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  • Treat the state’s lab addiction, ABQ JRNL, Mello, 20 Mar 2015
    state They won t Their uncertain future will always be clouded and especially in LANL s case controversial and contaminated That future need not be ours For fundamental reasons these labs especially LANL will remain economically sterile and politically destructive Our political attention values and investments can and must be elsewhere For 72 years LANL has been primarily devoted to nuclear weapons Right at the beginning using the new bombs on cities was a horrendous war crime the shame of which has blighted Los Alamos ever since Far from rushing to beat Hitler to the bomb the leaders of Los Alamos knew in 1944 that Germany never had an atomic bomb project By March 16 months before Trinity General Groves told a dinner party at Los Alamos that the main purpose of the Manhattan Project was to provide the military means to dominate the Soviet Union That mission hasn t changed much Eurasian sovereignty remains the primary challenge to U S global domination Technologies of control and coercion especially nuclear weapons remain the labs mission Why can t nuclear weapons and the institutions that serve them produce economic development fundamentally Think about it Nuclear weapons are neither productive investments nor a salable good They re a bad Nuclear weapons are inherently transgressive of moral and legal norms Their direct physical effects blast fire and radiation produce devastation over very wide areas Indirect effects less predictable extend even farther in space and time The fatal and injuring effects of nuclear weapons so greatly outstrip the local and temporary effects of chemical and biological weapons as to be in another class entirely They and all that pertains to them are inherently anti civilizational The deterrence they supposedly offer inapplicable to nearly every real threat even in the most generous analysis is based on mutual terror It presupposes a firm plan to be executed rapidly that would annihilate one s own country along with the enemy s Annihilation would occur in two ways First via incoming warheads With nodal targeting and electromagnetic pulse even a few warheads perhaps even just one or two would suffice to eliminate the United States as a functioning society Second soot induced nuclear winter and destruction of the ozone layer that would follow the use of even a small fraction of current arsenals would ensure the deaths of billions and the extinction of many terrestrial species e g from retinal burns So nuclear deterrence is akin to a large suicide vest with a lethal radius comparable to that of the earth Any patriotism it claims is perverted and paranoid Of course we all know it s not patriotism that drives this industry It s mostly greed Nuclear weapons have no military utility even against non nuclear foes as repeated analyses have shown They would cause widespread collateral damage with even the smallest yields Any nation using them can kiss its status respect and security goodbye Economic decline would be swift Such useless pariah weapons have a dim future

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/ABQJRNL_Mello_20Mar2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DOE, Park Service to Create New National Park for Old Nuclear Weapons – the Ones Dropped on Cities, press release, 09 Nov 2015
    dangerous for the United States and for humanity We should not be glorifying weapons of mass destruction The communities surrounding these sites have been eager for some sort of recognition and prestige to compensate for the mass murder they enabled during the war and to vindicate themselves and their communities for creating the doomsday arsenals that still threaten the human race None of this is really in the past This Park is also a perversion of the Park Service s mission If there must be a park confine the Park to the sites which are closed If Congress in its wisdom wants to build historical parks in Oak Ridge and Los Alamos close those sites and let some years pass Only then might it be possible to understand and objectively interpret what happened there At Oak Ridge and Los Alamos we might as well call this the Bechtel National Park in honor of the leading contractor which runs both of these active WMD sites for DOE The propaganda boost provided by the Park will be priceless The Park Service cannot objectively interpret the Manhattan Project at any of these sites any more than the Smithsonian could when it attempted to interpret the Enola Gay exhibit The Air Force Association and their allies forced Smithsonian Director Martin Harwit out That same faction threatened the Bradbury Science Museum director with political pressure aimed at his dismissal when he had the temerity to display a Los Alamos Study Group exhibit about Hiroshima and Nagasaki obtained from the Hiroshima Peace Museum The Bradbury Museum is a taxpayer funded corporate run museum and propaganda center that promotes the Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL and its sustaining corporate narratives Mello The Park Service is already creating a counterfactual narrative about the events of the Manhattan Project Its video about the project at 0 19 says The Manhattan Project was an unprecedented top secret government program that allowed the United States to win the race to develop the build the first atomic bomb In point of fact there was no race to develop the build the first atomic bomb Germany was not working on the bomb neither was Japan Under wartime conditions neither could This was known by the end of 1944 at the latest Then in the same video at 1 12 David Klaus a DOE official refers to the atomic bombs that helped end World War Two Did they do that That s not a fact it s an opinion and it s not shared by a lot of historians It wasn t shared by the Air Force at the time or in the immediate aftermath of the war in its official Strategic Bombing Survey Apart from the fact that the Japanese were already defeated and had been suing for peace over the summer the very rapid Russian advance was probably a bigger factor in the exact timing of the by then inevitable surrender The idea that the Manhattan Project ended the war against Japan

