Mission

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Our mission is to protect all living beings and the environment from the effects of radioactive and other hazardous materials now and in the future.

P.O. Box 31147
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87594

Telephone: (505) 986-1973
Fax: (505) 986-0997
Email: ccns@nuclearactive.org

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Current Activities

Trinity Downwinders to Testify at June 27th RECA Hearing

Late last Friday, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium received an invitation to testify at the upcoming U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the proposed amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) that would include them in this program for people overexposed to radiation.  Because the hearing’s focus is on downwinders of the U.S. above-ground atomic tests, unfortunately the Post’71 Uranium Workers were not included to testify.  Nevertheless, the Post’71 Uranium Workers will be sending two representatives to attend the hearing.

Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said, “On behalf of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium and the tens of thousands of people we represent, we want to thank all those people who stood with us and contacted their congressional representatives to let them know it was vital that the Downwinders and the Post’71 Uranium Workers had seats at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 27th.”

Congress first passed RECA in 1990.  Certain uranium workers and downwinders of the Nevada Test Site were covered by the comprehensive health care program.  In 2000, additional groups of harmed individuals were added.  The Act has not been amended since, even though bills have been introduced over the past eight years to include the Trinity Downwinders and Uranium Workers who worked after a 1971 cut-off date.

The proposed Senate Bill 197 would include New Mexico as a downwinder area.

The Trinity Downwinders recommend five changes be made to Senate Bill.

First, they request that the U.S. government issue an apology to the people of New Mexico for the intentional bombing of those living downwind of the first atomic test on July 16, 1945 at the Trinity site in southcentral New Mexico.

The first atomic explosion, July 16, 1945, Trinity Site, New Mexico; July 1945

Second, the eligibility period must be expanded.  Currently, only those who were exposed between June 30, 1945 and July 31, 1945 – a 30-day period – would be eligible to apply for RECA.  The Downwinders request that an open-ended eligibility period be provided.

Third, the bill must require that the medical care provided to New Mexicans be similar to that available to nuclear workers under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

Fourth, the current RECA legislation is set to end, or sunset, on July 9, 2022.  The Downwinders request that the sunset provision be extended to July 9, 2045.

And finally, Congress does not always provide the necessary annual funding to the RECA Trust Fund.  The Downwinders request that recurrent annual funding be included in the proposed amendments.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/health-impact-assessment, Section 5.3, p. 75.

Please contact your congressional members and ask them to support the Downwinders’ recommended changes.  SenatorContactInformation

 

Contact Your Elected Officials to Ensure Downwinders and Uranium Workers Testify at Upcoming RECA Hearing

For the third time in the past year, the Trinity Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers have learned that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing about the proposed amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) that would include them in this program for those overexposed to radiation.  But they have never been invited to provide testimony.  They ask you to help them by contacting your key elected officials and demand that the Trinity Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers have the opportunity to provide testimony about the harm they have experienced from their overexposure to radiation.

They suggest you contact Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the Ranking Member of the Committee, and ask her to invite them to testify at the June 27th hearing.  https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact Please also contact New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich. https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/ and https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/

RECA was first passed by the U.S. Congress in 1990.  Certain uranium workers and downwinders of the Nevada Test Site were covered by the comprehensive health care program.  In 2000, additional groups of harmed people were added.  Over $2.2 billion has been paid out in claims. https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca

The Act has not been amended since, even though bills have been introduced over the past eight years to include the Trinity Downwinders and Uranium Workers who worked after the 1971 cut-off date.  People working after 1971 have been trying to be included in the program ever since.

Anita K. Mitchell lives in Louisiana.  As a small child, her mother lived near the Trinity Test site soon after the U.S. government exploded the first atomic bomb there on July 16, 1945.  No one told Mitchell’s mother and aunts not to pick up and play with the green, radioactive Trinitite rocks that formed out of the desert sand and bomb’s plutonium.

