Current Activities

Albuquerque Water Authority Analysis Finds Greater Contamination than Air Force

Citizen Action New Mexico obtained a January 2020 Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority technical memo that questions the conclusions in a Kirtland Air Force Base report that there is “significant reduction” of jet fuel contamination between the ground surface and groundwater in the vadose zone.  Among the Water Authority conclusions are that “[f]uel-related compounds such as xylenes, ethylene dibromide (EDB), and ethylbenzene were detected above the reporting limit at [a Kirtland monitoring well], indicating a much broader presence of fuel-related contamination than what is concluded in the [Kirtland Air Force Base] Report.” WUA.Tech.Memo.1.14.2020.core.drlng  (this is a large file, 8MB)

The Water Authority memo identifies serious problems with the collection of sampling data by Kirtland. The Water Authority states there are “likely biases … towards lower/reduced concentrations of fuel contaminants at the site.” Estimates of the Kirtland jet fuel spill range from 6 to 24 million gallons.

Kirtland reported its findings in a source area characterization report that was supposed to resolve the outstanding data gaps about the extent and concentration levels of fuel contamination.  The source area where the jet fuel spill occurred is particularly problematic because without cleanup it would continue releasing highly toxic chemicals such as benzene, toluene and EDB to Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer.  No approved plan for the cleanup of the source area exists.

The report, which was submitted to the New Mexico Environment Department, was necessary to develop a conceptual computer model to guide future remediation work.   The information was to come from soil corings drilled at various locations and depths within the source area.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/kafb/ see the 3,740 page, October 25, 2019 KAFB Source Zone Characterization Report for the Bulk Fuels Facility Solid Waste Management Units ST-106/SS-111, Appendices

Kirtland, however, did not follow the Environment Department’s approved work plan for the investigation.  For example, they used unapproved methods for taking samples in the field and then did not submit the samples to the analytical laboratory in a timely manner.  When using a drill to collect soil cores, they drilled too fast, thus vibrating the soil.  Both the heat and vibrations allowed some contaminants to volatilize into the air, resulting in lower sampling results.

The Water Authority memo concludes with the following concerns:  “Failure to delineate the extent of the remaining fuel contamination could result in a persistent source to groundwater and increase the amount of time it will take to clean-up the impacted groundwater source.”

Dave McCoy, of Citizen Action, said, “After thirty years since discovery of massive jet fuel contamination in Albuquerque’s aquifer, there is no remediation plan, no approved cleanup plan schedule and no independent scientific overview.  Stakeholders are shut out about technical problems.  Biased data is presented to claim that successful cleanup is occurring.”

For more information, contact Citizen Action New Mexico at www.radfreenm.org/


1.  Correction to last week’s Update, entitled:  700 Petition Signatures Demanding Two EISs Delivered to Congressional Offices

We reported a “proposed $20 billion dollar increase in the Department of Energy (DOE) 2021 Federal Budget.”  DOE’s budget as a whole went down $3.15 billion to $35.61 billion (8%).  The cuts included cleanup and renewable energies.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) budget went up $3 billion to $20 billion (actually 19.77 billion).  The nuclear weapons budget went up $3.14 billion from $12.47 to $15.6 billion.

Thank you to Nuclear Watch New Mexico for pointing out the need for a correction. 

2.  CCNS is working from home; taking care, yet keeping up on what the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, federal and state regulators, and others are doing. There has not been much news about what is going on at Los Alamos National Laboratory right now.  Are they closed?

3.  The Environmental Protection Agency extended the comment period for both National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for LANL – the industrial waste water and outfall draft permit and the individual stormwater permit – from March 31, 2020 to May 31, 2020. We are digging more deeply into LANL’s application, the EPA’s fact sheet and draft permit. 

4.  Check out the Nuclear Watch New Mexico press release about LANL Plans to Release Up To – 100,000 Curies of Radioactive Gas (Tritium) at https://nukewatch.org/

 

700 Petition Signatures Demanding Two EISs Delivered to Congressional Offices

photo: Kay Matthews, La Jicarita On-line Magazine

In response to the proposed $20 billion dollar increase in the Department of Energy (DOE) 2021 Federal Budget, over 700 activists and interested parties signed petitions that were delivered to staff members of Senators Udall and Heinrich, Representative Lujan, and Governor Lujan Grisham on Tuesday, March 10th.  The petitions ask them to demand that DOE conduct a programmatic environmental impact statement (programmatic EIS) followed by a new site-wide environmental impact statement (site-wide EIS) for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) before any proposed expanded plutonium pit production and associated infrastructure projects begin. 

The petitions represent organizations ranging from the Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures, CCNS, La Jicarita On-line Magazine https://lajicarita.wordpress.com/2020/03/11/over-750-lanl-petition-signatures-delivered-to-nm-congressional-delegation/ , Veterans for Peace http://www.vfp-santafe.org/home.html , Earth Care https://www.earthcarenm.org/ , Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) https://www.youthunited4climatecrisisaction.org/ , New Energy Economy https://www.newenergyeconomy.org/ , to the Nuclear Issues Study Group https://www.facebook.com/NuclearIssuesStudyGroup/ .

