Mission

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Our mission is to protect all living beings and the environment from the effects of radioactive and other hazardous materials now and in the future.

P.O. Box 31147
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87594

Telephone: (505) 986-1973
Fax: (505) 986-0997
Email: ccns@nuclearactive.org

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Current Activities

Celebration in Los Alamos on First Anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Saturday, January 22, 2022, marks the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/  This landmark international treaty will be celebrated around the world, including in New Mexico.  You are invited to the celebration of the Treaty and the January 15th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, January 22nd from 1 to 3 pm at the Shelter on the south side of Ashley Pond in Los Alamos.   Bring signs and banners.  Dress for inclement weather:  wear layers, warm shoes and a hat, bring water and snacks.  Veterans for Peace https://www.facebook.com/santafeveteransforpeace , Nuclear Watch New Mexico https://nukewatch.org/ and CCNS http://nuclearactive.org/ are hosting the event.

The Treaty is already having an impact and that impact is growing.  Eight new countries have ratified the Treaty since its entry into force.  A total of 59 state parties have ratified the Treaty.  Eighty-six United Nations’ member states are signatories.  Over 500 cities around the world have shown their support, including 19 with populations of over one million and nine capital cities.  Over 2,000 parliamentarians and political leaders have signed a pledge to support the Treaty in their official capacity.

These accomplishments are significant and are the work of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of non-government organizations promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.  https://www.icanw.org/  The work continues. 

This week ICAN and PAX released a new report entitled, “Rejecting Risk:  101 policies against nuclear weapons,” in which they describe how the financial sector is helping to make everything associated with nuclear weapons unacceptable.  Because of the Treaty, financial institutions around the world are now implementing policies to end investments in companies involved in the development, testing, production and manufacture of nuclear weapons.  https://www.icanw.org/new_report_101_financial_institutions_have_restricted_investments_in_nuclear_weapons and https://paxforpeace.nl/

In order to help people learn more and get involved, organizations throughout the world are hosting informative virtual events.

On Friday, January 21st, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will release a new report entitled, “Nuclear weapons are banned:  What does this mean for Britain?” that was co-authored with the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy.  http://acronym.org.uk/  For more information, visit https://cnduk.org/

On Saturday, January 22nd at noon Mountain Time, Massachusetts Peace Action will present “Climate Change and Nuclear War:  What We Can Do About the Twin Existential Threats.”  The webinar is about how climate change increases the danger of nuclear war and how a nuclear war would cause further catastrophic climate disruption.  For more information, visit http://masspeaceaction.org/


Did You Know about these opportunities to celebrate the TPNW’s first anniversary?

 

1. Friday, January 21st, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will release a new report entitled, Nuclear weapons are banned: What does this mean for Britain” that was co-authored with the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy.  http://acronym.org.uk/  For more information, visit https://cnduk.org/

 

2. Saturday, January 22nd at noon Mountain Time, Massachusetts Peace Action will present Climate Change and Nuclear War: What We Can Do About the Twin Existential Threats.  The webinar is about how climate change increases the danger of nuclear war and how a nuclear war would cause further catastrophic climate disruption.  For more information, visit http://masspeaceaction.org/

 

3. Saturday, January 22, 2022 from 1 to 3 pm at Ashley Pond, 2200 Trinity Drive, Los Alamos, NM – Commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday and First Anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Rally. Please join us with signs, flags and banners.  Be prepared for inclement weather:  wear layers, warm shoes and a hat. Bring water and snacks. https://www.icanw.org/cogreg/commemoration_of_mlk_jr_birthday_and_tpnw_anniversary

 

4. Tuesday, January 25 at 11 am MT, Nuclear Colonialism in the Age of the Ban Treaty: From New Mexico to the Marshall Islands.  A free on-line seminar in which the Affected Communities Working Group of the Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative will discuss the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (ban treaty).  Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZIpfu2prz0vH9B3AXJ9wUg6l3j1B…

 

5. Thursday, January 27, 2022, National Downwinders Day.

** New video by Occupy Democrats:  Nuclear bombs are killing Americans RIGHT NOW:  “New Mexico is a Sacrifice Zone and It’s Mexicans and Native Americans Who Are the Sacrifice.”  https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats/videos/729674464615856

