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

Nuclear Watch New Mexico Seeks to Invalidate New Cleanup Order for LANL – 71 spaces, so we’re ok for this week!

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play3Nuclear Watch New Mexico amended its complaint against the U.S. Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Security, LLC, which alleges twelve cleanup violations of the 2005 Consent Order issued by the New Mexico Environment Department for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), asking the federal court to invalidate the recently issued Consent Order because the Department did not hold a formal public hearing as required by federal and state hazardous waste laws and regulations.  http://nukewatch.org/importantdocs/resources/NukeWatch-First-Amended-Complaint-as-filed-20160719.pdf

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is the owner of LANL, and the Los Alamos National Security, LLC, (LANS), a privately held corporation, is the management contractor responsible for the cleanup work.

The 2005 Consent Order required cleanup of LANL by December 6, 2015, a deadline that was not met.  The 2016 Consent Order does not have a final compliance date.  https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/lanlperm.html  It is open-ended and creates huge loopholes which allows DOE and LANL to declare that cleanup is too expensive or impractical.  This would result in radioactive and hazardous waste that is already leaking into the groundwater to be left in place.

The regulations, which were explicitly incorporated into the 2005 Consent Order, require that anytime a final compliance date is changed, the opportunity for a public hearing is available.  The new Consent Order does not provide a final compliance date.  Nuclear Watch argues that DOE and the Environment Department violated the public’s due process rights by not holding a formal hearing.

Holding a formal hearing allows the public the opportunity to present technical testimony, to cross-examine DOE, LANS and Department witnesses, and following the hearing, to prepare findings of fact and conclusions of law.  The public also has the opportunity to appeal the final decision to the New Mexico Court of Appeal.  Despite early assurances that the Department would hold a public hearing, the DOE and the Department agreed in the new Consent Order that there would be no hearing.

Further, on June 23, 2016, the Environment Department intervened in the case on the defendants’ side of DOE and LANS.  The next day, the Environment Department and DOE signed the 2016 Consent Order following a 60-day comment period.  Over 40 citizens, non-profit organizations, public officials and two Pueblos submitted comments.  CCNS and independent registered geologist Robert H. Gilkeson also submitted extensive comments questioning the changes.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “The Nuclear Watch New Mexico lawsuit is essential to ensure that the public’s due process rights are protected. There are too many examples of the Martinez Administration attempts to shortcut public participation.  This is another.  Many thanks to Nuclear Watch New Mexico and their lawyers for stepping forward to protect our rights.”June_02--LANL.jpg.180x0_q85

For more specifics about the Nuclear Watch New Mexico litigation, please visit http://nukewatch.org.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s original lawsuit complaint is available at http://nukewatch.org/importantdocs/resources/NukeWatch-Complaint-Filed-20160512.pdf

The May 5, 2016 second notice of intent to sue (which is a good summary of the complaint) is available at http://nukewatch.org/importantdocs/resources/NukeWatch-2nd-NOI-DOE-LANS-5-5-16.pdf

The January 20, 2016 notice of intent to sue is available at http://nukewatch.org/importantdocs/resources/NukeWatch-NM-NOI-to-DOE-and-LANS-20160120.pdf

 

EPA Proposes Thousand-Fold Increase for Radioactivity in Drinking Water Following Emergencies – Public Comments Due Monday, July 25th

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play3In early June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quietly released draft guidance to be used following a radiation contamination incident, like a nuclear meltdown or a spill, which would allow radioactivity in drinking water at concentrations vastly greater than allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268-0210   Under the proposed Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for drinking water, no actions to protect the public would be taken even if the radioactivity in drinking water were dozens or thousands or millions of times higher than Safe Drinking Water Act levels.  The PAGs would allow radiation exposures from drinking water for up to four years that are equivalent to 250 chest x-rays a year, or five x-rays a week for 50 weeks a year.

