Monsoon Season Rains Come Down LANL's Canyons
CCNS invites the public to participate in a
Conference on the Fire that Ravaged Los Alamos National Laboratory
and to Discuss the Aftermath of the Fire on New Mexico's Watershed
the early decades of nuclear bomb production at Los Alamos National
Laboratory (LANL), liquid and solid wastes from nuclear weapons
manufacturing was dumped over the mesas into the canyons below.
Today there's a race against time now that the monsoon season
has begun. Trying to stop the radioactive contaminates created
at LANL from going onto neighboring Tribal Nation lands and into
our state's largest river, the Rio Grande is an enormous project.
began digging up truckloads of the dirt in Los Alamos Canyon where
an old decommissioned reactor stands. This reactor leaked for
more years than anyone knows, contaminating the area around it.
This is where the dirt is being moved from and shipped to a waste
storage site at LANL's Technical Area-54 (or TA-54) also known
as Area G. The estimated 700 cubic meters of dirt is contaminated
with cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium. Several of the canyons
on lab property are contaminated with these radioactive contaminants
as well as toxic chemicals.
Thursday, June 28th the monsoons hit the lab for only an hour
and heavy water flows resulted in the closure of State Road 501
from the base of the ski hill road to State Road 4 by TA-16. The
runoff came down a canyon in a three to four foot deep by 30 feet
wide flow of water that went over the road by the Water Canyon
Watershed. Rainwater was also reported flowing down Pajarito Canyon
above TA-18 and overflowed the recently created 10 foot berm.
TA-18 is a nuclear-weapons criticality area where scientists perform
experiments with radioactive materials, and also perform sub-critical
response to the potential threat to our watershed, on Saturday,
July 8, the first of two public Conferences will be held at the
Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe with national, local, and Pueblo experts.
The first conference; Fire, Water and the Aftermath: The Cerro
Grande Fire and Its Effect On the Rio Grande Watershed, will allow
community members to hear a comprehensive view of the situation
New Mexico may be faced with now that the rains have started to
wash down the canyons.
Rio Grande/Rio Bravo is the lifeblood of New Mexico, southern
Texas and northern Mexico, providing water for 10 million people.
Because of the Cerro Grande fire, a large forested area has been
denuded and there is concern about rains, erosion and runoff of
toxic materials from LANL to the Rio Grande /Rio Bravo Watershed.
purpose of the Conference is to broaden public awareness about
the environmental and health risks that may result from runoff
and to encourage independent oversight of LANL's measures toward
protecting New Mexico's largest watershed. It is our opportunity
to develop a proclamation, from the people to our elected officials,
so greater accountability and information can become available
Conference is being sponsored by Concerned Citizen for Nuclear
Safety (CCNS) and Robert Alvarez of the Nuclear Policy Project.
The first Conference will be held at the Eldorado Hotel Ballroom
from 9am to 6pm, Saturday, July 8th. Conference participants will
include representatives of the State of New Mexico, the Pueblos,
LANL and the University of California, DOE, EPA, watershed and
environmental organizations, independent scientific and health
experts, farmers, lab workers and community members.
will be a panel discussion with national and local experts defining
the issues, especially as they pertain to the impacts of radioactive
and other hazardous contaminants on the Rio Grande Watershed.
Community members will have an opportunity to ask questions from
panelists. Anna Hansen, Chairperson of the CCNS Board said, "We
are looking forward to your participation. This is an extraordinary
moment in history to protect our bioregion and learn more about
how we can all work together to ensure the safety of our water."
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