Current Activities

Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Releases Its Health Impact Assessment Report about the 1945 Trinity Test at Three Public Meetings

After nearly 72 years since the 1945 Trinity atomic bomb test, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium has culled information from almost 800 health surveys filled out by individuals and families impacted by the radiation released by the test, and will release its Health Impact Assessment report at three public meetings, beginning on February 10th in Tularosa.  A Health Impact Assessment relies on various data sources, prioritizing stakeholder feedback, to demonstrate how a policy or program would impact the health of the affected communities and make recommendations to mitigate health risks within the decision-making processes.

The assessment focuses on the potential benefits of the proposed 2017 amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which includes the Trinity Downwinders as recipients of health care and $150,000 in compensation.  New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced the proposed amendments last week.

Senator Udall said, “Our bill is about fairness for the victims of the Trinity test site in New Mexico, the former uranium miners and their families in the Four Corners region, and other victims across the West who have been left out of the original law but deserve recognition and compensation for their hardships.”  Further, a national day of remembrance for those affected downwind from the aboveground nuclear weapons testing was declared for Friday, January 27, 2017.

No major health study by the U.S. government or other entity has ever been focused on the people living downwind and downstream of the world’s first atmospheric nuclear test.  The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium is the first group to complete a study and release it to the public.  The Health Impact Assessment focuses on the harm done in the downwind counties of Lincoln, Otero, Sierra, and Socorro.

Three public events will be held.  A light meal will be served at each event.  The first event will occur in Tularosa on Friday, February 10th at 6 pm at the Tularosa Community Center, 1050 Bookout Road.  The second event will occur in Socorro on Saturday, February 11th at noon at the Socorro Youth Center, 1002 Ake Boulevard.  The third event will occur in Albuquerque on Wednesday, February 15th at 6 pm at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center, 202 Harvard, Southeast.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, invites you to join the Consortium in the release of the Health Impact Assessment.  She said, “It has been a long time coming, but this Assessment is witness to what the people in the communities living adjacent to the Trinity test site have been living with for 72 years.  We have suffered for so long without any recognition for our sacrifices.  We still have work to do, but I am immensely proud of the Health Impact Assessment work and the report.”

The New Mexico Health Equity Partnership, an initiative of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, provided funding for the Health Impact Assessment.

A press advisory is available at  A copy of the report will be available on the website following the public release events.

To support the work of the Consortium, please download the attached sample public comment letter to Senator Crapo, the sponsor of Senate Bill 197 to amend RECA and newest member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and co-sponsors, Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich, about holding hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee at the earliest possible date.  RECA_Senate_Ltr_020317


EPA Reaches Informal Resolution of 14-Year-Old Civil Rights Complaint Against NMED

Sample Public Comment Available Here to Ask for Extension of Time Following the Translation of Vital Documents into Spanish

On January 19th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department signed an informal agreement resolving a civil rights complaint that was originally filed 14 years ago.  When the Environment Department issued the 2002 hazardous waste permit for Triassic Park, a dump east of Roswell, 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.  It alleged violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act based on race and national origin, and that in permitting Triassic Park the Environment 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 has a statewide pattern and practice of similar discriminatory permitting and lack of access for limited-English proficient residents to the public participation and permitting process.”

Because the Department receives EPA funding, it is subject to anti-discrimination laws and regulations.

Deborah Reade, CARD’s longtime Research Director and one of the authors of the complaint, described the permitting process, stating, “People who would be directly affected by a hazardous waste dump simply weren’t being involved in the discussion of whether Triassic Park should or should not be built.”

Following the 2002 public hearing, the Department issued a ten-year permit for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste to Gandy-Marley, Inc.  The 480-acre facility was never built.

In 2011, Gandy-Marley submitted the first of several permit renewal applications and NMED issued a draft permit in June of 2016.  Extended several times, the public comment period ended on January 20th, the day following the signing of the agreement requiring the Department to improve its work with impacted communities.  Such work includes creating a public participation policy; employee training in non-discrimination throughout all of the Department’s programs; implementation of written procedures to provide meaningful access to limited-English proficient individuals; and translation of vital documents to make them accessible to all affected communities. Despite timely requests for an extension of time to submit public comments following the translation of vital documents into Spanish, the Department has yet to agree to reopen the public comment period.  TO SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME, PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE SAMPLE PUBLIC COMMENT LETTER HERE. f Triassic Park comment 1-26-17

Noel Marquez, of Communities for Environmental Justice, said, “At a minimum, we would like to see a successful effort by [the Department] to publicly inform our communities about the nature of the Triassic Park Dump, to reach all communities in a 60-mile radius of Triassic Park, in English and Spanish.”

