DOE’s Dramatic Plan to Move Tons of Surplus Plutonium for Processing at LANL and Disposal at WIPP
Two in-person public hearings in New Mexico and one virtual public hearing will be held about the Department of Energy’s plan to ship more than 30 tons of surplus radioactive plutonium for processing at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The plan is found in the draft Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program environmental impact statement, which is open for public comment until February 14th. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0549-surplus-plutonium-disposition-program
The proposal by DOE’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), if approved, would change New Mexico forever. For example, see Santa Fe County Commission comment letter to DOE/NNSA, which was unanimously approved on January 10, 2023. 20230110 Santa Fe Co. Commision Comments on NNSA’s SPDP DEIS & https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/santa-fe-county-commission-opposes-radioactive-material-being-sent-to-lanl/article_8b5847c8-9145-11ed-8ded-9b49183bb77a.html
Plutonium pits, or the triggers, for nuclear weapons would be trucked from the Pantex facility in Texas to LANL, where the pits would be pulverized into powdered plutonium. From LANL, the powdered plutonium would be trucked to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina where an adulterant to inhibit recovery of the plutonium would be added. The plan is to truck the waste from there to WIPP for disposal. In total, the plutonium, in various forms, would travel over 3,300 miles. http://nuclearactive.org/stop-surplus-plutonium-waste-from-coming-to-wipp/
The proposal places a tremendous emergency preparedness burden on states, regional governments and communities along the transportation routes.
CCNS urges you to learn more, get involved, and submit your comments to DOE/NNSA before the end of the comment period on February 14, 2023. To download the draft plan, go to https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room
The first public hearing is in Carlsbad on Tuesday, January 24th from 6 to 9 pm Mountain Time at the Carousel House at the Pecos River Village Conference Center, 711 Muscatel Avenue.
The second public hearing is in Los Alamos on Thursday, January 26th from 6 to 9 pm at Fuller Lodge, 2132 Central Avenue.
A virtual public hearing will take place on Monday, January 30th from 5 to 8 pm Mountain Time. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0549-surplus-plutonium-disposition-program Click on this link for a direct connection to the Online Zoom meeting for the January 30, 2023 meeting.
NNSA states that the first 30 minutes of the in-person meetings will be a poster session where NNSA representatives will answer questions. Spanish and English translators will be available. NNSA will then make a presentation, followed by public comments. Oral comments during the in-person and on-line public hearings will be limited to a maximum of three minutes.
Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “NNSA’s plan is convoluted and complicated. It has taken time to review it. Next week CCNS will post on our website a letter requesting an extension of time to submit comments, talking points and public comments you can personalize for your use.”
- Without any formal or any informal public notice, email addresses for New Mexico Environment Department staffers have changed to @env.nm.gov. The change has impacted the public’s ability to submit timely public comments. Generally when an email address is changed, one receives an email notice with a reminder to update one’s address book with the new address. This has not been the case for NMED. We don’t know if this is a statewide change.
- Friday, January 13th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi and others. We will be planning for the second anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on Sunday, January 22nd.
- Take action by Thursday, January 12th, 2023 – Who should be recognized as the 2022 Arms Control Association Person of the Year? The results will be announced on Friday, January 13th. All nominees have, in their own way, provided important leadership that helped reduced weapons-related security dangers during the past year. Vote here: https://www.armscontrol.org/ACPOY/2022
CCNS urges you to vote for Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, NM. For more information about the Archbishop, check these links out:
- Friday, January 13th at 6 pm – Santa Fe Conversation with Myrriah Gómez, Author of Nuclear Nuevo México at Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo Street, Santa Fe. Myrriah Gómez’s Nuclear Nuevo México demonstrates how earlier eras of settler colonialism laid the foundation for nuclear colonialism in New Mexico. Myrriah will be in conversation with writer Alicia Inez Guzmán. https://uapress.arizona.edu/event/santa-fe-conversation-with-myrriah-gomez-author-of-nuclear-nuevo-mexico
- Friday, January 13th through Monday, January 16th in Albuquerque – The MLK 2023 Dream Weekend – Theme: Cultivating a Beloved Community mind to transform unjust systems. For more information: https://nmmlksc.org/event/mlk-2023-dream-weekend/
- Saturday, January 14th at 9:45 am – Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration March in Albuquerque – Join the Donald and Sally-Alice Thompson Chapter 63 of the Veterans for Peace at the corner of MLK, Jr. Avenue and University Blvd. NE on the UNM Campus. https://maps.apple.com/?address=Dr%20Martin%20Luther%20King%20Jr%20Ave,%20Albuquerque,%20NM%20%2087106,%20United%20States&ll=35.084921,-106.625647&q=Dr%20Martin%20Luther%20King%20Jr%20Ave March proceeds to Civic Plaza downtown. VFP needs help carrying banners. Weather: 41 degrees at 10 am with a 4 mph very light breeze.
- Tuesday, January 17th, 2023 at 9 am to 6 pm – virtual NM Air Quality Act permit public hearing about the LANL Beryllium Target Fabrication Facility. ABQ 22-41 (P). DOE/NNSA applied for a permit modification for expanded beryllium operations, including two beryllium lathes and one sputtering machine. https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D163077960
- Thursday, January 19th, 2023 from 6 to 9 pm Eastern – Augusta, South Carolina – in-person public hearing about the DOE/NNSA Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program at the North Augusta Municipal Building, 100 Georgia Avenue, North, Augusta, SC. First 30 minutes are a poster session, followed by a NNSA presentation and then public comment session. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0549-surplus-plutonium-disposition-program
- Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 at 8 am Mountain Time – Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will make the 2023 Doomsday Clock announcement. https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/
- Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 from 6 to 9 pm Mountain – Carlsbad, NM – in-person public hearing about the DOE/NNSA Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program at the Carousel House at Pecos River Village Conference Center, 711 Muscatel Avenue, Carlsbad, NM. First 30 minutes are a poster session, followed by a NNSA presentation and then public comment session. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0549-surplus-plutonium-disposition-program
- Thursday, January 26th, 2023 from 6 to 9 pm Mountain – Los Alamos, NM – in-person public hearing about the DOE/NNSA Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program at *** New LOCATION *** at Fuller Lodge, 2132 Central Avenue, Los Alamos, NM. First 30 minutes are a poster session, followed by a NNSA presentation and then public comment session. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0549-surplus-plutonium-disposition-program
- Monday, January 30th, 2023 from 5 to 8 pm Mountain – Online (ZoomGov) public hearing about the DOE/NNSA Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program. The meeting URL will be posted on the NNSA’s NEPA Reading Room – https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room
Tags: Department of Energy, DOE, emergency preparedness and response, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Nuclear Security Administration, NNSA, Pantex facility, plutonium pits, Savannah River Site, stardust adulterant, surplus plutonium, Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program Environmental Impact Statement, triggers for nuclear weapons, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, WIPP