Current Activities

DNFSB Public Hearing about DOE Interface on August 28th

 In response to the Administration’s Regulatory Reform Agenda, the Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued a new order limiting the way it interacts with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (the Board).  The new order restricts the Board’s access to information, defense nuclear facilities, and personnel.  INTERFACE_WITH_THE_DEFENSE_NUCLEAR_FACILITIES_SAFETY_BOARD  As a result, the Board is seeking information from DOE and has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, August 28th from 9 am to 12:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time.  It will be live streamed.  Public comment is invited and pre-registration to speak is open until August 21sthttps://www.dnfsb.gov/public-hearings-meetings/august-28-2018-public-hearing

After numerous disclosures about releases and discharges from DOE defense nuclear facilities impacting public health and safety, in 1988, Congress created the Board.  Its statutory mission is to “provide independent analysis, advice, and recommendations to the Secretary of Energy to inform the Secretary, in the role of the Secretary as operator and regulator of the defense nuclear facilities of the Department of Energy, in providing adequate protection of public health and safety at defense nuclear facilities.”

The Board does not have regulatory power.  Even so, since its inception, the Board and its staff, including the Resident Inspectors located at DOE nuclear facilities around the country, have provided continuing oversight of complex, high-hazard operations involving nuclear weapons; remediation of nuclear wastes and legacy facilities; design and construction of new DOE defense nuclear facilities; as well as review of DOE safety standards.

The Board’s hearing record will remain open until September 28th.  For more information, please see the August 10, 2018 Federal Register notice.  Federal Register Notice

Following the hearing, a sample public comment letter will be available for you to use at http://nuclearactive.org/ .

On Wednesday, August 15th, the Acting Board Chairman Bruce Hamilton announced a major transformation of the Board’s staff, including a nearly doubling of the number of Resident Inspectors located at DOE sites.  Currently, two Resident Inspectors are at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) – the only DOE facility producing plutonium triggers, or plutonium pits, for nuclear weapons.  DNFSB Major Reform 081518

Four Resident Inspectors at LANL is a welcome development because of the many on-going and unresolved nuclear safety issues.  In a July 23rd letter to the new National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, the Board described one, stating that “the Plutonium Facility continues to operate with confinement ventilation and fire suppression systems that are not qualified to survive certain seismic accident scenarios.” 2018-100-028, NA-1 Welcome Letter ARCHIVE  These are serious nuclear safety deficiencies that DOE and LANL have not resolved.

Limiting access to information, facilities and personnel, as proposed by the new DOE Order, will hamper the Board’s important oversight work to keep DOE, Congress, the public, and the media informed about the DOE failures to keep the public safe.

 

 

Public Comments Needed on Proposed Major WIPP Expansion

On August 6th, the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, the New Mexico Environment Department opened the public comment period for expanding the amount of radioactive and hazardous waste allowed at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) by approximately 30 percent.  In a unique request, the Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, want the Environment Department to change the way that waste is measured.  They want to measure only the waste in the containers, not the volume of the waste containers, such as a 55-gallon steel drum.

The request explains that the effect of the change would reduce the amount of waste emplaced in WIPP as of December 6, 2017 by 930,000 cubic feet, from 3,238,673 cubic feet to 2,307,708 cubic feet.  Nevertheless, DOE has not explained where the additional waste would be disposed, nor why the change is needed now when WIPP is less than 60 percent filled.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wipp/, scroll down to August 6, 2018 for a listing of pertinent documents.

WIPP is a deep geologic repository for plutonium-contaminated transuranic waste, also known as TRU waste, created by manufacturing nuclear weapons, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Because the federal WIPP Land Withdrawal Act limits the amount of waste to 6.2 million cubic feet, how to measure the amount of waste is important. Waste emplaced at WIPP has always been measured based on the volume of the container. By container volume is the way DOE has always reported to Congress how much waste is at WIPP. By container volume is how DOE contractors have been paid and received performance bonuses. By container volume is the way that the WIPP Permit and permits in other states calculate the amount of waste.

The modification request would create an additional measurement, called the “Land Withdrawal Act TRU Waste Volume of Record [which] means the volume of TRU waste inside a disposal container.”