** US must be accountable for nuclear testing exposure, by Istra Fuhrmann, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Washington, DC.  https://www.abqjournal.com/2460258/us-must-be-accountable-for-nuclear-testing-exposure.html and

**  Texas ‘downwinders’ should be eligible for nuclear radiation compensation, advocates say, radio interview by Michael Marks, of the Texas Standard:  The National Daily Show of Texas, with Istra Fuhrmann, FCNL.   https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/texas-downwinders-should-be-eligible-for-nuclear-radiation-compensation-advocates-say/

** Opinion:  Too many ‘downwinders’ are still suffering, by Rep. Burgess Owens (Utah’s 4th Congressional District) and Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah’s 2nd Congressional District).  https://www.deseret.com/2021/10/4/22709221/utah-nuclear-testing-downwinders-congress-compensation-health-effects

 

6.Thursday, January 27, 2022 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, N3B Environmental Management virtual Cleanup Forum for LANL. For login information, visit https://n3b-la.com/outreach/

 

 

7. Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 6 pm MT, Gordon Edwards speaks about Uranium – the Deadliest Shape Shifter. Virtual event hosted by Nuclear Energy Information Service.  https://neis.org/ or neis@neis.org or 773-342-7650.

 

 

8. Just Announced! Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 1 to 3 pm ET, or 11 am to 1 pm MT.  Public Mtg. about S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Regulatory Readiness for Oversight of Potential
Large-Scale Commercial Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel. 
The notice with links is available at:  https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML22019A074

 

 

Why are you celebrating the first anniversary of the Treaty?

Saturday is the first anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entry into force. As we prepare this week’s Update, we have a question for you:

Why are you celebrating the first anniversary of the Treaty?

We may use your response in this week’s Update.

Thanks!

Email us: ccns@nuclearactive.org

 

Pastoral Letter from Santa Fe’s Archbishop: Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament

On January 11th, Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester released his historic pastoral letter Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace:  A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament. https://archdiosf.org/living-in-the-light-of-christs-peace (You can watch the press conference there.)

The Archbishop said, in part:

“In September 2017, I traveled to Japan and visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was a somber, sobering experience as I realized that on August 6, 1945, humanity crossed the line into the darkness of the nuclear age. We can now kill billions of people instantly and even destroy the world in a flash. The reality of this evil becomes very real as you walk through Hiroshima and Nagasaki today.

“In one exhibit, I read about school children in Hiroshima who, on that fateful morning in August 1945, ran to the windows, attracted by a bright light. I wonder how many were running to their deaths, either instantaneously incinerated or dying later in agonizing pain. Normally, light brings new life and clearer vision. Not that day. Sadly, the light generated by the first nuclear explosion used in war brought only destruction and death.

“… Those Japanese school children had no time to be afraid. They had no time to run and there was no home left to run to ….

“Within a day or two of my return to New Mexico, I took [some friends] to the New Mexico History Museum. There I saw a different exhibit with a different story. With Hiroshima and Nagasaki still fresh in my mind, I read about the Manhattan Project, the development of the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, and the creation of the nuclear bombs that were eventually dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki … It was eerie to see photos of Little Boy and Fat Man … when I had just been in those very places only weeks before. I knew now what those bombs did to our Japanese brothers and sisters….

“[I]t seemed blasphemous to me that we could create a weapon with the potential to destroy our entire planet, our common home, given to us by a loving God to be cared for and nurtured so that all might live in God’s peace. It became clear … that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe must be part of a strong peace initiative, one that would help make sure that these weapons would never be used again, that we would never destroy our planet or one another, that instead we would clean up our poisoned land and fund global institutions that resolve all international conflicts through nonviolent means such as dialogue and negotiation.”


1. Saturday, Jan. 15th at 10am: 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday March/ Parade,

(Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

organized by the UNM Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice, begins at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. NE and University Blvd. NE on the UNM campus. From there, the procession will continue down Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. to One Civic Plaza where a celebration with praise and music will happen.
You are also invited to help Veterans for Peace, ABQ Chapter 63 carry banners and flags at this event. com/ watch/?v=1585512518210459.

