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  • Bulletin #100 October 22, 2010
    of initiating his own independent study on the NNSA s two biggest construction projects See the article here pdf reprinted by permission Vice President Biden in a letter made public by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month has nevertheless promised the Administration s whole hearted support for the CMRR NF and a companion facility in Tennessee for manufacture of uranium warhead components Biden told senators see pp 124 125 the Administration would be announcing further increases in the Administration s financial commitment to these projects and the National Nuclear Security Administration s NNSA s nuclear weapons program in the fall Nuclear Weapons and Material Monitor broke that story but to my knowledge it has not been in the mainstream media Investments in CMRR NF are intensifying The Administration sought and received emergency increase in nuclear weapons spending on October 1 which includes an increase in annual spending from 58 million to 169 million on CMRR NF Study Group Director Greg Mello We are pleased that Secretary Chu has recognized the need to re study this facility but greatly question whether a thoughtful review can be done in the advertised six weeks We have already developed a set of reasonable alternatives to this facility and anticipate working productively with the review team and with Congress What is needed for an objective review is a halt to further investments in the project Likewise we need a de novo environmental review that analyzes all reasonable alternatives to the project as the law requires The two go together again as NEPA recognizes and requires Nuclear laboratory unit costs in this proposed facility have risen by a factor of about 23 in this project since it was first funded by Congress and its mission is more dodgy than ever We believe no part

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  • Bulletin#99: October 18, 2010
    2003 environmental impact statement for the CMRR are viable today NNSA itself history science and engineering have abandoned them as impractical and unsafe Alternatives are the heart of the NEPA process 40 CFR 1502 14 When all the old alternatives are dead the old EIS is dead too You should know that in addition to the normal problems of challenging an inadequate EIS the SEIS scoping process is voluntary not required by law Is NNSA required to even read your comment once embarking on the process Required by whom Skepticism is warranted But creativity is what s needed You have it Use it Nuclear weapons are a dying business So put some life into your action Think about it please with your heart as well as your mind with your friends as well as with us if you wish You are powerful They are not The issues we care about aren t separate climate a giant nuclear weapons factory in our back yards our neighbor s health and our own whether we and our kids have a future Speaking of scoping hearings some of us will remember the story of the woman who was helping an attorney of ours in Virginia keep house while she was representing us in a NEPA challenge The EIS we were challenging in all its 10 pound glory was being used as a door stop in our lawyer s home office Hey I remember that one the housekeeper said I prepared the Comment Response document when I was a temp for a DOE contractor Moral NNSA decisionmakers are highly unlikely to ever see your comment much less care about it especially when the highest officials in the land have solemnly promised Republican senators that this project will be completed no matter what the cost You will have to be a little more creative than that to be heard Is all lost then No It never is Friends this is a big project Expected Nuclear Facility costs 5 to 6 billion now exceed the whole cost of the Manhattan Project in New Mexico about 899 million in inflation corrected 2010 dollars by approximately a factor of six This one building is now expected to cost what it cost taxpayers to build and operate Los Alamos lab from 1943 to 1955 at least maybe later It s a huge project and it s a huge mistake for everybody involved even NNSA poor fellows Do you think this project will be completed I think there are many ways it can be stopped and few ways it can be finished 2 If you live in Los Alamos Santa Fe Rio Arriba Taos or Sandoval counties please write or call your city council members and county commissioners asking them to write Secretary Chu or sponsor a resolution calling for a pause to this project so a new EIS can be written It is not necessary that they oppose this project just that they request a new EIS You can help

