal in its current form.

The line would cut a 100-foot-wide swath along its route going from the lab through White Rock Canyon, then south through the already besieged Caja del Rio area and winding east through the Santa Fe National Forest before reaching a substation. But that doesn’t take into account the construction right of way, which is 200 feet wide along with several 2- to 5-acre staging sites, according to the environmental assessment.

Construction also would require 1.69 miles of new road construction, although single-lane dirt roads exist near much of the proposed line. According to the assessment, cultural resources will be avoided to the “maximum extent possible,” but a deeper study of the impacts of this project would detail how — or if — that is possible. Tribes affected by the power line must be part of this discussion.

An environmental impact study also could look more closely at how the proposed lines might impact wildlife, including bird migrations. While the assessment claims it won’t affect, for example, the migration of sandhill cranes — listing fall and spring as migration months — anyone who looks outside right now can see the birds. They are in our neighborhood in winter. The Audubon Society says sandhill cranes can be at high risk of flying into lines.

The scope of this project is massive. It deserves a full-blown environmental impact study, both to examine effects during construction and of the line’s operation on the environment but also to look at alternatives to building an entirely new line.

According to the assessment, “LANL requires a reliable and redundant electrical power supply to support mission programs and other activities at LANL facilities.” Forecasts predict existing transmission lines serving the lab and Los Alamos County could reach capacity before 2027.

Instead of an entirely new line, a more environmentally friendly alternative might look like this: Use solar power on site. It would require 400 to 500 acres, but that could be achieved not by digging up land but by siting solar panels on parking lots and buildings, adding battery storage to ensure continual power. The lab has plenty of parking lots and buildings.

If more power is still needed, a smaller power line could be built along existing lines — that’s a more environmentally friendly solution. It’s better for wildlife, especially migrating birds, and would reduce cultural and recreational disturbance. That’s a discussion for another day, though. Right now the 14-mile proposal is up for debate. Show up and comment. Demand a full environmental impact statement. The people, land and creatures of Northern New Mexico deserve no less.

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/editorials/before-new-power-line-conduct-environmental-impact-study/article_88dba4c8-c5f5-11ee-9dce-7799b712c9ef.html?utm_source=santafenewmexican.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fyour-morning-headlines%2F%3F123%26-dc%3D1707393612&utm_medium=email&utm_content=read%20more


  1. Friday, February 9, 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, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Friday, February 9thComments due to DOE about the Hexavalent Chromium Remediation in Sandia and Mortandad Canyons Project Floodplain Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It’s a 15-day comment period.  A sample public comment you can use will be available here in the morning.  Submit comments by email to:  EMLA-NEPA@em.doe.gov.  For more information:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/articles/chromium-remediation-sandia-and-mortandad-canyons-project-floodplain-assessment 

 

 

  1. Wednesday, February 13 from 6 to 9 pm – a virtual EPA public meeting about the Revised Designation of Certain Stormwater Discharges in the State of New Mexico under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). To register:  https://www.epa.gov/nm/forms/virtual-public-meeting-tuesday-february-132024-600-pm-800-pm-mst-revised-designation   

 

 

  1. Wednesday, February 14thmarking the 10th anniversary of the explosion of one or more drums of transuranic (plutonium-contaminated) waste in the WIPP underground. See the February 9, 2024 Update.    

 

 

  1. Thursday, February 15th beginning at 4 at Santa Fe Community College about the proposed Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project. The U.S. Department of Energy and its nuclear security agency will hold a second hearing on the power line next Thursday as part of a second 30-day public comment period added after Commissioner Hansen, New Mexico congressional delegates, and activists complained too little time was given to hear people’s concerns about the project. Thank you for staying informed about the power line by visiting the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety website. If you intend to submit a public comment, review the example letter and information from the Caja del Rio Coalition. For more information: AnnaHansen_CajaDelRio

 

 

  1. Tuesday, February 20thComments due about the LANL’s Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project for a 115 kV line across the Caja del Rio, the Rio Grande to LANL. Check back to http://www.nuclearactive.org for talking points and sample public comments you can use to craft your own.