 

 

2. Tuesday, Jan. 18th at noon: NM Legislature begins its 30-day session.  http://nmlegis.gov  To get involved:  https://www.earthcarenm.org/ , https://retakeourdemocracy.org/ , https://cvnm.org/

 

 

3. Wednesday, January 19th at 9 am MT: Wake up call on nuclear waste!  Meet the National Radioactive Waste Coalition! NRWC!

There is a radioactive waste crisis in America. This crisis motivated over 40 grassroots organizations from across the country to come together to address the monstrous problem of radioactive waste. They formed the National Radioactive Waste Coalition (NRWC) to advocate for environmentally safe, just, and equitable nuclear waste policy.

Register in advance for this webinar:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zxQmUSYzRNKBrl7P4eIc0w

https://radioactivewastecoalition.org/

https://www.instagram.com/nrwcmedia/

https://twitter.com/nrwc_org

https://www.facebook.com/nrwcmedia

 

4. Saturday, January 22, 2022 from 1 to 3 pm Commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday and First Anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Rally at Ashley Pond, 2200 Trinity Drive, Los Alamos, NM.  Please join us with signs, flags and banners.  Be prepared for inclement weather:  wear layers, warm shoes and a hat. Bring water and snacks.  https://www.icanw.org/cogreg/commemoration_of_mlk_jr_birthday_and_tpnw_anniversary

 

 

5. Thursday, January 27, 2022, National Downwinders Day. https://www.deseret.com/2021/10/4/22709221/utah-nuclear-testing-downwinders-congress-compensation-health-effects

 

Archbishop John C. Wester to Hold Virtual Press Conference on His Pastoral Letter

ALBUQUERQUE – Monday, January 10, 2022 – IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Archbishop John C. Wester will hold a virtual press conference to discuss his pastoral letter, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament” on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. MST. The press conference will be live-streamed at https://youtu.be/kHS2C1wIBeQ.

Archbishop Wester will release his pastoral letter on the urgent need for nuclear disarmament and avoiding a new nuclear arms race. Pope Francis has made clear statements about the immorality of possessing nuclear weapons, moving the Church from past conditional acceptance of “deterrence” to the moral imperative of abolition. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a special role to play in advocating for nuclear disarmament given the presence of two nuclear weapons laboratories and the United States of America’s largest repository of warheads located within its boundaries. He therefore believes the archdiocese has a unique role to play in encouraging a future world free of nuclear weapons. Archbishop Wester states, “The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a special responsibility not only to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but also to encourage its active implementation.” He goes on to “…invite us to have a conversation together about what it means to follow the risen, nonviolent Jesus who calls us to be peacemakers, put down the sword, and love everyone, even the enemies of our nation.”

Archbishop Wester’s pastoral letter has the support of four Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize states, “We welcome the leadership of Archbishop John Wester in taking His Holiness Pope Francis’ message of support for nuclear weapons abolition and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to the heart of the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise in New Mexico. Archbishop Wester courageously joins the global community of religious leaders working to make the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons a reality.”

The pastoral letter and a summary will be available online (https://archdiosf.org/living-in-the-light-of-christs-peace) on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 7:00 a.m. MST.

 

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. on the First Anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On Saturday, January 15th, we pause to honor the life of The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., an apostle for nonviolence.  https://nmmlksc.org/  And now that holiday is joined by another celebration, just one week later.  On January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force.  https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/

This landmark international treaty will be celebrated around the globe, including in New Mexico.  Please join CCNS http://nuclearactive.org/ , Veterans for Peace https://www.facebook.com/santafeveteransforpeace , Nuclear Watch New Mexico https://nukewatch.org/ and others on Saturday, January 22nd from 1 to 3 pm at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos to honor Dr. King and to celebrate the first anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

More than fifty years after his death, Dr. King is remembered as a civil rights icon.  There is no need to speculate about whether King would support the treaty.

Here are just a few of King’s statements about nuclear weapons.  [We note there are several different versions of the same MLK, Jr. quotes on the internet.]

