Second Clean Air Act Audit of LANL Findings Released

Opposition Heard to LANL's Use of the Word "Kiva" for Nuclear Facilities

* Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (or CCNS) welcomed the final report of the second Clean Air Act audit of Los Alamos National Laboratory (or LANL) by the Independent Technical Audit Team at a press conference Wednesday, December 13th at Hotel Santa Fe. CCNS reviewed the Audit Team's report and also worked with the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (or IEER) on its review.

In 1994, CCNS filed a Clean Air Act citizens' lawsuit against the Department of Energy (or DOE) for six years of non-compliance with radionuclide air emissions regulations under the Clean Air Act at LANL.

The federal district judge ruled in favor of CCNS, based upon DOE's admission that 31 of 33 "major" stacks and associated quality assurance programs were not in compliance with the Subpart H regulation of the Clean Air Act. In January 1997, facing $2.5 billion in possible penalties and the potential shutdown of many of its facilities, DOE settled the landmark Clean Air Act citizens' lawsuit with CCNS.

Under the settlement provisions of the Consent Decree up to four comprehensive independent audits will be performed to verify whether LANL is in full compliance with the Clean Air Act. DOE is required to pay for CCNS' technical consultants to monitor the Audit Team in order to safeguard the independence of the audit process. CCNS' consultants in the audit process are Dr. Arjun Makhijani (pronounced Ar-June Mak-A-Johnny) and Bernd Franke. (pronounced Bear-n Frahn-kay) of the Institute.

At the Wednesday press conference, the Audit Team, led by Dr. John Till with Risk Assessment Corporation, found LANL in compliance with the Clean Air Act for 1999.

Both CCNS and the Institute found that, overall, the second audit was thorough. The major disagreement with the audit was that the finding of compliance should have been conditional, rather than unconditional. According to Dr. Makhijani, "A finding of unqualified compliance presumes that LANL did all the scientific work necessary for compliance. However, LANL did not perform an uncertainty analysis, which is a normal and essential part of scientific work that should be done as part of compliance assessment." The Institute also commented that the Audit Teams "finding of compliance should be viewed in the context of lack of operations of the main beam at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (or LANSCE) (pronounced, lance) during 1999." When the main beam at LANSCE operates, it contributes the largest off-site dose to the public, over 90 percent of the total dose.

The Audit Team announced that there will be a third audit of compliance for 2001, which will begin in 2002.

* Also at the press conference, Harley Brewer from San Ildefonso Pueblo and a Board Member of CCNS, read letters from Picuris Pueblo Governor Red Eagle Rael, and Marian Naranjo, CCNS' Native Community Outreach Director, objecting to LANL's use of the word "Kiva" for their nuclear materials bunkers. Governor Rael wrote, "As Governor of the Pueblo of Picuris and as Chairman of the Commission on Indian Affairs, I feel the use of the word 'Kiva' at a nuclear weapons facility is very disrespectful and is in violation of our cultural beliefs, and culturally insensitive to our Indian People as well as our Ancient Pueblo People. I strongly recommend you rename your nuclear facilities that are currently named 'Kivas'." In her statement, Ms. Naranjo agreed with the Governor and said, "We do not need and do not like the added affront created by the use of our sacred words and symbols for nuclear-related purposes." Harley Brewer then stated, "A kiva isn't a place for anything disgraceful. It's a place of worship. You wouldn't call a house of death a church." He ended with a call to Dr. John Browne, LANL director, to issue a directive that LANL facilities shall no longer be called Kivas, and requested an apology from LANL, the Regents of the University of California, and the Secretary of Energy for applying this term to its nuclear facilities.


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