CCNS reached out to both EPA and NMED for a comment, but did not receive anything for inclusion in this Update.

To learn more about the permitting history and the communities’ response, please search for Triassic Park on our website at


Public Comment about Proposed Expansion of Storage Capacity at WIPP due Friday, February 3rd

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, LLC, reopened the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) on Wednesday, January 4th with the disposal of two pallets of plutonium contaminated radioactive and hazardous waste that had been stored in the Waste Handling Building since 2014 into the underground salt mine.  Workers were required to wear personal protective equipment to protect them from radiation exposure.  An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Monday, January 9th with DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, as well as other dignitaries, who did not wear protective equipment when they descended into the uncontaminated areas of the dump.  WIPP was reopened following a truck fire and a radiation release that contaminated a large portion of the mine in February 2014.

Once all of the waste containers stored in the Waste Handling Building are disposed of, shipment from other DOE sites could begin.  It is anticipated that shipments from the Idaho National Laboratory would have priority because it has about 20,000 nuclear waste containers ready to go.

Activists question bringing shipments from other sites when necessary mine safety work is needed now.  The work includes installing roof bolts in the ceiling to keep it from falling; required improvements to the ventilation system, which will not be completed until at least 2021; and closing 60 percent of the contaminated areas where recently slabs of salt have fallen.

The current WIPP hazardous waste permit, issued by the New Mexico Environment Department, allows for storage of waste containers in the Waste Handling Building and the Parking Area for a maximum of 90 days.  [Correction:  Normal storage time limits at WIPP are 60 calendar days, not 90. See Sections CH TRU Mixed Waste Storage Time Limit; RH TRU Mixed Waste Storage Time Limit; and Storage Time Limit (Parking Area Unit).]  The permit also allows for “surge” storage of a third of the existing capacity., see Sections and  Despite the allowance for surge, WIPP had never used the surge storage until the February 2014 shutdown when the Waste Handling Building surge has been used.

Nevertheless, DOE recently requested permission from the Environment Department to expand operations by constructing a 65,280 cubic foot waste container storage unit on the surface at WIPP, next to the Waste Handling Building and Parking Area.  DOE’s proposal would expand surface storage ten times the volume currently allowed in the Waste Handling Building.

The proposed facility, called a Concrete Overpack Container Storage Unit, would store waste above ground for up to a year.  Unlike the current system where containers are delivered and disposed of, waste containers would be delivered, placed in the storage unit, removed from the storage unit, processed in the Waste Handling Building, and then disposed of.  Waste containers would be handled multiple times, increasing the likelihood of accidents and worker exposures.

Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, said, “The outside surface storage facility is contrary to the law and is unnecessary.  It’s important for people to tell the Environment Department to deny the surface storage permit request.”  NoSurfaceFacilityFactSheetrev3 

CCNS and our colleagues have prepared a sample comment letter for you to use, which is available at  WIPPSurfaceStorageComment011917 Simply copy the text from the PDF and paste into an email to the indicated recipient,, changing the highlighted portions to your relevant data (current date plus your name and email address)

Please submit those comments by February 3rd, 2017 at 5 pm Mountain Time to


Robert H. Gilkeson, Scientist, Whistleblower and Community Hero, Memorial Celebration on Sunday, January 15th

Please join CCNS, Citizen Action New Mexico and Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping as we celebrate the extraordinary life of Robert H. Gilkeson, an independent registered geologist, on Sunday, January 15 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center, 202 Harvard S.E., one block south of Central, in Albuquerque.  A simple meal will be served.

Bob was a wonderful friend, storyteller, educator, and advocate.  When he arrived in New Mexico from the University of Illinois Geological Survey, he worked for a contractor to the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in environmental cleanup and groundwater protection.  Through his work, Bob witnessed the attempts to mask the detection of radionuclides and other hazardous materials in the regional drinking water aquifer.  After leaving LANL in 1999, he worked as a private consultant in Arizona.  Upon completing his work there, he returned to New Mexico and learned that the masking had continued.