For example, the current limit for radioactive iodine-131 in drinking water is 3 picoCuries per liter.  Iodine-131 is linked to thyroid disease.  The proposed guidance would allow 10,350 picoCuries per liter of water, which is 3,450 times more concentrated.  Further, the current drinking water limit for radioactive strontium-90, which causes leukemia, is 8 picoCuries per liter of water.  The proposed guidance allows 7,400 picoCuries per liter of water, a 925-fold increase.

EPA explained in its federal register notice announcing the release of the draft guidance that “[t]he PAG levels are guidance for emergency situations; they do not supplant any standards or regulations, nor do they affect the stringency or enforcement of any standards or regulations.  The PAG levels are intended to be used only in an emergency when radiation levels have already exceeded environmental standards.  EPA expects that any drinking water system adversely impacted during a radiation incident will take action to return to compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act levels as soon as practicable.”  https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268-0210 at last paragraph of Section E.

In response, Diane D’Arrigo, the Radioactive Waste Project Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, said, “Look no further than the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan to understand [the] concern that the EPA will not act to protect public health in an emergency.  In this case, the EPA is attempting to ensure that it would not have to act decisively to protect public health!”  http://www.nirs.org/home.htm

Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, added, “Clean water is essential for health.  Just like lead, radiation, when ingested in small amounts, is very hazardous to our health.  It is inconceivable that EPA could now quietly propose allowing enormous increases in radioactive contamination with no action to protect the public, even if concentrations are a thousand times higher than under the Safe Drinking Water Act.”  http://www.psr.org/resources/letter-to-epa-pags-radionuclides.html

Public comments are due to EPA by Monday, July 25th, 2016 to EPA.  Food and Water Watch has an electronic petition you can sign at http://leftaction.com/radiation-drinking-water

To submit electronic comments to EPA, go to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268-0210 water_radioactive

or by mail to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268
Mail Code 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

 

For more information, please visit:  https://www.epa.gov/dockets/where-send-comments-epa-dockets

 

Saturday, July 16th Commemoration Events of Trinity Atomic Bomb Test in Tularosa, and Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill in Church Rock

play3Sharing a moment of silence and statements at each of the commemoration events, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium and the Red Water Pond Road Community Association on the Navajo Nation will experience their loss, offer healing prayers, and provide community education about the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity Test Site in 1945 and the largest liquid uranium tailings spill in the U.S. that flowed into the Rio Puerco in 1979.  Both events happened on July 16th in New Mexico.  This is the first time the groups have shared a moment of silence and statements supporting their work for restorative justice for the people harmed by both tragedies.  The public is invited to participate in the events.

In the early morning of July 16, 1945, the U.S. government detonated the first atomic bomb from a 100-foot metal structure in the south central desert of New Mexico.  In the massive explosion, the radiation and toxic materials rose an estimated 70,000 feet and fell back to earth in what many thought was snow.  Kids played in it and the cattle and vegetable gardens were covered in it.

The innocent people of the Tularosa Basin were not informed beforehand and were not evacuated after the test, even though the exposures were at least 10,000 times higher than what is considered safe today.  Cancer rates in the Tularosa Basin are four to eight times higher than the national average.

To memorialize those who have died and to honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, in cooperation with the Village of Tularosa, will host the Seventh Annual Candlelight Vigil on Saturday, July 16th from 8 to 10 pm at the Tularosa Little League Field, on La Luz Avenue, west of the Tularosa High School.  Luminarias will be available for a small donation beginning at 7:30 p.m.     July 16, 2016 TBDC event flyer

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium received a grant from the Santa Fe Community Foundation to conduct a health impact assessment (HIA) and collect health surveys from those living in the communities surrounding the Trinity Test Site.  On Saturday, July 16th from 3 to 5 p.m., they will be available at the Tularosa Courthouse (located at 609 St. Francis Drive, Tularosa, NM) to accept health surveys and to discuss the health impact assessment process.  On Sunday, July 17th, beginning at 1 p.m., they will be holding a forum to inform the health impact assessment.  It will be a time that people can discuss openly with each other about their experiences and recollections.

For more information, please contact Tina Cordova at 505 897-6787.