 The SECOND public comment period opened the Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure.  For more information and to ACT NOW:  Protect the Caja del Rio!  Stop the Power Transmission Line at https://p2a.co/mhyopdf

The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project 

 

  1. Sunday, February 25th at 1 pm – BAN The BOMB! Multimedia event MOVIE SCREENING, MARCH & RALLY.

1:00 pm – Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Ave NE

Screening of “Television Event”: a riveting documentary about the world-changing 1983 TV movie “The Day After” that profoundly impacted US nuclear policies, impacted then-president Reagan, ended the cold war, and led to a reduction in our nuclear arsenal.

Guild write-up: https://www.guildcinema.com/movies/television-event

See the trailer for Television Event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ftJ-I-yAu8

2:45 pm – We will march from the Guild Cinema to Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

3:00 pm – Rally against nuclear weapons in Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

We will gather to share ideas about how we can change public opinion the way the movie did and bring about the abolition of nuclear weapons. Featuring music by Eileen O’Shaughnessy, Paul Pino, and the Raging Grannies.

 

  1. Wednesday, March 13th[Comment period extended from Feb. 12th to March 13, 2024.] Comments due about LANL and its entities’ proposed Chromium Interim Measure and “final” Remedy of the hexavalent chromium plume (DOE/EA-2216) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  For more information and to download the document:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2216-chromium-interim-measure-and-final-remedy-los-alamos-new-mexico    Check back to http://www.nuclearactive.org for sample public comments you can use to craft your own. 
 

February 15th Public Meeting about the Proposed LANL Electrical Line Across the Caja del Rio

As promised, a second public meeting on the proposed Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) upgrade project to expand electrical power capacity will begin at 4 pm on Thursday, February 15th at the Santa Fe Community College.  The first virtual and in-person public meeting was held at the same location on January 11th.

The proposed project is described in a draft environmental assessment that is out for public review and comment, with comments due February 20th.   https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project

To craft your public comment, check out the Caja del Rio Coalition’s example letter at https://cajadelrio.org/lanltransmissionline/

The proposed project comprises a 14-mile, 115 kiloVolt overhead electrical line that would be added to the two overhead lines that cross the Caja del Rio and the Rio Grande to the Pajarito Plateau, where LANL is located.

As the proposed project would cross Santa Fe National Forest lands, LANL is requesting amendments to the 2022 Land Management Plan.  The request includes the issuance of a Special Use Permit to establish a utility corridor for the transmission line.

There are many unanswered questions about the proposal.  LANL claims it needs the additional power line to run its supercomputers.

But a September 2021 post in the Los Alamos Reporter by Ted Wyka, the DOE/NNSA Manager of the Los Alamos Field Office, told a different story.  At that time, the uses included “state-of-the-air science experiments, innovation, and training in accelerator and neutron science, medical isotope production and research, and next-generation computing…”  https://losalamosreporter.com/2021/09/27/lanl-power-upgrade-would-provide-lab-los-alamos-county-with-reliable-and-redundant-electrical-power/

There is no explanation for the change.

Nearly three years ago, over 650 public comments addressed the subjects that would be covered in the draft environmental assessment.  Those comments alone necessitated DOE/NNSA to elevate its analyses into a more complete environmental impact statement.  But the federal agencies did not do so.

Did you know DOE/NNSA/LANL is six years behind schedule to release a draft site-wide environmental impact statement about its day-to-day operations as well as proposed projects such as the electrical upgrade project?

Nevertheless, the draft SWEIS has not been released for public review and comment, even though it was supposed to be released last fall.  In the meantime, LANL continues to expand its operations to fabricate the plutonium cores of nuclear weapons without any cumulative impacts analyses for the increased use of water, emissions into the air, waste generation, and transportation impacts for the 2,000 new employees, etc.

Fabricating plutonium cores for nuclear weapons requires electricity – how much is unknown.  More analyses are needed through a separate environmental impact statement and/or through the SWEIS, in which case, the environmental assessment process must be put on hold.

