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  • LANL Project an Unsafe Taxpayer Boondoggle, 27 Nov 2011
    with no environmental review to twice the original size and at the top end of the National Nuclear Security Administration s steadily escalating cost range over 16 times its original cost The building would be the nation s storehouse of plutonium located directly above approximately 40 percent of all the wetlands on lab property Highlighted as the 1 Boondoggle of 2009 by Newsmax com this questionably justified hole in the ground still has no final design construction cost or estimated life cycle cost this after spending nearly half a billion dollars more than the total cost of the original project on planning A deficiency in any one of these should be enough to give any responsible congressman or senator pause before proceeding with it more so those who take their public trust seriously Yet not the building s constantly evolving mission not NNSA s abandonment of DOE project development guide lines nor even blatant violations of the National Environmental Policy Act have shaken our congressional delegation s dedication to it There are alternatives to this project cheaper simpler better ones and that is why we have sued to force NNSA to consider them It s the law under the National Environmental Policy Act Assuming construction costs of 4 billion to 6 billion over nine years and using NNSA s figure of an average of 420 construction jobs year that s an investment of 1 million to 1 6 million per job year Many of these jobs would be filled by highly skilled out ofstate certified nuclear facility workers not New Mexicans According to NNSA it will result in no net gain in permanent jobs In contrast to this boondoggle why not invest that half billion dollars year over the next decade in programs would that incentivize renewable energy projects and

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/ABQJRNL_Neils_27Nov2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DOE Auditor Calls for Restructuring National Labs, Global Security Newswire, Nov 18, 2011
    at options for merging Energy Department laboratories He also advised that the department s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration be fully brought back under department control to lower costs and redundancies The branch which oversees the national laboratories and other nuclear weapon operations was created in 2000 due to security worries Matthew Wald New York Times Nov 15 The report arrives at a time when congressional backers of strong U S nuclear weapons complex spending are attempting to undo a vote by the full House that would reduce NNSA weapons spending by close to 500 million in this fiscal year Sen Jeff Bingaman D N M told the Albuquerque Journal that he was skeptical that Friedman s recommendations would receive much consideration by lawmakers I haven t heard any serious conversation about it in Congress or here in Washington the New Mexico lawmaker said John Fleck Albuquerque Journal I Nov 17 Meanwhile the facility used to generate plutonium at Los Alamos might require between 150 million and 300 million in seismic shock reinforcements that could take until the end of the decade to finish the Journal reported The figures and time line were provided in a September assessment provided by Los Alamos managers to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board which convened on Thursday in Santa Fe John Fleck Albuquerque Journal II Nov 17 One board member said the panel was not fully confident that the enhancements were strong enough to ensure that surrounding populations would not be exposed to harmful radioactive emissions in the event of an earthquake at the plutonium laboratory the Associated Press reported You need to ensure adequate protection at every moment of the day board chairman Peter Winokur said He told Los Alamos officials who had given presentations at the meeting that we are a

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/GSN_18Nov2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Oversight board questions adequacy of LANL efforts to protect against quake, AP, Nov 17, 2011
    for working with the dangerous plutonium that used in nuclear weapons From a seismic perspective I would feel safer in PF 4 than in my own home LANL Director Charles McMillan said Safety he said is unequivocally our highest priority at the lab Other lab officials repeated their confidence that the main plutonium facility known as PF 4 was safer than their homes But Winokur questioned whether that confidence about the lab s structure extended to protecting the public from radioactive releases should a major quake occur along nearby fault lines and spark a fire or other problem at the plutonium facility Work to retrofit the aging Plutonium Facility should be complete next year but upgrades to the lab s fire suppression system won t be finished until 2013 and a ventilation system to contain a major radioactive release won t be complete until 2020 assuming Congress funds the project This should be a priority in your funding requests said Winokur Greg Mello with the watchdog Los Alamos Study Group urged the board to go to the White House to ensure property safety standards are adopted and enacted We do not believe the National Nuclear Security Administration is capable of setting sound priorities he said We do not accept 2020 as good enough for installing an adequate ventilation system To us 2020 means whenever PF 4 is one of two aging buildings at the lab where plutonium work is done Since new studies in 2007 showed the potential for a major earthquake along faults in the area could occur every few thousand years more frequently than previously thought LANL has been working to make sure the building meets more stringent seismic standards It also has taken the initial steps to replace the even older second plutonium lab known as the