Arguments in favor of demanding a programmatic EIS before the site-wide EIS include:  in 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided the specific conditions under which DOE must conduct a programmatic EIS.  One is required before DOE commits its resources “to detailed engineering design,

testing, procurement, or installment of pit production capability for a capacity in excess of the level that has been analyzed in the [Stockpile Stewardship & Management Program] [programmatic] EIS.”  The analyzed capacity is 50 plutonium pits per year at LANL under routine conditions, and 80 pits per year under multiple shift operations.  Natural Resources Defense Council v. Pena, 20 F. Supp. 2d 45 (D.D.C. 1998) at https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/20/45/2423390/

At present, DOE is planning to commit its resources at LANL and the Savannah River Site before conducting a programmatic EIS.

The 1998 decision requires DOE to analyze via a programmatic EIS “the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts of and alternatives to operating such an enhanced capacity.”  But DOE, putting the cart before the horse, wants to commit taxpayer dollars to expanding pit production before conducting the programmatic EIS.

New Mexicans want to see what DOE’s big plans are.  Perhaps DOE will discover that the unfinished Savannah River Site Mixed Oxide Facility cannot be converted to a plutonium pit facility for 50 pits per year.  [The backsliding has begun – https://www.exchangemonitor.com/lanl-pit-plant-make-much-less-transuranic-waste-s-c-pit-plant-nnsa-estimates/ ]  Then what?  Because LANL is the only DOE facility with the capacity to fabricate pits, DOE most likely will say that LANL must fabricate 80 pits per year.  Therefore, the requirements of the court decision must be fulfilled before a site-wide EIS is prepared for LANL.  New Mexicans deserve no less.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “We will continue to gather signatures asking for both environmental impact statements.  It is essential for the public to learn about the extent of DOE’s plans for both the Savannah River Site and LANL.  Please join the effort!”  Petition PEIS before LANL SWEIS 2-26-20


1.         There are many upcoming events – all subject to change due to the virus pandemic.  If you are at home, consider writing a letter to the editor about your concerns.  Please take care of yourself – you know the drill – wash your hands with good old soap and water; get enough rest; and take the opportunity to be with yourself.

2.         Sunday, March 15th from 1 to 5 pm.  You are cordially invited to attend the Third Annual Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Benefit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in Albuquerque.  There will be music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, food and drinks, and lots of fun!  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/ EVENT POSTPONED

3.         Our detailed 2020 calendar is available at 2020 Events 3-5-20 

 

Public Comments Needed for URENCO Discharge Permit

(Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

URENCO is a uranium enrichment facility that uses centrifuges to separate uranium for fuel in nuclear power plants.  The “waste” is stored on-site in uranium by-product cylinders, or UBCs.  The facility is located 4.5 miles east of Eunice, New Mexico, near the Texas border.  https://www.urenco.com/global-operations/uusa  The New Mexico Environment Department plans to renew the groundwater discharge permit, known as DP-1481, for another five years.  https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/dp-1481/ Public comments are needed.  CCNS has prepared a short fact sheet and sample public comment letter you can use to submit your comments to the Environment Department by Wednesday, March 11th.   Comment letter available HERE: URENCO sample public comment ltr 3-10-20

Activists have noted with satisfaction the Environment Department’s efforts to improve how the public is notified about the availability of the draft permit, and feel encouraged, but they remain concerned about the permit itself. The documents are more detailed and they explain the public process for English and Spanish speakers to equally and fully participate.

The permit allows for the “discharge” of stormwaters and industrial waters into two ponds – one is lined with high-density polyethylene, but the other is unlined, which provides a direct route to groundwater.  Through use of the ponds, the waters are evaporated into the air.  The permit allows the discharge of approximately 20 million gallons a day to the ponds.

The storage capacity for both ponds is based on a 100-year return frequency storm resulting in 6.45 inches of rainfall in 24 hours.  A question remains about the impacts of climate change:  Is the 100-year return storm the most accurate storm to determine storage capacity?

Pond 1 is unlined and has a capacity of 32.6 million gallons, with a surface area of approximately 17 acres.  It collects waters drained from about 96 acres.

Pond 2 is lined and contains two cells.  Together the cells have a storage capacity of 10.4 million gallons and a surface area of about 5 acres.  It drains an area of approximately 23 acres.

The permit requires monitoring of the shallow groundwater, as well as the deeper groundwater found 90 to 240 feet below ground surface, by sampling twelve monitoring wells and reporting the results semi-annually.  There are no provisions for treatment of the water before it enters the ponds.  If contaminants from the large UBC storage pad, roads, parking lots, and building rooftops are in the stormwater, those contaminants will end up in the ponds.  Ultimately they could be volatilized and end up in the air or soak into the shallow and deep groundwater.