To learn about the 106,000-acre Caja del Rio, please visit the beautiful and informative website of the Caja del Rio Coalition at www.cajadelrio.org

An interview with KTRC-AM (Richard Eeds) with NM Wild/Caja del Rio Coalition with Carmichael Dominguez and Garrett VeneKlasen is available here:  https://santafe.com/podcast/richard-eeds-show-january-24-2024-4/


  1. Friday, February 2, 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, and others. Join us!

 

 

  1. Monday, February 5th10-year anniversary of the truck fire in the WIPP underground. Six employees were treated for smoke inhalation at the Carlsbad Medical Center and then released.   Operations were suspended and shipments to the site were stopped.  http://nuclearactive.org/salt-hauling-vehicle-catches-fire-in-wipp-underground/ and http://nuclearactive.org/doe-begins-investigation-of-vehicle-fire-in-wipp-underground-2/

 

 

  1. Friday, February 9thComments due to DOE about the Hexavalent Chromium Remediation in Sandia and Mortandad Canyons Project Floodplain Assessment. It’s a 15-day comment period.  Submit comments by email to:  EMLA-NEPA@em.doe.gov.  For more information:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/articles/chromium-remediation-sandia-and-mortandad-canyons-project-floodplain-assessment 

 

 

  1. Monday, February 12th Comments due about LANL and its entities’ proposed Chromium Interim Measure and “final” Remedy of the hexavalent chromium plume (DOE/EA-2216). For more information and to  download the document:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2216-chromium-interim-measure-and-final-remedy-los-alamos-new-mexico    Check back to http://www.nuclearactive.org for talking points and sample public comments you can use to craft your own. 

 

 

  1. Wednesday, February 14thmarking the 10th anniversary of the explosion of one or more drums of transuranic (plutonium-contaminated) waste in the WIPP underground.  The remembrance will begin at the East Entrance to the New Mexico Statehouse at 12:45 pm.  Musicians will perform songs of satire about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  At 1 pm the activities will move into the Rotunda.  A rose bouquet with the names of at-risk communities along the route from LANL to Lamy will be presented to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to convey our thanks for what she’s done and remind her that more is needed to keep New Mexicans safe.

 

 

  1. Thursday, February 15th beginning at 4 on at Santa Fe Community College about the proposed Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project. See this week’s Update. 

 

 

  1. Tuesday, February 20thComments due about the LANL’s Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project for a 115 kV line across the Caja del Rio, the Rio Grande to LANL. Check back to http://www.nuclearactive.org for talking points and sample public comments you can use to craft your own.

 

The SECOND public comment period opened the Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure.  For more information and to ACT NOW:  Protect the Caja del Rio!  Stop the Power Transmission Line at https://p2a.co/mhyopdf

 

The SECOND public comment period ends on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

 

The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project 

 

 

  1. Sunday, February 25th at 1 pm – showing of the “TV Event” at the Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM. https://www.guildcinema.com/movies/television-event  
 

February 12th Public Comments due on “Final” LANL Hexavalent Chromium Plume Remedy

Twenty years ago, the hexavalent chromium plume was discovered in the regional aquifer 1,000 feet below ground surface at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  Since then the debate about how to remove the dangerous hexavalent chromium from the regional drinking water aquifer has been ongoing between LANL, the New Mexico Environment Department, and the public.

There are two forms of chromium:  a healthy trivalent form and a toxic hexavalent form, which can cause lung cancer and damage the kidneys, liver, circulatory system, and nerve tissues.

LANL explains that the hexavalent chromium was used as a corrosion inhibitor in the electricity-generating steam plant, which then migrated from a discharge pipe through the complex volcanic geology to the drinking water aquifer.

In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the aquifer as the Española Basin Sole Source Drinking Water Aquifer after accepting the application submitted by Elaine Cimino of the La Cienega Valley Citizens for Environmental Safeguards and geo-hydrologist Zane Spiegel.

A sole source aquifer is one where the aquifer supplies at least 50 percent of the drinking water for its service area and there is no reasonably available alternative drinking water source should the aquifer become contaminated.  The Española Basin aquifer is approximately 3,000 square miles.  It stretches east and west of the Rio Grande between the Sangre de Christo and Jemez Mountains.  To the north it reaches to Tres Piedras and to the south almost to Galisteo.  See map at:  https://epa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9ebb047ba3ec41ada1877155fe31356b

The hexavalent chromium plume sits on the southwestern side of the aquifer, which must be protected from the pollutants released by LANL over the past 80 years through its research and fabrication of plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons.