In 2004, Bob met with Joni Arends, of CCNS, to learn how he could assist CCNS for better cleanup of the over 18 million cubic feet of buried waste on the Pajarito Plateau, where LANL is located.  Bob worked pro bono on a number of issues, including the lack of proper monitoring of the chromium plume in the regional drinking water aquifer; documenting the migration of LANL contaminants to the Buckman Direct Diversion Project; and the increased seismic hazard on the Pajarito Plateau which challenged the proposed, and then defeated, $6 billion bomb factory, officially called the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project – Nuclear Facility.

Bob and CCNS presented their concerns about the increased seismic risk several times to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, an independent federal agency that oversees Department of Energy nuclear facilities.

Chuck Montano, a LANL whistleblower, author of Los Alamos:  Secret Colony, Hidden Truths – A Whistleblower’s Diary, and CCNS Board member, said, “Bob was an inspiration to me as a former lab employee and whistleblower.  His unwavering support for justice, in the face of his own struggles, is what I admired.”

Bob first met Dave McCoy of Citizen Action New Mexico in 2006 at a meeting in the New Mexico Environment Department.  Bob had analyzed the groundwater monitoring wells at Sandia Lab’s Mixed Waste Landfill and told the Environment Department they provided junk data. Bob would say, “Bad data is worse than no data at all,” because the wrong decisions are made.

Bob and Dave went through 20,000 pages of the administrative record for the dump and found that the regulators knew the groundwater monitoring wells were all defective.  After filing a complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy had to install four new monitoring wells at the dump.  Bob and Citizen Action produced a 300-page document regarding the defective groundwater monitoring network and advocated for excavation of the dump.  Bob and Citizen Action also were able to compel the installation of four new monitoring wells at the chemical waste landfill.

He worked to stop the federal government from leaving dangerous wastes in place that presently, and in the future, pollute the drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in New Mexico.

Bob was a hero in his persistent and thorough analysis of the law and technical issues.  In 2007, Bob was given the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Whistleblower Award for his work “protecting the public by exposing systemic problems with groundwater characterization wells at Los Alamos and Sandia Laboratories and blowing the whistle on the attempt to hide contamination in New Mexico’s regional aquifers.”

Please join us to honor Bob Gilkeson and to understand how we can carry on his work on Sunday evening from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center, 202 Harvard Southeast.


Memorial Celebration of Robert H. Gilkeson’s Life – A Community Hero

Please join us as we celebrate the extraordinary life of Robert H. Gilkeson, an independent registered geologist, on Sunday, January 15 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center, 202 Harvard S.E., one block south of Central, in Albuquerque.

He was a wonderful friend, storyteller, educator, and advocate.  Bob challenged Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base about their defective ground water monitoring for waste dumps containing radioactive, hazardous and toxic pollutants that are migrating to our drinking water supplies.  He worked to stop the federal government from leaving dangerous wastes in place that presently, and in the future, pollute the drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in New Mexico.

As an award-winning whistleblower about waste, fraud and abuse at these facilities, Bob was a hero in his persistent and thorough analysis of the law and technical issues.  He wrote and co-authored many reports with CCNS and Citizen Action New Mexico.  He raised public awareness about the seismic vulnerabilities on the Pajarito Plateau for plutonium bomb factories where LANL is located above the Rio Grande.

Let us take this time to honor him and to understand how we can carry on his work.  Join us to say together our last goodbyes to Bob.  A simple meal will be served.


Cease Fire Campaign Victory for Alternatives to Open Burning of Munitions and Hazardous Waste

The grassroots Cease Fire Campaign secured a powerful victory to protect the health of communities surrounding Department of Defense sites that use open burning as a disposal method for conventional munitions and hazardous waste last week when President Obama signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  The Act requires a National Academies of Science study and broadened the list of alternatives.  By 2020, it is estimated the U.S. will have 1.1 million tons of munitions in need of disposal.

