DOE Hearings for Expanded Bomb Production in New Mexico
March 7, 2008
The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to expand nuclear weapons manufacturing at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and will be holding public hearings in New Mexico the week of March 10. The hearings will address the DOE proposal to "transform" the nuclear weapons complex at its facilities across the country. For more information on the proposal, visit www.ComplexTransformationSPEIS.com
In New Mexico, transformation of the complex means expansion of the manufacturing capabilities for plutonium pit "triggers" for nuclear warheads from 20 pits per year to 80 at LANL.
At Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, DOE proposes to consolidate test facilities for the performance of nuclear weapons in extreme environments, such as radiation and temperatures, and consolidate all design and engineering responsibility for non-nuclear weapon components from its sister lab in Livermore, California.
Finally, DOE proposes to close its facilities for flight-testing nuclear gravity bombs at the Nevada Test Site and transfer those activities to the White Sands Missile Range.
Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), DOE is required to look at all of the environmental and public health impacts of the proposal. All three sites under consideration in New Mexico are located in close proximity of each other and near large population centers. DOE has not done the required analysis. For example, LANL and Sandia are located within 60 miles of each other. DOE has not looked at the cumulative impacts of the two sites on those living in the area between Los Alamos and Albuquerque.
Sheri Kotowski, of the Embudo Valley Environmental Monitoring Group, said, "Communities downwind from these facilities have repeatedly said that the DOE is obligated to look at the cumulative impacts. In this proposal, DOE has not done so. DOE must fulfill their obligations to all the people of New Mexico."
DOE has scheduled public hearings about their proposal at five locations in New Mexico. The first hearing will be held on Monday, March 10 in Socorro at the Macey Center at New Mexico Tech from 6 to 10 pm. The second hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 11 at the Albuquerque Convention Center from 11 to 3 and 6 to 10 pm. Two hearings are scheduled for Los Alamos, both at the Hilltop House. The first will be on Wednesday, March 12 from 6 to 10 pm, and the other on Thursday, March 13 from 11 to 3. The hearing in Santa Fe will be held on the evening of Thursday, March 13 at the Chavez Center from 6 to 10 pm. The final New Mexico hearing will be held on Thursday, March 27 in Espanola at the San Gabriel Mision y Convento from 6 to 10 pm.
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