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On July 16th, 1979, an earthen uranium tailings dam at the United Nuclear Corporation Church Rock Uranium Mill failed and released 1,000 tons of solid radioactive uranium mill waste and more than 90 million gallons of acidic and radioactive liquids into the Rio Puerco.  It contributed to the long-term contamination already present in the watershed from the release of untreated or poorly treated uranium mine water.

On Saturday, July 16th, the Red Water Pond Road Community Association will host 37th Annual Commemoration of the North East Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill from 7 am to 3 pm, located 12 miles north of Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566.  There will be a walk to the spill site to offer healing prayers, food, speeches, a silent auction and community education.  37th Annual Spill Commemoration event flyer

The Red Water Pond Road Community Association and partners are very concerned about the uranium contamination legacy, which has poisoned our Mother Earth.  They are working to ensure cleanup of three Superfund sites.

They cordially invite you to “join the community on this journey to heal our Diné and Mother Earth and restore the Hozho’.  We believe we need to support one another and cherish all our families and communities, just as our elders have.  By working together, with our combined intelligence and wisdom we can and are addressing this legacy to provide a life of balance and harmony for our people now and for the future generations.

“This historic event is open to all ages and will share the struggles people face in their daily lives, the healing yet to come for our people and Mother Earth, and the awareness and education required in the local area, tribally, statewide and on the national level. We would like the younger generation to be present, advocate and carry on these traditions of caring for Mother Earth.

“It is said that The Four Sacred Mountains say to us,

‘My child, I will feed you, give you good health, and

I will give you strength and courage.

My child, I will give you clean air and clean water to drink.

I am your Life.

My child, get ready now and educate yourself.

Improve yourself and don’t forget who you are.

My child, what I am dressed with, is what you are dressed with.

I am your home and your mother and father.’

“Let us come together again and share these issues and concerns, collaborate and strategize, to push clean up of these contaminated environments among our Diné people to restore, preserve and protect our Mother Earth.”

For more information, please contact Edith Hood at 505-905-8051 or visit http://swuraniumimpacts.org/category/uranium-events/.

 

NMED Signs New Consent Order for LANL; Follows Failed Campaign Approach Resulting in LANL Shipping Faulty Waste Drum to WIPP

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play3The “new” Consent Order for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) substantially changes the focus of cleanup from work at specific sites to a broad “campaign approach.”  The campaign approach failed dramatically when it was used to accelerate shipping plutonium-contaminated waste from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), as directed by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and her Environment Department.  In February 2014, one or more of the LANL drums shipped to WIPP under the accelerated campaign approach exploded in the WIPP underground, contaminating 22 workers and shutting down the facility.  Over 600 potentially exploding drums are disposed of in the WIPP underground, with no plans for removal.

On Friday, June 24th, the New Mexico Environment Department signed the “new” Compliance Order on Consent, or the 2016 Consent Order, with the Department of Energy (DOE) for cleanup at LANL.  https://www.env.nm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/160624PR-ConsentOrderFinalized.pdf

The 2016 Consent Order expands the use of the campaign approach for accelerated cleanup.  Examples include the chromium plume in the regional drinking water aquifer; areas contaminated with high explosives and other hazardous wastes; and Technical Area-49 where plutonium devices were tested underground in the early 1960s.  The evidence is clear that when LANL accelerates cleanup, disaster follows.

Further, the Environment Department and DOE agreed amongst themselves to remove all public participation for any modification of the 2016 Consent Order, including the opportunity to request a public hearing, as required by the applicable hazardous waste laws and regulations.  https://www.env.nm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/LANL_Consent_Order_FINAL.pdf

For example, on p. 25:

Section VII.  RELATIONSHIP TO PERMITS

  1. The Parties [DOE and NM Environment Department] agree that the rights, procedures and other protections set forth at 20.4.1.900 NMAC (incorporating 40 C.F.R. § 270.42), 20.4.1.901 NMAC, and 20.4.1.902 NMAC, including, but not limited to, opportunities for public participation, including public notice and comment, administrative hearings, and judicial appeals, do not apply to modification of the Consent Order itself. [Emphasis added.]

