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  • NNSA issues final SEIS for nuclear facility part of CMRR project, Los Alamos Monitor, Aug 27, 2011
    to choose the right path forward for providing the responsive infrastructure necessary to support our nation s nuclear security The NNSA held a series of meetings throughout the state to gather public comments concerning the SEIS And most of those comments were negative Joni Arends of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety and Robert H Gilkeson issued a 43 page report in June documenting their concerns about the project Their basis was that there was insufficient incorrect and misrepresented seismic information for design basis related to earthquakes and it asked DOE to retract the draft SEIS for the project The data in the reports by DOE and LANL show that the maximum power of the faults is M8 a great earthquake Gilkeson said Saturday morning The hazard at the proposed CMRR Nuclear Facility is based on a maximum energy of a 7 27 earthquake which is more than 20 times below an M8 The final SEIS calls for the NNSA to use the preferred alternative action to build the CMRR Nuclear Facility in the lab s Technical Area 55 and use an approach called the Modified CMRR NF design concept The press release says this is not the first time NNSA has thoroughly investigated the environmental effects of the proposed CMRR Project It claims that LANL has conducted a new site wide seismic analysis of the geophysical structures that underlie the lab area and NNSA has incorporated that information into the design concept NNSA still has some decisions to make construction wise There are two construction options for the Modified CMRR NF concept One is the Deep Excavation Option in which a geologic layer of material would be removed and replaced with low slump concrete The second is a Shallow Excavation Option in which the facility is constructed in a higher geologic layer NNSA will determine whether to implement the Modified CMRR NF and whether to use the Shallow or Deep option for construction of the planned facility The selected option will undergo engineering analysis and independent review A Record of Decision regarding NNSA s decisions on the CMRR NF is expected in October We are eager to review its content but the fact remains that it comes long after full federal commitment to the project and hundreds of millions of dollars in prior appropriations for this one specific project only said Mello whose Los Alamos Study Group currently is in litigation with DOE and the NNSA The SEIS is a sham Because of the unprecedented scale of this project we need to look beyond the specifics of this particular project to the broader implications for our government democracy and social contract The projected cost of the project has ranged from 3 7 billion to 5 8 billion Jay Coghlan Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico added The NNSA and Los Alamos Lab seems to pay little heed to wasting taxpayers money in these hard economic times It would be far better if taxpayers monies were invested in getting Americans back

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/LAMonitor_27Aug2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CMRR would be starting point of new arms race, Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug 27, 2011
    of nuclear weapons work It will be built on what is known to be a 7 magnitude earthquake fault line and it is slated to vault 6 metric tons of plutonium as much as is needed to replace the nation s entire nuclear weapons stockpile an accident a la Fukushima waiting to happen right here I believe this is a terrible waste of public resources especially at a time when many people are scraping by from meager paycheck to meager paycheck Contrary to what our U S Sens Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman have been implying the construction phase of this project is not even an employment stimulus to speak off With all that money an average of only 400 construction jobs would be created over the construction period of which a minority would come from New Mexico Including planning and engineering this project would create only one temporary job for every 10 million of investment Once the facility is done in 2023 or so even these few jobs would come to an end and this behemoth would be populated by Los Alamos technicians and scientists now working in other facilities Despite continued tiresome and misleading denials from Los Alamos National Laboratory the CMRR Nuclear Facility is the centerpiece of a nuclear pit factory meant to replace the Rocky Flats Plant With CMRR NF there would be less science and more bombs in LANL s work It s not for the bombs we have not one U S warhead requires CMRR NF now or ever By the time CMRR NF is finished the whole stockpile would already have been upgraded by other means This facility is for building new warheads in quantity not maintaining old ones In many ways the CMRR NF is the START of the new arms race