Please consider using the fact sheet and sample public comment letter to develop your comments and get them in to the Environment Department on or before Wednesday, March 11th. Comment letter above, fact sheet HERE: URENCO groundwater discharge permit fact sheet 3-10-20


1. There are many upcoming events, including dates for the NRC public meetings for the Holtec draft environmental impact statement, which are detailed in the March 2020 calendar, which is available HERE: 2020 Events 3-5-20    Here is a listing of this week’s events:

2. Tuesday, March 10th at 2 pm, you are invited to join CCNS, Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures, and others at the St. Francis statute at Santa Fe City Hall at the corner of Lincoln and Marcy as we prepare to deliver signed petitions to Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representative Lujan about plans to expand plutonium pit production at LANL. The petition ask them to demand DOE conduct a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) followed by a new site-wide environmental impact statement (SWEIS) for LANL before any proposed expanded plutonium pit production and associated infrastructure projects begin. 

~At 2 pm, after short introductions, we’ll walk two blocks to Senator Heinrich’s office at 123 East Marcy Street.  Staff members from Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representative Lujan’s offices will be there to accept the petition signatures.  We will then walk over to the Roundhouse and deliver the petition signatures to the Governor’s office on the fourth floor.

~People can park at the PERA parking lot, east of the Roundhouse, if that would be convenient, and walk to City Hall.  There are no parking fees in that parking lot.

~Download the PEIS before SWEIS petition HERE: Petition PEIS before LANL SWEIS 2-26-20  Modify as needed.  Replace CCNS with your group’s name.

3. Sunday, March 15th from 1 to 5 pm. You are cordially invited to attend the Third Annual Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Benefit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in Albuquerque.  There will be music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, food and drinks, and lots of fun!  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

~For those in the Santa Fe area interested in donating gift cards and silent auction items for the benefit, please contact Joni Arends at CCNS at 505 986-1973.  Thank you!

 

Preliminary 2021 Federal Budget Includes Major Expansion of LANL Weapons-Related Production

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is set to receive a 32.5% increase in funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) in the proposed fiscal year 2021 federal budget.  Nearly half of the new $1.5 billion would be spent on “plutonium modernization” so that LANL could manufacture up to 30 plutonium pits, or triggers for nuclear weapons, per year. An additional $618.5 million is slated for LANL’s contribution to plutonium modernization at the Savannah River Site.  DOE wants to “repurpose” the failed MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility into the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility for the production of 50 pits per year.  https://srswatch.org/boom-goes-the-budget-as-doe-plans-for-nuclear-war-4-6-billion-target-for-unjustified-plutonium-bomb-plant-pbp-at-r/

DOE is asking for $19.8 billion for modernization, a number that some officials are calling “the right number.”

At the same time, the fiscal year 2021 budget proposal cuts funding for environmental cleanup at LANL from $220 million to $120 million. LANL’s legacy waste, from before 1999, dates back to the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.

Few details are available about how the two labs might gear up for plutonium pit production. However, the increasing funds for pit production and the reduction of funds for cleanup points dramatically towards a significant shift of focus for the national labs. The emphasis on building plutonium pits for nuclear weapons and providing an infrastructure to support them diminishes the funds available for protecting drinking water supplies, restoring the Pajarito Plateau to the place it was before LANL began in 1943 – where people lived and built community.

For more information, visit Nuclear Watch New Mexico https://nukewatch.org/ and Los Alamos Study Group https://www.lasg.org/

All of the proposed plans require National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, public processes.  The current administration is working to destroy the law that went into effect on January 1, 1970, the same year as the first Earth Day 50 years ago.  NEPA requires analysis of the environmental impacts before any major federal action begins, with full public review and comment.

Because two national laboratories are involved in the proposed plans, NEPA requires a nationwide, or programmatic, environmental impact statement process before any major federal action begins, followed by a new site-wide environmental impact statement for LANL.

DOE decided that no analysis is necessary for LANL.  Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich as well as Congressman Ben Ray Lujan concurred.  See, Sunday, February 16, 2020, Albuquerque Journal North Editorial Board, “Delegation should support strong review of pit production,” https://www.abqjournal.com/1420949/delegation-should-support-strong-review-of-pit-production-ex-doing-the-best-job-possible-to-ensure-making-pits-is-environmentally-safe-should-be-the-goal-of-everyone-involved.html

By contrast, at the Savannah River Site, DOE determined that they would follow NEPA.

It is important to make our voices heard.  We are locals and are the stewards of our environment.  We must let our Senators and Congressman know our opinions about the proposed increase in weapons-related funding as well as about the reduction in funds for environmental cleanup.  CCNS has prepared a petition requesting them to demand that the required environmental impact statements be prepared before any major federal action, including commitment of funding, takes place.