An unstated reason for the proposed measurement is that space for more than one million cubic feet of waste has been forfeited or lost because of bad DOE management, poor contractor performance, and inefficiencies during the past 19 years of WIPP’s operations.  Because of poor planning and inefficiencies, DOE and its contractors ship and dispose of many empty, or dunnage, containers and neglects to fill containers to capacity.

Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, said, “For the Environment Department to approve the proposed change risks the health and environment for all New Mexicans.”  http://www.sric.org/

A sample public comment letter you can use is available here.  WIPP Amt of Waste public comment 8-8-18  Public comments can be emailed to ricardo.maestas@state.nm.us by 5 pm Mountain Standard Time on Thursday, September 20th.

 

Community Conversation about LANL Chromium Plume on Sunday in Chimayo

“Protecting Those Most Vulnerable:  Environmental Health and Justice for the Agricultural Community” is the title for this Sunday’s Community Conversation in Chimayo, sponsored by the Communities for Clean Water and hosted by Barrios Unidos and Tewa Women United.  This session will center on information for regional farmers and agricultural workers about the migrating chromium plume in the regional drinking water aquifer below Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  Impacts to soils, water and farmlands will be discussed, as well as bio-remediation and remediation methods using fungi and mushrooms, called myco-remediation.  Aug5FlyerPDF

Chromium is naturally occurring at low levels.  Trivalent chromium is essential to health.  Hexavalent, or chromium 6, is dangerous to health.  At higher levels, it is a suspected carcinogen and can damage DNA, the liver, and kidneys.

Hexavalent chromium was added to prevent corrosion in the LANL cooling towers.  From 1956 to 1972, LANL flushed this cooling water into the headwaters of Sandia Canyon, which flows to the Rio Grande.  A plume formed in the regional drinking water aquifer, at approximately 1,000 feet below ground surface, below Sandia Canyon.  It is migrating south and east below Mortandad Canyon to form a kidney-shaped plume.

LANL recently reported the plume is migrating northeast towards a Los Alamos County drinking water well called Pajarito Mesa 3, or PM-3.

The New Mexico Environment Department issued two groundwater discharge permits for remediation of the plume.  One permit allows for the extraction, treatment, and re-injection of the treated waters back into the regional aquifer.  The other allows LANL to land apply the treated waters over the floodplains of Mortandad Canyon through the use of sprinklers and water trucks.     

The Communities for Clean Water and Tewa Women United are holding this series of conversations to prepare people for the upcoming November 7th and 8th public hearing about the land application ground water discharge permit.  http://ccwnewmexico.org/ and http://tewawomenunited.org/aug-5-2018-protecting-the-most-vulnerable-environmental-health-and-justice-for-the-agricultural-community/

The first conversation focused on providing information to healthcare providers, birthworkers, and doulas.  Following Sunday’s conversation, in September, at a date to be announced, there will be a youth event.  In October, there will be an advocacy training for the general public at a date to be announced.  For more information and to sign up to receive emails about the series, please go to http://tewawomenunited.org/

On Sunday, August 5th, the conversation will take place from 1 pm to 4 pm at Barrios Unidos, located at Seven John Hyson Drive, in Chimayo.  https://www.barriosunidoschimayo.org/ Because of limited space and resources, it is requested that you attend the event that is most relevant to you and your community.  Please RSVP online at goo.gl/xqGPmW or by phone at 505 747-3259.

 

Resist “Normalization” of Nuclear Weapons Industry in New Mexico

This summer a plethora of events, activities, and dialogues are taking place to “normalize” the nuclear weapons industry in New Mexico.  Knowing the details of the harm done to air, water, soil, and all living beings by the nuclear weapons industry, CCNS is resisting these attempts.  There are two events of note.  They are the August 4th Hiroshima Peace Day Commemoration in Los Alamos and this week’s exhibition of Erika Wanenmacher’s “Artifacts from the Boy’s Room” in Santa Fe.  