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/AP_17Nov2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nuclear Weapons Projects Don't Even Qualify as Pork, Foreign Policy in Focus, Nov 5, 2011
    NF via the courts The LASG is both appealing the dismissal of its case which sought a new Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act to address those seismic concerns and is filing a second lawsuit to the same end In the comments section of the op ed Mello points out that the Times underestimated the cost of the CMRR NF The CMRR project is now expected to cost between 4 and 6 billion not 3 billion NNSA and the Bechtel led consortium that runs Los Alamos want to start construction a year or more before design is completed currently the Senate would allow and fund that but the House would not A year from now when design is 90 complete the cost may be higher experience shows further large cost increases can be expected between now and the planned completion date in 2023 Continuing to look at the CMRR NF in purely economic terms at the New Mexican Roger Snodgrass writes Some small business owners in Santa Fe are opposing the proposed plutonium facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory Although the group has been gathering support for several weeks the announcement of its formation in a newspaper ad coincided with the release of a formal record of decision a day earlier that approved the plan to build a nuclear facility at LANL We hope New Mexicans will take more interest now and if they want to keep some value in the real estate and attract visitors from all over the world they better think twice about their relation with Los Alamos said Willem Malten the organizer of the businesses Also in 2008 326 New Mexico businesses signed a Call to Disarmament developed by the Los Alamos Study Group The petition called for a stop to the design and manufacture of all nuclear weapons including plutonium bomb cores pits at Los Alamos and elsewhere Mello too speaks about the effect or lack thereof of nuclear weapons projects such as the CMRR NF on the local economy in an interview with Mary Charlotte Domandi on KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio Unlike a solar or wind energy project which could potentially bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment and create thousands of jobs as opposed to just 660 the CMRR in Mello s opinion benefits primarily the companies who already own LANL Bechtel the University of California BMW while hardly generating any long term value It doesn t train people to do anything in the economy observed Mello It doesn t provide any infrastructure in that it functions in the real economy there are no goods or services provided since no one buys or sells nuclear pits And it attracts no private capital Or as Andrew Lichterman also a member of the LASG as well as the Western States Legal Foundation and Reaching Critical Will writes Even though the CMRR NF is by far the largest government construction project in New Mexico history aside from the interstate

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/FPIF_5Nov2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • NYT editorial, "The Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget," Oct 29, 2011
    gotten very far with his promise to negotiate even deeper reductions with Moscow In his push to win votes for the New Start treaty Mr Obama gave away far too much to balking Republican senators He promised to invest an extra 85 billion over 10 years for the nuclear labs to maintain and modernize the arsenal including overhauling thousands of older bombs that should be retired He proposed spending 125 billion over the next decade for a new fleet of nuclear armed submarines 100 new bombers a new land based intercontinental ballistic missile and two other missiles Senior military officials acknowledge that hard decisions must be made including possibly eliminating one leg of the nuclear triad In July Gen James Cartwright then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called for a reassessment of where nuclear weapons fit in today s world All Americans need to be part of that discussion as does the Congressional supercommittee charged with coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit by 1 5 trillion over 10 years Here are sound cuts for the nuclear budget Senator Tom Coburn one of the few Republicans to support nuclear reductions has called for cutting the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1 220 the ballistic missile submarine fleet to 11 from 14 and intercontinental ballistic missiles to 300 from 500 He also favors delaying the purchase of new bombers until the mid 2020s Total savings according to Mr Coburn would be at least 79 billion over the next decade It is a smart beginning Don t modernize the B61 tactical nuclear bombs in Europe No one can imagine that the United States would ever use a nuclear weapon on a European battlefield and Washington is in discussions with NATO to bring them home to be

