Los Alamos County Moves Forward with Solar Power Through Proposed Electrical Line Across the Caja del Rio

This week, at the same time as the National Nuclear Security Administrative was requesting public comments about its need for 173 megawatts (MW) of electricity, the County of Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities was considering a proposal for 170 megawatts from the proposed Foxtail Flats Solar and Battery Energy Storage System in San Juan County, New Mexico.  The NNSA comment period ended on Tuesday, February 20th, and the next day the Public Utilities Board voted 4 to 1 to approve the Foxtail Flats project.  https://losalamos.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx, scroll down to Board of Public Utilities, 2/21/2024 Meeting Date, Agenda and Agenda Packets.

Since 1985, Los Alamos County and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have pooled their power resources through an Electric Energy and Coordination Agreement, also known as the Los Alamos Power Pool, or LAPP.  Generally LANL consumes about 80 percent of the total energy produced or purchased by the LAPP.

NNSA claimed that the 173 megawatts were needed to run the supercomputer at LANL.  The County did not define the need.  During the NNSA process, many speculated that the energy was needed to fabricate 30 plutonium triggers, or pits, for nuclear weapons.  In some statements NNSA said it needed the power on or before 2027, in others by 2030, which is an important deadline for fabricating pits.  If approved by the County Council, the Foxtail Flats project would come on line in 2026.

It appears now that the County and NNSA worked to double the amount of energy in order to run the supercomputer in support of the Stockpile Stewardship Program that includes plutonium pit fabrication.  CCNS has made some observations that support this unacknowledged outcome.

When NNSA proposed building a new 14-mile long, 115-kilovolt electrical line across the sacred, historical and culturally important Caja del Rio and the Rio Grande to LANL, they requested public comments about the project, called the Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project Environmental Assessment.  http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-on-lanl-proposed-electrical-line-due-on-tuesday-february-20th/ , https://environment.lanl.gov/resources/epcu/

The environmental assessment cited out-of-date reference documents, such as a 2017 integrated resource report for the Cayman Islands (Global 2017). https://www.energy.gov/nepa/articles/doeea-2199-draft-environmental-assessment , p. 97 of pdf, or p. 6-2.   This report does not mention Los Alamos County or LANL.

The correct reference would have been the 2022 LANL and Los Alamos County Integrated Resource Plan that comprehensively addressed the LAPP’s near-term and long-term resource strategies for a projected 20-year planning horizon from 2022 – 2041 and LANL’s use of 80% of the energy captured by the Los Alamos Power Pool.    https://www.losalamosnm.us/files/sharedassets/public/v/1/departments/utilities/documents/integrated-resource-plan-irp-2022-final-report.pdf  The omission of the 2022 report did not allow the public to review the latest energy needs, use and analyses of Los Alamos County, LANL and the LAPP.  The 2022 report was not available during the time when public comments were requested by NNSA.

CCNS found the 2022 report referenced in the Foxtail Flats Solar + Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) powerpoint presentation, dated February 21, 2024, and provided in the February 21, 2024 Los Alamos County Board of Public Utilities Agenda Packets.  https://losalamos.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx, scroll down to Board of Public Utilities, 2/21/2024 Meeting Date for the Agenda and Agenda Packets.

CCNS must ask why the essential 2022 Integrated Resource Plan report was omitted from the draft Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project (EPCUP) Environmental Assessment.  CCNS must ask whether such a key omission of the 2022 Integrated Resource Plan report requires the draft EPCUP Environmental Assessment to be withdrawn and for the public process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to begin again.

The Los Alamos County Council may consider the Foxtail Flats agreements at its next meeting on Tuesday, February 27 at 6 pm.  To access the agenda and agenda packets when they are posted prior to the meeting, go to:  https://losalamos.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx

  1. Friday, February 23, 2024 from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the four corners of Alameda and Sandoval in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, New Mexico Peace Fests, and others. Join us!