In February 1968, King said, “We have played havoc with the destiny of the world and we have brought the whole world closer to nuclear confrontation. . . . [T]he alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world will be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not envision.  We have to see that and work diligently and passionately for peace.”  http://consistent-life.org/blog/index.php/2020/01/20/martin-luther-king-on-nuclear-weapons/

In April 1960, King called for his religious colleagues to join him in his denunciation of nuclear weapons.  He wrote in The Christian Century, “I am convinced that the church cannot remain silent while [hu]mankind faces the threat of being plunged into the abyss of nuclear annihilation.  If the church is true to its mission, it must call for an end to the arms race.”  https://www.christiancentury.org/article/pilgrimage-nonviolence

King’s statements about nuclear weapons could be delivered today with equal persuasiveness and even more urgency.  Now, nine nations possess nuclear weapons, including the United States, and they are deployed on hair-trigger alert around the globe.  https://www.icanw.org/nuclear_arsenals

For more information about Dr. King and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, please visit the websites of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance https://orepa.org/ , and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons https://www.icanw.org/ .  To get involved in the January 22nd celebrations, please connect with the Nuclear Ban Treaty Days of Action facebook page.


DYK this great news?   On December 22, 2021, NM Attorney General Hector Balderas submitted a petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Seeking Revocation of the Materials License for Interim Storage Partners (ISP) (formerly Waste Control Specialists) for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) (on the NM/TX border, five miles east of Eunice, NM) for high-level radioactive waste/spent nuclear fuel.  ML21362A429

https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML21362A429

 

 

1. On Friday, January 7th at 8 am MT, Don Hancock will join host Stephen Spitz to discuss the “Proposed Expansion of WIPP,” on KUNM 89.9 FM’s New Mexico People Place and Ideas. https://www.kunm.org/ For more information: https://mailchi.mp/kunm.org/kunm-radio-zounds-2022-01jan-122221#NMPPI

Also, check out Lorene Mills’ Report from Santa Fe interview with Don Hancock about the proposed expansion of WIPP.  They discuss the 1981 Consultation and Cooperation Agreement (C&C Agreement) between NM and DOE, which requires DOE “to provide the state and the public with information about what it is going to do, before it makes major changes to WIPP,” which DOE has not done.   http://reportfromsantafe.com/episodes/view/675/don-hancock-southwest-research-and-information-center/

 

 

2. In 2022, CCNS will continue our legal challenges of the New Mexico Environment Department’s decisions that do not protect the people and environment from activities at WIPP and LANL. Legal challenges include more permit modifications for WIPP expansion to double the size of the underground disposal area and to keep it open until 2080 and beyond – essentially FOREVER.

Importantly, the hazardous wastes permits for both LANL and WIPP expired in 2020.  NMED has administratively continued the permits, while allowing piecemeal permit modifications to be processed.  The permit renewal process opens up the entire permit for public review and comment.  In 2022 the Environment Department must release the draft hazardous waste permits for public review, comment and public hearings.  No more delays!

Your financial support is needed to keep these challenges going.  Please make an end of the year contribution to our Legal Defense Fund.  Contribute today at http://nuclearactive.org/or mail your check to CCNS, POB 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147.   Thank you!

 

3. Tuesday, January 18th at noon:  NM Legislature begins its 30-day session.  https://nmlegis.gov/

 

January 6th Environment Department Virtual Meeting for LANL Consent Order

The New Year will begin with the New Mexico Environment Department’s virtual public meeting about the annual cleanup plan for legacy waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  The cleanup work is being done under the 2016 Consent Order with an estimated completion date of 2036.  The annual meeting is required by the Consent Order to discuss cleanup of legacy waste that was buried prior to 1999.  The virtual meeting will be held on Thursday, January 6th from 5:30 to 7 pm via WebEx or by phone.  HWB-LANL-English_Notice-of-Public-Meeting-Appendix-B-FFY-2022-1      HWB-LANL-Spanish_Notice-of-Public-Meeting-Appendix-B-FFY-2022  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl/, scroll down to 2022 Fiscal Year Annual Planning Process and the public notices in English and Spanish.