Please raise your voice that LANL needs to do more to protect the aquifer.  Please submit comments about the draft National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment for the Chromium Interim Measure and Final Remedy (DOE/EA-2216) by the February 12, 2024 deadline.  Sample public comments will be available soon at nuclearactive.org.  To access the two-volume document:    https://www.energy.gov/nepa/articles/doeea-2216-draft-environmental-assessment     

But, wait, there’s more.  This week LANL requested public comments about its NEPA draft floodplain assessment for chromium remediation in the canyon bottoms above the plume. There is a 15-day public comment period and those comments are due February 9th.  Sample comments you can use will be available soon at nuclearactive.org.  To access the assessment:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/articles/chromium-remediation-sandia-and-mortandad-canyons-project-floodplain-assessment

Even though LANL held two public meetings this week about how to remove hexavalent chromium from the drinking water aquifer, there was no mention of the public comment opportunity to review the floodplain assessment for the hexavalent chromium in the Sandia and Mortandad canyon bottoms.  The chromium plume is located below and between Sandia and Mortandad Canyons.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, expressed her dismay about how LANL is backsliding in its responsibilities to provide consistent public notice for the NEPA documents.  She said, “It has been difficult to find, let alone receive consistent public notice for the recent onslaught of five draft NEPA documents for LANL that are subject to public review and comment.  LANL is required to publish notices in local newspapers, post notices on their website and notify those who sign up to received electronic notice through email.  Nevertheless, there are inconsistencies throughout for the five draft LANL NEPA documents that have been released for public review and comment since December 18th, 2023.  In total, LANL has released close to 500 pages of technical and complex scientific analyses for public review and comment, all without consistent public notice.”


  1. Monday, January 22, 2024 – The SECOND public comment period opened the Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure. For more information and to ACT NOW:  Protect the Caja del Rio!  Stop the Power Transmission Line at https://p2a.co/mhyopdf

 The SECOND public comment period ends on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project 

 

  1. Friday, January 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, and others.

 

 

  1. Saturday, January 27th from noon to 2 pm Mountain, an online forum about Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative will focus on the increasing threat of nuclear war and what ordinary citizens can do to prevent it. 

 The speakers are John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, NM; Dr. Ira Helfand, co-founder and past president of the IPPNW; and Marie Dennis, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative/Pax Christi International.  For more information and to register, go to: https://paxchristima.org/

 

 

  1. Sunday, January 28th at noon to 3 pm– New Mexico Premiere of “SOS – The San Onofre Syndrome – Nuclear Power’s Legacy – at the Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM. Post-screening Q&A with Eileen O’Shaughnessy of Demand Nuclear Abolition and Don Hancock of Southwest Research and Information Center.  Tickets on   Admission $10 – $25 (no one will be turned away).  For more information: https://sanonofresyndrome.com/

 

 

  1. Monday, February 5th 10-year anniversary of the truck fire in the WIPP underground.  http://nuclearactive.org/salt-hauling-vehicle-catches-fire-in-wipp-underground/ and http://nuclearactive.org/doe-begins-investigation-of-vehicle-fire-in-wipp-underground-2/

 

 

  1. Monday, February 12thComments due about LANL and its entities’ “final” remedy of the hexavalent chromium plume. Check back to http://www.nuclearactive.org for talking points and sample public comments you can use to craft your own. 

 

 

  1. Tuesday, February 20thComments due about the LANL’s Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project for a 115 kV line across the Caja del Rio, the Rio Grande to LANL. Check back to http://www.nuclearactive.org for talking points and sample public comments you can use to craft your own.

 

 

  1. Sunday, February 25th at 1 pm – showing of the “TV Event” at the Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM. Mark your calendar.  More information to follow. 
 