Surrounding communities have found their air and drinking water contaminated with dioxins, furans, perchlorate, chlorinated solvents, and toxic heavy metals, including chromium, uranium, depleted uranium and lead, among other hazardous and toxic materials.  In order to provide alternatives technologies to open burning, the Act allows the Army to use cost-competitive technologies to “minimize waste generation and air emissions as alternatives to disposal by open burning, open detonation, direct contact combustion, and incineration.”, p. 74.

Craig Williams, program director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, a member group of the Cease Fire Campaign, calls open burning “a very primitive and dangerous practice.”  Open burning is similar to using a backyard burn barrel when it is filled with trash and lit on fire.  The smoke and ash can contain hazardous pollutants, including particulate matter, mercury, and arsenic.

In the 1970s, the federal government prohibited open burning of hazardous waste, except for waste explosives.  The military and national laboratories argued that there were no alternatives and requested the exemption.  Nevertheless, alternatives are available, such as confined burn facilities, detonation chambers, gas phase reduction, and a process using water, high pressure and temperature, called supercritical water oxidization.

As a result of the Campaign’s work, the Act also requires the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of alternatives to open burning, with a report due to Congress in 18 months., p. 571.

Munitions include small arms cartridges, mortars, artillery shells, rockets, tactical missiles, propellants and other wastes.  In New Mexico, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories use open burning for disposal of explosives and hazardous wastes contaminated by explosives.  At LANL, a 1981 memo reveals that up to 136,000 pounds of waste explosives a year were disposed of by open burning., p. 19-10.

The Cease Fire Campaign, a project of the Wisconsin-based Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, works to ensure the safe disposal of the conventional munitions stockpile and other hazardous waste.  Sixty environmental, labor, veterans and social justice organizations, including CCNS, are part of the nationwide Campaign.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “The National Academy of Sciences report will support our campaign to protect downwind and downstream communities from open burning at LANL.”


CCNS End Of Year Appeal – Help Us Let There Be Peace On Earth

December 30, 2016

Dear Friends of CCNS,

Your support will allow CCNS to continue to defeat Department of Energy (DOE) plans to expand production of the plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) – up to 450 triggers per year.  LANL is the only production facility in the country.  The Bush II administration tried three times to expand production and was defeated by the Peoples of New Mexico.  We’re going to have to do it again.  CCNS leadership will be essential to defeat the new administration’s plans.

CCNS will also continue to:

  1. Bring light to the harm done to the Trinity Downwinders by working with the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium to finalize the Health Impact Assessment for the Downwinders of the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity Site in south central New Mexico on July 16, 1945. We will continue to push for congressional passage of amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include the Trinity Downwinders, the Post-71 Uranium Miners and all New Mexicans;
  1. Protect surface and ground water from LANL pollutants by continuing to take the lead with the Communities for Clean Water to challenge four ground water discharge permits for LANL, issued by the New Mexico Environment Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that allow for the discharge of tens of thousands of gallons per day into the canyons that flow to the Rio Grande and seep into the regional drinking water aquifer; and
  1. Oppose domestic and foreign hazardous waste disposal at the proposed Triassic Park site (east of Roswell) by working with Deborah Reade and Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping (CARD) to keep you and the media informed and to issue Action Alerts.

We will continue to keep you informed through the CCNS Media Network with the CCNS News Update, which is posted on Fridays to our website at, Facebook and Twitter and emailed out to our extensive list – which we never share.

These are long-term struggles and we’ll need to be as creative as possible to re-engage the process.  Please share our emails with friends and family and encourage them to participate.

To make your tax-deductible contribution, just click the DONATE button on the top right for a one-time donation, or the SUBSCRIBE button to make a recurring monthly donation.

Thank you for your support over the past 29 years!  Together we are making a difference!

CCNS Board and Staff



Rapid Seven-Fold “Never Been Observed at WIPP” Increases in Salt Convergence in Panel 7 Where Waste Is Planned for Disposal

From October 24th through October 31st, 2016, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) conducted a special inspection of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and found rapid seven-fold increases in the convergence rate of the Panel 7 salt formation where the Department of Energy (DOE) plans to dispose of radioactive and hazardous waste when reopening the dump in early January.  MSHA_Technical_Support_Evaluation   Other evidence of changing conditions in the WIPP underground include the increasing number of salt falls from the mine ceiling – four in the last two years – in January 2015 and September, October and November, 2016.