The public meeting notice explains that the Consent Order “both guides and governs the ongoing cleanup of legacy waste at LANL through a campaign-based approach and the annual planning process.”

Earlier this month, LANL submitted its updated Consent Order appendices to the Environment Department. DOE FY22 CO Appendices A, B & C 12-2-21 EMID-701785 The three appendices are also available for public review and are available on the Environment Department’s website.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl/ , scroll down to December 2, 2021 entry under 2022 Federal Fiscal Year Annual Planning Process.

The three appendices are:

Appendix C provides a listing and description of the cleanup campaigns at LANL.  There are 17 Campaigns, lettered A through Q.

Appendix B contains the cleanup milestones for the campaigns in 2022 and the campaign cleanup targets for 2023 and 2024.  There are 19 milestones and include remediation work for several high profile cleanups, including the hexavalent chromium plume in the regional drinking water aquifer below Mortandad Canyon; the high explosive contamination, again in the regional drinking water aquifer, in the southwest corner of LANL at Technical Area 16; and remedies for the large unlined dumps at Areas G, H and L at Technical Area 54, near the White Rock community, and Area C at Technical Area 50, near the Plutonium Facility.

Appendix A is a list of the 1,405 legacy waste sites located across the LANL site that have been or will be cleaned up.  LANL reports that 375 sites have received certificates of completion from the Environment Department.  There are also 134 deferred sites that will not be cleaned up until after operations are completed, such as sites where high explosives and improvised explosive devices are tested.

This month Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provided nearly $770 billion for military spending.  Cleanup funding for LANL increased from $220 million to $275 million.

Congress also included $1 billion for LANL plutonium operations to fabricate 30 triggers for new nuclear weapons, which operations will continue to generate waste.  One billion dollars is a substantial increase from the $837 million this year and the $308 million two years ago.


1. In 2022, CCNS will continue our legal challenges of the New Mexico Environment Department’s decisions that do not protect the people and environment from activities at WIPP and LANL. Legal challenges include the discharge permit for LANL’s Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility (which treats waters from the Plutonium Facility, among others), two LANL discharge permits for extraction and injection of chromium plume waters, and land application of the “treated” waters on dirt roads in Mortandad Canyon, the general air quality permit for LANL; and of course, more permit modifications for WIPP expansion to double the size of the underground disposal area and to keep it open until 2080 and beyond – essentially FOREVER.

Importantly, the hazardous wastes permits for both LANL and WIPP expired in 2020.  NMED has administratively continued the permits, while allowing piecemeal permit modifications to be processed.  The permit renewal process opens up the entire permit for public review and comment.  In 2022 the Environment Department must release the draft hazardous waste permits for public review, comment and public hearings.  No more delays!

Your financial support is needed to keep these challenges going.  Please make an end of the year contribution to our Legal Defense Fund.  Contribute today at http://nuclearactive.org/or mail your check to CCNS, POB 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147.   Thank you!

 

2. Saturday, January 22, 2022 from 1 to 3 pm at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos – First Anniversary Celebration of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons!!! Join Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM and others to celebrate and commemorate the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty!!! As we get closer to the event, more information will be available.

Happy New Year!  Be safe!  Be well!

 

 

 

Will Construction be Delayed on the New Shaft at WIPP?

Two appeals have been filed in the New Mexico Court of Appeals to challenge the decision by New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James Kenney to approve the new shaft at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety filed the second appeal on November 29th.  On November 9th, Southwest Research and Information Center and Cynthia Weehler had filed the first appeal.  https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/ , scroll down to HWB 21-02 – APPEAL:  Waste Isolation Pilot Plant:  Class 3 Permit Modification Request, “Excavation of a New Shaft and Associated Connecting Drifts.

 SRIC and Weehler also asked Secretary Kenney for a stay, that is, a delay, of shaft construction until the Court of Appeals rules on their appeal.  On the stay motion, Secretary Kenney can grant, or deny, or take no action.  If he does not grant the stay, or if he takes no action by January 10th, a stay motion then could be filed with the Court of Appeals.  https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/ , scroll down to HWB 21-02 –Waste Isolation Pilot Plant:  Class 3 Permit Modification Request, “Excavation of a New Shaft and Associated Connecting Drifts.  Unfortunately, key documents are missing, including the SRIC/Weehler Motion for Stay Pending Appeal, the Hearing Officer’s Report and the Secretary’s Final Order.