In Wanenmacher’s exhibition, she investigates the U.S. government’s Human Radiation Experiments, conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission and its progeny, including the Department of Energy, that occurred from the 1940s through the 1970s.  The experiments were conducted without informed consent on many of society’s most vulnerable – the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised, and children.  http://erikawanenmacher.com/archives.html  Reviews by the Santa Fe Reporter and Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo are available at https://www.sfreporter.com/arts/2018/07/18/lessons-from-the-boys-room/ and  http://www.santafenewmexican.com/pasatiempo/art/dismantling-history-artifacts-from-the-boy-s-room/article_4c552b5e-940e-5ad7-be38-638db0d72606.html

The exhibition is housed in Axle Contemporary, which will be parked at various locations in Santa Fe this week.  Photos of the exhibition are available at https://www.axleart.com/

All items are for sale through a silent bidding process.  All proceeds will support the work of CCNS, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Los Alamos Study Group, and Axle Contemporary.

 The closing event and final auction bidding will take place on Sunday, July 29th, at Phil Space, located at 1410 Second Street, from 5 to 8 pm.  Bidding can be done at the mobile gallery or by contacting the gallery at info@axleart.com or by telephone at (505) 670-5854 or (505) 670-7612.  Bidding ends at 8 pm on Sunday, July 29th.

Phil Space is current exhibiting The Works of Tony Price.  http://www.philspacesantafe.com/the-work-of-tony-price/   For more information, please visit http://www.philspacesantafe.com/ .

Also, to commemorate the August, 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, the 15th Annual Hiroshima Peace Day Commemoration and Peace Vigil will take place on Saturday, August 4th in Los Alamos.  People will gather at Ashley Pond, in the center of town, at 2 pm. Hiroshima Peace Day 2018 Flyer-1

Participants will remember the 73rd anniversary of the bombings at the place where the first nuclear weapons were built and where they continue to be built.  There will be a silent procession towards Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Participants may sit in silence for 30 minutes in sackcloths, or burlap bags, and ashes, which will be provided.  Afterwards, participants will gather back at Ashley Pond for discussion and reflection, which will be led by Father John Dear, an activist and author.

Father John Dear said, “We’ve been going to Los Alamos every August for fifteen years now, to pray and speak out for the abolition of nuclear weapons; but the world’s violence and war making is only worsening while we continue to waste billions of dollars on these weapons of mass destruction.”

For more information, please contact Ellie Voutselas at (505) 474-8557, or Ken Mayers, of Veterans for Peace – Santa Fe, at (505) 466-6954.

 

Halt Holtec! Get Your Public Comments in by Monday, July 30th

photo: mhayden@abqjournal.com

Now is the time to submit your comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the proposed Holtec project to bring all the commercial high-level radioactive waste from across the country to a site in southeast New Mexico.  Comments are due by Monday, July 30th to Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov.  Thousands of New Mexicans have empathically stated that they do not consent to New Mexico becoming a national radioactive waste dumping ground for high-level waste.  They have submitted written comments and spoke eloquently at public meetings in Roswell, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Gallup, and Albuquerque, pointing out that New Mexico has none of that waste.  Sample public comment letters are available at http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/ and https://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13813

The NRC is asking for comments about the Holtec 543-page environmental report.  It provides information about the 960-acre site located half way between Hobbs and Carlsbad, which contains playa lakes.  Holtec, a limited liability corporation, is asking NRC for a 40-year license to temporarily store the waste in Lea County, with an opportunity to extend the license to 120 years.  Holtec has stated that the waste could be stored there for 300 years.  https://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/hi/hi-app-docs.html

Nevertheless, the federal government may never find a permanent place for the waste, with the real possibility of the proposed Holtec temporary storage site becoming a permanent site.  The environmental report omits the long-term impacts of spent radioactive fuel being left there indefinitely.

Over 10,000 overweight rail cars on rickety tracks carrying the dangerous waste would crisscross the country to the proposed site. Proposed transportation maps are available at:  http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/356082/27450667/1486998445013/Rail-Transport+routesWCS-1.pdf?token=wgGRSYLr7EbqxLd54LrQ0V8Jd4s%3D and http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/356082/27010289/1462420316290/5+4+16+WCS+Transportation+Maps.jpg?token=fdXd0O9cuEa7l77eBIMXkEv0ih4%3D  and water transportation routes by state, https://web.archive.org/web/20151101154823/http://www.nirs.org/fukushimafreeways/watertransport.htm

Even so, the Holtec report omits all of the transportation routes and does not discuss potential impacts of accidents or terrorism incidents on public health and safety.

The environmental report does not analyze how radioactive waste from a cracked or leaking storage canister would be handled since the Holtec site will not have hot cells or pools to handle the leaking waste.

