Dr. Arjun Makhijani to Speak in Santa Fe on September 14th
New MexicoÕs drinking water is threatened by the planned nuclear activities around the state. Through the water, New MexicoÕs health, environment and future are threatened. New Mexico is currently home to two of the nationÕs three nuclear weapons development facilities, the nationÕs only nuclear weapons waste dump and the National Enrichment Facility.
Dr. Arjun Makhijani will speak about the impacts the nuclear cycle has on the environment, communities and public health of New Mexico. Makhijani is the President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland. He will speak at a public meeting on Thursday, September 14th at El Museo de Cultural, in Santa Fe, beginning at 6:30. The event will be free and open to the public.
The Department of Energy (DOE) intends to expand nuclear weapons production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). It issued a draft Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for LANL in which they state their assessment of the cumulative impacts from these expanded operations. DOE concludes that there will be no impact on the health or environment of New Mexico from LANL activities. Dr. Makhijani, however, disagrees.
In his review of the SWEIS he has raised concerns about the amount of radioactive particles, such as plutonium, in the soil, which can ultimately impact our drinking water.
Our water is threatened by DOEÕs plans for cleanup. One of the proposed cleanup plans consists of simply covering contaminated sites in such a way that it would be within health standards for people to work 40 hours a week in an industrial job on the site. This level of cleanup is not adequate for on site day care, let alone a change in land use, such as residential, recreational or farming. Furthermore, during snowmelt and flood events residual contamination left on site flows to the Rio Grande.
Dr. Makhijani will also address the impacts of expanded nuclear weapons production at LANL. In particular, DOE plans to expanded pit production through the construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Replacement Building and possibly a modern pit facility. A plutonium pit is the core of a modern nuclear weapon. Although DOE only states that they will seek to quadruple the pit production capacity, when analyzing the cumulative impacts, they included the potential construction and operation of a Modern Pit Facility, which would be capable of producing 450 plutonium pits per year at LANL.
These new facilities and expanded activities will generate a large amount of waste. DOE calculated that there would not be enough disposal room at currently operating facilities for this waste. The operations proposed in the draft SWEIS will also use and contaminate vast amounts of water. LANL would dump 268 million gallons of waste water into canyons which run to the Rio Grande.
Dr. Makhijani will be speaking in Santa Fe at El Museo de Cultural beginning at 6:30pm on the evening of Thursday, September 14th. The event will be free and open to the public. Please contact CCNS for more information.