The stay motion was supported by three affidavits.  Cynthia Weehler stated that she purchased her home near U.S. Highway 285 knowing that the WIPP Permit anticipated that shipments to WIPP would end in 2024.  Now, the WIPP expansion plan that requires the new shaft “would result in thousands of additional shipments coming near my house for many decades.”  She is very concerned that accidents could result in health effects and “such shipments will reduce my property values.”

Kathleen Wan Povi Sanchez, an Elder from the Tewa Pueblo of San Ildefonso and among the founding mothers of Tewa Women United, stated in her affidavit that an increase in waste transportation near two schools located on New Mexico Highway 502 would endanger the health of Pueblo children in attendance.  Further, “The WIPP expansion plan would result in thousands of new shipments using [] Highway 502 for decades transporting plutonium from the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas to [Los Alamos National Laboratory], and from [Los Alamos] to the Savannah River Site, followed by shipments from that site to WIPP.”

Steve Zappe, who worked on WIPP for 17 years at the Environment Department, provided the third affidavit.  He pointed out that new shaft construction was stopped in October 2020, and that the construction that had occurred was required to be reversible in case the shaft was not permitted.  He stated that the Environment Department “should be equally considerate towards the judicial review process as it was in the administrative permit modification process, to ensure the courts have sufficient time to review objectively the facts and arguments associated with the appeal.”

The Environment Department Hazardous Waste Bureau, the Department of Energy, and the WIPP contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, oppose the stay motion.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/ and https://wipp.energy.gov/

 


1. In 2022, CCNS will continue our legal challenges to the unprotective decisions made by the New Mexico Environment Department about WIPP and LANL. Your financial support is needed to keep these challenges going.  Please make an end of the year contribution to our Legal Defense Fund.  Contribute today at http://nuclearactive.org/  Thank you!

 

2. By Friday, December 31st, email Know Nukes Tokyo, a non-political organization run by university students in Japan, your short message to the Japanese government urging it to participate in the Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations Office in Vienna, March 22 to 24, 2022.

Know Nukes Tokyo will share your messages via social media to raise public awareness, while simultaneously, it will submit them to the Japanese government!  Please click this link to fill out the form and send us your message!

 

3. Saturday, January 22, 2022 from 1 to 3 pm at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos – First Anniversary Celebration of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons!!! Join Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM and others to celebrate and commemorate the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty!!!   As we get closer to the event, more information will be available.

 

Enjoy your holidays!

 

Santa Fe Archbishop to Hold an “Unveiling and Blessing of a Sign of Peace” on December 19th

At 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday, December 19th, the Archbishop of Santa Fe, John C. Wester, will hold an “Unveiling and Blessing of a Sign of Peace,” The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico at the intersection of Guadalupe and Alameda Streets.  https://archdiosf.org/events/the-unveiling-and-blessing-of-a-sign-of-peace  It will be held in the open, so attendees should dress warmly and observe COVID protocols of masking and social distancing.  In keeping with the tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, attendees are encouraged to bring a rose, as well as their hopes, prayers and aspirations for a peaceful world.  https://santuariodeguadalupesantafe.com/  It will also be live-streamed at https://nukewatch.org/

Archbishop Wester will unveil this sign to initiate a conversation on nuclear weapons disarmament as a critical step toward world peace.  He believes the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a special role to play in facilitating this urgent dialogue.