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/press_release_09Nov2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Majority of Countries Slam Nuclear Deployments, Decry Lack of Disarmament, and Pledge to Support Negotiations toward a Treaty Banning Possession and Use of Nuclear Weapons, press release, 06 Nov 2015
    stigmatize prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons It is not the language of arms control and deterrence One of the most contested measures this past week was introduced by Mexico and supported by a total of 23 sponsors to establish an open ended working group OEWG for up to 3 weeks in Geneva next year to substantively address concrete effective legal measures legal provisions and norms that will be need to be concluded to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons This OEWG would report to the UNGA and would operate according to its rules i e without the consensus requirements that haveparalyzed for decades the review conferences of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons NPT the Conference on Disarmament CD and the UN Disarmament Commission UNDC For more on this see Who s afraid of an open ended working group by Ray Acheson of RCW and this organization and Thomas Nash of Article 36 A competing measure introduced by Iran and supported by the U S would have created a brand new three year OEWG but one that was sterilized at the outset with a consensus requirement It would thus create a multi year black hole for nuclear disarmament diplomacy In the end this proposal failed to garner support and was finally withdrawn presumably to avoid further embarrassment Despite heavy lobbying from the nuclear weapon states the far more promising Mexican proposal passed by a vote of 135 to 12 with 33 abstentions Meanwhile Australia speaking on behalf of 26 countries involved in nuclear alliances either as part of NATO or with the U S plus one NATO wannabe Georgia offered this negative statement prior to the voting on these proposals 2 This Committee is about to take action on a group of draft resolutions addressing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons we would like to register our collective regret that the draft resolutions now before the Committee are contributing to increasing international divisions with regard to nuclear disarmament including by seeking to marginalise and de legitimise certain policy perspectives and positions we believe that these resolutions both in their content and how they were managed do not bring us closer to disarmament goals When the voting was done Beatrice Fihn Executive Director of ICAN summarized all the outcomes in an email to ICAN s 424 partner organizations in 95 countries The humanitarian initiative the humanitarian pledge and the movement to ban nuclear weapons is continuing to move forwards strongly no matter what the nuclear armed states come up with The support for starting negotiations of a ban on nuclear weapons is stronger than ever and that s much thanks to the hard work done by ICAN s partner organisations all over the world The Study Group s Greg Mello The manifest long running failure of nuclear weapon states to fulfill their disarmament promises has created a leadership gap which non nuclear weapon states have begun to fill The results from these UN deliberations show that this

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/press_release_06Nov2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Pope Francis denounces nuclear deterrence and calls for prohibition of nuclear weapons, press release, 25 Sep 2015
    the Non Proliferation Treaty which demands complete disarmament The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ICAN welcomes Pope Francis call and believes that the moral and humanitarian arguments underpinning his speech should inspire governments to start negotiations of a treaty banning nuclear weapons Nuclear weapons are immoral unethical and unacceptable weapons says Beatrice Fihn Executive Director of ICAN governments should respond to the call of the Pope and start negotiating a new legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons In recent years support for negotiating a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons has grown At present 117 states have joined the so called Humanitarian Pledge which commits the signatories to work for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons At the upcoming UN General Assembly session these states have an opportunity to start negotiations for a universal prohibition of nuclear weapons putting them on the same footing of other weapons of mass destruction Full text of Pope s speech at the UN with video here It is important to distinguish calls to gradually eliminate nuclear weapons which are commonplace and frequently meaningless from today s statement from Pope Francis which called for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons and explicitly condemned the doctrine of nuclear deterrence in the strongest possible terms The Pope s call is not an isolated quixotic gesture but rather occurs in the context of a vibrant global movement to ban nuclear weapons now supported by a majority of countries foreign ministries The Los Alamos Study Group is a very active partner in the ICAN network In addition our leadership committee overlaps with that of ICAN via the Women s International League of Peace and Freedom WILPF Selected recent background on efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons from the Study Group Bulletin 206 Desultory NPT conference ends in division

