January 28 Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment Project Meeting

January 15, 2010

In response to a request by Las Mujeres Hablan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be hosting an all day public meeting about the Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) Project on Thursday, January 28 at the Ohkay Owingeh Casino Hotel Conference Center. Initiated in 1999, the CDC and the LAHDRA Project Team have reviewed over 40,000 boxes of documents, reports and microfiche in order to compile the most complete historical record of releases of pollutants from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to people located beyond the boundaries of the nuclear weapons facility.

The Project is essentially at a crossroads. The meeting will discuss the options for next steps, which may include finalizing the report and stopping, or proceeding to some form of a detailed reconstruction of the dose to those living off-site for either all releases and locations identified in the report, or for only selected releases and locations.

Given the evidence reported thus far about the magnitude of the releases, Las Mujeres Hablan supports moving forward with the Project. The plutonium releases alone from one LANL facility from 1948 to 1956 provides a glaring example of the need to know more about the releases. These emissions alone could have easily resulted in off-site doses that exceeded those which were calculated for the combined operations at three Department of Energy production sites. LANL claims that it is a research and development facility, but the reported plutonium releases during this eight-year period were more than those reported for the bulk of the operating years at the production sites at Rocky Flats, Hanford, and the Savannah River Site.

The January 28 meeting will focus on the draft final report for the Project, which was issued last June. There will be discussion groups about explosives testing, the release of chemicals and specific radionuclides, such as plutonium, uranium, beryllium, and tritium, over the past 67 years, and the 1945 Trinity Test, which was the dropping of the first atomic bomb on New Mexico.

Las Mujeres Hablan is a network of local activists working in Northern New Mexico to protect the people and lands from the nuclear weapons industry. Many of the women have been working together for many years to address LANL issues. The women submitted extensive comments to the CDC and the LAHDRA Team about the need to establish a community-based expert panel to advise them about next steps. One of the lessons learned from previous dose reconstruction projects at DOE sites requires involvement of the affected people in order to obtain a credible outcome.

Las Mujeres Hablan invites you to attend this important meeting on January 28 from 9 to 3 at the Ohkay Owingeh Casino Hotel Conference Center. For more information, please visit www.lahdra.org.

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