The location has added significance because, less than 100 yards away, Los Alamos National Laboratory is leasing an office building for its expanding work force, as it ramps up production of plutonium pits, or cores, for new nuclear weapons.  This is part of the accelerating nuclear arms race, arguably more dangerous than the Cold War. http://chriswebster.com/images/SFprop/Commercial/100_Guadalupe01sm.jpg

On January 20, 2021, two days before the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Pope Francis spoke at the Vatican, appealing to all nations to work toward a world without nuclear weapons.  The Vatican was the first state to sign and ratify the Treaty on September 20, 2017.  https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2021/documents/papa-francesco_20210120_udienza-generale.html

 

The Treaty was the first legally binding international agreement to prohibit signatory states from developing, testing, producing, stockpiling, stationing, transferring and using or threatening to use nuclear arms.  The Treaty reached the required 50 signatures in October 2020.  At present 58 states are participating.  https://www.icanw.org/

These countries seek to ban the bomb just as chemical and biological weapons have been banned. They began negotiating the ban treaty in 2015, 45 years after the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when the nuclear weapons states of the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France and China had promised to work “in good faith” for nuclear disarmament.  https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/npt/  The non-nuclear weapons states foresaw a time when nuclear weapons also would become legally taboo.

In his January 2021 appeal, Pope Francis shared his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, adding that this may best be accomplished by “contributing to the advancement of peace and multilateral cooperation, which humanity greatly needs.”


1. Your financial support is greatly appreciated to help keep the CCNS social media network going. Contribute today at http://nuclearactive.org/

 

2. Monday, December 20th by 5 pm MT – Get your comments in to the NM Environment Department about DOE’s plans to change the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Panel 8 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Your comments will make a difference! A sample public comment letter you can use is available at  http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-needed-for-public-hearing-on-wipp-panel-8/

 

3. Saturday, January 22, 2022 from 1 to 3 pm at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos – First Anniversary Celebration of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons!!! Join Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM and others to celebrate and commemorate the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty!!!   As we get closer to the event, more information will be available.

 

 

RECA Amendments Pass House Judiciary Committee 25 to 8

In a stunning bipartisan vote, this week the U.S. House Judiciary Committee passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2021 on a vote of 25 to 8.  Eighteen Democrats and seven Republicans voted for the bill, while eight Republicans voted against it.  The next step for this important bill for New Mexico’s Downwinders and Post’71 Uranium Workers is a vote on the House Floor.  The House Democratic leaders will decide when that vote happens.  If the vote were successful, the next step would be to send the bill to the Senate for consideration.  To view the 15 minute session, go to https://judiciary.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=4807 and begin watching at 3:41.

On September 22, 2021, Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez, representing Northern New Mexico, introduced the proposed amendments that extend the RECA program for 19 years and expand the number of eligible individuals, the number of cancers and the amount of compensation paid to those harmed by overexposure to radiation.  https://fernandez.house.gov/  The House of Representatives Bill is Number 5338.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5338?r=10&s=1

On the Senate side, Senator Mike Crapo, of Idaho, is the sponsor.  Senator Ben Ray Lujan, of New Mexico, is a co-sponsor.  As a congressman, Senator Lujan worked closely with Senator Crapo to introduce the RECA amendments.  The Senate Bill is Number 2798.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2798

Powerful House allies include Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, of New York, https://judiciary.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=4812 and original co-sponsor Representative Burgess Owens, of Utah.  Representative Owens spoke eloquently about the responsibility of the U.S. government to provide for those harmed by radiation during the build-up of the nuclear weapons complex.  Bipartisan members of the committee recognized his leadership in educating members about the bill and encouraging support for it.  https://owens.house.gov/

Representative Ken Buck, of Colorado, also spoke in full support of the bill.  He said that while the bill is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction to compensate Downwinders.  He said that despite new information about the diseases caused by radiation exposure and the geographic distribution of the fallout from the above-ground atomic tests, RECA has not been amended since 2000.  He explained that “radiation exposure has destroyed lives across the western U.S. and Congress needs to meaningfully reform RECA to meet the current needs of Downwinders.”  Representative Buck said he would do everything he can to ensure the bill moves forward in a bipartisan manner.  https://buck.house.gov/

For those working to be included in the RECA program, including the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/ and the Post’71 Uranium Workers https://swuraniumimpacts.org/ , the passage of the bill out the Judiciary Committee is encouraging as it is the first time in 20 years that the amendments have passed a committee.