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/press_release_25Sep2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos-Supported Congressional Study Suggests Efficiency Improvements for Plutonium Warhead “Pit” Manufacturing, press release, 18 May 2015
    need to expand nuclear weapons production infrastructure at LANL For the past 25 years every effort to do so has been a fiasco This report the latest from Dr Medalia tells how to avoid another fiasco While some of the recommendations do not comply with DOE internal safety regulations others are common sense steps that could save literally billions of dollars Hopefully this report will begin a long overdue wider discussion of how to properly manage LANL s plutonium facility NNSA is currently under congressional fire for not managing its facilities better not just at LANL but everywhere This report especially when read in combination with the previous ones from Dr Medalia should help the agency avoid unnecessary expense and management risk while also in some cases increasing safety and waste generation by eliminating unnecessary work The pit production requirements imposed by the Republican controlled Congress are unnecessary for the stockpile and an intrusion into management Hopefully they will be changed In the meanwhile Dr Medalia has provided an essential and highly informed road map for Congress the Executive and civil society Slight changes in policy a decrease in the number of non deployed reserve ICBM warheads or a decrease in the number of ICBMs or a decision to retain existing ICBM warhead pits longer among others would eliminate the supposed need for pit production Such small steps are very far from being nuclear disarmament which is in fact what we need One cannot help concluding that spending money on nuclear weapons is for NNSA and its powerful contractors an end in itself That story will end badly The author s summary A pit is the plutonium core of a thermonuclear weapon Imploding it with conventional explosives provides the energy to detonate the rest of the weapon The Rocky Flats Plant made up to 2 000 pits per year ppy through 1989 since then the United States has made 29 pits for the stockpile Yet the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act requires the National Nuclear Security Administration NNSA which manages the nuclear weapons program to produce at a rate of 80 ppy for 90 days in 2027 How can that requirement be met Pits are to be made at Los Alamos National Laboratory s main plutonium facility PF 4 To manufacture pits a facility must have enough laboratory floor space and a high enough limit for Material At Risk MAR the amount of radioactive material a worst case accident could release Producing 80 ppy requires enough margin the space or MAR available to produce pits minus space or MAR required for that production rate While space and MAR available have been calculated amounts required to produce 80 ppy have never been calculated rigorously leaving space and MAR needs undefined Further the report cannot address whether certain options could meet the 2027 date because time to implement them cannot be determined Accordingly this report presents 16 options that seek to increase the feasibility of producing 80 ppy by 2027 including The

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/press_release_18May2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • 3 NATIONAL NUCLEAR WAR LABORATORIES HAVE RUN AMOK, BLOCK DISARMAMENT, & SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN, press release, 6 Mar 2015
    destabilize our relationship with Russia and with their new delivery systems will cost taxpayers over time more than an estimated one trillion dollars Mello said In a talk February 28th to the Helen Caldicott Foundation conference on The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction in the New York Academy of Medicine Mello said the labs are the primary institutions through by which corporate prerogatives have replaced government decision making in the nuclear weapons arena The labs were given sweeping new powers in 1996 Mello recalled and since 2006 all are fully privatized They now wield enormous policy power by a variety of means both crude and subtle direct and indirect and they do not hesitate to blackmail government whenever that power is threatened Nuclear weapons should be banned as dozens of countries are now considering Mello said and the nuclear weapons laboratories should be closed entirely as part of such a ban After 25 years of close examination of the labs he continued we have finally concluded and for the first time that the labs have no unique role in disarmament nonproliferation verification cleanup intelligence or in any other mission that cannot be performed more objectively cheaper and better by other institutions All government led and civil society efforts at reform have failed Privatization deepened the conflict of interest at the labs since now the three labs directors corporate officers have a legal responsibility to advise the Secretary of Energy and the President regarding the nuclear stockpile while also having a legal responsibility to bring in more business Mello warned What s more he pointed out The corporations are fully indemnified and protected from the consequences of their many failures misuses of funds violations of law and accidents and they have never paid a dime for any of these It is