Finally, Holtec estimates there will be as many as 135 jobs for the construction and operating phases.  This is a small number of jobs compared to the damage that could be done, if there was a leak or accident involving the Holtec proposal, to the 28,000 jobs in the oil and gas industry and the 6,000 jobs in the dairy industry.

Please submit your comments to the NRC at Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov about the inadequacies of the environmental report and what should be included in the agency’s draft environmental impact statement.

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit http://nuclearactive.org/ , No Nuclear Waste Aqui at http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/ , Beyond Nuclear at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/ , the Nuclear Information and Resource Service at https://www.nirs.org/ , and Public Citizen at https://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13813

 

Halt Holtec! Public Comments Due to NRC by July 30th

Now is the time to submit your comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the proposed Holtec project to bring all of the commercial high-level radioactive waste from across the country to a site in southeast New Mexico for storage.  Comments are due by Monday, July 30th to Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov.  Hundreds of New Mexicans have empathically stated that they do not consent to New Mexico becoming a national radioactive waste dumping ground.  They have submitted written comments and spoke eloquently at public meetings in Roswell, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Gallup, and Albuquerque.  Sample public comment letters you can use are available at https://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13813

The NRC is asking for comments about their 543-page environmental report.  It provides information about the 960-acre site, which contains playa lakes, and is located half way between Hobbs and Carlsbad.  Holtec, a limited liability corporation, is asking NRC for a 40-year license to temporarily store the waste in Lea County, with an opportunity to extend the license to 120 years.  Holtec stated in its license application that the waste could be stored there for 300 years.  https://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/hi/hi-app-docs.html

Nevertheless, the federal government may never find a permanent place for the waste, with the real possibility of the proposed Holtec temporary storage site becoming a permanent site.  But the environmental report does not analyze for the long-term impacts of spent radioactive fuel being left there indefinitely.

Over 10,000 overweight rail cars would carry the dangerous waste from across the country to the proposed site and the waste would likely travel very near to the Carlsbad sinkhole. Proposed transportation maps are available at:  http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/356082/27450667/1486998445013/Rail-Transport+routesWCS-1.pdf?token=wgGRSYLr7EbqxLd54LrQ0V8Jd4s%3D and http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/356082/27010289/1462420316290/5+4+16+WCS+Transportation+Maps.jpg?token=fdXd0O9cuEa7l77eBIMXkEv0ih4%3D  and water transportation routes by state, https://web.archive.org/web/20151101154823/http://www.nirs.org/fukushimafreeways/watertransport.htm

Even so, the environmental report does not include all of the transportation routes and potential impacts of accidents or terrorism incidents on public health and safety along all the routes crisscrossing the country.

The environmental report does not analyze how radioactive waste from a cracked or leaking storage canister would be handled since the Holtec site will not have hot cells or pools to handle the leaking waste.

Finally, Holtec estimates there will be as many as 135 jobs for the construction and operating phases.  This is a small number of jobs compared to the damage that could be done to the 28,000 jobs in the oil and gas industry, and the 6,000 jobs in the dairy industry, if there was a leak or accident.

Please submit your comments to the NRC at Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov about the inadequacies of the environmental report.

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit http://nuclearactive.org/ , No Nuclear Waste Aqui at http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/ , Beyond Nuclear at http://www.beyondnuclear.org/ , and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service at https://www.nirs.org/ . Sample comment letter at: https://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13813

 

Commemoration Events for Trinity Test and Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill

July 16th is a historic day for public health and environmental disasters in New Mexico.  On July 16, 1945, the U.S. government tested the first atomic bomb, called the Gadget, on the grounds of the White Sands Missile Range.  The Gadget held 13 pounds of plutonium, of which only three pounds fissioned.  The remaining 10 pounds disbursed as the mushroom cloud came down in the rain storms that followed the blast.  The contaminated ash fell on open water sources, fields ready for harvest, gardens, workers, and animals.

Thirty-four years later, on July 16, 1979, the largest uranium tailings spill in the U.S. occurred at the North East Church Rock Uranium Tailings site.  An earthen dam, operated by United Nuclear Corporation, holding liquid uranium waste, broke.  It released 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and more than 90 million gallons of acidic and radioactive liquids into the Rio Puerco.  The contaminated waters flowed downstream through Gallup, and across nine Navajo chapters.