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  • Bulletin #98: Administration admits environmental analysis of LANL weapons facility is insufficient
    27 2010 S ample letter from local government officials to request a new EIS for the CMRR Nuclear Facility doc Sep 27 2010 Working with local governments requires and develops at least a modicum of political skill and organization which are necessary to address the broad range of interrelated crises we face These crises impinge upon people where they are they are abstract otherwise There is no substitute for face to face local politics in which we ourselves are engaged right where we live and work and raise our families It ain t pretty but oddly enough it appears to be less corrupt than the process of foundations implicitly allied with political parties setting large scale agendas from afar All this and more has been implicit in our suggestion to work with local governments and abjure isolated endeavors which are ineffective and easily manipulated 3 Estimated Nuclear Facility costs now exceed 5 5 B We cannot reveal our source which we deem reliable A highly placed Administration source also tells us the estimated cost of the Uranium Processing Facility UPF now exceeds 5 0 B The two projects together are now estimated to cost in the neighborhood of 11 B unless of course they are downscaled or abandoned which we beg you to notice they sooner or later will be Many observers have remarked to us that they do not believe these facilities will be completed as currently designed or if completed operated The question is less whether we will win but when and what will happen to our society and to nature in the meantime Estimated Nuclear Facility costs have inflated by approximately a factor of 17 since 2002 The building is to be smaller also useful Hazard Category II lab space in the facility has declined by roughly 36 since then Putting these together the cost per square foot of lab space has increased by a factor of very roughly 26 since the project was proposed and the reasonable alternatives of the CMRR EIS were selected 4 The White House seeks an emergency nuclear weapons spending increase to cover unexpected costs buy Republican votes which would start on Friday of this week if passed House Republicans oppose Within its set of requested Continuing Resolution CR anomalies pdf the White House has urged immediate implementation of its proposed FY2011 nuclear weapons budget increase FY2011 starts on Friday of this week Republicans argue against passage and so have we in a letter we sent yesterday to the Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee and others LANL and NNSA believe they can issue new contracts and begin the bidding process on others once fresh appropriations are in hand Funding for the Nuclear Facility could more than triple on Friday 5 The White House announces it will seek even greater nuclear weapons spending than before will revise Section 1251 report in the fall On September 15 two days before the DOJ wrote its letter to us promising a SEIS and one

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  • Bulletin #97 - Aug 22, 2010
    new building would also need cleanup but it would almost certainly be too big and too costly to dig up and dispose somewhere else It would become another permanent dump Poor New Mexico If you are not already a Study Group donor your gift whether small or large one time or as part of a monthly sustaining donor commitment will also bring you a richer stream of information about what s going on in the Study Group than we send to this broad list We ll tell you more about what you can do to help us or join with us So please take just a moment and make a donation on line or better mail a check to the office 2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque NM 87106 In either case include a simple statement endorsing our efforts to halt construction of a new bomb factory in Los Alamos You could also email Trish or call her at 505 265 1200 to arrange a gift of stock or make any other special arrangements We need your support in whatever form you wish to provide it Your voice channeled through us is important in this matter We ve been in Washington dozens of times over the past few years talking to lawmakers and their staff and many other parties about nuclear policy and most of all about the infrastructure and programs which design test and build warheads We ve observed that the alignment of nonprofits with Democratic Party aims strongly enforced by major foundations has substantially co opted what was once a fairly vibrant and diverse opposition Now it isn t vibrant isn t diverse and cheerleading has largely replaced opposition There is muted opposition to this proposed factory in a few places usually contradictory to other organizational aims Muted opposition will not be enough Building this factory is a key demand of Senate Republicans in return for a possible yes on New START ratification President Obama and Vice President Biden have been lobbying personally in favor of a proposed big increase in nuclear weapons spending including CMRR NF As far as I know there are as yet no arms control or disarmament organizations except us who have been willing to say that the deal for New START ratification including CMRR NF is just not worth it That may change Here s a strange thing Despite the proposed Nuclear Facility s overwhelming political support a small but increasing number of sophisticated observers not necessarily on our side whatever that means are commenting to us privately that they do not think this monster will be built In part they are taking our efforts seriously and looking forward to our success but mostly they are anticipating the effects of the converging crises now beginning to break on the world on our failing empire and on what was once our republic What this project needs at a minimum is a pause a time out in parenting language for mutual education That s why writing

