Current Activities

Stop Expansion of WIPP for an Above Ground Storage Facility

The Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing to expand the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) again.  This time, to build and operate an above ground storage facility to increase storage capacity by seven times and expand storage time to one year or more.  Five acres would require fencing on WIPP’s southern side.

DOE argues that the storage pad is needed “to improve transuranic[, or TRU,] waste shipping throughout the DOE complex and the WIPP disposal process efficiency by adding the capability to temporarily store TRU mixed waste above ground in concrete overpack containers at the WIPP site.”

Currently DOE has five other expansion proposals.  These include disposal of “surplus” plutonium from nuclear weapons; disposal of high-level waste from the Hanford and Savannah River sites; disposal of commercial “Greater Than Class C” radioactive waste; disposal of commercial waste from West Valley, New York; and the storage of elemental mercury.

Nevertheless, DOE recently proposed more expansion, including the installation of a fifth vertical shaft; expanding the underground footprint; and changing the waste calculation for disposed waste.

On December 15th, DOE released a draft environmental assessment about the storage proposal for public review and comment.  But the assessment does not meet the basic requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments are now due to DOE on Monday, January 29th.  CCNS and Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) have prepared sample public comments you can use to express your concerns about the proposal*** WIPP Expansion Public Comment 1-26-18

None of the historic legal documents about WIPP included a proposal to store such a huge volume of waste above ground.  For instance, the 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act stated the 16-square miles could be used for the “construction, experimentation, operation, repair and maintenance, disposal, shutdown, monitoring, decommissioning, and other authorized activities associated with the purposes of WIPP.”  There was no provision for long-term, above-ground storage.

The proposal must be abandoned.  In the alternative, a supplemental WIPP environmental impact statement is required.

DOE describes the operations as plutonium-contaminated radioactive and hazardous waste would be shipped to WIPP in the TRUPACT-II and HalfPACT shipping containers as it has been since March 26, 1999.  The waste would then be transferred into one of 408 concrete overpack containers and stored on the storage pad for up to one year or longer, since it could stay on the surface.  If approved, the expansion would result in an additional 65,280 cubic feet of waste stored above ground.

Don Hancock, of SRIC, said, “DOE should stop wasting taxpayer dollars on an illegal storage pad and other expansion ideas and focus on safe operations of the site.”

***The file is in PDF format. Simply click on the link, select and copy all the text and paste it into an email addressed to: Then fill in your name at the end after the closing “Sincerely,”


DOE Official Admits Funding Drives LANL Cleanup

At a public meeting on Wednesday, a legacy waste cleanup program manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) resolved a long-time question:  Does funding drive cleanup, or does cleanup priorities drive funding?  Doug Hintze, a Department of Energy (DOE) manager in the LANL Environmental Management Program, admitted that funding drives cleanup.

After the admission, there were many questions about the funding mechanisms for LANL cleanup.  Hintze explained DOE’s complicated three-year budget cycle.  He explained that LANL will soon submit its 2020 proposed budget to DOE, while at the same time LANL is waiting to learn the amount of funding it will receive from Congress through a continuing resolution.

Wednesday’s meeting was held by the New Mexico Environment Department, as required by Section VIII of the 2016 Consent Order, which superseded the 2005 Consent Order for LANL cleanup.  The DOE Environmental Management, Los Alamos Office, made two presentations to a crowd of approximately 50 at the new Los Alamos County Council Chambers.

Hintze presented information about the current cleanup budget of approximately $190 million.  He explained that if a new well is needed to, for example, explore contamination, funding will be diverted from other priorities.  As a result, the end date for the Consent Order would be extended beyond the 2035 deadline.  EMLA LCC Update AppB Meeting 1_16_18

Arturo Duran, a LANL Compliance and Permitting Manager, also with the DOE Environmental Management Office, gave a detailed presentation about what work was completed during fiscal year 2017, a period between October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. Duran 2016 Consent Order 1-16-18

Duran also presented the fiscal year 2018 cleanup work that has been prioritized by the Environment Department, DOE, and LANL, and the future work targeted for fiscal years 2019 and 2020.  Seventeen campaigns have been identified in the 2016 Consent Order.  See Appendix B “Milestones and Targets” to the Consent Order.

