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  • Bulletin# 148: Part 1: CMRR Update,
    not yet available This memo pdf outlines the gist of them It was surreptitiously supplied to Congress as an integral but undisclosed part of NNSA s plans for fiscal year FY 2013 an example of the growth of de facto secrecy in this Administration NNSA has asked Los Alamos National Security LANS which runs LANL and stands to gain or lose hundreds of millions if not billions on this decision to draft its own plan which was briefed to NNSA last Friday As noted above the Senate believes this plan s capital costs are 160 million M but details of that estimate are also not yet available Further details spun wherever possible to serve the financial interests of LANS a privately held for profit corporation that lavishes huge salaries and bonuses on its senior employees were provided in LANL Director Charlie McMillan s Senate testimony last week pdf NNSA has stated it plans to abandon the old CMR building by 2019 In fact NNSA abandoned most of the building a long time ago Soon enough NNSA will have only one small program in one part of one CMR wing More The temporary demise of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL has been a front and center concern in repeated congressional hearings this winter and spring This is visible in the transcripts but in person the atmosphere has been simultaneously boring at times tense and generally disgusting NNSA has told Congress that our lawsuit was the reason CMRR NF was not built All parts of the Administration are in agreement and have testified that CMRR NF is not needed for many years The earliest CMRR NF or any successor project on a similar scale could open for business is now 2028 LANL is doing its best to find a partial replacement for this income stream and has reportedly told NNSA it needs 100 M per year to not build CMRR NF There is at this time more than 200 million M in appropriated unspent funds in CMRR accounts About half of this is being used to advance CMRR NF design why About 120 M of this could be used for other purposes with some ease The House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee proposes to spend 30 M of this to accelerate safety improvements to LANL s main plutonium facility PF 4 and another 35 million to clean up PF 4 vaults In a better world NNSA and Congress would not pay LANS for its failings which this would do but it is important to make PF 4 safe as soon as possible for the coming decades because this facility is one that is needed under any conceivable policy framework even complete disarmament What are not needed are expansions and replacement facilities in any form Virtually all of NNSA s capital projects and major warhead programs are running over budget behind schedule have been downscoped or all of the above The House

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin148.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #147: "Twilight of the nuclear gods:" talk tomorrow in ABQ
    pm At this meeting Peter Neils Greg and Trish will provide a brief history of and an update on the proposed plutonium warhead core pit factory annex at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL now indefinitely deferred Students parents and college teachers may be interested in our summer internship program offered for academic credit at UNM We will describe this tomorrow night as well Details will be posted on our web site in a day or two As we ll discuss we have entered a new period in nuclear history what might be called the twilight of the nuclear gods Fewer warhead projects are going to be completed Those which are completed will cost more and do less More warheads will be retired and more delivery systems will not be replaced On the civilian side much the same phenomenon is occurring One of our biggest challenges is fully understand and accept these new realities and what they mean for us as a society and advance the public debate There are now new opportunities challenges and pitfalls and this our subject for tomorrow night And there will be free pizza if you get there soon enough 2 Recent press releases and finally