As a downwinder, Mitchell contacted her U.S. Senator, John Kennedy of Louisiana, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mitchell wrote to Senator Kennedy, stating, “As your constituent, a registered voter in your home state, I am asking you to ensure the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium are invited to your hearing on June 27th.  Listen to these people.  I would hope that [ ] you know and understand that it doesn’t matter if you detonate the first nuclear device or the millionth device, there will be severe health consequences to anyone living downwind of that test.  We, (the American People and their elected representatives), have ignored them for over 70 years.  It’s time for us all [ ] to step up, listen to them, and do the right thing.  It’s time to let their voices be heard.” 

For more information and links to contact your Senators, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/ , https://swuraniumimpacts.org/ , and http://nuclearactive.org/ .

Here’s a full list of contact information: SenatorContactInformation

 

Help Downwinders and Uranium Workers Testify at Upcoming Senate RECA Hearing

Your help is needed to ensure the Trinity Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers testify at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the proposed amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) that would include them in this important health care program for those overexposed to radiation.  Unofficially, the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, June 27th in Washington, DC.  But neither the Trinity Downwinders nor the Post’71 Uranium Workers have been invited to testify.  This is the third time within the past year where the Committee scheduled a RECA hearing without officially inviting the Trinity Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers to testify.  Nevertheless, the previously scheduled hearings were canceled at the last minute.

The Downwinders and Uranium Workers have asked the New Mexico Congressional delegation for their assistance to tell their stories, concerns, and discuss the needs of those harmed by the 1945 Trinity Test and working in the uranium industry after 1971.

In January, 2017, a bipartisan coalition of western U.S. Senators, including U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, introduced amendments to RECA that would allow residents in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado the opportunity to apply for medical benefits and other compensation if they can demonstrate they were harmed by radiation.  The proposed amendments are available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/197

At the time, Senator Heinrich said, “Families who lived in and near the Tularosa Basin at the time of the Trinity Test, uranium mill workers, and uranium miners continue to cope with serious health problems due to exposure to radioactive nuclear material.  Congress needs to pass the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments to provide medical assistance and compensation to those who bore the health costs of our nation’s nuclear history. I will continue to fight for the justice these communities deserve.”  https://www.crapo.senate.gov/media/newsreleases/reca-legislation-reintroduced

Now is the time to hold the politicians to their promises.

Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said, “For anyone who is interested in helping us, it is important now to make calls or send emails to New Mexico Senators Udall and Heinrich and the Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and let them know that the New Mexico Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers must have seats at the table when testimony is given to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Cordova continued, “It is through their efforts that we are most likely to have seats at the table when the hearing takes place.  It would be a monumental slight to the Downwinders and the Post’71 Uranium Workers if we are not included in the testimony that will take place.”

For more information and contact information for the Senators Udall, Heinrich, and Feinstein, as well as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/ , please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/ , http://swuraniumimpacts.org/, and http://nuclearactive.org/ .


You can contact Senators Udall, Heinrich, and Feinstein electronically, or by phone/fax

Senator Tom Udall has five offices in NM and one in Washington, DC. They are:

Albuquerque

400 Gold Ave. SW, Suite 300
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 346-6791
Get Directions

Carlsbad

102 W. Hagerman Street, Suite A
Carlsbad, NM 88220
(575) 234-0366
Get Directions

Eastside

100 South Avenue A, Suite 113
Portales, NM 88130
(575) 356-6811
Get Directions

Las Cruces

201 N. Church Street, Suite 201B
Las Cruces, NM 88001
(575) 526-5475
Get Directions

Santa Fe

120 South Federal Place, Suite 302
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 988-6511
Get Directions

and Washington/Capitol Hill

531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
(202) 224-6621
Get Directions

To submit your comments electronically, go to https://www.tomudall.senate.gov

 

Halt Holtec! No Consent at Gallup and Albuquerque NRC Meetings

Noel Marquez of Artesia, cofounder of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies, wears a t-shirt reading “No Holtec International” during a public meeting on Tuesday in Albuquerque. (Maddy Hayden/Journal)

Once again, dozens of New Mexicans stated emphatically that they do not consent to the proposed Holtec International project to bring all of the commercial high-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactors located across the country by rail to a site in southeast New Mexico for storage.  Holtec applied for a 40-year license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to store the waste in a proposed consolidated interim storage facility located half way between Carlsbad and Hobbs.  If granted, the 40-year license could be extended to 120 years.  Holtec stated in its license application that the waste could be stored there for 300 years.  The NRC held meetings in Roswell, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Albuquerque, and Gallup, asking for public input into the “scope” of the environmental impact statement they are preparing.