For fiscal year 2018, the number one campaign is the chromium plume in the regional drinking water aquifer below Mortandad Canyon, which borders Pueblo de San Ildefonso.  The number two priority is the RDX high explosive plume in the deep perched aquifer below Water Canyon, near the Bandelier National Monument.  Other campaigns include the submittal of the annual ground water and soil and sediment reports to the Environment Department.  

Staff from the new cleanup contractor, Newport News Nuclear BWXT – Los Alamos, LLC, were in the audience “to get the lay of the land.”  They are putting together a public meeting in Los Alamos for early February to introduce themselves to the community.  Upon learning about that meeting, CCNS’s Joni Arends suggested that they also set up meetings to introduce themselves in downwind and downstream communities, such as Taos, Española, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.

DOE awarded the legacy waste contract to Newport News Nuclear in December.  It has a total value of $1.4 billion for a performance period of ten years.


Discriminatory Public Process Continues for WCS Ground Water Discharge Permit

Nearly one year ago, the New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed an agreement to resolve a discrimination complaint filed in 2002 following the Triassic Park hazardous waste permit proceeding. EPA_FINALResolutionLetterandAgreement_TriassicPark_Complainant_011917

After the Environment Department issued the permit, Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping (CARD), the Water Information Network, Conservative Use of Resources and the Environment (CURE), and two individuals filed the complaint with the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights.

They alleged discrimination under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Further, they alleged that in permitting Triassic Park, the Department “failed to require or perform a scientific investigation into possible disparate impacts; failed to ensure that limited-English proficient Spanish speaking residents were provided a meaningful opportunity for effective public participation in the permitting process;” and that there is a “statewide pattern and practice of similar discrimination in permitting” and in public participation processes throughout New Mexico.

Triassic Park is a proposed hazardous waste dump located east of Roswell.

The Department has implemented some provisions of the Informal Resolution Agreement.  Nevertheless, since signing the Agreement, it has proceeded with over 200 public processes without meeting the public participation requirements.

For example, the Department agreed to create a plan that would be implemented each and every time a public participation process is triggered.  The Agreement requires the Department to create detailed and comprehensive plans for action and outreach to address a potentially impacted community’s needs and concerns; and to describe the community, including its background, history, and demographics.  It requires the Department to create outreach materials, including contact lists of agency officials and local media so that the public may communicate directly with them; a contingency plan for unexpected events; and a list of places where public meetings may be held.  Further, a list of providers for limited-English proficient persons to utilize for translation of documents and to serve as interpreters at meetings; and a physical location where regulatory documents are readily available for review must be provided.

Other uncompleted plans include providing access to the public participation process for persons with limited-English proficiency and those with disabilities, and a plan to train all Environment Department personnel in non-discrimination.

The delays in creating these plans is felt by communities threatened with polluting facilities, such as, the draft ground water discharge permit for Waste Control Specialists, Inc.  The draft permit requires WCS, a limited liability corporation, to monitor the potential discharge into New Mexico from a theoretical maximum of 170,500,000-gallons per day from a 100-year storm from the 14,900-acre radioactive and hazardous waste storage and disposal facility located just over the border in Texas.  WCS operations span the Texas-New Mexico border.  The state line is five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico.

Similar to the Triassic Park permitting process, the potentially impacted communities are located southeastern New Mexico, where Spanish is the dominant language.  Only the public notice that a draft permit is available for review and comment has been translated into Spanish.

The fourth draft permit was released in November, with public comments due before midnight on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 to  Even so, key documents that were submitted by the public and WCS have not been entered into the index.  The last entries were made nearly a year ago.

The Environment Department is urged, yet again, to stop this comment period until the required plans under the Informal Resolution Agreement have been finalized and all requirements have been met.

For more information and to download the draft permit, please go to the New Mexico Environment Department, Ground Water Quality Bureau at  The Spanish version of the public notice is available at

CCNS has prepared sample public comments that you can use to submit your own comments.  They focus on the discriminatory nature of this permitting process.  f_WCS_sample_public_comment_011218


New Mexico Court of Appeals Upholds Need for Public Hearing about LANL Discharge Permit

Raising concerns about a permit that would allow 350,000 gallons per day of treated chromium plume water to be land applied in or near the floodplains of Mortandad Canyon at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the Communities for Clean Water formally requested three times that a public hearing be held.  Despite their requests to the New Mexico Environment Department for a public hearing to present testimony about alternative uses of the water and other issues, the Environment Department Secretary, Ryan Flynn, denied the requests.

