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  • Group urges case against new facility at LANL
    has evolved over time into what the study group describes as a facility to facilitate the large scale production of plutonium warhead cores pits Jennifer Wagner a spokeswoman for NNSA said Thursday afternoon that the agency is already undertaking a review that will tell us if we need additional National Environmental Policy Act analysis Noting that NNSA does not comment on potential litigation she added The agency has initiated the process of preparing a supplement analysis for the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility Out of that she said would come the determination of whether to supplement the existing analysis or to prepare a new environmental impact statement if any new NEPA documentation is required During the news conference Mello said a private conversation among NNSA officials would not meet the legal standard Mello said he doesn t want an analysis that ratifies a decision already made he said So we want NNSA to stop work on the project Mello made public a letter of intent addressed to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Administrator Thomas D Agostino of the NNSA The letter serves formal notice of legal action after 20 days unless a new environmental impact statement is prepared for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility Thomas Hnasko an environmental attorney with Hinkle Hensley Shanor Martin LLP will serve as the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs He said he had agreed to analyze the legal basis of the case and file if necessary In his opinion it was obvious that there was very little relationship between the initial project covered by an impact statement in 2003 and the project currently under way Among the most obvious changes in addition to the cost and the significant traffic disruptions announced by the laboratory were construction requirements including a

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/CMRR_SFNM_1Jul2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • NM group wants another look at Los Alamos building
    National Environmental Policy Act needs to be followed before the building can move ahead The Los Alamos Study Group contends the project is on a larger scale than alternatives analyzed seven years ago and has not been subjected to a NEPA analysis The watchdog group is sending a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and National Nuclear Security Administration head Tom D Agostino about their concerns The group says reasonable

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/CMRR_Assoc_Press_1Jul2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CMRR press conference
    history of New Mexico except for the interstate highway system The estimated cost of the proposed building has risen by a factor of ten over the last eight years while the useful space to be provided in the building has dwindled It s expected completion has been delayed 11 years so far According to LANL spokespersons no confident cost schedule or design for the building is expected prior to 2014 although construction is expected to begin in just 9 months To build CMRR NF automobile access to approximately one third of LANL by scientists and other staff is expected to be shut down for approximately two years as project construction peaks Many technical areas TAs will be affected directly by construction and many more indirectly by lack of access displaced workers and other impacts Tens of thousands of heavy trucks will need to traverse local highways bringing gravel cement and other materials to the proposed 125 foot deep pit where the building will be built Bypass roads are being studied Several ancillary structures are required The group warns it will file suit in federal district court later this month to compel NEPA compliance if NNSA does not agree to abide by the law and take what the courts have called a hard look at the project which has never happened The evolving project s expected environmental impacts have grown dramatically in the past year The group s letter states Even without adducing further evidence these huge cost increases strongly suggest there are reasonable alternatives to the project as currently proposed The range of alternatives analyzed in the CMRR EIS was very narrow in part because the nuclear laboratory component of the project was expected to be relatively inexpensive and soon available Neither has turned out to be true The CMRR EIS environmental impact statement was based on a matrix of assumptions now known to be false Most of this cost increase has occurred in the last three years much of it in just the last year betokening a recent rapid expansion in project scale and impacts This dramatic cost increase has been accompanied by a huge increase in resource requirements In key cases more than ten times as many resources are now required as were originally estimated as shown in Table 1 pdf 1 9MB The group alleges that today s proposed CMRR NF which is on a larger scale entirely than the alternatives NNSA analyzed seven years ago has never been the subject of any NEPA analysis and that there has never been any notice or comment process involving the public agencies or tribes concerning a the nature of actual project being designed today b its alternatives or c the likely impacts of the new project and its alternatives The Study Group s letter points out that no administrative or congressional commitment to initiate final design or to build CMRR NF has been made So if the needed NEPA and other analyses were begun promptly NNSA could achieve compliance

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/press_release_CMRR_1July2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Congress Chafes over Nuke Costs
    Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee skips the accounting and cuts to the chase We need to know exactly where the money is going and how it is being used said Rep Jim Langevin D R I in the June 21 statement NNSA plans to seek over 29 billion over the next four fiscal years and it is absolutely essential that NNSA be able to justify this increase and explain how it will benefit stockpile stewardship and management added Rep Michael Turner R Ohio Meanwhile in the Senate members of the Armed Services Committee earlier this month tacked a section onto their annual defense bill suggesting they too are interested in keeping the National Nuclear Security Administration on a shorter fiscal leash If there are cost overruns the language requires the NNSA to go before Congress and justify why projects should not be killed The Senate language is in part targeted at the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility In the late 1990s when federal officials concluded they needed to replace the old 1950s era Los Alamos plutonium lab known as the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Building they put the initial price tag at 350 million to 500 million They already have spent 329 million building the first phase of the new lab complex an office building with some lab space But the main lab building where the plutonium work will be done is perhaps a decade away from completion and federal officials frankly admit they have no idea how much it will cost There is a 4 billion placeholder in the Obama administration s Fiscal Year 2011 budget request for the plutonium lab But in an exchange during an April hearing with Sen Jeff Bingaman D N M NNSA chief Tom D Agostino acknowledged it