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin147.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #146: Fundraising request; new developments and press coverage; next steps, Mar 10, 2012
    warhead production plant project To date 635 million M has been appropriated for this one building 994 million for both CMRR buildings For a decade CMRR NF was said to be essential Now the National Nuclear Security Administration NNSA has finally agreed with us it was never needed Twelve years ago when the project was first announced we said It s the ambitions of the nuclear materials program at Los Alamos that is driving this new bigger facility said Mello We don t really need a new facility We have the plutonium facility we need if we don t undertake a suite of new plutonium missions that crowd one another out 2 We said we d fight hard against this monstrosity and the supposed need for new warheads that lay behind it Nuclear disarmament advocates argue a new weapons lab for Los Alamos is just as unnecessary now in the wake of the Cold War as in 1990 when Congress killed lab plans for a 385 million Special Nuclear Materials Laboratory It s like a horror movie It keeps coming back said Greg Mello head of the Santa Fe based Los Alamos Study Group There s never a stake through the heart When will we wake from the Night of the Living Dead ideas 3 We will fight pit production at any level other than simple maintenance of the technology with all means at our disposal Mello said 4 emphasis added or restored And so enabled by your help we did just that Starting in 1999 there were targeted billboards on I 25 Nuclear weapons production here It s the pits 5 Later we organized hundreds of organizations and businesses gave hundreds of briefings in Washington and finally with the help of attorneys Tom Hnasko Lindsay Lovejoy Diane Albert and with strong participation from our board of directors we sued and just in the nick of time too We almost lost this battle In the summer of 2010 NNSA and Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL were gearing up to start construction that fall or winter In June NNSA and LANL organized a meeting for potential subcontractors in Espanola They told reporters and us that their initial bid packages were ready In August they announced a date of October 1 for the first 60 million in bid requests We sued on August 16 2010 The project lacked any vestige of an applicable environmental impact statement EIS a condition of legal nudity They chose to affix a fig leaf the Supplemental EIS SEIS during the preparation of which construction could not occur It wasn t the best outcome but it did stop construction long enough for Congress and the Administration to wake up As Wellington said about Waterloo It was a near run thing To get some idea of what a 5 billion nuclear facility under construction looks like here s a picture of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility MFFF at the Savannah River Site SRS This is another entirely unnecessary

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin146.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #145: Study Group meetings in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, & Taos, Feb 17, 2012
    Uranium Processing Facility UPF in Tennessee at the same time and some sort of UPF will be built first I have been working in Washington this week and so am hearing up close and personal a lot of heavy complaining about CMRR NF s deferral from nuclear ideologues in Congress and elsewhere Some of these parties are making noise not so much to reinstate CMRR NF which they must know is very close to an impossible quest but to renegotiate political deals for nuclear weapons contracts and partisan political advantage Thus we have work to do to protect solidify and extend the Pentagon NNSA Department of Energy DOE National Security Council CMRR decision As mentioned in the last bulletin the deferral decision undercuts NNSA s legal positions and representations in court How those cases come out could have a large bearing on what NNSA can do next We hope to report to you on all this and more in public meetings this coming week On Tuesday February 21 at the Albuquerque Mennonite Church 1300 Girard Blvd NE in Albuquerque from 6 30 pm to 8 30 pm On Wednesday February 22 at the Cloud Cliff Bakery 1805 2nd Street in Santa Fe from 6 30 pm to 8 30 pm On Thursday February 23 at the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative 118 Cruz Alta Road in Taos also at 6 30 to 8 30 pm Preventing the construction of a large plutonium pit manufacturing complex at Los Alamos has taken most of our time and energy for the past two years But we work on much more than pits CMRR NF and related issues At the above meetings I hope we will have time to unpack some of the possibilities that lie just ahead These meetings will not just be informational

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  • Bulletin #144: CMRR Nuclear Facility delayed "at least 5 years," budget for next year zeroed, Feb 14, 2012
    perceived need to replace the old Chemistry and Metallurgy Research CMR building with a new nuclear facility has entirely evaporated CMRR seems to have had more to do with advertising than with national security or with safety We sent you our first press release yesterday The second one NNSA delays proposed plutonium warhead plant for at least five years included a few budget details some links and comments The stunned reaction of the New Mexico delegation and a good New Mexico oriented overview was featured in the Albuquerque Journal Sandia Wins LANL Loses In Fed Nuke Proposal The Associated Press had gotten the story out first Obama budget puts Los Alamos facility on hold A few other articles are reposted on our CMRR web page Study Group board member Darwin BondGraham had a great essay yesterday on Counterpunch that places this deferral in the broader context of U S imperial decline echoing some of the email discussions we ve been having around here Tom D Agostino NNSA Administrator said It s very clear to us if we re going to get in the business of building billion dollar nuclear facilities that we need to take into consideration the big picture in a press teleconference Monday after NNSA s budget request pdf His remarks were quoted in yesterday s Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor According to Mr D Agostino the big picture now includes replacing the main plutonium facility at Los Alamos Whoa This big building PF 4 is currently undergoing seismic and safety upgrades to modernize it and make it safer for another 30 years or so The idea of replacing PF 4 immediately after upgrading it when replacing the nearly abandoned CMR is unaffordable and unnecessary is well a really special Christmas pony It is more than that of