In 2015, the Communities for Clean Water (CCW) appealed Flynn’s decision to the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission.  The Commission is a state body with members from the State Engineer and Interstate Stream Commission, and a broad range of departments, such as Health, Game and Fish, and Agriculture.  Generally, the Environment Department Secretary serves as commission chair.  Ultimately, the Commission agreed with Flynn’s decision to deny CCW a public hearing.  CCW appealed the decision to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Last week the Court of Appeals issued its decision and agreed with CCW that a public hearing should be held.  The Court faulted the Commission for acting “arbitrarily and capriciously” in deciding that CCW’s request did not represent “a substantial public interest.”  In fact, the Court stressed that CCW had repeatedly laid out its case for a public hearing and both LANL and the Environment Department had indicated the importance of the permit.  CCW v. WQCC A-1-CA-35253 Opinion 12-27-17

Jaimie Park, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, represented CCW before the Commission and the Court of Appeals.

CCW formally came together in 2006.  It is a coalition of six organizations comprised of Amigos Bravos, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, the New Mexico Acequia Association, the Partnership for Earth Spirituality, and Tewa Women United.  CCW brings together the separate organizations to have a collective and powerful impact to protect and restore water quality downstream and downwind of LANL.

Kathy Sanchez, Founder and Program Manager for Environmental Health and Justice at Tewa Women United, said, “As a Native woman trying to make sense of these procedures, the time and resources it takes can be overwhelming.  I’m delighted that the Court of Appeals sees the need for local communities that are highly impacted by toxic pollutants to have an opportunity to present their local expertise. We’ve waited a long time to have a hearing that can hold the Lab and the Environment Department accountable.”

On Tuesday, January 9th, the Water Quality Control Commission will meet in a closed executive session to discuss the court’s decision and next steps.  WQCC draft 1-9-18 Agenda

Additional References

CCW’s three sets of public comments:  f CCW DP-1793 Comments 3-2-15f CCW DP-1793 Comments 4-29-15f CCW DP-1793 Comments 6-15-15

NMED’s final Ground Water Discharge Permit DP-1793: ATT00104


WCS and Holtec Submit Incomplete Applications to NRC

When Holtec International prepared its application for a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license to construct and operate a surface storage facility for high-level radioactive waste in southeastern New Mexico, it had a model to use.  That model was the license application submitted by Waste Control Specialists (WCS) a year earlier to construct and operate a similar facility at its low-level radioactive and hazardous materials waste dump on the New Mexico – Texas border, five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico.  In addition, Holtec had the NRC’s request to WCS for supplemental information about their inadequate license application.  Even so, in October, in response to NRC’s request for supplemental information about its likewise inadequate application, Holtec submitted more than 2,400 pages that were recently posted to the NRC’s website.  Holtec is submitting additional information.

The NRC raised many of the same concerns for both applications.  WCS asked the NRC to put its application on hold because of opposition and possible bankruptcy.  NRC likely will accept the Holtec application, at which time there will be at least one public meeting.

In New Mexico, Holtec proposes a surface facility, located on 1,000 acres halfway between Hobbs and Carlsbad, for all of the U.S. commercial spent fuel.

The license application process is proscriptive and the applicants must meet not only the NRC’s regulations, but also federal regulations for nuclear facilities.  The requirements include safe construction and operation; environmental protections; worker and public health protections; a radiation protection program; limits on worker exposure; transportation; procedures for taking samples of the waste containers to make sure they did not leak during transport; prevention of releases to water, air, and soil; responses to accidents and fires; and closure of the facility when it may be filled.

Nevertheless, Holtec’s original application omitted key information, including the gas, oil, and potash extraction activities in the area, the resulting subsidence, and the hazards associated with a nearby oil recovery facility.  Holtec also omitted a hazard assessment about military, commercial and civilian air traffic above the site, including flights carrying hazardous cargo; assessment of corrosion of natural gas pipelines and potential explosions on and surrounding the site; and fully documenting nearby water bodies – streams, playa lakes and ephemeral drainages.  Holtec did not include key figures and diagrams showing the site location; surface features; natural gas pipelines; and the maximum flood water level from a 7 1/2-inch monsoon.

Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, called the WCS and Holtec applications “sloppy.”  He added, “The waste should stay at or near the reactors.  The WCS and Holtec sites are unnecessary, dangerous, and costly.  People should strongly oppose them.”