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/SFNM_Malten_27Aug2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nuclear Facility Plans continue, Albuquerque Journal North, Aug 27, 2011
    the agency s claim to have considered alternatives to the project currently estimated to cost between 3 7 billion and 5 8 billion NNSA offered no real alternatives to building the Nuclear Facility said Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico Greg Mello of the watchdog Los Alamos Study Group criticized release of the new document late on a Friday afternoon The release of this document during the Friday afternoon news hole is a telling reminder of the insincerity of NNSA s public involvement processes Mello said We are eager to review its content but the fact remains that it comes long after full federal commitment to the project and hundreds of millions of dollars in prior appropriations for this one specific project only He called the environmental analysis a sham In hearings over the summer project critics sharply questioned federal officials about whether they had adequately considered alternatives to the project suggesting they may have been laying groundwork for a lawsuit on the question The building would take the place of a 60 year old lab area known as CMR the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research building where scientists analyze samples of dangerously radioactive plutonium work that is central to the lab s nuclear weapons work Independent nuclear safety analysts have long called the old building a danger but lab and federal officials have been unsuccessful over a two decade period in settling on a plan to replace it The final study briefly considered and then ruled out the possibility of building the laboratory at another U S site with less seismic risk than Los Alamos which sits atop mesas laced with faults It also fell back on a 2004 study to conclude that upgrading the existing laboratory would not be feasible Lab critics have suggested both options should get

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/ABQ-JRNL_27Aug2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • NNSA publishes "supplemental" EIS for evolving Los Alamos plutonium megaproject, press release, 26 Aug 2011
    constant dollar cost any previous government construction project in New Mexico history Its purpose is to increase the speed with which LANL could manufacture plutonium warhead cores pits If approved by Congress and successfully built on schedule NNSA expects the facility to begin operations in 2023 after the stockpile has already been refurbished As per its usual practice NNSA released this SEIS late on a Friday afternoon to minimize public knowledge and discussion Study Group Director Mello It is unlikely that the agency will receive any significant negative publicity for such stunts as most news reporters who cover NNSA expect such behavior normalized through long repetition The National Environmental Policy Act NEPA which requires EISs for major federal projects with significant environmental impacts requires that EISs objectively consider all reasonable alternatives to its projects and requires EISs as early as practicable in project development and certainly prior to federal commitment to the project The present SEIS regardless of content cannot meet those conditions Mello The release of this document during the Friday afternoon news hole is a telling reminder of the insincerity of NNSA s public involvement processes We are eager to review it s content but the fact remains that it comes long after full federal commitment to the project and hundreds of millions of dollars in prior appropriations for this one specific project only This SEIS is a sham Because of the unprecedented scale of this project we need to look beyond the specifics of this particular project to the broader implications for our government democracy and social contract According to the draft SEIS and using an optimistic 5 billion total cost figure this project will produce temporary New Mexico jobs at a rate of 1 job per 7 6 million spent No long term jobs are expected

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/press_release_26Aug2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Lawsuit Appeal Filed, ABQ Journal, July 1, 2011
    federal court in a continued effort to block work on a proposed plutonium complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory A federal judge in Albuquerque in May dismissed the group s lawsuit seeking to halt work because of alleged inadequacies in environmental reviews of the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement project Friday the group appealed that decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals From a statement issued this afternoon by Study Group head Greg Mello This project s name contains the word replacement but much more than that is involved It is be the anchor facility in a new plutonium production complex It is also entirely unnecessary were maintaining existing warheads for many decades to come the goal Instead the project is being justified on the basis of the assumption that large quantities of new kinds of warheads will be produced The most dangerous processes in that new production are to be here at Los Alamos where these unnatural hazards are to be added to the site s natural hazards of earthquake and fire I tracked down National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Damien LaVera this afternoon in Los Alamos where he was with a team touring the lab and