To get involved, please download the petition, gather signatures, and join us on Tuesday, March 10th in downtown Santa Fe to deliver the petition signatures to the offices of the Senators and Congressman.  Next week, we’ll have more details about time and place.  Together we are making a difference!  Petition-EIS for LANL Pit Production 2-20-20


  1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Monthly sustaining donations are needed now as we continue to keep you informed.  Use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/  Your contribution will support the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!
  2. Check out the “Going Viral: Los Alamos National Lab scientist discuss coronavirus modeling, data and prevention,” by Julia Goldberg in this week’s Santa Fe Reporter.  https://www.sfreporter.com/news/theinterface/2020/02/26/going-viral/

The scientists recommend: “people staying home sick from work or school.  In the US we tend to be workaholics, but if people can stay home and avoid exposing others, we can significantly reduce disease spread.”  Jeanne Fair, LANL Deputy Group Leader for Biosecurity & Public Health. “Just really wash your hands throughout the day.”  Sara Del Valle, deputy group leader for LANL’s Information Systems and Modeling Group

  1. Mark your calendar! You are cordially invited to attend the Third Annual Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Benefit on Sunday, March 15th from 1 to 5 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in Albuquerque.  There will be music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, food and drinks, and lots of fun!  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

For those in the Santa Fe area interested in donating gift cards and silent auction items for the benefit, please contact Joni Arends at CCNS at 505 986-1973.  Thank you!

  1. Other upcoming events – mark your calendar:

a.Tuesday, March 10th, deliver petitions to congressional offices in Santa Fe

b.Wednesday, March 11th, comments due to NM Environment Department about the groundwater discharge permit for URENCO – a uranium enrichment facility located in Eunice, NM – near the NM/TX border.  Stay tuned for next week’s Update for a fact sheet and sample public comment letter you can use.

c.Comments now due to EPA about the LANL industrial “waste” water discharge permit and individual stormwater permit on Tuesday, March 31st.  Stay tuned for sample fact sheets and public comment letters you can use.

 

Action Needed: Advocate for Environmental Impact Statements for Proposed Plutonium Pit Expansions

Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) and its semi-autonomous agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), determined that a new nationwide, or programmatic, environmental impact statement is not needed to increase the number of nuclear weapons triggers manufactured at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Savannah River Site.  The federal agencies have also determined that a new site-wide environmental impact statement is not needed for LANL.  DOE and NNSA have determined that they are not required to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, concur.  In response, Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures created a petition to the Senators and the Congressman to demand that DOE and NNSA conduct a nationwide, or programmatic, environmental impact statement, followed by a site-wide environmental impact statement for LANL as required by NEPA.

The petition is available for download here:  Petition-EIS for LANL Pit Production 2-20-20 Please gather signatures and join us on Tuesday, March 10th when the organizations will present the petition signatures to the offices of the Senators and Congressman in Santa Fe.

Since 1997, DOE limited production of plutonium pits, or the triggers for nuclear weapons, at LANL to 20 per year.  Nevertheless, since that time, LANL has not produced anything near 20 pits per year – the most in one year was six.  Safety and seismic issues shut down production for years.  Even so, LANL is the only location in the U.S. for such work.  Critics oppose the DOE’s plans to expand the number of plutonium triggers manufactured each year from 20 to 30 – an increase of 50 percent – and argue for the environmental impact statements.

At the same time, the federal agencies want to convert the failed Savannah River Site Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility to manufacture up to 50 pits per year.  The agencies have determined that they would follow NEPA and issue a full environmental impact statement for public review and comment for the proposed operations at the Savannah River Site.

The federal agencies have refused to conduct a programmatic environmental impact statement for proposed connected operations at both facilities.

 

NEPA is required for major federal actions, including those that involve a “group of concerted actions to implement a specific policy or plan.”  Expanding pit production at two major DOE sites is a major federal action requiring a programmatic environment impact statement.

To get involved, please download the petition, Petition-EIS for LANL Pit Production 2-20-20 gather signatures, and join us on Tuesday, March 10th to deliver the petition signatures to the offices of the Senators and Congressman.  Together we are making a difference!


  1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with a monthly sustaining donation.  Use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/  Your contribution will support the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!
  2. Mark your calendar! You are cordially invited to attend the Third Annual Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Benefit on Sunday, March 15th from 1 to 5 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in Albuquerque.  There will be music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, food and drinks, and lots of fun!  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

For those in the Santa Fe area interested in donating gift cards and silent auction items, please contact Joni Arends at CCNS at 505 986-1973.  Thank you!

 

“Forever WIPP?” Permit Renewal Comment Period Extended

In response to complaints by CCNS and Deborah Reade that the pre-submittal permit renewal application was not easily accessible on its website, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has agreed to extend the public comment period to Thursday, February 20th.  Senator Tom Udall’s staff also requested the extension of time.  f WIPP Comment Ltr 2-13-20

WIPP is required to hold a public meeting to discuss its draft application prior to submitting its final application to the New Mexico Environment Department at the end of March.  During the Santa Fe public meeting on January 23rd, CCNS pointed to the confusion about the location of the draft application on the WIPP website and requested that it be placed on the homepage.  Despite assurances from WIPP that a link would be added to the home page, that did not occur until after written complaints were filed and the comment period expired.  https://www.wipp.energy.gov/

Now that we have some additional time, here are some of the major, unresolved issues at WIPP:

First, the federal Department of Energy (DOE), owner of WIPP, has provided almost no information in Spanish about this permit renewal making it impossible for many Spanish speakers to be fully informed about the proposed changes for WIPP.  At a time when DOE is proposing major expansions, it should not skirt its responsibilities to provide information about its plans in Spanish.