On Monday, May 21st, over 100 individuals attended the Gallup meeting.   Of the 37 speakers, 36 opposed the transportation of the waste through their region.  Navajo Nation Council delegate Jonathan Perry and New Mexico Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard supported The People and spoke in opposition.

There are over 14 Navajo communities along the proposed Interstate 40 transport route.  NRC has not scheduled any public meetings in those communities.  Additional meetings, with translators and interpreters, are needed to provide the communities with all sides of the debate.  Spent uranium to go through city  

On Tuesday, May 22nd, just over 200 people attended the NRC meeting in Albuquerque.  Of the 69 speakers, 63 shared their opposition with factual eloquence.  There were current and former city and state elected representatives, as well as safety and security experts speaking in opposition.  Only six people spoke in favor.  https://www.abqjournal.com/1175583/holtec-project-opposed-by-many-during-public-meeting.html

Robin Seydel, one of the grassroots organizers in opposition to the Holtec proposal, reported, “On Monday evening, May 21st, the Albuquerque City Council passed a memorial, introduced by Councilor Patrick Davis, entitled, “Opposing Transportation of High-Level Radioactive Waste Via Railway through the City of Albuquerque for the Purpose of Temporary Consolidated Storage of Radioactive Waste in New Mexico.”

The memorial begins, “Whereas, the City owns and operates a number of Community Centers, Health and Social Services Centers, Senior/Fitness Centers, and Multigenerational Centers throughout the City; and Whereas the City of Albuquerque is committed to protecting the health, welfare, safety, and security of its residents….”  It then details the danger of shipping the waste by rail.

With tremendous public support, the City Councilors took their duties to protect the public seriously and concluded the memorial by stating the Albuquerque City Council “opposes the transportation of high-level radioactive waste, including Holtec’s ‘spent’ nuclear reactor fuel, on our railways through the City of Albuquerque for the purpose of temporary consolidated storage of high-level radioactive waste in New Mexico.”  https://cabq.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3495456&GUID=DCABFA0F-F6B1-40F1-B244-54F3429F38A5&Options=ID|Text|&Search=MEMORIAL+1

To learn more and to help protect New Mexico from this life-threatening proposal, please visit the Halt Holtec Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HaltHoltec as well as http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/, Beyond Nuclear at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/, and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service at https://www.nirs.org/ .

 

Sidebar: On May 3, 2018, Nick Maxwell, a New Mexico resident, filed a Declaration, Notice and Demand with the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance alleging the notice for the September 26, 2016 ELEA meeting did not meet the requirements of the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, Section 10-15-1 NMSA 1978.  OMA-Violation-Notice-ELEA
 

Halt Holtec! NRC Meetings in Gallup and Albuquerque Early Next Week

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will host two more scoping meetings in New Mexico early next week.  Your attendance is needed to tell the NRC that New Mexicans do not consent to the proposed Holtec project to bring all of the commercial high-level radioactive waste from across the country to a site in southeast New Mexico for storage.  Dozens of people stated that they do not consent to the Holtec proposal at the previous meetings in Roswell, Hobbs, and Carlsbad.

The first meeting will be held in Gallup on Monday, May 21st from 6 to 9 pm at the Gallup Downtown Conference Center, located at 204 West Coal Avenue.  https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1812/ML18129A378.pdf

GALLUP MTG: https://www.facebook.com/events/218573172078135/

The second meeting will be held in Albuquerque on Tuesday, May 22nd from 6 to 9 pm at the Crowne Plaza, located at 1901 University Boulevard, from 6 to 9 pm.  https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18134A284

ALBUQUERQUE MTG: https://www.facebook.com/events/189577775189166/

The 960-acre proposed site, containing playa lakes, is located half way between Hobbs and Carlsbad.  Holtec, a limited liability corporation, is asking NRC for a 40-year license to store the waste in Lea County, with an opportunity to extend the license to 120 years.  Holtec stated in its license application that the waste could be stored there for 300 years.