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/ABQJrnl29June2010.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Nuclear weapons accounts don't add up
    Two sites LANL and the Y 12 site in Tennessee told GAO that they could not identify the total amount they obtained from the other sources The practices are allowed but they do raise doubts and create headaches for auditors who can t tie the money to the mission for each weapon Their sums don t match up to the ways the labs are spending their money Questions to a LANL official were referred to NNSA headquarters in Washington NNSA is committed to being an effective steward of the taxpayers money and we are working to ensure that we have responsible budget systems in place NNSA spokesman Damien LaVera said in an e mail Friday These are ongoing efforts that we began last year and expect will be completed in 2011 Responding to the report from Washington D C Friday U S Sen Jeff Bingaman said the GAO report highlighted many of the problems associated with multiple accounting systems The NNSA is in the process of developing a single accounting system one that will lead to more transparency and better planning he said I hope it is in place by next year so that Congress can perform better oversight The findings arrive at a sensitive time with ongoing budget deliberations barely moving through Congress and in view of the Obama administration s plans for a 4 25 billion increase in weapons activities over the next five years including long term commitments to new projects like LANL s Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Above all right now Congress is not getting an accurate picture of what it will cost to operate the new facilities that NNSA and Obama are requesting said Greg Mello executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group The point is that when NNSA buys facilities especially heavy

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/GAO_SFNM_26Jun2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LANL is lying about CMRR
    spanning many years but these should suffice Kevin is lying Congress and the Administration aren t buying a circa 5 billion plutonium complex at LANL which includes a half dozen capital projects including the 3 4 billion CMRR Nuclear Facility for research or for the science of actinide elements or for maintaining and certifying the U S nuclear stockpile while sustaining the moratorium on nuclear testing or for counter terrorism nuclear forensics and nonproliferation LANL already has a very large plutonium facility which is currently being upgraded and renovated for the purpose of pit production as well as the purposes Mr Roark mentions and others LANL also has an additional big brand new state of the art plutonium laboratory currently being outfitted for research testing and analytical chemistry involving smaller samples Lawrence Livermore also a large heavy duty plutonium facility currently surplus to NNSA s needs for heavy plutonium space which is doing and which could do most of these nice fuzzy missions In addition NNSA is also building additional huge plutonium processing and storage facilities in South Carolina roughly 8 billion worth NNSA has still other facilities that could store large quantities of plutonium indefinitely and so does DoD Additional plutonium capable labs are available at other NNSA sites too numerous to mention for work with smaller samples The main purpose of the proposed new plutonium grotto at LANL is to create the capability to produce large numbers of plutonium pits on short notice LANL can already make pits at a very high rate if NNSA chose to do so but there would have to be some rearrangement of equipment and programs a bit more remodeling than is already going on It couldn t be done quickly and it would require a real national mission With the CMRR Nuclear Facility LANL could do everything at once and far more smoothly and quickly once the anticipated years of shake down and tune up are past come 2023 or so Since there is a large surfeit of long lived certified pits for each and every delivery system the only purpose of making pits is to make them for different warheads than are presently in the arsenal There is however no confident path to certification of these warheads in the absence of nuclear testing The main strategic idea of the corporations which run LANL and Livermore is to manipulate the ideology of nuclear hawks to create highly lucrative uncertainty in various forms about the future of the stockpile These two laboratories are far and away less honest than other sites in the warhead complex though none of the contractors are all THAT honest Keeping the whole Cold War machine running at a fairly high tilt is a scam a big scam in which CMRR Nuclear Facility is only a part The gargantuan waste involved is self justified by the twin ideas that a unless the U S actually conducts end to end design and production of nuclear weapons this country will unilaterally

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/Ltr_to_Editor_25June2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    but not all legacy warheads as well as preserving the option to produce a new pit type in the event production of a Reliable Replacement Warhead or other replacement warhead is approved in the future 1 Or as the White House has put it more simply This facility will be used to manufacture the central core of nuclear weapons known as the pit 2 By the end of next fiscal year FY2011 NNSA will have no active pit production mission There is a large surplus of pits and or extra warheads for every U S nuclear delivery system and all these pits will last essentially forever in current planning terms The only reasons to make more pits in the during the lifetime of the proposed new building appear to be 1 to make pits of new kinds or 2 to make more pits of existing kinds to put in different warheads or 3 to practice making pits on a relatively large scale The 10 fold cost increase and decade long delay experienced so far by the New Nuclear Facility have increased the range of reasonable alternatives to the project It is possible the building may never be finished because it may be too ambitious and extravagant for our hard pressed economy and federal budget The CMRR has had a stop and go relationship with Congress since it began drawing its first development funds eight years ago and might not have been continued were it not for the advocacy of Senator Domenici Serious design problems have arisen related to seismicity and building safety The project still doesn t have a formal budget schedule or even a preliminary design Yet if authorization and funding are obtained this year the project may begin the initial phases of construction next year including excavation of

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/press_release_Espanola_15June2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • ARRA analysis press release
    a poor generator of jobs The report also notes the concentration of Recovery Act funds and projects in a few zip codes such as Los Alamos Carlsbad near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant or those proximate to Sandia Labs Disproportionate amounts of federal stimulus money are being concentrated in affluent communities and into the hands of corporate contractors linked to the labs explains BondGraham People living in these zip codes and working for these companies have not been as hard hit by the economic downturn as most other parts of the state and most other sectors of the economy Meanwhile BondGraham says that rural communities tribes and marginalized urban neighborhoods are suffering The irony though is that the zip codes representing Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL Sandia National Laboratories SNL and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPP are very inefficient at using stimulus dollars to create jobs whereas places like Zuni or Silver City where Recovery Act funds have been spent through the Education Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments have proven themselves to be incredibly efficient at creating jobs The lesson here involves priorities says Greg Mello executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group How will New Mexico use the precious federal funds it receives over the coming decade This is a critical period and we need to make sure we maximize the use of our tax dollars to create green jobs protect the poor and transition our economy away from environmentally disastrous forms of energy particularly the burning of coal and misguided and wasteful priorities like nuclear weapons It is indeed important to clean up the nuclear waste that was disposed in shallow pits at Los Alamos Much more cleanup should be done but it should be managed to involve less profit to out of state

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/press_release_15June2010.html (2016-02-16)
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