Citizens’ Hearing Held at New Mexico Capitol about Increased Plutonium Pit Production at LANL
The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved its plans to increase plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) by 50 percent as a way to comply with what is described in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review as a need for “an effective, responsive, and resilient nuclear weapons infrastructure” that can “adapt flexibly to shifting requirements.”
The Pentagon has stated it needs annual production of 80 plutonium pits, the triggers for nuclear weapons. The DOE has approved its Supplement Analyses for four possible ways to execute this upgrade. At LANL, DOE proposes upgrades to both LANL’s Plutonium Facility and the Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building which is part of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project.
Despite a mission that has been re-directed and an expansion involving about $15 billion in upgrades for two major buildings and related infrastructure, DOE has decided not to undertake a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for LANL. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/downloads/doeeis-0380-sa-06-final-supplement-analysis and https://www.energy.gov/nepa/downloads/doeeis-0380-amended-record-decision Neither our congressional delegation nor our Governor has voiced disapproval of bypassing the SWEIS.
On Wednesday afternoon, October 7th, a citizens’ hearing was held outside the New Mexico State Capitol Building. Testimony was taken about DOE’s dramatic expansion plans for LANL that involve an installation of the size and importance and with the attendant dangers of the closed nuclear weapons plant at Rocky Flats, Colorado. The event, which provided a place for dozens of citizens to express their opposition to DOE’s plans in Northern New Mexico, was sponsored by the Los Alamos Study Group. http://www.lasg.org/
The DOE proposals are too broad and too expensive to go forward without an SWEIS with public review and comment opportunities.
Every day, new information is released about the increased hazards at LANL. This week the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board issued a new report about the inconsistent and inappropriate consideration of potential energetic chemical reactions, or explosions, involving transuranic waste stored at LANL. The Board conducted an analysis of transuranic, or plutonium-contaminated, wastes stored at the Plutonium Facility, the old Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility, the Transuranic Waste Facility, and Area G and the potential for explosions. It found that LANL has not fully analyzed for possible explosions involving transuranic waste stored at these facilities that would result in high exposures to workers and the public. https://www.dnfsb.gov/documents/reports/technical-reports/potential-energetic-chemical-reaction-events-involving
The Board asked DOE to respond within 120 days.
1. Two more Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) teleconference public meetings about the Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners (WCS/ISP) proposal to bring 40,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants by rail to the west Texas/New Mexico border, five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico. For more information, fact sheets, transportation maps, and talking points: http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/ and http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/
At the two previous public comment sessions, people spoke in opposition to both WCS/ISP and Holtec. Both NM and TX Governors have come out in opposition to both proposals. https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2020/10/06/texas-governor-greg-abbott-opposed-nuclear-waste-project-new-mexico/3628253001/
a. Th. October 8th from 4 to 7 pm MST – call-in information available at:
b. Th. October 15th from 9 am to noon MST – call-in information available at:
Here are the call-in numbers: (888) 989-9268; Pass Code 5300047. Press *1 [star-one] as soon as you get through, or at any point, to get in line to submit verbal comments for 3-5 minutes. See NRC’s slideshow presentation here. See comprehensive action alert here. Help stop an environmentally unjust high-level nuke waste dump & thousands of Mobile Chernobyls nationwide!
2. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Monday October 12th events:
a. Sunday, Oct 11, 7 pm (Mountain Time)
Indigenous People’s Day LIVE: Wisdom, Art, & Activism
The International Indigenous Youth Council presents this virtual showcase filled with Indigenous artists, singers, dancers, activists & knowledge carriers from across Turtle Island.
b. Monday, Oct 12, 3:30 pm (Mountain Time)
Drive-In Event at The Downs in Santa Fe
Indigenous performers and artisans, vendors and food. Film “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” starts at 7:00 pm. Hosted by Motorama in partnership with the Santa Fe Indian Center.
3. Wed. October 21st – Comments due to NNSA about the scope of the new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (located 50 miles east of San Francisco, CA). For more information and a sample public comment letter, go to http://trivalleycares.org/
Tags: 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, Area G, Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility, Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project, CMRR, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Department of Energy, DNFSB, DOE, energetic chemical reactions, explosions, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos Study Group, Pentagon, PF-4, plutonium, Plutonium Facility, public, Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building, Rocky Flats, site-wide environmental impact statement, Supplement Analyses, SWEIS, transuranic, Transuranic Waste Facility, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, WIPP, workers
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