Further, the federal government may never find a permanent place for the waste, potentially creating a permanent storage site at the proposed Holtec site designed for temporary storage.

Over 10,000 overweight rail cars would carry the dangerous waste from across the country to the proposed site and the waste would likely travel very near to the Carlsbad sinkhole.  Links to maps of the proposed rail routes are available at http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/whatsnew.htm

Many along the national transportation routes are concerned that NRC has not provided the same number of meetings as they did for the proposed Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. 

On Monday evening, May 21st, the City of Albuquerque will consider a memorial, introduced by Councilor Patrick Davis, “Opposing Transportation of High-Level Radioactive Waste Via Railway through the City of Albuquerque for the Purpose of Temporary Consolidated Storage of Radioactive Waste in New Mexico.”  The memorial will be heard at 5 pm at the Albuquerque City Council Chambers.  https://cabq.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx

The memorial begins, “Whereas, the City owns and operates a number of Community Centers, Health and Social Services Centers, Senior/Fitness Centers, and Multigenerational Centers throughout the City; and Whereas the City of Albuquerque is committed to protecting the health, welfare, safety, and security of its residents.”  It then details the danger of shipping the waste by rail.  Albuquerque Memorial M-1  and  City Council Speak Out

The Alliance for Environmental Strategies invites you to support its passage.  http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/   For more information, please contact Janet Greenwald at 505-266-2663.

 

Halt Holtec! New NRC Meetings in Gallup and Albuquerque

In response to a request from U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich for more opportunities for New Mexicans to provide input into a Holtec International proposal to bring all of the existing commercial high-level radioactive spent fuel to New Mexico, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced two more scoping meetings.  http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ATT00030.pdf  The first meeting will be held in Gallup on Monday, May 21st from 6 to 9 pm at the Gallup Downtown Conference Center, located at 204 West Coal Avenue.  https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18129A378  The second meeting will be held in Albuquerque on Tuesday, May 22nd from 6 to 9 pm at the Crowne Plaza, located at 1901 University Boulevard, from 6 to 9 pm.  https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18129A383  Both meetings will begin with an open house from 5 to 6 pm.

Attendance at these meetings is important so that New Mexicans can tell the NRC that we do not consent to the proposed Holtec project.  Dozens of people stated so at the previous meetings in Roswell, Hobbs, and Carlsbad.

The 960-acre proposed site, containing playa lakes, is located half way between Hobbs and Carlsbad.  Holtec, a limited liability corporation, is asking NRC for a 40-year license to store the waste in Lea County, with an opportunity to extend the license to 120 years.  Holtec stated in its license application that the waste could be stored there for 300 years.  https://www.nrc.gov/site-help/search.html?q=holtec&site=allSites#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=holtec&gsc.page=1  Over 10,000 overweight rail cars would carry the dangerous waste from across the country to the proposed site and the waste would likely travel very near to the Carlsbad sinkhole.  http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/

Many along the national transportation routes are concerned that NRC has not provided the same number of meetings as they did for the proposed Yucca Mountain site in Nevada.  On Wednesday, an environmental coalition submitted a petition to NRC arguing that additional meetings in major cities hard hit by high-risk road, rail, and/or barge shipments of the irradiated nuclear fuel are needed. Click HERE to view the PDF file.

They also asked for an extension of time of the comment period of 180 days in order for NRC to hold meetings along the national transportation routes in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Nashville, New York and Newark, Omaha, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, San Antonio, St. Louis, and Tampa.

They wrote, “The possibility of a spent fuel leak, explosion, criticality or canister breach in any of these urban areas, and the questions of whether and how much Americans and the environment should bear the risks of this massive scheme, should be decided in a process that is truly national, visible and far more extensive.” 