 

A restatement, on p. 68:

Section XXXIII.  MODIFICATION

  1. This Consent Order may be modified by agreement of DOE and NMED. All modifications shall be in writing and shall become effective upon the date on which such modifications are signed by both DOE and NMED. Pursuant to Section VII (Relationship to Permits), modifications of this Consent Order are not subject to the requirements in 40 CFR § 270.42. [Emphasis added.]

 

40 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Section 270.42 addresses permit modifications and provides many opportunities for public participation, including public notice, review and comment; administrative hearings, where the public may cross-examine witnesses; and judicial appeals.  It also provides categories for modifications.  Under the regulation, modification of the Consent Order would be considered a major Class 3 modification, requiring notice, review and public comment; opportunity for a public hearing; and judicial appeal.

Public comments about the draft 2016 Consent Order (including CCNS and Robert H. Gilkeson, Independent Registered Geologist) are available at https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/lanlperm.html#Comments2016DraftCO

The new Consent Order does not include a final compliance date, which superceded the 2005 Consent Order that did contain a final completion date.  Under the “old” Consent Order, all legacy waste cleanup was supposed to be done by December 6, 2015 with the cleanup of the 63-acre Area G dump.  That did not happen.  For that reason and others, Nuclear Watch New Mexico filed a citizens’ suit under the hazardous waste laws against DOE and Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), the management contractor, for missing the 2005 Consent Order cleanup deadlines.  http://nukewatch.org/importantdocs/resources/NukeWatch-Complaint-Filed-20160512.pdf; May 5, 2016 second notice of intent to sue (provides a good summary of the complaint) at http://nukewatch.org/importantdocs/resources/NukeWatch-2nd-NOI-DOE-LANS-5-5-16.pdf; and January 20, 2016 first notice of intent to sue at http://nukewatch.org/importantdocs/resources/NukeWatch-NM-NOI-to-DOE-and-LANS-20160120.pdf

Under the 2005 Consent Order, the violations could result in approximately $300 million in potential penalties for missing the deadlines.  Nuclear Watch is asking for a court order requiring DOE and LANS to come into compliance with the 2005 Consent Order “according to a reasonable but aggressive schedule.”

Recently, the Environment Department filed a motion with the court to intervene in the case on the side of DOE and LANS.  As Nuclear Watch wrote in its press release, the request to the court raises “the question of whose side the Environment Department is on, the environment or the polluter[,] in this case a for-profit nuclear weapons lab[.]”  http://www.nukewatch.org/watchblog/?p=2289

 

CCNS Challenges EPA to Terminate LANL Outfall from Clean Water Act Permit

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play3Outfall No. 051 at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a discharge pipe connected the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility (RLWTF).  After November 2010, the RLWTF became a zero-liquid-discharge system.  Since then LANL has been using a Mechanical Evaporator System (MES) to evaporate treated water into the air, and nothing has been discharged through the Outfall.   Nevertheless, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still includes Outfall 051 in the Clean Water Act permit that it issues to LANL.

This has a serious impact.  The Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility manages a lot of hazardous waste, and it would normally be regulated by the State of New Mexico under the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act.  But, under an EPA rule called the Wastewater Treatment Unit exemption, if LANL is regulated under a Clean Water Act permit, Outfall 051 and its source, the RLWTF, are exempt from the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act.

LANL has struggled to keep this exemption.  In a 1998 report about converting the RLWTF to a zero-liquid-discharge system, LANL acknowledged that if it stopped discharging through Outfall 051, it could lose the exemption, and the “[L]oss of this exemption would mean that the RLWTF would be required to meet additional [federal hazardous waste law and regulations in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act] RCRA regulatory guidelines regarding waste treatment practices.  RCRA guidelines regarding waste treatment at the RLWTF would focus on concentrations of metals and organics in the RO [reverse osmosis] concentrate stream and sludges produced at the RLWTF.  The RLWTF would need to manage the [pollutants] in the waste stream and so have much better knowledge of, and control over, waste discharged to it for treatment.”  It also acknowledged that citizen oversight would increase under the hazardous waste regulations.