On Saturday, July 14th, from 7 am to 3 pm, the Red Water Pond Road Community will host its 39th annual commemoration of the 1979 Uranium Tailings Spill, at a location 12 miles north of the Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566, near Church Rock.  At 7 am there will be a walk to the spill site to offer healing prayers.  Following the walk, people will gather under shade for food, community education, speeches, and a silent auction. FLYER

Edith Hood, a resident of the Red Water Pond Road Community, said, “Let us come together again and share these issues and concerns, collaborate and strategize, to push cleanup of these contaminated environments among our Dine people, to restore, preserve and protect our Mother Earth.”

For more information, please visit http://swuraniumimpacts.org/    

On Saturday, July 21st, beginning at 7:30 pm, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium will host its 9th Annual Candlelight Vigil to commemorate the 1945 Trinity test and acknowledge the negative health effects suffered by the people of New Mexico.  It will be held at the Tularosa Little League Field, located west of the Tularosa High School. v.3_9th Annual Candlelight Vigil

They will memorialize loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer and honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer by lighting luminarias with individual names written on the paper bags.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said, “It’s difficult to grasp that we’ve been doing this for nine years now. Our list of deceased loved ones continues to grow.  We’ll light more than 800 luminarias this year, I’m certain.”

For more information, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

 

Bipartisan Congressional Hearing about Proposed Amendments to Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

Photo: dhanson@abqjournal.com

Asking to be treated the same as others who are covered by the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), the Trinity Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers testified on Wednesday before the bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during the long-awaited hearing, in Washington, DC.  Tina Cordova, with the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, testified about the public health and environmental disaster caused by the first atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity site in south central New Mexico.  Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez testified about the on-going public health and environmental impacts to their communities from uranium mining, milling, hauling of uranium, and abandoned uranium mines.  They both spoke about the lack of support from the federal government in its failure to warn the people and workers, the health impacts from the overexposure to radiation, and the lack of medical clinics in their rural areas.  Vice President Nez asked for federal cleanup of the additional 300 open uranium mines and establishment of oncology clinics in rural areas.  They both asked the Committee to include the Trinity Downwinders and the Uranium Workers who worked after 1971 in the RECA program.  They asked for fairness.  See their written testimony at:  https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/examining-the-eligibility-requirements-for-the-radiation-exposure-compensation-program-to-ensure-all-downwinders-receive-coverage

Photo: dhanson@abqjournal.com

Senator Tom Udall, of New Mexico, was the first witness.  He described his early work in the mid-1970s with his father, Stewart Udall, to bring lawsuits on behalf of the Uranium Workers.  https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/news/videos/watch/tom-fights-for-justice-for-victims-of-radiation-exposure-in-key-senate-hearing

Senator Mike Crapo, of Idaho, served as Acting Chair of the hearing.  Senator Cory Booker, of New Jersey, served as the Ranking Member.  During the hearing, other members joined.  These included the Chair of Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, as well as Senators Ted Cruz, of Texas; Kamala Harris, of California; and Richard Blumenthal, of New York.  https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members

The Chair, Senator Grassley, asked those at the witness panel about suggestions they may have about the process to apply for RECA.  Because those that testified have not applied for RECA, there was a limited response.  However, the Chair’s questions leads one to assume that the Committee is getting ready to move the bill to the next step, which is mark-up of the legislation, a process where the bill is edited, or revised.   

At the end of the hearing, Senator Cory Booker, Ranking Member of the Committee, announced that he will add his name as a co-sponsor to the legislation.  https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=about_senator

After the hearing, Representative Ben Ray Lujan requested that the House Judiciary Committee hold a hearing about the proposed amendments.  https://lujan.house.gov/press-releases/lujan-calls-for-a-house-hearing-on-the-radiation-exposure-compensation-act/

Nevertheless, the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s retirement may impact the Senate Judiciary Committee’s schedule, as it is charged with confirming Supreme Court justices.

 

Uranium Workers Invited to Testify at June 27th RECA Hearing

Photographer: Vladimir Weiss

The Post’71 Uranium Workers have been invited to provide testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, June 27th. They will join the Trinity Downwinders in testifying in support of the proposed amendments to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include the Trinity Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers.  Cordova Invitation Both groups are grateful for all the calls made, emails sent, and postcards signed to ensure they were included in the hearing.