Dr. Fred Dilger, on behalf of the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, in the context of the Yucca Mountain permanent burial dump proposal, prepared road and rail route maps.  http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/whatsnew.htm  The maps are instructive regarding the Holtec proposal.  The further east, or west for that matter, from New Mexico, the more similar, or identical, would be the routes, by rail or road, between the Nevada and New Mexico schemes.  The Dilger routing analyses show that 44 states, scores of major cities, and 330 of the 435 congressional districts, would “host” road and/or rail routes for highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel truck and/or train transport to Nevada.

Further, the federal government may never find a permanent place for the waste, potentially creating a permanent storage site at the proposed Holtec site designed for temporary storage.

 

Halt Holtec! Hobbs NRC Scoping Meeting and Shimkus Bill Moving

On Tuesday night, locals and New Mexicans from across the state joined together at a public meeting in Hobbs to tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Halt Holtec!  The NRC heard from 47 people, of which seventy percent opposed the proposal to bring all of the high-level radioactive waste from all of the nuclear power plants from across the country to south eastern New Mexico for storage.  https://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/holtec-international.html

The 13 speakers in support included Holtec; representatives from the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, who are the property owners; the mayor of Hobbs; and local state legislators.  https://www.leacounty.net/p.aspx?pID=Elected-Officials/Elected-Officials/Lea-County-Commissioners/231&  They spoke about the 55 jobs that would be created, and their support and trust the NRC process.  They cited the other nuclear sites in the area, including the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for plutonium-contaminated nuclear weapons waste; and the URENCO uranium processing plant.  They claimed the communities are very “nationalistic” about the about the nuclear sites.

The 33 who spoke in opposition included mothers and fathers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers; teachers and professors; business owners; truck drivers; Downwinders; activists; and a geologist specializing in gas and oil exploration.  They raised concerns about the health, safety, and financial impacts of this controversial high-level radioactive waste storage project on surrounding communities and communities along the transportation routes.

Over 10,000 overweight rail cars would carry waste from across the country to the proposed site and the waste would likely travel very near the Carlsbad sinkhole.  Rose Gardner, of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies, spoke about the number of train derailments and accidents in the area.  She cited recent rail events in Texas, including a seven-car train derailment near Odessa, and the collision of two trains in Monahans.  https://www.mrt.com/news/article/Union-Pacific-train-derails-along-Highway-80-12879319.php and http://www.newswest9.com/story/37982562/two-trains-collide-in-monahans

Further, the federal government may never find a permanent place for the waste, potentially creating a permanent storage site at a site designed for temporary storage.  Many asked about why the communities that have benefited from the nuclear power generated are now saying it is no longer safe and that it must be stored in New Mexico – far from their homes.

Scoping comments will be accepted until Tuesday, May 29, 2018.  A sample public comment letter is available for you to use at http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/ and you can email your comments to Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov

In this regard, we understand that next week a congressional bill that would open the door to the proposals of Holtec and Waste Control Specialists for so-called “centralized” or “consolidated” interim storage facilities will be heard on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Please contact your U.S. representative about H.R. 3053, called the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 2018.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3053/committees  It is also known as the “Shimkus Mobile Chernobyl, Screw Nevada, Nuke Waste Parking Lot Dump Bill.”  For more information, please go to the websites of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, at http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1414685 and Beyond Nuclear, at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/ and get involved.

 

Halt Holtec! NRC Scoping Meetings Next Week in SE NM

Action is needed now to Halt Holtec!  This privately held international corporation wants to transport all of the commercial high-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactors located around the country to a proposed storage site between Hobbs and Carlsbad for up to 120 years.  Beginning on Monday, April 30th, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will host a series of public meetings in Roswell, Hobbs, and Carlsbad to gather comments about what the “scope” of the environmental impact statement it is preparing for the Holtec proposal.  Comments are due to the NRC on Tuesday, May 29th.

This is the most dangerous of all radioactive waste because it contains fuel rods that have been irradiated inside nuclear reactors.  Exposure to unshielded waste is deadly.