Report from December 9th Summit to Halt High-Level Radioactive Waste Dumping in New Mexico and west Texas

(Lisa Dunlap Photo)

To see what “diversity” and “multiculturalism” are in action you should have attended the High-Level Radioactive Waste Summit on December 9, 2017 in Roswell, organized by the Alliance for Environmental Strategies and the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, or SEED Coalition.

Eddy and Lea Counties in New Mexico and Andrews County in Texas are targeted for storage of the nation’s most dangerous nuclear reactor waste for forty years or more, which could lead to dangerous de facto permanent dumps.  Importing high-level radioactive waste to New Mexico and Texas would put millions of people at risk for financial and health impacts from potential accidents or incidents on rail, barges and/or highways. 

In New Mexico, Holtec International proposes a consolidated interim storage facility, located on 1,000 acres halfway between Hobbs and Carlsbad.  In Texas, Waste Control Specialists (WCS) proposes the same for its existing low-level radioactive and hazardous waste dump on the Texas – New Mexico border, five miles east of Eunice.

Both entities have submitted license applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  The WCS application has been put on hold due to litigation and possible bankruptcy.  The Holtec application is under review.  Once the NRC accepts it, the agency will hold at least one public meeting.

The Alliance for Environmental Strategies, based in Artesia, opposes plans to store and/or dispose of all of the commercial high-level radioactive waste in either southeastern New Mexico or west Texas.  The Summit included discussions about the upcoming NRC public meetings and various ways to oppose the dumps.

Forty people, representing 22 groups, attended the Summit.  New Mexico attendees were from Roswell, Artesia, Eunice, Hobbs, Nara Visa, Pueblo of Acoma, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe.  UNM students in Eileen Shaughnessy’s Nuclear New Mexico course, as well as students from the Nuclear Issues Study Group that organized the recent three-day Dismantling the Nuclear Beast Symposium, attended.  Out of state attendees were from Fort Worth, Austin, and Tacoma Park, Maryland.

Rose Gardner, of Eunice, has been opposing nuclear and radioactive industry projects since 2003.  She began by opposing the uranium enrichment facility in Eunice.

The tax giveaways and an $1.5 billion industrial revenue bond caused regional economic problems that have not been solved.  Eunice was required to pay the unpaid gross receipt taxes back to New Mexico, which impacted jobs in public service and education.

Gardner is also concerned about the transportation of high-level radioactive waste.  She said, “My family is driving up these roads every day.  To me, it is a danger to the entire area.”

Ed and Patty Hughs, of Nara Visa, gave a presentation about how their community came together earlier this year to successfully stop the Department of Energy’s plans to drill exploratory boreholes for radioactive waste.

Activists involved in similar fights highlighted the proposed facilities that were stopped by community action.  These include Ward Valley in California, Sierra Blanca in Texas, Skull Valley in Utah, and Mescalero Apache in New Mexico.

For more information and to get involved, please visit or contact Noel Marquez at


Report from the Dismantling the Nuclear Beast Symposium

Kay Matthews, editor and writer for La Jicarita, an online magazine of environmental politics in New Mexico, reported on the excellent Dismantling the Nuclear Beast Symposium, held from December 1st through 3rd at the University of New Mexico campus.  Her article is provided below:

Dismantling the Nuclear Beast


To see what “diversity” and “multiculturalism” are in action you should have attended the “Dismantling the Nuclear Beast Symposium” at the University of New Mexico last weekend. When I walked into the conference room on Saturday the attendees introducing themselves ranged from the Navajo Nation, Jemez Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, Alaska, Utah, Arizona, Española, California, Tularosa, Albuquerque, White Mountain (Ute Mountain Utes), Santa Clara Pueblo, Isleta Pueblo, and Taos. They represent organizations that are fighting to dismantle the nuclear beast from uranium mining and enrichment to weapons production and nuclear waste storage: The Nuclear Issues Study Group; Diné No Nukes; Citizen Action New Mexico; Laguna/Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment; Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety; Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment; Tewa Women United; Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium; Alliance for Environmental Strategies; Haul No!; and Southwest Research and Information Center.