Second, DOE wants the Environment Department to allow the site to receive plutonium-contaminated, or transuranic, waste until 2052, or 2080, or … essentially forever.  The current permit states disposal operations will end in 2024.  DOE promised the People of New Mexico that WIPP would dispose of waste for 25 years and then close the facility.

Third, the federal Land Withdrawal Act of 1992 limits WIPP to up to 6.2 million cubic feet of transuranic waste and prohibits any high-level waste or commercial waste, because Congress and New Mexico have always agreed, and DOE used to agree, that WIPP has a limited capacity, a limited operating lifetime, and that additional waste repositories would be built elsewhere.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/102nd-congress/senate-bill/1671

Fourth, DOE has submitted a request to the Environment Department for temporary authorization to mine a new shaft into the waste disposal area, which is 2,150 feet below ground surface.  The proposed shaft would allow new underground rooms that could more than double the disposal area because the existing permitted panels will be filled in a few years.  https://wipp.energy.gov/2020-information-repository-documents.asp under “Temporary Authorization Requests.”

Fifth, DOE and its contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, have clearly demonstrated that they cannot operate WIPPin the “start clean, stay clean” manner as stated in the Permit, as the site was closed to waste disposal for three years following the February 2014 fire and radiation release.

Sixth, the renewal application does not include adequate human exposure information as required by the regulations.  Only air releases are described.  Despite the fact that the transportation phase accounts for almost all of the negative health effects during normal operations, effects from the increased shipping in this proposed renewal application are not mentioned.


  1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with a monthly sustaining donation.  Use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/  Your contribution will support the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!
  2. Wednesday, February 19th, from 5:30 to 7:15 pm, LANL will host an “Environmental Management Cleanup Forum about Legacy Waste at LANL,” at the Cottonwood on the Greens (golf course), at 4244 Diamond Drive. https://www.cottonwoodonthegreens.com/ Topics include Cleanup:  Big Picture and Near-Term Decisions with a Community Discussion and Q&A, along with a Poster Session from 6:45 to 7:15 pm.
  3. Mark your calendar for you are cordially invited to attend the Third Annual Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Benefit on Sunday, March 15th from 1 to 5 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in Albuquerque. There will be music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, food and drinks, and lots of fun!  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/   Click here to view:  Event Flyer
 

Events for 75th Anniversaries & the New Nuclear Arms Race

CCNS provides the following information about upcoming events in New Mexico to commemorate the 75 years since the U.S. atomic bombings at the Trinity Site in July 1945, and over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.  Additional events, including the Stop the New Nuclear Arms Race conference, in Maryville, Tennessee, May 22nd through May 25th, are opportunities to meet and learn from campaigners from around the world.  Download the current events calendar: 2020 Events 1-27-20

Seventy-five years after the U.S. atomic bombings, the hands of the Doomsday Clock are now set at 100 seconds before midnight https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/ , and the nuclear powers are engaged in a new nuclear arms race.  The abolition movement is reviving, with new energy, new tools, and renewed commitment.

The Stop the New Nuclear Arms Race international conference will begin with dinner on Friday, May 22nd and end on Monday, May 25th with a trip to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a nonviolent demonstration against the nuclear weapons work at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex.  Y-12 is an active nuclear weapons manufacturing facility that makes highly enriched uranium cores for the W76-2 warhead and is currently building a new bomb plant, the Uranium Processing Facility, to continue production for decades.

Workshop topics include, The Ban Treaty, Don’t Bank on the Bomb, Campus Connections to the Bomb, and Mayors for Peace.

The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Nukewatch, and the Nuclear Resister are hosting the conference.  For more information, go to http://nukewatchinfo.org/stop_new_nuclear_arms_race/

In New Mexico, three national gatherings focused on commemorating the U.S. bombings will take place.  The Veterans for Peace National Convention runs from August 5th through the 9th in Albuquerque.  https://www.veteransforpeace.org/  The Upaya Zen Center holds its “Bearing Witness Memorial Sesshin:  Marking the 75th Year Since the Nuclear Bombings” from August 5th through the 10th in Santa Fe.  https://www.upaya.org/  The Campaign Nonviolence National Conference runs from August 6th through the 9th in Albuquerque.  https://paceebene.org/cnvconference2020

Additionally, the public is invited to join the attendees for two commemoration events at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos.

First, on Thursday, August 6th, the day the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the public and conference participants will gather from 4 pm to 8 pm.  Beginning at 5 pm, a rally is planned at the Main Stage with speakers, poets, and musicians.

Then, on Sunday, August 9th, the day the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, the public and conference participants will gather from 11 am to 3 pm.  From 1 to 3 pm there will be a rally at the Main Stage with speakers, poets, and musicians.


1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with a monthly sustaining donation.  Use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/  Your contribution will support the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

2. Sunday, February 9th at 11 am at Journey Santa Fe at Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo Street, Santa Fe – Joni Arends, CCNS Co-founder and Executive Director, will present “The Department of Energy’s Plans to Expand LANL and WIPP and What You Can Do.”  We’ll have petitions & postcards you can sign.  We’ll reference the 2020 Calendar of Events that are available here: 2020 Events 1-27-20 The event is free and open to the public.