Bonuses Show LANL Legacy Waste is Not a WIPP Priority

In July 2022, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the Tularosa Basin Range Services, a Bechtel affiliate, a 10-year, $3 billion management and operating contract for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to continue the disposal of Cold War radioactive and hazardous wastes from the fabrication of plutonium-based nuclear weapons.  https://www.energy.gov/em/waste-isolation-pilot-plant-wipp  The contract contains a four-year base period, or through November 7, 2026, and six one-year option periods.  The newly established contractor is Salado Isolation Mining Contractors LLC, or SIMCO.  https://simco-llc.us/

DOE calls it a “performance-based, Cost-Plus-Award-Fee” contract.  In addition to the baseline contract amount, each year DOE and SIMCO agree to a Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan, or PEMP, with bonuses for specified activities during the October 1st to September 30th fiscal year. This year’s PEMP bonus incentives, approved on September 26, 2023, totaled nearly $16.8 million.  https://www.energy.gov/em/articles/doe-awards-waste-isolation-pilot-plant-wipp-management-and-operating-contract

In June 2023, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), DOE, SIMCO, non-governmental organizations, including CCNS, and individuals negotiated a renewed hazardous waste permit to strengthen the previous permit.  The renewal permit prioritized disposal of legacy waste, not waste from new weapons production, such as plutonium pits at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Savannah River Site.  The Renewal Permit became effective on November 3, 2023, but the final provisions had been agreed to in the June 2023 negotiations.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl-permit/

Thus, DOE and SIMCO knew of the LANL prioritization condition when the PEMP was approved.  This year’s PEMP is an initial indication of how DOE and SIMCO plan to comply with that prioritization.  To encourage more waste shipments, the PEMP provides for $3.14 million in bonuses if WIPP receives 520 shipments in the year, in the amount of $5,500 for each shipment received, with an additional $7,000 for each of the first 40 shipments from LANL.  Thus, the extra incentive is for about 8 percent of all shipments to be from LANL.  If there are 40 shipments from LANL and 480 shipments from other sites, SIMCO receives the entire bonus amount.

That is not sufficient prioritization based on the expectations of CCNS and others that were involved in the negotiations.  https://stopforeverwipp.org/

Rather than an increased priority, the number of LANL shipments might actually go down.  In each of the past four years, LANL has sent 46 or more shipments to WIPP, though not all of them were legacy waste but newly generated waste from plutonium pit production.

The PEMPs can be changed during the year.  CCNS believes that for SIMCO to receive the full bonus amounts, the number of LANL legacy waste shipments should be substantially increased.


  1. Friday, January 19, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT ***  NEW LOCATION DUE TO RECONSTRUCTION OF GUADALUPE BRIDGE.  ***  Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.

 

 

  1. Monday, January 22nd, marks the third anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The message from the Nobel Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is:

3-2-1 Happy Anniversary TPNW!
It’s been 3 years since the treaty entered into force, there have been 2 Meetings of States Parties of the treaty where we have seen what real action on disarmament looks like, and there is 1 action you can take today to back the plan to end nuclear weapons.

What action will you take?  Here’s one:

Join with a family member or friend to read the Treaty.  A public-reading friendly version is available at https://www.nuclearbantreaty.org/resources/treaty-excerpts-for-public-reading/   This version highlights the important portions for our collective work.

For more ideas and information, please visit https://www.icanw.org/

 

  1. Monday, January 22, 2024 – The SECOND public comment period opens about the Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure. For more information and to ACT NOW:  Protect the Caja del Rio!  Stop the Power Transmission Line at https://p2a.co/mhyopdf

The SECOND public comment period ends on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project 

 

  1. Tuesday, January 23rd at 8 am Mountain the virtual 2024 Doomsday Clock announcement of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will set the hands of the clock to show the growing threat of nuclear annihilation. https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/

A toolkit has been prepared that you can use to educate people and the media about the nuclear threat and the Doomsday Clock. https://www.canva.com/design/DAF486DSDw0/4uRnj9IGFzDFI5Eyp4ZgPA/edit?utm_content=DAF486DSDw0&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=sharebutton

 

  1. Saturday, January 27th from noon to 2 pm Mountain, an online forum about Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative will focus on the increasing threat of nuclear war and what ordinary citizens can do to prevent it.

The speakers are John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, NM; Dr. Ira Helfand, co-founder and past president of the IPPNW; and Marie Dennis, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative/Pax Christi International.  For more information and to register, go to: https://paxchristima.org/

 

Events to Commemorate Third Anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Monday, January 22nd marks the third anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  This year’s focus is the lie of deterrence.  For decades policy makers have declared nuclear weapons necessary to deter enemy attacks, all the while ignoring the humanitarian costs of the nuclear arms race and the global devastation promised by the nuclear weapons should deterrence fail.