The mining and milling of uranium has hit New Mexico particularly hard. Along what is referred to as the Grants mineral belt and on the Navajo Reservation are the remnants of underground such as La Jara Mesa, Roca Honda Mine, Mount Taylor Mine, Marquez Canyon Mine, four proposed surface mines in the Churchrock/Crown Point area, and 13 abandoned mines within a five mile radius of Churchrock. The open pit Jackpile Mine at Paguate, on Laguna Pueblo, sends radioactive dust into the air, and the former mill sites of Ambrosia Lake, Kerrmac, and Homestake near Milan have contaminated the groundwater and plumes are heading towards Grants and Bluewater. On July 16, 1979, 14 weeks after the Three Mile Island radiation release, the Church Rock uranium mill tailings disposal pond breached its dam and 1,100 tons of radioactive mill waste and approximately 93 million gallons of mine effluent flowed into the Rio Puerco, through the town of Gallup, and into Arizona. The contaminated water left residues of radioactive uranium, thorium, radium, and polonium, as well as traces of metals such as cadmium, aluminum, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, sodium, vanadium, zinc, iron, lead and high concentrations of sulfates.

A precipitous drop in uranium prices in the 1980s squelched the mining and milling boom that created this development, but the panelists at the Saturday morning symposium are still dealing with its residue and anticipating its possible rebirth if the price of uranium once again increases. Klee Benally, a Diné activist who lives in Flagstaff, told the audience that 10 million people live in close proximity to abandoned uranium mines that have yet to be cleaned up; 3,272 of those mines are located in five western states. Because uranium is classified a “hard rock” mineral, it falls under the auspices of the 1872 General Mining Act that allows mining companies to avoid responsibility for clean-up (several bills to reform the Mining Act were introduced in the 2000s but were defeated by the mining lobby).

Chris Shuey of the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) explained that the Superfund program is the only law with oversight over these clean-up sites and it’s sorely inadequate; only the Environmental Protection Agency and the corporations responsible for the contamination have a seat at the table to determine the clean-up operation. The billion dollars that has been spent on settlement negotiations has addressed only 40 percent of identified mines.

Yolanda Badback, of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe of Utah, lives in a community called White Mesa that lies five miles north of the White Mesa uranium mill, the only conventional uranium mill operating in the United States today. While the mill is currently undergoing a licensing renewal, there are plans to ship clean-up waste from mines and mills that are no longer in operation to the White Mesa mill. Badback wants the mine closed: her community has to drink bottled water because of aquifer contamination.

. . . . .

The afternoon panel consisted of activists who are engaged in the second phase of the nuclear beast: the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear waste storage. Beata Tsosie-Peña and Kathy Sanchez of Tewa Women United spoke about the impacts of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which sits on the Pajarito Plateau directly above their pueblos, on the environment, on their cultural connections, their art, and their personal lives. Myrriah Gomez, who is a UNM professor in the Honors College, spoke of her grandparents, who were part of the homesteaders community on the Pajarito Plateau forcibly removed when the Army took over the area to establish the Lab during World War II. Born and raised in El Rancho, where her family relocated, Gomez now works with both Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS), and the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.

These two groups are led by powerful New Mexico women, Joni Arends and Tina Córdova. Córdova, born and raised in the small Hispano village of Tularosa, founded the Consortium in 2005 to force the U.S. government to acknowledge the impact on downwinders of the first nuclear blast test detonation at the Trinity Site near Tularosa in 1945. These “unknowing, unwilling, uncompensated, innocent victims” have suffered debilitating health defects from the radioactivity released during the bomb test. Her group has been pushing for a bill in Congress to include the Tularosa Downwinders in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) that covers uranium miners and workers exposed to atmospheric nuclear testing (according to Córdova, $2 billion has thus far been paid in compensation). The bill has been held up in Congress for seven years, and a recent hearing on the bill was postponed.

. . . . .

Joni Arends has been demanding accountability at LANL for 30 years as an opponent of the Waste Isolation Pilot Program and director of CCNS. More than 21 million cubic feet of toxic waste has been buried at LANL since 1943. Joni has done the due diligence necessary to monitor the Lab’s adherence to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that deals with the disposal of hazardous waste at LANL. Numerous violations have occurred over the years: monitoring wells designed to measure underground contamination were inadequately designed and built; chromium plumes extend from the Lab’s boundaries towards the Rio Grande. Since 2010 Joni has been working with Tina Córdova and the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium to prepare a Health Impact Assessment on the downwinders.