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/press_release_6Mar2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    infrastructure at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL The proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Nuclear Facility CMRR NF opposed for years by this organization and the object of years of litigation has been formally cancelled 6 A new 675 M project is announced to modify partially bring up to building codes and re equip the brand new 396 M Radiological Utility and Office Building RLUOB to handle larger quantities of plutonium This brings the total planned RLUOB investment to 1 071 B making it by far the most expensive single construction project in the history of New Mexico in constant dollars A new 1 365 B project is announced to modify the interior of the main LANL plutonium facility and install new equipment to handle higher production rates in addition to multiple other line items that have been investing in this facility its equipment and these programs The Administration s Department of Defense DoD budget request would accelerate development of the air launched Long Range Standoff LRSO cruise missile by 1 25 fiscal years 5 quarters 7 Work on the proposed LRSO warhead a W80 modification has been moved up by two years leaving a net delay of one year from the schedule presented in 2013 Strategic bombers are counted as one warhead under New START even though each B 52H can carry up to 20 nuclear armed cruise missiles and or many nuclear bombs The B 2 also carries cruise missiles and the Long Range Strike Bomber is being designed for this mission as well LRSO warheads will not be counted under New START It would be difficult to detect an attack with stealthy cruise missiles Study Group director Greg Mello Overall this is a status quo budget one that generally follows prior projections and plans The proposed big spending increase has been expected There are no sudden departures Contractor greed and waste are still being rewarded in the three big labs The contractors are still basically in charge The dead man walking interoperable warhead program is still on the books despite its lack of support in the military No old warhead types are being retired instead of being replaced No ICBM bases are being closed This Administration lacks the courage to build a higher quality smaller program on a stronger wiser less sprawling foundation Looking deeper morale and management problems will continue and are certain to explode in unpredictable ways in the future It s only a matter of time The fiasco created by LANL at WIPP is a harbinger of further trouble down the line because nothing fundamental has been fixed There is no way to have a well managed nuclear weapons program It s a fiasco generating contradiction that NNSA has to live every day Sooner or later nuclear weapons will be gone They question they pose is whether we will exit at the same time either because we finally open the nuclear umbrella or because our investments in the mushroom cloud preclude the solidarity needed to

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/press_release_2Feb2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LANL Acknowledges Hazardous Waste Permit Noncompliance, WCM, 12 Sep 2015
    Among the acts of noncompliance according to a report attached to the officials letter were unpermitted treatment by use of absorbents in an impermissible manner unpermitted treatment by neutralization mixing potentially incompatible materials with waste in containers and failure to manage and label waste containers and meet generator requirements for off site transportation of potentially ignitable D001 and corrosive D002 hazardous wastes LA CIN01 Just over 1 000 containers fell into one of these non compliance areas the report says LANL s review of packaging processes and contents records for thousands of waste containers found 440 receptacles in which transuranic waste mixed with concrete could hold materials that could be corrosive or ignite the New Mexico Environment Department NMED said in a statement However the cemented configuration of those materials are both significantly different from and more stable than the material involved in the WIPP incident NMED said In that case nitrate salts produced by LANL operations were combined with an organic cat litter in hundreds of containers sent to WIPP for permanent storage One container burst and the radiation leak forced WIPP to shut down storage operations while it carried out an extensive yet unfinished remediation program The 440 containers cited in the LANL NNSA report have been conservatively assigned D001 and D002 waste codes and they are subject to the storage requirements for corrosive or ignitable waste until further testing can be completed The New Mexico Environment Department is requiring LANL to implement corrective actions to address all identified permit violations and any other NMED regulated issues identified in the Extent of Condition Review said NMED Resource Protection Division Director Kathryn Roberts in a prepared statement Details of the corrective actions were not immediately available McMillan and Lebak said LANL has taken a number of steps to prevent

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/WCM_12Sep2015.html (2016-02-16)
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