Deterrence has always been a smokescreen, meant to hide the truth about nuclear weapons while nations amassed huge stockpiles in order to project power around the globe.  If deterrence ever was a credible policy, that credibility has evaporated as new countries have joined the nuclear club—precisely because they fear the weapons of other nations, exposing the reality that the policy of deterrence has always and inevitably promised proliferation, and with it, ever-increasing peril.  The only path to true security is the elimination of nuclear weapons—and the only path to eliminating nuclear weapons is the Ban Treaty.

The United States has yet to sign on and ratify the Treaty.  Nevertheless participating in in-person and virtual events will make a difference.

Join with a family member or friend to read the Treaty.  A public-reading friendly version is available at https://www.nuclearbantreaty.org/resources/treaty-excerpts-for-public-reading/   This version highlights the important portions for our collective work.

On Saturday, January 13, Massachusetts Peace Action is sponsoring an online conference from noon-3:30pm Mountain Time: Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War 2024.  In addition to speakers, there will be more than a dozen breakout rooms. Information and registration: https://secure.everyaction.com/UokyFJ64eEK_rh3FAV4IxQ2?ms=email-01-10&emci=df59d080-52af-ee11-bea1-0022482237da&emdi=e410ab21-e2af-ee11-bea1-0022482237da&ceid=322282

On Sunday, January 14 at 8 am Mountain Time, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy will be host a webinar about the interconnectedness of the two great existential threats posed by the climate crisis and the danger of nuclear war.  To register, go to the registration page:  https://members.ypfp.org/event-5521082

The anniversary of the Ban Treaty will be followed on Tuesday, January 23rd at 8 am Mountain by the virtual 2024 Doomsday Clock announcement of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  The setting of the hands of the clock always draws media attention, and it dovetails perfectly with the Ban Treaty’s goal of eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation.  https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/

John Pope at the Bulletin has put together a toolkit that you can use to educate people and the media about the nuclear threat and the Doomsday Clock. https://www.canva.com/design/DAF486DSDw0/4uRnj9IGFzDFI5Eyp4ZgPA/edit?utm_content=DAF486DSDw0&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=sharebutton

On Saturday, January 27th from noon to 2 pm Mountain, an online forum about Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative will focus on the increasing threat of nuclear war and what ordinary citizens can do to prevent it.

The speakers are John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, NM; Dr. Ira Helfand, co-founder and past president of the IPPNW; and Marie Dennis, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative/Pax Christi International.  For more information and to register, go to: https://paxchristima.org/


  1. Your financial support makes a difference! Please help CCNS with a tax-deductible contribution or a monthly sustaining donation.  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/ Your contribution keeps you informed through our weekly Update broadcast and social media postings.  Stay informed with the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

 

 

  1. Friday, January 12, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT ***  NEW LOCATION DUE TO RECONSTRUCTION OF GUADALUPE BRIDGE.  ***  Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.

 

 

  1. Wednesday, January 17, 2024 – Public Comments due about Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure. ACT NOW:  Protect the Caja del Rio!  Stop the Power Transmission Line at https://p2a.co/mhyopdf   The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project 
 

Public Comment Opportunities about LANL’s “Final Remedy” for the Hexavalent Chromium Plume

In an utterly confusing move, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) released an environmental assessment for public review and comment that claims it contains the final remedy for the cleanup of the hexavalent chromium plume in the regional drinking water aquifer.  CCNS says it is confusing because a final remedy cannot be proposed before a full determination is made of the lateral and vertical nature and extent of the contamination in the plume.  It is premature for LANL to ask the public to provide comments on a proposed “final” remedy because LANL does not know the nature and extent of the contamination.

LANL claims it prepared the draft environmental assessment to evaluate the potential environmental impacts from a combination of treatment options.  From there, LANL “would use adaptive site management (ASM) to select, implement, and manage removal of hexavalent chromium from source areas and the groundwater.”  But, again, such a statement is premature because LANL does not know the nature and extent of the contamination in the regional drinking water aquifer.