While the moderators of the symposium, Leona Morgan (Diné) and Eileen Shaughnessy (UNM professor), co-founders of the Nuclear Issues Study Group, stressed throughout the day that the gathering was not only a report on the history of the nuclear industry and the battles currently being waged to dismantle it, but also a pledge of resistance with innovative ideas on how to proceed. But the last panelist on Saturday’s schedule, Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, acknowledged the difficulties of this fight in his discussion of current political realities. LANL currently spends $1.7 billion dollars a year on nuclear weapons production; Sandia Laboratory in Albuquerque spends $1.8 billion. Kirtland Air Force Base stores 2,500 warheads on the outskirts of Albuquerque. The National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages all things nuclear under the Department of Energy, has requested a $10.2 billion budge for 2018. Our congressional delegation continues to support pit production (the plutonium core of a nuclear weapon) at LANL, development of the so-called smart weapons, the stockpile stewardship program—in other words, all things nuclear. In the meantime, poverty listings by state (including Washington D.C.) rank New anywhere from 47th to 51st.

. . . . .

Politically, our resistance has to debunk their rationale that these nuclear industries are the engines that drive the economy of New Mexico; all nuclear conductors should be fired and replaced with alternative energy drivers. A billion dollars spent on clean-up at both Labs and at Kirtland could provide thousands of jobs and perhaps save us from the chromium plume headed towards the Rio Grande, contamination from Sandia’s mixed waste landfill, and Kirtland’s jet fuel plume flowing beneath the streets of Albuquerque.

Signing the U.N Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons would be a huge step towards this goal. The indigenous people of the world, those who “have been most negatively impacted by nuclear colonialism,” are taking a leading role
in the work necessary to dismantle this nuclear beast. They are the resistance.

To view the Symposium’s presentations, go to

Speaker Photos by Robin Collier


ICAN Will Receive Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, December 10th

On Sunday, December 10th, the Norwegian Nobel Committee will award the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony will be streamed live on and  It will be held at the Oslo City Hall at 1 pm Central European Time, or 5 am Mountain Standard Time in New Mexico.

On October 6, 2017, the Committee announced the award.  It said ICAN “is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

ICAN responded by saying, “It is a great honour to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 in recognition of our role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This historic agreement, adopted on 7 July with the backing of 122 nations, offers a powerful, much-needed alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail and, indeed, are escalating.

“The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries. By harnessing the power of the people, we have worked to bring an end to the most destructive weapon ever created – the only weapon that poses an existential threat to all humanity.

“This prize is a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face of our earth.

“It is a tribute also to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the hibakusha – and victims of nuclear test explosions around the world, whose searing testimonies and unstinting advocacy were instrumental in securing this landmark agreement.

“The treaty categorically outlaws the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a clear pathway to their total elimination. It is a response to the ever-deepening concern of the international community that any use of nuclear weapons would inflict catastrophic, widespread and long-lasting harm on people and our living planet.

“We are proud to have played a major role its creation, including through advocacy and participation in diplomatic conferences, and we will work assiduously in coming years to ensure its full implementation. Any nation that seeks a more peaceful world, free from the nuclear menace, will sign and ratify this crucial accord without delay.

“The belief of some governments that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament. All nations should reject these weapons completely – before they are ever used again.

“This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror. The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.

“We applaud those nations that have already signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and we urge all others to follow their lead. It offers a pathway forward at a time of alarming crisis. Disarmament is not a pipe dream, but an urgent humanitarian necessity.”

ICAN concluded by saying, “We most humbly thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This award shines a needed light on the path the ban treaty provides towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Before it is too late, we must take that path.”

On Monday, December 11th, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo will host an event called “Across Dividing Lines.”  It will address indigenous rights within the context of social justice and environmental protection.  The forum will recognize the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  It will also recognize the 25th anniversary of Dr. Rigoberta Menchu Tum receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with indigenous peoples’ rights.  She will give the keynote about the state of affairs of indigenous peoples in the world, including resistance at Standing Rock and the Nussir copper mine in Norway.  It will be streamed live from 10 to 11:30 am Central European Time, or 2 to 3:30 am Mountain Standard Time, at and

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “CCNS appreciates and recognizes the leadership and diligent work ICAN provided to civil society and the United Nations for the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  We are grateful that the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded ICAN the Nobel Peace Prize.  We look forward to ratification of the treaty.  CCNS will do our part here in New Mexico to ensure the treaty becomes international law at the earliest possible date.”