The long-awaited hearing will examine the eligibility requirements for the RECA program to ensure all Downwinders and Uranium Workers receive coverage.  Since Congress first passed RECA in 1990, over $2.25 billion in monetary compensation has been paid to claimants.  https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca

Uranium Workers who worked before 1971 are currently eligible to apply for RECA compensation, but those who worked after 1971 are not eligible.  The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 197, extends the eligibility period to December 31, 1990, which would cover many more Uranium Workers.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/197

For the Trinity Downwinders, the eligibility for filing claims related to the July 16, 1945, Trinity Test requires a person to have been physically present in the area “beginning on June 30, 1945, and ending on July 31, 1945,” a 30-day period of time.

Over the years, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium has collected hundreds of health surveys from people who were overexposed to radiation subsequent to the Trinity test and have suffered with cancers and other illnesses related to radiation exposure.  Overexposure to radiation damages genes, causes cancer, and can be passed on to the next generation.

The health surveys completed by the descendants of those who experienced the Trinity test clearly demonstrate that they have inherited the damaged genes as they suffer from the same types of cancer.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/health-impact-assessment    

The Trinity Downwinders will testify that the eligibility period must be expanded.  Based on the cancer information obtained from the health surveys, the Trinity Downwinders recommend that the eligibility period should be open-ended.

The Downwinders will also explain how the first atomic bomb test was unlike any other atmospheric test, because it was exploded atop a 100-foot tower creating radioactive fallout never experienced again.

Tina Cordova, a co-Founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, stated, “We’ve been waiting eight years for a hearing.  There will be 10 of us going representing all of New Mexico, from communities like Carrizozo, San Antonio, Socorro, Tularosa, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Pojoaque, Ruidoso and Downwinders who live in Texas and California.  We plan to tell Congress in the best way possible about the suffering and sacrifice that has been endured by so many for the last 73 years.”

For more information and to contribute to the travel costs, please visit swuraniumimpacts.org, trinitydownwinders.com, and nuclearactive.org.

 

Trinity Downwinders to Testify at June 27th RECA Hearing

Late last Friday, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium received an invitation to testify at the upcoming U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the proposed amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) that would include them in this program for people overexposed to radiation.  Because the hearing’s focus is on downwinders of the U.S. above-ground atomic tests, unfortunately the Post’71 Uranium Workers were not included to testify.  Nevertheless, the Post’71 Uranium Workers will be sending two representatives to attend the hearing.

Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said, “On behalf of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium and the tens of thousands of people we represent, we want to thank all those people who stood with us and contacted their congressional representatives to let them know it was vital that the Downwinders and the Post’71 Uranium Workers had seats at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 27th.”

Congress first passed RECA in 1990.  Certain uranium workers and downwinders of the Nevada Test Site were covered by the comprehensive health care program.  In 2000, additional groups of harmed individuals were added.  The Act has not been amended since, even though bills have been introduced over the past eight years to include the Trinity Downwinders and Uranium Workers who worked after a 1971 cut-off date.

The proposed Senate Bill 197 would include New Mexico as a downwinder area.

The Trinity Downwinders recommend five changes be made to Senate Bill.

First, they request that the U.S. government issue an apology to the people of New Mexico for the intentional bombing of those living downwind of the first atomic test on July 16, 1945 at the Trinity site in southcentral New Mexico.

The first atomic explosion, July 16, 1945, Trinity Site, New Mexico; July 1945

Second, the eligibility period must be expanded.  Currently, only those who were exposed between June 30, 1945 and July 31, 1945 – a 30-day period – would be eligible to apply for RECA.  The Downwinders request that an open-ended eligibility period be provided.

Third, the bill must require that the medical care provided to New Mexicans be similar to that available to nuclear workers under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

Fourth, the current RECA legislation is set to end, or sunset, on July 9, 2022.  The Downwinders request that the sunset provision be extended to July 9, 2045.

And finally, Congress does not always provide the necessary annual funding to the RECA Trust Fund.  The Downwinders request that recurrent annual funding be included in the proposed amendments.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/health-impact-assessment, Section 5.3, p. 75.

Please contact your congressional members and ask them to support the Downwinders’ recommended changes.  SenatorContactInformation