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2011/ABQ-JRNL_1July2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • FPIF, Russ Wellen, June 19, 2011: Even Their Beloved Nukes Don't Escape Republican Infatuation with Cost-Cutting
    nuclear weapon where the chain reaction occurs As for the need for new nuclear pits Frank von Hippel physicist and nuclear policy authority recently testified The need for large scale pit production has vanished In 2003 the NNSA was arguing that the United States needed the capability to produce 125 to 450 pits per year by 2020 to replace the pits in the US weapon stockpile that would be 30 to 40 years old by then But in 2006 we learned that US pits were so well made that according to a Congressionally mandated review of Los Alamos and Livermore studies on pit aging Most primary types have credible minimum lifetimes in excess of 100 years as regards aging of plutonium Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group which has dedicated itself to halting construction of the CMRR NF said in a recent newsletter that at the Los Alamos these proposed increases were to be unprecedented since the Manhattan Project Regarding the CMRR NF the bill s report reads The Committee recommends 200 000 000 100 000 000 below the budget request Although it fully supports the Administration s plans to modernize the infrastructure the Committee intends to closely review the funding requests for new investments to ensure those plans adhere to good project management practices The latest funding profile provided to the Committee indicates that over half the funding requested for the Nuclear Facility would be used to start early construction activities But the NNSA is not prepared to award that project milestone since the project must among other things first resolve major seismic issues with its design In other words Modernization will take several years and the considerable number of variables still at play argues against an excessively aggressive funding curve The construction of the new major facilities must not force out available modernization funding for the rest of the nuclear security enterprise More on the excessively aggressive funding curve from Mello emphasis added This 100 million cut is 90 of all the Committee s proposed cuts in NNSA construction meaning that the House Appropriations is almost uniquely targeting CMRR NF among all proposed NNSA construction for cuts Meanwhile at Arms Control Now the blog of the Arms Control Association Daryl Kimball writes emphasis added Early news accounts have overlooked the fact that the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill would increase not decrease the NNSA weapons activities budget above the previous year s level and has allocated more than enough money to keep programs on track but not so much as to be fiscally irresponsible in this fiscally constrained time The appropriations committee would increase funding for weapons activities by 3 to 7 13 billion for fiscal 2012 from 6 99 for fiscal 2011 The fiscal 2010 appropriation for NNSA weapons activities was 6 36 billion But according to Mello Overall the Committee would slash 498 M from the Obama request for NNSA nuclear Weapons Activities adding only 3 over last year a 6 6 cut

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/FPIF_Wellen_19June2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    were included for the laboratories here Among the apparent casualties of Wednesday s vote was the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility a proposed plutonium storage and handling structure that has been on the funding roller coaster for more than a decade In a committee report accompanying the funding bill legislators recommended 200 million for the Los Alamos facility 100 million below the budget request While expressing full support for the project and modernization efforts the committee declined to recommend any funding for early construction The building s proximity to a major geological fault line has driven a lengthy redesign process which in turn has resulted in significant changes and additional costs These changes have influenced the agency to review the validity of its environmental rationale in a supplemental analysis that is not expected to be finished until later in the year Raising these issues the committee also questioned the current plan to have Los Alamos National Security the laboratory manager manage the construction contract Paul Gessing president of the Rio Grande Foundation a conservative research institute in Albuquerque hailed the proposed cuts as the beginning of greater fiscal restraint in Washington It seems long overdue he said From the perspective of New Mexico and people who think this might hurt we re all going to have to pitch in and help restore some national sanity to the budget picture Also pleased by the outcome was Greg Mello executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group who viewed the proposed cuts to the Los Alamos facility as a kind of vindication The study group recently lost a courtroom battle to halt construction on the project The House recommendation if sustained would serve the same purpose through next year The vigilance of the committee is evident not just with CMRR

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/SFNM_16June2011.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CMRR faces possible budget cuts, Los Alamos Monitor, June 16, 2011
    and acquisition strategies NNSA spokesperson Damien LaVera said in an email We are not in a position to comment on draft recommendations from Congressional committees As you know this is just one step in a long process that will lead to the passing of a budget Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group praised the Congressional committee s work The committee product was unusually detailed and thoughtful Mello said in a phone interview Wednesday Even though we don t agree with it in every way they asked a lot of good questions and are really doing the oversight job they are supposed to be doing The country and the taxpayers will be better off because of it The question is whether the Senate will continue its usual role of undoing the more detailed work the house has been doing Last month U S District Judge Judith Herrera dismissed the lawsuit brought last August by the Los Alamos Study Group against the NNSA and Department of Energy The lawsuit sought to compel the NNSA and DOE to pause design and construction of the CMRR project to prepare an environmental impact statement that examined alternatives to the project Herrera based her opinion on the Supplemental EIS SEIS that was submitted by the NNSA and DOE for the CMRR project ruling that it was sufficient enough In the report to the committee Freylinghuysen said the NNSA needs to proceed with its modernization activities in a responsible manner and that the committee is seriously concerned with the recent cost growth for construction of the CMRR project The current price tag of the CMRR Nuclear Facility is estimated to come in between 3 7 billion and 5 8 billion These are conceptually replacement facilities to make operations more safe and efficient but construction will

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/LAMonitor16Jun2011.html (2016-02-16)
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