Buckman Direct Diversion Board Mtg. Th., Dec. 7th at 4:15 pm – LANL Cleanup Efforts

Buckman Direct Diversion Board Meeting on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 4:15 PM

LANL Cleanup Efforts will be presented at Agenda Item No. 8 – see below…/upl…/2012/04/Dec-2b-agenda-OCR-1.pdf

The City of Santa Fe And Santa Fe County
Buckman Direct Diversion Board Meeting

4:15 PM









7. Monthly Update on BDD operations. (Michael Dozier)

8. Presentation on Los Alamos National Laboratory Clean Up Efforts. (Charles Vokes, Kyle Harwood and LANL) VERBAL

9. Status Update on Water Reuse Strategy, Planning and Implementation. (Kyle Harwood, Bill Schneider and Rick Carpenter)

10. Report from the Executive Director. (Charles Vokes) VERBAL


11. Request for approval of the 2018 Buckman Direct Diversion Board Meetings Calendar. (Stephanie Lopez)

12. Request for approval of the 2018 Fiscal Service and Audit Committee (FSAC) meetings calendar. (Christi Manzanares)


13. Request for approval of payment to the Bureau of Land Management in the amount of $74,565.65 for BDDB Right-of-Way rental fees. (Mackie Romero)

14. Request for approval to file an application to convert to perpetuity, the BLM Right-of-Way permits for the BDD Project. (Nancy Long)

15. Request for approval of Amendment No. 5 to the Professional Services Agreement with Alpha Southwest, Inc. for
the Raw Water Lift Station pump rebuild project for the amount of $120,000.00 exclusive of NMGRT. (Mackie Romero)

a. Request for approval of a Budget Amendment Resolution to authorize funds from the Major Repair and Replacement Fund to cover the cost of the project.



NEXT REGULAR MEETING: Thursday, January 4, 2018 @ 4:15pm


Executive Session

In accordance with the New Mexico Open Meetings Act
NMSA 1978, § 10-15-1 (H)(7), discussion regarding threatened or pending litigation in which the BDDB is, or may become, a participant, including without limitation: Discussion regarding Diversion Structure issues. (Nancy R. Long)

End of Executive Session



Safety Concerns Continue for New LANL TRU Waste Facility

Senior managers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) reduced the amount of plutonium-contaminated waste that could be stored at the new $97 million transuranic waste facility, or TRU Waste Facility, so that operations could begin.  They also prohibited the storage of pipe overpack containers holding very small plutonium particles that are easily inhaled if released into the environment.   And finally, they required that freezing problems with the fire suppression system be fixed before a total of 1,240 drums of plutonium-contaminated waste generated by nuclear weapons manufacturing may be stored there.  The stored waste is destined for disposal at the deep underground dump in southeastern New Mexico, called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Under Department of Energy (DOE) regulations, the new TRU Waste Facility has been determined to be a hazard category 2 nuclear facility.  The LANL contractors are required to perform a hazard analysis of the nuclear activities at the new facility.  After reviewing the processes, operations, or activities, they evaluated the consequences of an unmitigated release of radioactive, hazardous, and toxic materials into the environment.  An unmitigated release means there are no filters on any air exhaust shafts and no treatment of contaminated water.  The results of the hazards analysis revealed that the new TRU Waste Facility is a hazard category 2 nuclear facility, meaning that there is a potential for significant on-site consequences to workers and the public., p. 10.

In order to begin operations, some of the risks needed to be reduced.

A recent Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report detailed the compromise made by the Senior Review Board at LANL, which is comprised of senior National Nuclear Security Administration personnel and Los Alamos Field Office personnel from the National Nuclear Security Administration, to reduce the amount of waste stored at the facility, prohibit the storage of pipe overpack containers, and address potential fire accidents. 

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report reads,” The [Senior Review Board] concluded that this compromise provides adequate protection to the public while allowing ongoing nuclear operations to proceed as scheduled.”, p. 2.

Remarkably, not all of the members of the Safety Basis Review Team concurred with the final safety evaluation report.  The report continues, “It should be noted, however, that four out of the eleven members of the [Safety Basis Review Team] (as well as their direct supervisor) did not concur on the final [Safety Evaluation Report] approved by the [Senior Review Board].”  Id.

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board did commit to review the documented safety analysis addressing the prohibitions when it is released six months following the start of operations at the TRU Waste Facility, or in May 2018.  Id.

Safety basis is defined as “the documented safety analysis and hazard controls that provide reasonable assurance that a DOE nuclear facility can be operated safely in a manner that adequately protects workers, the public, and the environment.”  10 CFR § 830.3(a) – Nuclear Safety Management for DOE.