On Monday, April 30th, from 4 to 7 pm, the NRC will host an open house at the Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell Campus Union Building, Room 110, at 48 University Boulevard.  From 7 to 10 pm, NRC will host a public meeting where public comments will be accepted.  https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18116A109

On Tuesday, May 1st, from 7 to 10 pm, in Hobbs, a public meeting for comments will be held at the Lea County Event Center, at 5101 North Lovington Highway.   https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18114A053

On Thursday, May 3rd, from 7 to 10 pm, in Carlsbad, a public meeting for comments will be held at the Eddy County Fire Service, at 1400 Commerce Street.  https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18114A054

The NRC’s power point presentation for the Environmental Scoping Meetings is available at:
https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18115A078

This week United States Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich wrote to the NRC requesting at least two additional public meetings in New Mexico.  They wrote, “Constituents in our state, the fifth largest in size in the nation, range from Native American tribes concentrated in the north to dairy farmers in the southeast, to tourism-related businesses across New Mexico, all desiring equal access to NRC public scoping sessions.”  They suggested possible meetings in Gallup and Albuquerque “to ensure that residents of northern New Mexico have easier access to NRC officials in order to provide comment that could shape the environmental impact statement.”  ATT00030

Holtec proposes in the first phase of the project to store 8,680 metric tons, or 500 canisters, of high-level radioactive waste.  At the end of an estimated three-year process, Holtec anticipates the NRC will issue it a 40-year license, with extensions for up to 120 years.

But there is more.  Holtec proposes 19 expansion phases over a 20-year period for a total of approximately 10,000 canisters, or about 100,000 metric tons.  About 80,000 metric tons of waste currently exists at nuclear reactor sites.  Holtec also proposes to bring all future waste to be generated.  https://holtecinternational.com/productsandservices/hi-store-cis/

Rose Gardner, of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies, based in Southeast New Mexico, said, ” Holtec wants a license to bring high-level radioactive waste to Southeast New Mexico. This waste is so dangerous that the reactor communities that produced and benefited from the electricity they used no longer want to store it. We must let the NRC and Holtec know that we don’t want it and we refuse to accept this de facto permanent storage. It is an environmental injustice to promote Southeast New Mexico as a willing participant in their schemes to dump on a predominantly Hispanic and minority area, such as where we live.”  https://www.facebook.com/Alliance-for-Environmental-Strategies-1959311804080514/

Scoping comments will be accepted until Tuesday, May 29, 2018.  A sample public comment letter and talking points are available for you to use at http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/

 

Public Comments Needed for Planned LANL Plutonium Increase

After the release of the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review in February, the Department of Energy (DOE) and its semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration released its own document to support a nearly 50-fold increase in plutonium use at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  DOE wants to increase the amount of plutonium handled in its Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building (RLUOB) from 38.6 grams of plutonium-239 equivalent to 400 grams.  Public comments on a draft environmental assessment are due on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.  Sample public comments, prepared by Nuclear Watch New Mexico, are available for your use at https://nukewatch.org/

The RLUOB is the only facility built under the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project, which included a Super-Walmart sized Nuclear Facility.  Public opposition was fierce in New Mexico and across the country when the multi-billion-dollar Project was first proposed in the early 2000s.

Because the RLUOB was designed and constructed to handle only 8.4 grams, the 2003 CMRR environmental impact statement restricted the amount of plutonium-equivalent allowed to that amount.  Nevertheless, DOE gave itself permission to quadruple that amount to 38.6 grams without any justification and without any opportunity for public review and comment as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.  As a result, CCNS argues that any proposal to increase the amount of plutonium in the RLUOB logically must begin with 8.4 grams as analyzed for in 2003.