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  • Bulletin #143: Tomorrow's budget release: the CMRR-NF is in trouble, Feb 12, 2012
    alternatives to the project finally concluded on October 18 2011 with an Amended Record of Decision The sole value of the SEIS was to shock even us with much greater expected environmental impacts than we had known about in selected areas e g water and electricity usage now several multiples higher excavation and number of technical areas affected Not long after the AROD and doubtless eager to create a show of momentum NNSA quietly approached congressional appropriators asking if it would be permissible to begin construction even though there was no explicit appropriation to do that The answer was no At this point i e after the AROD all NNSA needed to legally begin construction was an appropriation that allowed it Starting on August 9 even before the AROD NNSA started the early procurement process by requesting interest in what came to be by December 15 43 separate procurement processes with LANS the LANL management contractor reserving the top job for itself Most of LANL then left for its annual Christmas vacation By that time parties on Capitol Hill and elsewhere had begun telling us that construction of CMRR NF was unlikely any year soon The first shoe dropped on December 23 when Congress following the lead of House appropriators cut CMRR NF funds by 37 and barred construction for the balance of FY2012 Project staff returned from Christmas to face quite a different future Pending procurement activity declined down to nothing By mid month one LANL official told the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor We re not expecting funding for CMRR So now the stage is now set for tomorrow s budget release Today the lab boosting Albuquerque Journal gathered some of the current speculations under a front page headline Multibillion Los Alamos Project Threatened Budget Ax Hovers Over Earthquake Proof Lab Stay tuned We will send more when we know it 2 Rep Michael Turner R OH Chair of the Armed Forces Strategic Forces Subcommittee will likely soon introduce a bill to mandate CMRR NF construction We don t know precisely what this bill will say but Rep Turner s 2011 New START Implementation Act H R 1750 will doubtless be the starting point as veteran nuclear weapons complex journalist Todd Jacobsen has pointed out There may be a companion Senate bill from Senator Kyl R AZ Co Last year H R 1750 had 9 co sponsors and was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee as well as to Turner s own subcommittee It was never voted on or referred out of either committee Senator Kyl s companion bill also had 9 co sponsors but it too was never voted on in the Senate Armed Services Committee to which it was referred These bills died Nevertheless this and potentially other damaging congressional action could occur We will send out a bulletin as soon as we are aware of any such legislation It must be opposed not just for the sake of CMRR NF which would be plenty of reason alone but also because of the military nuclear deal making process in which it will play some part Obviously any legislation that attempts to prevent the commander in chief from setting levels of armaments or attempts to interfere with the conduct of foreign policy by this or any future President will raise constitutional questions This won t stop them Politically such legislation is of a piece with the increasing paralysis of our government caused primarily by the Republican Party and the activists associated with it who hate government This paralysis is itself a powerful reason our country is now in decline Let s make no mistake about how serious this moment is We as a country and in our various locales are in the process of re examining the basic priorities of government and the nature of the social contract we hold with each other and future generations as well as our willingness to accept stewardship responsibilities for our lands and waters and the wildlife around us At the same time in our foreign policy we are in the process of deciding whether to base our relations on continuous overt and covert war or to struggle in good faith to find a just modus vivendi based on protecting human life These are very stark choices and our ability to temporize is ending Whatever choices we now make are going to be increasingly binding on us and others and heavily consequential in every sphere There is no escape To us here nuclear weapons are not just weapons They are quite real tokens of our readiness to commit national suicide as well as genocide abroad Our changing levels of investment in all that pertains to them are an important barometer of our national insanity and the internal corruption of the state by its most corrosive elements 3 Rep Ed Markey D MA and 34 Democratic co sponsors have introduced the SANE Act Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act of 2012 H R 3974 We have been in close communication with Rep Markey s office over the past two years regarding CMRR nuclear weapons budgets and programs and contractor accountability and this legislation We support it and urge you to do so as well Here is a short video of Rep Markey s floor statement introducing the bill Unfortunately there are no Republican co sponsors of this legislation It has no chance of passage It is a purely symbolic effort but not without value for that As a Boston Globe article correctly notes there is Republican support for cutting wasteful nuclear spending We know this first hand not just among appropriators but also from several discussions in Republican offices on Capitol Hill We have also seen and heard the support for cutting defense and nuclear weapons in some powerful right wing think tanks and activist shops We have worked with the Rio Grande Foundation and Rep Ron Paul s office to pick two of these to kill CMRR NF In the