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/NYT_29Oct2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Santa Fe businesses oppose proposed plutonium lab
    the organizer of the businesses The coordinated effort by the merchants suggests a possible renewal of small business involvement in what has been largely an argument between the lab and the activist community Many Santa Fe residents may be reminded of the long battle during the 1980s and 90s over the opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad much of which was focused in Santa Fe That conflict which grew to involve thousands of New Mexico citizens and hundreds of businesses was eventually decided in favor of the Department of Energy but not before local concerns caused congressional hearings to be invoked and moved state and federal environmental agencies to action This reminds me of WIPP in the late 80s said Chico Goler manager of La Boca restaurant one of the businesses involved When I was a kid my mother did benefits They were really engaged and got the word out Santa Fe is very liberal very PC very anti anything like this There have been other signs of resistance to a new facility in recent years In 2008 326 New Mexico businesses including 141 in Santa Fe signed a Call to Disarmament developed by the Los Alamos Study Group The petition called for a stop to the design and manufacture of all nuclear weapons including plutonium bomb cores pits at Los Alamos and elsewhere The issue was at the heart of the controversy surrounding LANL s Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility At the end of last year the Santa Fe City Council and Santa Fe County Commission passed resolutions calling for a pause in the CMRR NF project while a new and complete Environmental Impact Statement was prepared If completed the CMRR NF will help increase the current capacity for making plutonium triggers for nuclear

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/SFNM_22Oct2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Watchdog files seond lawsuit over proposed Los Alamos plutonium lab, Oct 21, 2011
    for final design and construction of the nuclear facility called the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement project or CMRR The facility would replace a 60 year old building that has been declared seismically unsafe It s a project that has been on the drawing board for decades and one that won t likely be finished for close to another decade Critics have been fighting the proposal for as long as it has been on the table arguing it is an unnecessary and outrageously priced bomb factory Lab officials insist nuclear weapons will neither be made nor stored there They say CMRR s mission is to analyze and understand nuclear elements The new lawsuit claims NNSA failed to evaluate alternatives as required under the National Environmental Policy Act Despite spending millions on what turns out to be 14 pounds of after the fact NEPA paperwork NNSA still has not analyzed the impacts of even one reasonable alternative Los Alamos Study Group Director Greg Mello said in statement For NNSA it s their way or the highway Yet analysis of the environmental impacts of reasonable alternatives to a project is the very heart of NEPA Mello argues the country should be funding