Now, in 2016, the RLWTF has had a zero-liquid-discharge system for over five years.  Even so, EPA has issued a Clean Water Act permit for Outfall 051, thereby continuing its exemption from Hazardous Waste Act regulation.  EPA claims it did so because LANL said it might someday need to discharge pollutants.  But LANL has not used the Outfall for more than five years.

Further, the Clean Water Act only regulates facilities that actually discharge pollutants.  Outfall 051 does not discharge anything.  Its only apparent reason for existing is to obtain a needless Clean Water Act permit that blocks New Mexico from regulating the RLWTF under the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act.

Last week, CCNS, through its attorneys, Jon Block with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center http://www.nmenvirolaw.org/, and Lindsay A. Lovejoy http://lindsaylovejoy.com/, requested EPA to terminate Outfall 051 from the permit.  Outfall 051 Region 6 letter 6-17-16, CCNS APPLICATION TO RESCIND RLWTF NPDES PERMIT-20160617, Exhibit List CCNS Petition to EPA Region 6 6-17-16.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “LANL has been hiding behind the wastewater treatment unit exemption for nearly six years.  EPA should terminate Outfall 051 from the Clean Water Act permit so that the State of New Mexico can take on the regulation of this hazardous waste facility.”

 

EPA Proposes Thousand-Fold Increase in Radioactivity for Drinking Water Following Emergencies – Public Comments Due July 25th

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play3Late last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quietly released draft guidance to be used following a radiation contamination incident that would allow radioactivity in drinking water at concentrations vastly greater than allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act. https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268-0210 Under the proposed Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for drinking water, no actions to protect the public would be taken even if the radioactivity in drinking water were dozens or thousands or millions of times higher than Safe Drinking Water Act levels. The PAGs would allow radiation exposures from drinking water that are equivalent to 250 chest x-rays a year, or five x-rays a week for 50 weeks a year for up to four years.

For example, the current limit for radioactive iodine-131 in drinking water is 3 picoCuries per liter of water. The proposed guidance allows 10,350 picoCuries per liter of water, which is 3,450 times higher. Further, the current drinking water limit for radioactive strontium-90, which causes leukemia, is 8 picoCuries per liter of water. The proposed guidance allows 7,400 picoCuries per liter of water, a 925-fold increase.

EPA explained in its federal register notice announcing the release of the draft guidance that “[t]he PAG levels are guidance for emergency situations; they do not supplant any standards or regulations, nor do they affect the stringency or enforcement of any standards or regulations. The PAG levels are intended to be used only in an emergency when radiation levels have already exceeded environmental standards. EPA expects that any drinking water system adversely impacted during a radiation incident will take action to return to compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act levels as soon as practicable.” https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268-0210 at last paragraph of Section E.

In response, Diane D’Arrigo, the Radioactive Waste Project Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, said, “Look no further than the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan to understand [the] concern that the EPA will not act to protect public health in an emergency. In this case, the EPA is attempting to ensure that it would not have to act decisively to protect public health!” http://www.nirs.org/home.htm

Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, added, “Clean water is essential for health. Just like lead, radiation when ingested in small amounts is very hazardous to our health. It is inconceivable that EPA could now quietly propose allowing enormous increases in radioactive contamination with no action to protect the public, even if concentrations are a thousand times higher than under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” http://www.psr.org/resources/letter-to-epa-pags-radionuclides.html

Public comments are due on Monday, July 25th, 2016 and may be submitted by EPA’s preferred method electronically to regulations.gov and specifically to https://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268-0210 or by mail to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268
Mail Code 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

 

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/dockets/where-send-comments-epa-dockets

 

Commemoration Events of Trinity Atomic Bomb Test and Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill Set for Saturday, July 16th in Tularosa and Church Rock, New Mexico

Members of Queer Advocacy Network join with St. Paul's Church of Christ Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil. Andy Carpenean/Boomerang photographer

play3In the early morning of July 16, 1945, the U.S. government detonated the first atomic bomb from a 100-foot metal structure in the south central desert of New Mexico.  In the massive explosion, the radiation and toxic materials rose an estimated 70,000 feet and began to fall back to earth in what many thought was snow.  The kids played in it, the cattle and vegetable gardens were covered in it.  Later that night when it rained, the water cisterns and acequias were contaminated with radioactive and toxic particles.