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  • Bulletin #142: Trade journal: "massive cut" to CMRR expected, Jan 22, 2012
    assumption Unfortunately it is a serious question because projects often have unspent balances possibly large balances squirreled away from prior years appropriations The article written by veteran reporter Todd Jacobson quotes me Mello as saying that the eventual demise of CMRR NF has been inevitable given its lack of justification and astronomical cost Yes failure of this project has been inevitable sooner or later It may fail now prior to construction or later during construction or even after successful construction There is a huge difference however between sooner and later By far the best outcome for all parties would be to end the project now rather than building up to a bigger fiasco later As I said to Jacobson Assuming the current rumors are true the main thing now is to stop additional expenditures immediately mid year rather than winding down the project gradually and wasting even more money NNSA should focus on making the existing LANL plutonium facility safe without adding capabilities at the same time continuing its process of abandoning CMR which now has no remaining long term missions We do not know on what the current appropriation of circa 170 million is being spent or what it is paying for To our eyes it is very doubtful that the project will come anywhere near completing its design or that it will produce a valid and enduring baseline by September 30 Yesterday the Los Alamos Monitor ran an article on the Project on Government Oversight s POGO s recent CMRR NF report pdf The NNSA had no comment The Government Accountability Office GAO is preparing a report that bears on CMRR NF and its missions which may be published next month Stay tuned To get some idea of the amount of money involved in this project see the

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin142.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #141: POGO releases excellent CMRR report; DC trip report: tide against CMRR running stronger than ever, Jan 18, 2012
    another week of meetings with officials and others in government in Washington We have now given hundreds of briefings there about this project and related warhead management and stockpile stewardship issues over the past few years As far as CMRR is concerned some of our ideas expressed in these briefings and in our court filings appear to be gaining currency There are a lot of rumors flying around and apparently the tide is now running strongly against this project CMRR NF now seems to have few friends If present trends continue a very big if of course it cannot survive Some of the loudest voices favoring CMRR NF are suddenly finding themselves high and dry unpersuasive in meetings their lack of first hand experience or detailed understanding exposed We will keep you all informed as the situation develops in Washington and in the courts 3 What you can do Read up on the project say from the POGO report pdf or more chaotically at this point from our web site Share the drama of what is happening with your friends Talk to newspaper editors Now is the time for the general public to understand what a gargantuan waste of money our nuclear weapons have become and how little the nth nuclear weapon the next new bomb factory serves the national interest or the human interest Write letters to the editor The issues insert issues here are connected Talk to friends who can help support our work particularly right now our litigation In the summer of 2010 NNSA and LANL were poised to begin construction of this project despite prior delays So we sued and project had to stop for the duration Since then we have kept on fighting the project in the courts winning procedural victories on Appeal now fully

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin141.html (2016-02-16)
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