Convergence happens throughout the mine, on the floor, walls and ceiling.  Miners use ground control tools, such as roof bolts, and shaving the walls and floors, to address convergence.  Between September 2014 and October 2016, MSHA identified 34 ground control deficiencies. In early December, MSHA cited five additional ground control violations, four of which remain unresolved.

WIPP is located 2,150 below the surface.  Salt “creeps” around the waste containers and encases them.  In September, MSHA inspectors found recent evidence of accelerated creep in Panel 7, Room 4 in excess of 10 inches per year; double the steady rate.  They report, “A subsequent reading just days later indicated that the rates had increased to about 36 inches per year at these two [monitoring] stations, and to 25 inches per year at the third.  Such a rapid increase in convergence had never before been observed at WIPP.”  MSHA_Technical_Support_Evaluation at p. 14.

After that inspection, a massive 200-foot long salt slab collapsed from the roof in Room 4.  Miners who were there just 20 minutes earlier, heard the fall, observed the dust storm, and were evacuated.  MSHA reports, “Just 5 days before the collapse Technical Support’s visual inspection did not indicate that a failure was imminent.  The convergence monitoring, on the other hand, gave about a month’s warning.”  MSHA_Technical_Support_Evaluation at p. 17.

Even though remote convergence monitoring is used in other mines, WIPP miners manually take measurements at stations located approximately 75 feet apart throughout the underground.  MSHA recommended that WIPP install a readily available, real-time, remote monitoring system, which “could have provided an accurate estimate of time of the impending collapse, so that the miners could have been withdrawn.”  MSHA_Technical_Support_Evaluation at p. 20.

MSHA inspectors met with underground miners about their ground control concerns.  One miner said, “The ground control program is now ‘running around putting out fires,’ when roof support used to be more systematic.”  Another said, “The ground in the underground is not waiting on us.  Time is not on our side.”  Another recommended, “We should secure the rooms that we can, and then move on.  We should not try to save everything.”  MSHA_Technical_Support_Evaluation at p. 18. 

WIPP, the world’s only disposal site for waste generated by the research, development and manufacture of nuclear weapons, has been closed for almost three years, since February 2014, when poor maintenance resulted in a truck fire in the underground mine.  A few days later, one or more waste containers exploded in Panel 7, contaminating 22 workers, the public, and the underground mine.  Late last week, DOE gave itself permission to begin emplacing waste again in January.

The December 1st MSHA inspection report was released by DOE on Friday, December 23rd following the filing of a Freedom of Information Act appeal to the DOE Office of Hearing and Appeals by Citizen Action New Mexico and CCNS about the non-release of critical safety documents, including the MSHA inspection report.  For more information, please see last week’s Update at

The public release of the MSHA report reveals that significant infrastructure problems remain in the WIPP underground despite DOE’s premature plans to reopen WIPP for waste disposal in January.  The Conclusions and Recommendations section of the MSHA report warns that “[t]he impending resumption of waste handling activities could negatively impact the resources available for ground control.”  MSHA_Technical_Support_Evaluation at p. 20.


DOE Denies Expedited FOIA Request by Citizen Action NM and CCNS for Critical WIPP Documents – Citizen Action NM and CCNS Appeal Denial

With grave public health and environmental concerns about the potential reopening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) before the end of the year, on December 10, 2016 two non-profit organizations, Citizen Action New Mexico and CCNS, filed an expedited Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Energy (DOE) for key documents, including the recently finalized 350-page Operational Readiness Review.  FOIA_WIPP_Emergency_Release_Dec10 DOE is required to respond within 10 days to an expedited FOIA request.  DOE denied the request because “no one will die tomorrow.”  DOE-Response-to-Expedited-FOIA-12-16-16

On December 21st, at the invitation of the DOE FOIA Office, Dave McCoy of Citizen Action, Joni Arends of CCNS, and Don Hancock of Southwest Research and Information Center participated in a conference call about “narrowing” the information request.  They argued the FOIA should be expedited because of the existing imminent and substantial endangerment to workers, the public and the environment from hazardous conditions in the WIPP underground, citing the November 3rd roof fall of a 200-foot long slab of salt in the panel where DOE plans to begin waste emplacement.  Workers were evacuated.