Nevertheless, LANL released an over 200-page, two-volume draft environmental assessment for public review and comment.  Public comments must be received by Monday, February 12, 2024.

LANL offers four “final” remedy options.

In the first option, LANL would install up to 15 new injection wells, 15 new extraction wells and 15 new groundwater monitoring wells into the 1,000 foot deep regional drinking water aquifer and extract and inject treated waters, up to 550,000,000 gallons per year, back into the aquifer.

The second option facilitates mass removal of the hexavalent chromium with land application of the treated waters.  There are ongoing concerns about where the land application would take place.

The third option is mass removal through in-situ treatment to supplement treatment of contaminated groundwater.

The fourth option is monitored natural attenuation that relies on natural physical, chemical or biological processes to reduce contamination over time.  This option may result in the drinking water aquifer never being cleaned up.

Be sure to bring your questions to the LANL in-person and virtual public meetings the week of January 22nd.

On Monday, January 22nd, LANL will host an in-person meeting at the Cities of Gold Hotel and Casino Ballroom, at 10 Cities of Gold Road, in Pojoaque, from 6 to 8 pm Mountain Time.

On Wednesday, January 24th, LANL will host a virtual meeting from 1 to 3 pm Mountain Time.

Connection details are available at nuclearactive.org.


  1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with a New Year tax-deductible contribution or a monthly sustaining donation.  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/ Your contribution keeps you informed through our weekly Update broadcast and social media postings.  Stay informed with the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

 

 

  1. Friday, January 5, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT ***  NEW LOCATION DUE TO RECONSTRUCTION OF GUADALUPE BRIDGE.  ***  Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.

 

 

  1. Monday, January 8thNM Public Regulation Commission hearing about the proposed New Mexico Gas Company LNG plant in Bernalillo County – public comments needed. For more info:  https://www.newenergyeconomy.org/lng , https://calendar.google.com/calendar/event?eid=MHU2N3B1ZTY3NXJ1dmU3bmw3M3BqN3ZyM2ggbm1wcmMxQG0&ctz=America/Denver

 

 

  1. Tuesday, January 9thSanta Fe Board of County Commissioners will consider sending a letter to LANL asking for an extension of time to submit comments. Please ask your Commissioner to support the letter.  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/committees/board-of-county-commissioners-bcc

 

 

  1. Wednesday, January 10th City of Santa Fe Council will consider the amended resolution opposing plutonium pit production at LANL to include concerns about the proposed Electric Power Capacity Upgrade, EPCU, Project at its first meeting of 2024. Ask your councilors to support the amendments to include the EPCU Project concerns.   https://santafe.primegov.com/public/portal

 

 

  1. NEW DATE: Holloman 5 Anti-Drone Trial rescheduled to Thursday, January 11th in Otero County, NM.  https://www.veteransforpeace.org/our-work/working-groups/drones-robots-and-future-weapons-working-group      http://www.shutdowndronewarfare.org/     https://www.codepink.org/shutdowndrone

 

 

  1. Wednesday, January 17, 2024 – Public Comments due about Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure. A sample public comment letter you can use to ask for an extension of time is available at http://nuclearactive.org/ .   The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project 
 

Caja del Rio Coalition Requests a 60-Day Extension of Time to Comment about Proposed LANL Electrical Line

On December 19th, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) released a draft environmental assessment that would allow the installation and operation of a 14-mile, 115 kiloVolt overhead electrical line basically in parallel to the two electrical lines that already cross the Caja del Rio Plateau and the Rio Grande to the Pajarito Plateau, where LANL is located.  It is named the Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade, or EPCU Project. A thirty-day public comment period was announced, ending on Wednesday, January 17th, 2024.  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project

The Caja del Rio Coalition submitted a request for an extension of the public comment period for sixty days, or until March 17, 2024.  https://cajadelrio.org/

They stated:

“The public has shown significant interest in the EPCU Project, which has the potential to adversely impact ecological and cultural resources on the Caja del Rio plateau.  An extension is needed to accommodate the fact that the current comment period falls across numerous federal and major holidays, including but not limited to Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  The comment period also overlaps with multiple Pueblo feast days and events, and will occur during a major shift in Pueblo leadership.  Given the significance of this project and the fact that many Pueblos will have new incoming leadership, it is important that adequate time be given to engage in meaningful Tribal consultation.”