The innocent people of the Tularosa Basin were not informed beforehand and were not evacuated after the test, even though the exposures were at least 10,000 times higher than what is considered safe today.  Cancer rates in the Tularosa Basin are four to eight times higher than the national average.

For more information, please see Chapter 10, “The Trinity Test” of the 2010 Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment report at http://www.lahdra.org/pubs/Final%20LAHDRA%20Report%202010.pdf 

To memorialize those who have died and to honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, in cooperation with the Village of Tularosa, will host the Seventh Annual Candlelight Vigil on Saturday, July 16th from 8 to 10 pm at the Tularosa Little League Field, on La Luz Avenue, west of the Tularosa High School.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Luminarias will be available for a small donation beginning at 7:30 pm.  July 16, 2016 event flyer

For more information, please contact Tina Cordova at 505 897-6787.

300px-Church_Rock_uranium_mill_tailings_dam_breachOn July 16th, 1979, an earthen uranium tailings dam at the United Nuclear Corporation Church Rock Uranium Mill failed, spilling 93 million gallons of liquid toxic waste into the Rio Puerco in New Mexico, which eventually flowed downstream into Arizona.  The spill contributed to the long-term contamination already present in the watershed from the release of untreated or poorly treated uranium mine water into the Rio Puerco.

The Red Water Pond Road Community Association and partners are very concerned about the uranium contamination legacy, which has poisoned our Mother Earth, and they are working to ensure clean-up at three Superfund sites.

On Saturday, July 16th, the Red Water Pond Road Community Association will host 37th commemoration of the North East Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill from 7 am to 3 pm, located 12 miles north of Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566.  The public is cordially invited to attend.

The organizers invite you to “Please join the community on this journey to heal our Dine and Mother Earth and restore the Hozho’.  We believe we need to support one another and cherish all our families and communities, just as our elders have.  By working together, with our combined intelligence and wisdom we can and are addressing this legacy to provide a life of balance and harmony for our people now and for the future generations.  Thank you to the leaders who passed the Dine Natural Resources Act in 2005, and all who have been fighting for justice in the natural environment realm, especially the grass-roots organizations.

“This historic event is open to all ages and will share the struggles people face in their daily lives, the healing yet to come for our people and Mother Earth, and the awareness and education required in the local area, tribally, statewide and on the national level. We would like the younger generation to be present, advocate and carry on these traditions of caring for Mother Earth.

“It is said that The Four Sacred Mountains say to us,

‘My child I will feed you, give you good health, and I will give you strength and courage.  My child I will give you clean air and clean water to drink. I am your Life.  My child, get ready now and educate yourself.  Improve yourself and don’t forget who you are. My child what I am dressed with, is what you are dressed with.  I am your home and your mother and father.’

“Let us come together again and share these issues and concerns, collaborate and strategize, to push clean-up of these contaminated environments among our Dine people to restore, preserve and protect our Mother Earth.”

For more information, please contact Edith at 505-905-8051, Grace at 505-905-7010, Annie at 505-905-5721, or Terri/Peterson at 505-905-2731.  Please also visit http://swuraniumimpacts.org/

 

Obama Goes to Hiroshima; Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Invites President to July 16th Candlelight Vigil

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play3On May 27, 2016, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid wreaths at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to mourn and honor those who died when, on August 6th, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb used in war on the city.  In a moving speech, Obama asked, “Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima?”  He answered, “We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past.”  https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/05/27/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-abe-japan-hiroshima-peace

Obama then recognized those who perished that day – more than 100,000 Japanese men, women and children; a dozen American prisoners of war; and thousands of Koreans, many brought to Japan as forced laborers.

He explained that the voices of the survivors, the hibakusha, “will no longer be with us to bear witness.  But the memory of the morning of August 6, 1945, must never fade.  That memory allows us to fight complacency.  It fuels our moral imagination.  It allows us to change.”