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  • Bulletin #96: We can & must stop LANL's proposed plutonium lab, 16 Jul 2010
    seek an injunction if DOE refuses to recognize the facts and halt the project The clock is now ticking The truth is on our side Not only can we win this campaign we must win Now is a critical time in which the trajectory of our state and nation s economy and the priorities of our government will be determined LANL Director Michael Anastasio told the Senate exactly this when he testified in favor of the CMRR on July 16 We are now at a crossroads as a nation he observed The next few years will determine our approach to the stockpile for decades to come Ten former directors of the weapons labs echoed this sentiment when they wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Energy Secretary Steven Chu in May of this year calling for even more greatly increased nuclear weapons spending According to their analysis currently planned budget increases are inadequate for the acquisition of the multibillion dollar plutonium research and production facilities at Los Alamos Lobbyists like these for the weapons Labs seek to lock in long term funding increases for the stockpile and other anachronistic federal commitments that do little to nothing to make us safer but do a lot of damage to our economy and communities We must forcefully argue for something different Here in New Mexico the CMRR represents the biggest single piece of a larger lengthier plan that the Lab and federal decision makers would like to yoke upon us Over the next ten years they hope to spend more than 180 billion of taxpayer s dollars on nuclear weapons much of it on infrastructure or weapons design work at the labs This is money that could indeed must be spent on real needs if we are to avoid further economic collapse This is money that could rebuild our cities and rural communities produce clean energy remediate the environment and create tens of thousands of dignified jobs in New Mexico Or it is money that could quite simply be saved from the waste that is synonymous with nuclear weapons The Lab is now mounting a very high profile PR campaign in support of the CMRR So far they have hosted a community forum on construction in Espanola the first of several that are planned and established a web site to tout the economic importance of the project Lab spokesman Kevin Roark has begun lying to the public about the CMRR s mission writing recently in the Santa Fe New Mexican that no pit manufacturing is set for CMRR Study Group Director Greg Mello responded by noting What Kevin is saying just isn t true LANL management knows and approves of those lies evidently This is useful to know LANL pays people to lie when lying appears necessary to current management objectives This is apparently one of those times It s been going on since 1943 Cutting through these lies and focusing in what s true is an important task as we move to stop

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  • Bulletin #95: Please RSVP and attend LANL’s public discussion of its proposed plutonium warhead core (“pit”) factory annex, 7 Jun 2010
    promoter so it s appropriate to call this Bingaman s Folly This situation will last exactly as long as we allow it to last LANL has now begun its public relations push for this project For example LANL will host a very important construction job forum on June 16 in Espanola Many of you should strongly consider attending It is an opportunity for education in your communities for your own political organizing for networking and mutual education If you want to go to this forum and again we suggest that you do you should RSVP as soon as possible Here s the LANL press release and here s a more complete write up from another source Los Alamos National Laboratory will update industry and the public on upcoming construction efforts at the laboratory and unveil a new Web site dedicated to the projects at a June 16 forum in Espanola N M The event will take place from 10 a m to noon at the Santa Claran Hotel The jewel of the lab s construction effort is the multi billion dollar Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility which will shift much of the work done in the World War II era Chemistry and Metallurgy Research facility at a cost that could approach 4 billion There are other projects scheduled for the lab as well however A recent plan to use third party financing to build a science complex for the lab was scuttled but the lab and the National Nuclear Security Administration remain committed to the project and the lab s MaRIE facility Matter Radiation Interactions in Extremes is anticipated to be a center for research into materials and energy though it s still in the very early stages of development Much of the new construction is focused around the lab s controlled Pajarito Road corridor and the forum is expected to provide information on doing business with the lab as well as about the projects At the forum leaders from the laboratory and the Los Alamos Site Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration will present information about the projects procurement processes and opportunities and other important information the lab said in a statement A Web site will also be unveiled that will provide up to date information on lab construction projects For more information about the event contact the lab s Community Programs Office at 505 665 4400 Seating for the forum is limited RSVP to rsvp lanlcommunityforum lanl gov Don t forget to RSVP Sources tell us that LANS i e Bechtel mostly is fighting hard to keep overall control of this project and the fees it will generate for them Much could be said about the overall structural situation here but clearly the idea is to direct a new 4 billion stream of taxpayer money up The Hill while the rest of the country scrambles to make ends meet pay doctor bills and so on Ultimately if these priorities hold the rest of the country