Nevertheless, this environmental assessment may be moot.  On Friday, May 11th, DOE plans to announce its decision whether expanded plutonium pit production will take place at LANL, the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, or both.  DOE has attempted several times since 1996 when the Record of Decision for the final Stockpile Stewardship and Management Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement moved pit production back to LANL after the FBI raided Rocky Flats in 1989.  It also restricted pit production to 20 pits per year and that number has not changed.  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/1996/12/26/96-32759/record-of-decision-programmatic-environmental-impact-statement-for-stockpile-stewardship-and

But the new Nuclear Posture Review proposes to expand pit production to 80 pits per year, along with maintaining the three legs of the nuclear triad.  The three legs include air – land, and sea launched ballistic missiles and bombers for the nuclear force structure, and includes an interoperable warhead for both land and submarine-launched missiles that the Navy does not want.  http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/Trumps_New_Warheads.html

There are on-going serious concerns about plutonium operations at the LANL Plutonium Facility.  These include recent events, such as an overflowing sink on the first floor leaking into the basement where plutonium is stored.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/14611/Los%20Alamos%20Week%20Ending%20March%2016%2C%202018%20rev.pdf

CCNS encourages you to submit your comments to DOE either electronically or by mail before Wednesday’s deadline.

 

Public Comments Needed for LANL Groundwater Discharge Permit for Zero Liquid Discharge

That’s right:  a discharge permit where there is no discharge.  This sounds complicated, and in many ways, it is.  But if one boils it down as the Communities for Clean Water and their lawyers have, it means that instead of the New Mexico Environment Department holding a hearing on a draft groundwater discharge permit next week, a hearing about a draft permit modification to Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Hazardous Waste Permit should be held.

In 1963, the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility began operations next to the Plutonium Facility.  Radioactive and hazardous liquid waste flows into the Facility for treatment.  In the early days, it annually discharged nearly 16 million gallons of treated liquids through an outfall that led to Mortandad Canyon.  Please see p. 15 of the 1998 LANL report, “Elimination of Liquid Discharge to the Environment from the TA-50 Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility, LA-13452-MS.  ATT00111

The 1998 LANL report acknowledged that eliminating liquid discharges from the Facility would result in the loss of an exemption and require regulation under the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act.  Please see pps. 32, 34 – 35 of the 1998 Report.  In November 2010, LANL accomplished zero liquid discharge.  Since then, LANL has not discharged anything through the discharge pipe into Mortandad Canyon.

In June 1994, CCNS, after reviewing LANL budget documents, sent a letter to Environment Department Secretary Judith Espinosa sharing information that “seepage is occurring through the tank walls” at the Facility.  941013 CCNS request to NMED  The Department then asked LANL to submit a permit application to discharge to groundwater.  980917 NMED Ltr of Noncompliance The New Mexico Water Quality Act requires facilities, from mobile home parks to nuclear weapons facilities, to obtain a permit if they are discharging a pollutant to groundwater.

Over the years, there have been fits and starts to release a draft permit for public review and comment.  In 1996, both Tewa Women United and CCNS asked the Environment Department for a public hearing.  Tewa Women United and CCNS are members of the Communities for Clean Water.

Twenty-two years later, a public hearing will be held next Thursday, April 19th, beginning at 9 am at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos.  https://www.env.nm.gov/gwb/NMED-GWQB-PublicNotice.htm  CCW filed a Motion to Dismiss because the Facility is now a zero-liquid discharge facility.  180316 Motion to Dismiss DP-1132  Without a discharge, the Department has no authority under the Water Quality Act to issue a permit.  The Motion has been briefed, but no hearing date has been scheduled.

Further, even if a permit is granted, it would never go into effect because there would never be a discharge.  Since November 2010, LANL has used a mechanical evaporator to evaporate the liquids into the air and then haul away the resulting sludge.

Communities for Clean Water has prepared a sample public comment letter for you to use.  Please submit your comment before April 19th as the comment period generally ends when the hearing ends.  f CCW Sample DP-1132 Letter Comment 20180412 

CCW is an alliance of five community organizations located in five Northern New Mexico communities located downstream and downwind of LANL and the location of the 1960s-era Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility.  CCNS is a founding member of CCW, which includes Tewa Women United, based in Santa Cruz; Honor Our Pueblo Existence, based at Santa Clara Pueblo; Amigos Bravos, based in Taos; and the Partnership for Earth Spirituality, based in Albuquerque.  http://ccwnewmexico.org/

CCW is represented by attorney, Lindsay A. Lovejoy, Jr., and Jon Block, of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center.  http://lindsaylovejoy.com/ and http://nmelc.org/