3. Monday, February 10th, release of federal budget, including for the Department of Energy (DOE). To learn what to look for in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fiscal Year 2021 Nuclear Weapons and Cleanup Budget Request, check out the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s Media Advisory. http://www.ananuclear.org/ and scroll down the home page.

4. Tuesday, February 11th beginning at 11 am, we’ll deliver the signed petitions to the congressional offices in Santa Fe.

5. Wednesday, February 19th, from 5:30 to 7:15 pm, LANL will host an “Environmental Management Cleanup Forum about Legacy Waste at LANL,” at the Cottonwood on the Greens (golf course), at 4244 Diamond Drive. https://www.cottonwoodonthegreens.com/ 

CCNS has requested several times that LANL not hold public meetings at this location during winter as the parking lots is sloped and can be icy – thus creating a hazard and preventing public participation.  CCNS has suggested that LANL winter meeting take place in Pojoaque – a centrally located area.

Topics include Cleanup:  Big Picture and Near-Term Decisions with a Community Discussion and Q&A, along with a Poster Session from 6:45 to 7:15 pm.  Download the event flyer: EM Cleanup Forum February 19, 2020_Agenda_V3

 

National Day of Remembrance Omits Trinity Downwinders

In November 2011, the U.S. Senate designated January 27th as a National Day of Remembrance for the Nevada Test Site Downwinders.  The Senate recognized the harm caused to Americans from radioactive fallout from the aboveground atomic tests in Nevada, which began on January 27, 1951 and ended on July 17, 1962.  At that time, the testing went underground.

The Downwinders of the first aboveground atomic test on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity Site in south central New Mexico, question why they were not included in the Day of Remembrance.  In a recent press release, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium wrote, “While it is an honorable and just thing to commemorate the Nevada Test Site Downwinders, there are other Downwinders in the United States who have not received this acknowledgement or recognition.  The New Mexico residents who lived downwind of the Trinity Test at the White Sands Missile Range [], were the first people anywhere in the world to be exposed to radiation as a result of the testing of the atomic bomb.”  Seventy-five years later, these Downwinders have yet to be acknowledged.  They have not received the compensation and health care provided to the Nevada Downwinders under the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which was passed by Congress in 1990.

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium continues, “The compensation and health care the Nevada Test Site Downwinders receive is justifiable, but to omit New Mexicans is not.  Historical documents and maps indicate that the entire state of New Mexico also received radiation fallout from the Nevada Test Site; thus, New Mexicans have received a cumulative dose of radiation starting with the Trinity test and continuing through the [above-ground] testing at the Nevada test site.

Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, has been advocating for equal compensation for New Mexicans that Nevada Test Site Downwinders began to receive thirty years ago.

Cordova said, “It’s time to recognize the Unsung Patriots who were unknowing, unwilling, uncompensated, innocent participants in the world’s largest science experiment.  People in New Mexico have been suffering in silence ever since the bomb was detonated in July 1945.  It’s time we reveal the rest of the story and people are made aware of the complete legacy of Trinity.”

To learn more about the work of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, you are cordially invited to attend their Third Annual Trinity Downwinders Benefit on Sunday, March 15th from 1 to 5 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in Albuquerque.  There will be music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, food and drinks, and lots of fun.  For more information, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/


1.    Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution or a monthly sustaining donation.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O.Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/  We need your contribution to continue keeping you informed.  Stay informed with the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

2.     Friday, January 31st at noon- 11th Annual “Witness for the People” in the rotunda of State Capitol in Santa Fe.  This event is organized by Interfaith Worker Justice- NM as the People of Faith State of the State address and will kick off the 2020 events, conferences, conventions, community organizing involving Trinity, Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations.  Music will be provided by Paul and The Tone Daddies.

Confirmed speakers include:
*  Lt. Governor Howie Morales;
*  Representative Angelica Rubio (sponsor of House Memorial 5, entitled “Individuals Exposed to Radiation Support,” which urges the New Mexico Congressional delegation to pass the proposed amendments to the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)).  HM5 passed unanimously out of the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Th. January 30th.  Next stop:  House Floor.  ;
*  Marian Naranjo, of Honor Our Pueblo Existence;
*  Tina Cordova, of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, also known as the Trinity Downwinders;
*  Ken Mayers with Veterans for Peace; and
*  Archbishop John C. Wester..

For more information, please contact The Reverend Holly Beaumont at hbeaumont@iwj.organd http://nuclearactive.org/trinity-hiroshima-nagasaki-commemoration-events-in-nm/

3.    IMPORTANT LEGISLATIVE ACTION:  Saturday, February 1 around noon at the NM Legislature:  House Memorial 21 Transport and Storage of Radioactive Waste, sponsored by Representative Matthew McQueen will be held in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  It addresses proposed transport to and storage at the proposed Holtec Site.  https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?chamber=H&legType=M&legNo=21&year=20 and https://www.nmlegis.gov/Committee/Standing_Committee?CommitteeCode=HENRC

Dates, times, and place change at the legislature.  Before venturing out, double check the above links to make sure HM21 remains on the agenda, check its placement on the agenda, etc.