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  • Bulletin #94
    the disarmament talk so far is just that talk The Study Group wants real disarmament The kind that requires actual cuts in the nuclear weapons budget and not increases higher than any since the mid 1940s For instance Congress should cut the now 4 7 billion program of replacement and expansion of the Los Alamos plutonium facilities The first new building has already been built the CMRR radiological laboratory utility and office building RLUOB and lacks only completing the installation of equipment The CMRR NF or realistically the plutonium pit production facility is in the design phase LANL has plans to begin the vast 125 deep excavation supposedly necessary for the CMRR NF foundation into the mesa at Technical Area TA 55 sometime this fall or winter A process that will take approximately 2 years In constant dollars the CMRR NF if approved will cost at least eight times as much as any government project ever built or planned in New Mexico except the interstate highways The magnitude of the cost and size of the CMRR is beyond comprehension especially as to why something of this enormity should even be discussed when our planet and its species are dying at a shockingly rapid pace A more responsible funding stream would be to put these billions toward renewable energy construction as rapidly as possible If our government were to responsibly contemplate the future of our country they would understand that these scarce funds are being wasted on nuclear weapons These weapons quite literally endanger the security of our country They do not deter As the Study Group stated in its primer on the CMRR published in December 2009 It hardly needs to be said that spending scarce funds to provide the capacity to churn the stockpile may not create the enhanced awe and fear that was sought by the neoconservative NPR authors Might not such choices instead engender other and far less deferential judgments of this country Alternatively should enhanced awe and fear be created in those foreign eyes as planned would that outcome really be in U S security interest Usually those who fear acquire or enhance their own deterrent emphasis added Unfortunately the next paragraph in that primer spoke of a hope that the Obama administration would implement a different nuclear posture than the Bush administration As we have seen in the NPR released in April just the opposite has come to pass The Obama administration has gone above and beyond the G W Bush administration by requesting this historically huge surge in nuclear weapons spending in infrastructure as well as building more bombs To study this situation closer you can visit the Study Group s new CMRR web page where we have organized most of the pertinent information mentioned above into a dedicated web page Whenever promises are made to reduce nuclear weapons there are inherent dangers in the political process as entrenched interests demand assurances and compensation for their threatened privileges just like the examples above Greg

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  • Bulletin 93: Hey, where have you Study Group guys been?, 10 Feb 2009
    existential in each of these ways too They are in fact mortal risks not just for us but for our children and grandchildren too I would prefer not to say that and have been avoiding it but we can t just talk like children about this situation any more Right now a billion people are hungry and another billion live close to the edge A million tragedies unfold every month In this fragile situation nationalistic resource policies will be deadly or perhaps more accurately genocidal We have some of those policies already This crisis will also stamp out forever a great many of our animal and plant brothers and sisters who have helped us along the way for hundreds of thousands of years helped us so long and with such intense beauty they are now a part of our minds and language inseparable We face something more than grief we are being diminished How deeply and how terribly this crisis continues is something we are going to have to work out together all of us It is the main thing human beings with any agency such as we must do 2 Economic Stimulus through Nuclear Warheads back to contents Every recent year Senate appropriators have sought more nuclear warhead spending than the House Last week Senate appropriators outdid themselves tacking an extra billion dollars into the stimulus bill a 16 increase in total warhead spending The House rightly disagrees and has approved no stimulus funds for nuclear weapons Traditionally the House asks for a more focused somewhat more modest warhead program House appropriators want fewer redundant facilities and programs fewer big construction projects and no new warheads They want management accountability and fewer semi abandoned buildings They want a serious effort to dismantle the stockpile of obsolete retired warheads Republican David Hobson who until January was the ranking member of the panel that reviews warhead spending described the warhead business as a jobs program for Ph D s the ultimate in white collar welfare In his view the bomb labs and plants were places where the federal oversight organization did not demand accountability and where the business practices were two decades behind the times His just retired counterpart in the Senate Pete Domenici R NM saw things differently Or if he did see the bloat and redundancy seen by so many others he found reasons to overlook them For 36 years he shepherded nuclear appropriations through the Senate with a special emphasis on his home state which houses two of the three weapons labs Now 43 of warhead spending occurs in New Mexico a remarkable concentration of high income jobs in a sparsely populated low income state Today s Los Alamos budget of 2 1 billion is more than two and a half times its 1946 1989 average in constant dollars There are now eight labs and production plants all run by the same few contractors in various combinations The National Nuclear Security Administration hires these contractors spending about 96

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