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/AP_21Oct2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nuclear Weapons Policy Group Files Second Lawsuit to Halt Proposed $6B LANL Plutonium bldg, Oct 21, 2011
    on a project whose original mission helping make replacement warhead cores pits is in serious question to say the least The Administration s big proposed nuclear weapons modernization program is hitting the fiscal rocks Both House and Senate appropriators have proposed warhead budgets significantly lower than requested There is huge discomfort about NNSA s plan to build CMRR NF at the same time as a higher priority facility for manufacturing uranium warhead components in Tennessee We hope our lawsuit will help all branches of government come to grips with some of these realities NEPA is a valuable tool or it could be if it were used as such More about the Study Group The Study Group is a nonprofit organization based in Albuquerque New Mexico focusing on nuclear weapons and related policy issues The active core of the Study Group is composed of accomplished scholar activists with decades of experience residing in New Mexico California New York and elsewhere We have been deeply involved in domestic and international nuclear weapons policy issues since shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 For two decades the Study Group has worked closely with government contractor and academic policy experts at senior levels as well as with the public For the past few years the Study Group has focused most of its efforts on appropriately downsizing warhead programs within the larger human and environmental security context defined by our converging economic financial energy and climate crises Study Group Director Greg Mello and president Peter Neils will be in Washington next week to discuss the issues raised in their research and in this lawsuit with congressional staff other experts in the arms control community and officials in government More about CMRR For further information about the CMRR NF project and its practical alternatives please see http www lasg org CMRR open page htm especially Overview and update Los Alamos Proposed 6 Billion Plutonium Fortress pdf Aug 15 2011 Overview CMRR talk in Los Alamos pdf speaker s notes most references are included on slides as necessary scroll over symbol in upper left to view Jul 19 2011 Overview Reasons Not to Build or to Delay CMRR NF pdf May 22 2011 Alternatives The Proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF New Realities Call for New Thinking pdf Dec 10 2010 Plaintiff s court filings posted in reverse chronological order From today s Complaint check against filed version This action challenges Defendants reliance on a 2011 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement 2011 SEIS and subsequent amended record of decision as a purported justification for Defendants continuing and unabated implementation of the 2010 11 Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement 2010 11 CMRR project at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL The purpose of the CMRR project is to increase LANL s capability to conduct experimental and industrial processes involving large quantities of plutonium primarily in support of nuclear warhead core pit manufacturing Since 2004 the CMRR project has consisted of two main buildings the CMRR Nuclear Facility CMRR NF and a support facility called the CMRR Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building CMRR RLUOB together with ancillary buildings facilities and utilities The CMRR NF would include a storage vault for up to six metric tons of plutonium CMRR NF would function in tandem with LANL s existing main plutonium facility PF 4 which is being substantially upgraded All three facilities CMRR NF CMRR RLUOB and PF 4 would be adjacent to one another in LANL s Technical Area 55 TA 55 connected by tunnels The CMRR project has been conceived designed funded by Congress and analyzed under NEPA as a single project Defendants initially prepared an environmental impact statement EIS under NEPA in 2003 for a CMRR the 2003 CMRR EIS that would have been much simpler and less environmentally impactful than the current version A Record of Decision the 2004 CMRR ROD was issued in early 2004 containing Defendants decision to proceed with that 2003 project Between 2004 and 2010 the scale and scope of the CMRR NF project increased dramatically There are several reasons for these changes DOE NNSA s original environmental analyses and assumptions in the 2003 CMRR EIS were critically deficient Their estimates of material requirements were grossly in error New design requirements were also discovered or imposed For example DOE NNSA determined that their estimate of seismic hazard was significantly too optimistic DOE NNSA discovered that the thick stratum of loose volcanic ash beneath the proposed site created seismic vulnerabilities Safety standards such as the requirement for a safety class ventilation system posed new challenges New mission flexibility requirements were added The electricity and water requirements of the new building had been greatly underestimated A new transmission line to Los Alamos may be needed a major project in itself Because of the imperatives arising from these and other factors all alternatives presented in the 2003 CMRR EIS have now been rejected by Defendants The CMRR EIS of 2003 has been overtaken by events and is in all of its substance obsolete and irrelevant Since 2004 DOE NNSA have greatly expanded the scale scope cost and geographic footprint of the CMRR NF adding new buildings construction yards parking and other project elements Cost estimates have increased by a factor of ten or more These enlarged plans have also greatly lengthened the design and construction schedule moving the projected completion date from 2009 to 2023 At the same time nuclear weapons policy has significantly changed since 2003 requiring DOE NNSA to reconsider the purpose and need for CMRR NF The Reliable Replacement Warhead RRW once a core justification for CMRR NF has been canceled By the early 2020 s when CMRR NF might be completed nearly the whole weapons stockpile will have been upgraded by existing means without CMRR NF There is a scientific consensus that existing pits will last far longer than previously expected and that stockpile maintenance methods which do not use new pits will be effective indefinitely

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/press_release_CMRR2_21Oct2011.html (2016-02-16)
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