Santa Fe Opposes Expanded Nuclear Weapons Production at LANL
The City of Santa Fe took a stand in support of nuclear nonproliferation this week, when the City Council passed a resolution in opposition to plans by the Department of Energy (DOE) to expand nuclear weapons production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The resolution was sponsored by Councilor Matt Ortiz and co-sponsored by Mayor Coss and six other Councilors.
The resolution addressed the draft Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for LANL. In the draft SWEIS, DOE states their plans for future activities and their assessment of cumulative environmental, socioeconomic and public health impacts from these operations. DOE also proposes to quadruple plutonium pit production, the core of a nuclear bomb. The City resolution objected to increased nuclear weapons production because of the risk to the environment, health and safety, as well as the international implications of such activities. The resolution states, "it is the declared policy of the United States government to help constrain the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but should lead by concrete example." The Council directed the City Clerk to send the resolution to Congress.
The City Council has previously passed other resolutions in support of nuclear disarmament. One such resolution was passed three years ago against the construction of the Modern Pit Facility (MPF) in New Mexico. This facility would have been capable of manufacturing 450 plutonium pits per year, jumpstarting the United States nuclear weapons production on a massive scale. Due to strong public opposition, such as that demonstrated by the City of Santa Fe, funding for the MPF was tabled in Congress and DOE was unable to complete the final analysis.
However, it appears that DOE intends to proceed with the MPF despite the public's strong opposition. Throughout the draft SWEIS, DOE makes reference to and analyzes for the cumulative impacts which would result if a MPF was also being operated at LANL. DOE includes analysis of its impacts in such practical areas as the electrical capacity, water use, as well as on-site and off-site radioactive waste storage space, all of which would be exceeded.
Sadaf Cameron, of CCNS, said, "DOE is relentless in its attempt to disempower the public through its public process. Through our City Council, Santa Fe has acted outside of DOE's rigid framework and made a statement to Congress. This demonstrates the courage and integrity of our City in its support of nuclear disarmament. I encourage the public, and youth in particular, to support our City in this effort and use this resolution as inspiration to also question the boundaries of DOE and find innovative, creative ways of making a stand."