As the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, Obama challenged us to “change our mind-set about war itself” and to look to “a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of the atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”

We challenge the President, as part of his moral awakening, to accept the invitation of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium to attend the July 16, 2016 candlelight vigil in Tularosa, New Mexico.  The event commemorates those who died, or are suffering with cancer and other illnesses, as a result of the U.S. test of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Test Site in south central New Mexico 71 years ago, on July 16, 1945.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said, “Listening to President Obama speak in Hiroshima was in some respects bittersweet for me.  Not because I am against him acknowledging the Japanese people and their suffering.  I believe they deserve it.  I simply regret that he nor any other U.S. President has made their way to New Mexico to do the same for the people here.”

She continued, “President Obama said ‘Imagine the moment the bomb fell.’  Yes, President Obama, imagine that moment in the desert of New Mexico that forever changed our lives.  We have suffered ever since and suffer still.  It is time the U.S. government makes their way back to where the first atomic bomb was detonated and takes responsibility for the U.S. citizens that were harmed in the process.  Anything less is immoral and contrary to the ‘moral revolution’ that President Obama referred to in his remarks in Japan.”


There is a broad spectrum of opinions about President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.  Here is a sampling:

Funakoshi, Minami, Reuters.  “Obama mourns dead in Hiroshima, calls for world without nuclear arms,” at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-obama-hiroshima-idUSKCN0YH2PQ

Funakoshi, Minami, Reuters.  “Hiroshima survivors:  Obama speech moving, ‘more than enough,’” at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-obama-hiroshima-voices-factbox-idUSKCN0YI0GL

Germanos, Andrea, Common Dreams.  “Obama’s Historic Hiroshima Visit Underscores Nuclear Hypocrisy,” at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/26/obamas-historic-hiroshima-visit-underscores-nuclear-hypocrisy

Hutchinson, Ralph, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance.  “Did Hiroshima Awaken the President,” at http://orepa.org/did-hiroshima-awaken-the-president/

LaFleur, Jennifer, Center for Investigative Reporting. “America’s atomic vets:  We were used as guinea pigs – every one of us,” at https://www.revealnews.org/article/us-veterans-in-secretive-nuclear-tests-still-fighting-for-recognition/

McNeill, David, Irish Times.  “Barack Obama in Hiroshima:  long on words, short on action,” at http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/barack-obama-in-hiroshima-long-on-words-short-on-action-1.2663545

Morris-Suzuki, Tessa, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  “Obama, Hiroshima, apologies, and the invisible victims of the atomic bombings,” at http://thebulletin.org/obama-hiroshima-apologies-and-invisible-victims-atomic-bombings9490

NPR Coverage, with links to listen to the speech:  http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/05/27/479691439/president-obama-arrives-in-hiroshima-the-first-sitting-commander-in-chief-to-vis

New York Times.  “What Should Obama Say on His Visit to Hiroshima?” at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/25/world/asia/what-should-obama-say-on-his-visit-to-hiroshima.html?_r=0

White House coverage –

Video of speech – https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/05/27/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-abe-japan-hiroshima-peace

Text of speech – https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/05/27/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-abe-japan-hiroshima-peace

Widmer, Ted, Politico.  “History Department – How Obama Will Redefine Hiroshima, A president who’s never shied away from moral complexity steps onto his most challenging stage yet,” at http://www.politico.eu/article/how-barack-obama-will-redefine-hiroshima-japan-nuclear/

 

Quick Reminder:

Get your comments into the New Mexico Environment Department about the proposed 2016 Consent Order by Tuesday, May 31st at 5 pm MDT.  We need lots of people to submit comments about the flawed proposal.   Sample comments you can use are available at – Sample public comments NMED d CO 5-27-16

 

Sample Public Comments for You to Use about the NMED proposed 2016 Consent Order – Comments due Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 5 pm MDT

Hi,

CCNS and Nuclear Watch New Mexico teamed up to create these sample public comments that you can use to create your own comments to submit to the New Mexico Environment Department about their proposed 2016 Consent Order.  Sample public comments NMED d CO 5-27-16

We invite you to change up the comments, make additions, deletions and changes.  NMED likes to count comments that look the same as one comment regardless of how many people submitted them.