  1. Sunday, February 25th at 1 pm – BAN The BOMB! Multimedia event MOVIE SCREENING, MARCH & RALLY.

1:00 pm – Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM

Screening of “Television Event.” a riveting documentary about the world-changing 1983 TV movie “The Day After” that profoundly impacted US nuclear policies, impacted then-president Reagan, ended the cold war, and led to a reduction in our nuclear arsenal.  Tickets go on sale at 12:40 pm.

Guild write-up: https://www.guildcinema.com/movies/television-event

See the trailer for Television Event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ftJ-I-yAu8

2:45 pm – We will march from the Guild Cinema to Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

3:00 pm – Rally against nuclear weapons in Triangle Substation Park, 2901 Central Ave NE

We will gather to share ideas about how we can change public opinion the way the movie did and bring about the abolition of nuclear weapons. Featuring music by Eileen O’Shaughnessy, Paul Pino, and the Raging Grannies.


  1. Wednesday, February 28 at 9 am Mountain Time – Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ (IACHR) Thematic Hearing about the Impacts of Uranium Exploitation on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States. Speakers include representatives and tribal members from the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute, Oglala Lakota and Havasupai Tribes.  How to attend:  on IACHR’s website https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/sessions/?S=189   or on the IACHR YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/@comisionIDH   For more information:  https://nmelc.org/2024/02/13/iachr-grants-thematic-hearing-on-impacts-to-indigenous-peoples-human-rights-from-uranium-exploitation/



  1. Thursday, February 29 (Leap Year Day) at 5 pm Mountain Time – Warheads to Windmills: Preventing Climate Catastrophe and Nuclear Warhead Webinar on Twin Existential Threats, hosted by Veterans for Peace.  Speakers will be:  Ivana Hughes, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Timmon Wallis, Nuclear Ban:  U.S., Warheads to Windmills.  Registration at https://vfpgoldenruleproject.org/event/warheads-to-windmills-addressing-the-threats-of-climate-and-nuclear-weapons-before-its-too-late/



  1. Tuesday, March 5 at 11 am Mountain Time – Nuclear Survivors: Uranium Mining online discussion. Host:  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  Speakers:  Dimity Hawkins (Nuclear Truth Project, ICAN Australia), Myrriah Gómez (University of New Mexico) and Yaroslav Koshelev (Technical University of Berlin)  Registration at https://www.icanw.de/neuigkeiten/online-discussion-uranium-mining/



  1. Wednesday, March 6th at 6 pm – Santa Fe County Solicits Public Input into Hazard Mitigation Plan. In person meeting at Santa Fe County Fire Station 70, Municipal Way, Edgewood, NM.  Take the survey here:  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/events/detail/hazard-mitigation-plan-update-fire



  1. Thursday, March 7th at 6 pm – Santa Fe County Solicits Public Input into Hazard Mitigation Plan. In person meeting at Santa Fe County Fire Station 50, 17919 U.S. 84/285.  Take the survey here:  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/events/detail/hazard-mitigation-plan-update-fire


  1. Wednesday, March 6 to May 15 (Bi- Weekly) from noon to 1 pm Mountain Time– Climate Change and Human Health ECHO Program: Global Nuclear and Environmental Threats Critical to Climate Change and Human Health.  To register:  https://echo.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkdO6opj8vEtDjCQltPzQPt5tyKKtkMz6T#/registration



  1. Thursday – Friday, March 7 – 8: International Uranium Film Festival at the Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock, AZ.  For more information:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/    Schedule:  https://uraniumfilmfestival.org/en/usa-2024   



  1. Wednesday, March 13th – [Comment period extended from Feb. 12th to March 13, 2024.] Comments due about LANL and its entities’ proposed Chromium Interim Measure and “final” Remedy of the hexavalent chromium plume (DOE/EA-2216) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  For more information and to download the document:  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeea-2216-chromium-interim-measure-and-final-remedy-los-alamos-new-mexico    Check back to CCNS’s website at http://www.nuclearactive.org for sample public comments you can use to craft your own. 

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