4.    February 4th, State of the Union Address.

5.    February 10th, release of federal budget, including for the Department of Energy (DOE).

 

NNSA Says No EIS Needed to Expand LANL Pit Production

moswald@abqjournal.com

The Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), has determined that a full environmental impact statement is not needed to increase the number of triggers for nuclear weapons manufactured at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) by 50 percent – from 20 to 30.  Since 1997, DOE has limited production to 20 triggers, or plutonium pits, per year.  Nevertheless, since that time, LANL has not produced anything near 20 pits per year – the most in one year was six.  Safety and seismic issues have shut down production for years.  Even so, LANL is the only U.S. location for such work.  Critics oppose the decision and have stated that litigation may result.

In 2018, the current administration determined that the U.S. would increase pit production at LANL and begin production at the Savannah River Site, located in South Carolina.  Savannah River has never produced plutonium pits, let alone the planned 50 per year.  For Savannah River, NNSA has determined that it would follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and issue a full environmental impact statement for public review and comment.

The federal agencies have refused to conduct a programmatic environmental impact statement for operations at both facilities, including the transportation of nuclear materials between them.

For LANL, NNSA said it would produce a supplemental analysis to the 2008 environmental impact statement.  A supplemental analysis may not address the impacts of the 2011 Las Conchas fire, increased hexavalent chromium in the regional aquifer, and increased seismic danger on the Pajarito Plateau, which LANL occupies.

The 1997 decision to limit the number of pits to 20 is the result of citizen litigation.  The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), based in Washington, DC, represented 39 citizens groups from around the country against DOE.  CCNS was one of the citizen plaintiffs, along with Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, or Tri-Valley CARES, located in Livermore, California, where the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, LANL’s “sister” nuclear weapons laboratory, is located.

Marylia Kelley, Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs, said,  “NNSA’s refusal to complete programmatic environmental review before plunging ahead with plans to more than quadruple the production authorization for plutonium bomb cores flies in the face of our country’s foundational environmental law, the [NEPA], and a standing federal court order mandating that the government conduct such a review. The order was obtained in prior litigation by [NRDC] on behalf of itself, Tri-Valley CAREs, and additional plaintiffs. Today, I find myself shocked but not surprised that NNSA would so flagrantly flout the law. [] My group stands ready to uphold NEPA and the specific court order.”  http://www.trivalleycares.org/

For more information, please see the following documents [links provided by Nuclear Watch New Mexico]:

NNSA’s Federal Register Notice of Availability for the final Supplement Analysis is available at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-01-08/pdf/2020-00102.pdf  It provides succinct background.

NNSA’s final Supplement Analysis is available at https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2020/01/f70/final-supplement-analysis-eis-0236-s4-sa-02-complex-transformation-12-2019.pdf

The 1998 court order that requires DOE to prepare a supplemental PEIS when it plans to produce more than 80 pits per year is available as Natural Resources Defense Council v. Pena, 20 F.Supp.2d 45, 50 (D.D.C. 1998), https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/20/45/2423390/


1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution or a monthly sustaining donation.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/ We need your contribution to continue keeping you informed through our weekly broadcast and social media postings.  Stay informed with the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

2. January 30th – The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will hold a public meeting about its yet-to-be-submitted application for renewal of the ten-year hazardous waste permit to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).
IN CARLSBAD:  January 30th from 5 to 7 pm at the Skeen-Whitlock Building, 4021 National Park Highway, Carlsbad
For more information and to view the draft hazardous waste facility permit, go to https://wipp.energy.gov/rcra-proposed-mods.asp

3. Friday, January 31st at noon -11th Annual “Witness for the People” in the rotunda of State Capitol in Santa Fe.  This event is organized by Interfaith Worker Justice- NM as the People of Faith State of the State address.  Music will be provided by Paul and The Tone Daddies.
Confirmed speakers include:
*  Archbishop John C. Wester;
*  Lt. Governor Howie Morales;
*  Representative Angelica Rubio (sponsor of House Memorial 5, entitled “Individuals Exposed to Radiation Support,” which urges the New Mexico Congressional delegation to pass the proposed amendments to the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA));
*  Marian Naranjo, of Honor Our Pueblo Existence;
*  Tina Cordova, of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, also known as the Trinity Downwinders; and
*  Ken Mayers with Veterans for Peace.
For more information, please contact The Reverend Holly Beaumont at hbeaumont@iwj.org and http://nuclearactive.org/trinity-hiroshima-nagasaki-commemoration-events-in-nm/

 

Opposition to Possible LANL Participation in Midtown Santa Fe

On Wednesday, protesters gathered at the St. Francis of Assisi statue at the Santa Fe City Hall to express opposition to any participation in Midtown Santa Fe by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as a master developer or as a tenant in any of the other six proposals.  Although the proposals have not been made public, it is understood that the National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy (DOE), and LANL have submitted proposals to participate fully at the potentially expanding 66-acre site between Cerrillos Road, St. Michael’s Drive, Siringo Road, and Camino Carlos Rey.  While the City’s website states that the City will announce the finalists on January 15th, as of this writing, the announcement has not been made.  https://www.santafenm.gov/media/rfps_docs/RFEI_20.05_.P__Real_Estate_Developers_and_or_Business_Entities_.pdf, p. 6.