Please also email your comments to ccns@nuclearactive.org

 

Public Comments about draft LANL Cleanup Order due Tuesday, May 31st; Does Not Cleanup Legacy Waste, Creates Further Delays

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play3Public comments about the New Mexico Environment Department’s draft 2016 Compliance Order on Consent, or the Cleanup Consent Order, for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are due to the Environment Department by 5 pm mountain daylight time on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016.  4/1/16 Update (or see chart below)  CCNS and Nuclear Watch New Mexico have teamed up to provide sample public comments you can use.  They are available on the home pages of http://www.nuclearactive.org and http://www.nukewatch.org

Unfortunately, the draft Cleanup Consent Order creates more delays for cleaning up the legacy radioactive and hazardous waste dumped at LANL during the Cold War, which are above drinking water supplies for Pueblo de San Ildefonso and Los Alamos and Santa Fe Counties.  Over the past four and one-half years, the Environment Department granted LANL more than 150 extensions of time under the currently operating 2005 Consent Order.  Now the draft Order allows the Department of Energy (DOE), the owner of LANL, to opt out of cleanup because of “impracticability” or if it costs too much.  The Environment Department proposes to relinquish its regulatory power by allowing DOE to dictate the terms of cleanup, including the levels of pollutants allowed to remain in soil and water.

The draft order substantially changes the focus of cleanup from work at specific sites to a broad “campaign approach.”  NMED:DOE FrameworkAgreement for LANL Jan. 2011 and NMED Summary Framework Agreement 01-5-2012.  That approach failed when it was used to expedite shipping plutonium-contaminated waste from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  One or more of those drums exploded in the WIPP underground causing a more than two-year shutdown.  Over 600 potentially exploding drums are disposed of in the WIPP underground.

It also limits public participation in the review and comment about cleanup proposals and specifically removes all public participation in any modification of a finalized 2016 Cleanup Consent Order.

The draft Order does not include a final compliance date, which the 2005 Consent Order contains.  The legacy waste cleanup was supposed to be done by December 6, 2015 with the cleanup of the 63-acre Area G dump.  That did not happen.  For that reason and others, Nuclear Watch New Mexico filed a citizens’ suit under the hazardous waste laws against DOE and Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), the management contractor, for missing the 2005 Consent Order cleanup deadlines.  Nuclear Watch is asking for a court order requiring DOE and LANS to come into compliance with the 2005 Consent Order “according to a reasonable but aggressive schedule.”  http://www.nukewatch.org/pressreleases/NW-PR-Lawsuit-5-17-16.pdf

Public comments are due to the Environment Department on Tuesday, May 31th, 2016 by 5 pm mountain daylight time.  Please reference “Draft LANL Consent Order” and submit your comments to:

Kathryn Roberts, Director

Resource Protection Division

New Mexico Environment Department

P.O. Box 5469

Santa Fe, NM  87502-5469

By email to:  kathryn.roberts@state.nm.us

Compliance Order on Consent (March 30, 2016)
March 30, 2016 Public Notice of Consent Order is issued for public comment.  The comment period will end on Monday, May 31, 2016 at 5:00 PM MDT.
     PublicNotice dCO English 3-30-16
     d CO Public Notice Spanish 3-30-16
     LANL_Consent_Order_Extensions_12-30-2015
     d CO LISTOFACRONYMS 3-30-16
     d CO APP A SWMUAOCStatusList 3-30-16
     d CO APP B Milestones & Targets 3-30-16
     d CO APP C Campaigns 3-30-16
     d CO APP D DocumentReview-Comment & RevisionsSchedule 3-30-16
     d CO App E-DocumentTemplates 3-30-16
     d CO App F-SamplingAnalyticalFieldMethodRegGuidance 3-30-16
     https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/lanlperm.html#COOC   accessed March 30, 2016