 


 

1. Your financial support is greatly appreciated to help keep the CCNS social media network going. Contribute today at http://nuclearactive.org/

 

2. Get your comments in – by Monday, December 20th about DOE’s plans to change the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Panel 8 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). A sample public comment letter you can use is available at  http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-needed-for-public-hearing-on-wipp-panel-8/

 

A Third Attempt at Consent-Based Siting for High-Level Radioactive Waste

On Tuesday, November 30th, the Department of Energy (DOE) held a press conference to announce the third attempt to find communities, sovereign tribal nations, or local or state governments to host an interim federal storage facility for high-level radioactive waste from commercial nuclear reactors.  DOE issued a request for information in which it “especially welcome[s] insight from people, communities, and groups that have historically not been well-represented in these discussions.”  In the past, almost all communities have rejected hosting such a site because it might become a “forever” site as no permanent disposal site has been identified.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have both definitively stated that they do not consent to interim storage of commercial nuclear power plant waste at the proposed Holtec site in southeastern New Mexico or at Waste Control Specialists / Interim Storage Partners site in west Texas, on the New Mexico border.  http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NM-Governor-Holtec-Ltr-060719.pdf  and http://nuclearactive.org/texas-bans-high-level-nuclear-waste-storage-nrc-approves-high-level-radioactive-waste-dump-there/

Despite the Governors’ statements that the states do not consent, Dr. Kathryn Huff, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, said that she would be glad to hear from New Mexico and Texas communities, noting that those sites are proposed by private companies and are different from the consent-based process.  Huff said she expects thousands of comments on the request for information.  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/12/01/2021-25724/notice-of-request-for-information-rfi-on-using-a-consent-based-siting-process-to-identify-federal

In the early 1990s, the first attempt was made with the appointment of a Nuclear Waste Negotiator who granted funds to communities to consider hosting an interim site.  The Mescalero Apaches of New Mexico accepted funding to consider it, but in the end, rejected hosting an interim storage site.  http://nuclearactive.org/report-from-december-9th-summit-to-halt-high-level-radioactive-waste-dumping-in-new-mexico-and-west-texas/

Under the Obama administration, a second attempt was made through a number of public meetings throughout the country, though no funding was provided.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, passed by Congress, supports the third attempt.  It provides $20 million to DOE to begin the consent-based siting process “to support near-term action in managing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and is an important component of an integrated waste management system.”

DOE asks for commenters to address questions, such as:  “How should [DOE] build considerations of social equity and environmental justice into a consent-based siting process?” and “What barriers might prevent meaningful participation in a consent-based siting process and how could those barriers be mitigated or removed?”  https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-restarts-consent-based-siting-program-spent-nuclear-fuel-requests-input-interim

On Tuesday, December 7th at 2 pm Eastern Time, Dr. Huff will be available for a virtual question and answer.  https://pnnl.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_37M0wNLUTImCkpOJdM11fQ?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Comments are due by 5 pm Eastern Time on Friday, March 4, 2022 and may be submitted to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.


  1. TODAY! Dec. 2nd from 5:30 to 7 pm MT – New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Environmental Justice Series, featuring Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA).  Join the community conversation with YUCCA leaders who will present their work and the importance of youth leadership and involvement in the legislative session.  Register here: https://nmelc-ejseries-yucca.eventbrite.com

 

Here is also a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/603594134428078?ref=newsfeed

 

  1. Thurs. Dec. 2nd from 3 pm to 5:30 pm MT and Fri. Dec. 3rd from midnight to 2:30 am MT – World Nuclear Survivor’s Forum 2021 – a virtual event. From the organizer Akira Kawasaki; Peace Boat:  +81(0)3 3363 7561

Mobile/WhatsApp: +81(0)90 8310 5370  Skype: akirakawas :

 

This will be a unique opportunity to hear powerful stories and vital messages, directly from nuclear survivors from around the globe. The Forum will be open for anyone to join, held over two time blocks to cover different timezones) and available for viewing directly on the nuclearsurvivors.org website and on Youtube.

 

“No registration is needed – you can just come straight to the web site and view the Youtube videos immediately from there.

“We also encourage you to join the conversation on Youtube by actively sharing your comments, thoughts, questions and so on – these will be fed into the discussions on the day and also the summary documents and outcomes to follow.”

 

“The videos will remain available on Youtube as an archive so please do take a look even if you are not able to join in real time.”