Organized by the Los Alamos Study Group, nearly 50 people participated in the peaceful protest.  Greg Mello, Director of the Study Group, explained that because of safety lapses involving nuclear criticality, the City Council passed a resolution in 2018 opposing planned expanded production of the plutonium cores, or pits, for nuclear weapons at LANL.  https://www.lasg.org/  The plans of the Commander-in-Chief and DOE involve increased plutonium pit production from an authorized 20 per year to 30 per year – an increase of 50 percent.  In December, Congress approved $712 million in increased funding for this work.  https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/in-the-news/final-defense-budget-nearly-doubles-spending-on-pit-production

At the protest, Jim Eagle, a retired Navy officer who served on nuclear submarines, said, “If you’re against the nuclear mission, you’re against the training of the workforce and administrative support.”

There is little room in Los Alamos County for the needed housing and services for the projected 1,000 employees a year that LANL plans to hire over the next five years.  DOE wants to create a New Mexico Innovation Triangle with Midtown nearly halfway between LANL and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.  https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/santa-fe-receives-proposals-to-redevelop-midtown-campus/article_ec2199c2-5228-5b83-a2c4-7c1241e704a9.html

Further, the Midtown Santa Fe is designated as an Opportunity Zone.  In 2017, Congress, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, created these zones.  Under the law, governors are allowed to nominate certain census tracts as Opportunity Zones.  The New Mexico Economic Development Department describes the status this way:  “Designation as an Opportunity Zone allows for the creation of a new class of investment vehicle with tax advantages authorized to aggregate and deploy private investment located in Opportunity Zones.  The purpose of these tax advantages is to attract capital investment into economically distressed areas.”  https://gonm.biz/business-development/edd-programs-for-business/finance-development/opportunity-zones

The City announced that a new public input process would begin in February and continue into March and April.  https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/city-closing-in-on-short-list-of-master-developers-for/article_44b98796-33e2-11ea-ac64-7b0e61acfffb.html

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “Regardless of whether LANL is a master developer finalist or a tenant in another finalist development, it is time to get involved in the Midtown process.”


1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution or a monthly sustaining donation.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/ We need your contribution to continue keeping you informed through our weekly broadcast and social media postings.  There’s a lot of work to be done in 2020 – and many proposals to expand operations (a new shaft at WIPP; expanded pit production at LANL; Radiation Exposure Compensation Act through House Memorial 5, etc.) are already on the table.  Stay informed with the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

2. Thursday, January 16th – THIS MEETING WAS CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER.  EPA WILL RESCHEDULE IT.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a public meeting (beginning at 5 pm) and hearing (beginning at 7 pm) about the LANL Individual Stormwater Permit renewal at the Pojoaque Valley Sixth Grade Academy, 1574 State Road 502 West.  This permit covers 405 site monitoring areas with the potential to discharge pollutants every time it rains or snows.  Come to the meeting to question why EPA has not required LANL to remove the pollutants from the ground.  https://www.epa.gov/nm/lanl-storm-water-individual-permit-draft-permit-no-nm0030759

3. Tuesday, January 21 at noon – The 2020 New Mexico Legislature begins its 30-day session.  To learn more, go to https://www.nmlegis.gov/

Training opportunities are available at the Center for Progress and Justice at  https://www.facebook.com/Center-For-Progress-and-Justice-194361180574806/

4. Thursday, January 23rd and January 30th – The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will hold public meetings about its yet-to-be-submitted application for renewal of the ten-year hazardous waste permit to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).

IN SANTA FE:   January 23rd from 5 to 7 pm at the Santa Fe Hilton, 100 Sandoval Street, Santa Fe

IN CARLSBAD:  January 30th from 5 to 7 pm at the Skeen-Whitlock Building, 4021 National Park Highway, Carlsbad

For more information and to view the draft hazardous waste facility permit, go to https://wipp.energy.gov/rcra-proposed-mods.asp 

5. Friday, January 31st at noon -11th Annual “Witness for the People” in the rotunda of State Capitol in Santa Fe.  This event is organized by Interfaith Worker Justice- NM as the People of Faith State of the State address.  Music will be provided by Paul and The Tone Daddies. Confirmed speakers include Archbishop John C. Wester; Lt. Governor Howie Morales;  Representative Angelica Rubio (sponsor of House Memorial 5, entitled “Individuals Exposed to Radiation Support,” which urges the New Mexico Congressional delegation to pass the proposed amendments to the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)) ; Marian Naranjo, of Honor Our Pueblo Existence; Tina Cordova, of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, also known as the Trinity Downwinders; and Ken Mayers with Veterans for Peace.  For more information, please contact The Reverend Holly Beaumont at hbeaumont@iwj.org  http://nuclearactive.org/trinity-hiroshima-nagasaki-commemoration-events-in-nm/