The letter continues:  “A time extension is needed to ensure that people and communities are not forced to choose between practicing their religious and traditional customs and their ability to meaningfully participate in the public process for the EPCU Project.”  231219 Caja del Rio Request for Extension EPCU

As of this writing, the Coalition has not received a response from LANL.  https://www.nwf.org/Latest-News/Press-Releases/2023/12-19-23-Transmission-Line-Threatens-Wildlife-Cultural-Sites, https://cajadelrio.org/lanlextension/

However, on December 20th, Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, and Congresswomen Teresa Leger Fernández and Melanie Stansbury, wrote to Dr. Jill Hruby, the National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator, supporting the request for an extension of time to March 17, 2024 to provide informed and meaningful comments about the EPCU. 2023.12.20 Letter to NNSA re Caja del Rio Transmission Line

the The Caja Coalition is “a diverse group of individuals, organizations, elected leaders, Pueblo leaders, spiritual leaders, conservationists, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and more who all share one thing in common:  a commitment to preserving the beauty, history, water and wildlife of the Caja del Rio.”

The Coalition pointed to other issues in their letter, including:

“A time extension is also needed to allow interested organizations, sovereign governments, communities, and individuals to better consider the implications of the proposal. The EPCU Project implicates a web of complex issues demanding considerable scrutiny, including but not limited to the following proposals:

  • “to amend the Santa Fe National Forest Land Management Plan, which was recently approved in August 2022 after a long and arduous public process; and
  • “for the Bureau of Land Management to grant a right-of-way for this project.”

  1. Your financial support makes a difference! Please help CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution or a monthly sustaining donation.  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/ Your contribution keeps you informed through our weekly Update broadcast and social media postings.  Stay informed with the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

 

 

  1. Friday, December 29th from noon to 1 pm MT ***  NEW LOCATION DUE TO RECONSTRUCTION OF GUADALUPE BRIDGE.  ***  Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.

 

 

  1. Wednesday, January 3rd, the City of Santa Fe’s Quality of Life Committee will consider amendments to the proposed resolution opposing plutonium pit production at LANL. Ask your councilors to support the amendments to include the EPCU Project concerns.  https://santafe.primegov.com/public/portal

 

 

  1. Monday, January 8thNM Public Regulation Commission hearing about the proposed New Mexico Gas Company LNG plant in Bernalillo County – public comments needed. For more info:  https://www.newenergyeconomy.org/lng , https://calendar.google.com/calendar/event?eid=MHU2N3B1ZTY3NXJ1dmU3bmw3M3BqN3ZyM2ggbm1wcmMxQG0&ctz=America/Denver

 

 

  1. Tuesday, January 9th Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners will consider sending a letter to LANL asking for an extension of time to submit comments. Please ask your Commissioner to support the letter.  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/committees/board-of-county-commissioners-bcc

 

 

  1. Wednesday, January 10th City of Santa Fe Council will consider the amended resolution opposing plutonium pit production at LANL to include concerns about the proposed Electric Power Capacity Upgrade, EPCU, Project at its first meeting of 2024. Ask your councilors to support the amendments to include the EPCU Project concerns.   https://santafe.primegov.com/public/portal

 

 

  1. NEW DATE: Holloman 5 Anti-Drone Trial rescheduled to Thursday, January 11th in Otero County, NM.  https://www.veteransforpeace.org/our-work/working-groups/drones-robots-and-future-weapons-working-group    http://www.shutdowndronewarfare.org/     https://www.codepink.org/shutdowndrone

 

 

  1. Wednesday, January 17, 2024 –Public Comments due about Los Alamos National Laboratory Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Draft Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA-2911) for construction and operation of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line and upgrading LANL’s existing infrastructure. Sample public comments for you to use at http://nuclearactive.org/  The Draft EA is available in the NNSA NEPA Reading Room at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room or directly at https://energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2199-los-alamos-national-laboratory-electrical-power-capacity-upgrade-project