DOE responded that the groups could appeal the denial to the DOE Office of Hearings and Appeal.

Nevertheless, despite assurances that the operational readiness review would be publicly released on December 12th, it was not.  On December 15th, the DOE team leader provided a powerpoint summary of it at the WIPP Town Hall meeting.  View the Town Hall at

DOE describes readiness reviews for nuclear facilities as providing “an independent verification of readiness to start or restart operations.”  See DOE Order 425.1D.  The review team, composed of DOE officials from Hanford, Idaho, Oak Ridge, Savannah River, and DOE Headquarters, found 21 items that must be corrected prior to the proposed reopening and 15 items that may be corrected after reopening.  “Impact on safety” is the DOE’s criteria to determine what distinguishes prestart items from post-start items.

During the Town Hall, Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, asked how ceiling collapses would be avoided when waste emplacement begins and continues for three years.  The question was not answered.

When asked whether Nuclear Waste Partnership, the management contractor and operator at WIPP, would receive a bonus if a container of waste was emplaced in the WIPP underground before the end of the year, Phil Breidenbach, President and Project Manager of Nuclear Waste Partnership, responded, “No.”  However, the Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (PEMP) clearly states that Nuclear Waste Partnership would receive a $2.1 million bonus.  See Metric/Milestone 1 on p. 12 of the FY 17 PEMP at – correction made 12/28/16 from Metric/Milestone 1 on p. 13 at

Quietly, on Friday, December 16th, the New Mexico Environment Department approved the “resumption of normal operating status at WIPP.”

CCNS and others argue that “normal operating status” no longer exists at WIPP because it is not the facility originally permitted by the Environment Department in 1999.  It is now a contaminated site with inadequate ventilation requiring workers to wear personnel protective equipment, including respirators.

Dave McCoy, of Citizen Action New Mexico, stated, “The Department of Energy is keeping critical safety documents secret that may challenge an overly hasty resumption of WIPP operations.  WIPP had a fire, an explosion with radiation exposure of 22 workers and the public, roof collapses, evacuations, and lacks medical and radiological response staffing.  Workers and the taxpayer deserve safety.”

On December 22, 2016, Citizen Action and CCNS appealed the denial of the expedited FOIA request. CANM-CCNS-OHA-WIPP-Appeal-12-22-16


Urge President Obama to Declare a “No-First-Use Policy” and Remove U.S. Nuclear Missiles from “Hair Trigger Alert”


Despite promises made during their presidential campaigns, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama took U.S. land-based nuclear weapons off hair trigger alert.  With the possibility of a Trump presidency, there are two executive actions President Obama could take to reduce the risks of nuclear war.  Currently, U.S. nuclear weapons are on “hair trigger alert” and ready to launch 24/7.  President Obama could put them in maintenance mode that would provide additional time for information to be compiled before the president, as the sole decider, could launch nuclear weapons in retaliation to a nuclear attack.  He could also declare that the U.S. would never again be the first to use nuclear weapons, as the U.S. did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of World War II.

It is time for President Obama to fulfill his campaign promise and the promises he made in 2008 in Prague to reduce the nuclear danger.  He said then, “As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act.  We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.  So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

There are approximately 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world and between the U.S. and Russia about 1,800 remain on hair trigger alert.  Currently, U.S. nuclear weapons may be launched through a “triad” of submarines, bombers, and land-based missiles, such as the Minuteman IIIs.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “We will state the obvious – a President Trump with the nuclear codes scares the bejeebers out of us.  President Obama has the executive power to declare an official U.S. no-first-use policy and to remove 450 land-based nuclear weapons from hair trigger alert.”

She continued, “During this time of giving, please take a few minutes to urge President Obama to reduce the threat of nuclear war.  Two non-governmental organizations, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility, have campaigns to assist you.  Children and future generations thank you for taking action today.”   1334830940223

The Union of Concerned Scientists promotes “science for a healthy planet and safer world.”  It has extensive materials on its website about taking nuclear weapons off hair trigger alert, including a short animated video and an on-line letter. and

Founded in 1961, the Physicians for Social Responsibility documented radioactive strontium-90 from above-ground testing of nuclear weapons in baby teeth.  It has extensive materials on its website about no-first-use of nuclear weapons and the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. and