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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    the most part some 90 New Mexico organizations 275 New Mexico businesses the City of Santa Fe 74 national and international organizations and about 5 000 New Mexicans have also requested closure of Area G The City of Taos has subsequently also joined the call to close the dump The New Mexico Attorney General s office said in July 2001 and subsequently that operation of LANL s nuclear and chemical waste disposal site called Area G has been illegal since late 1985 Tomorrow members of the Study Group and others will be present to support the CAB s recommendation to end nuclear disposal at LANL and to renew the call for transparency and accountability in DOE decisionmaking There will be some new visual materials and summary handouts available Overview The prospect of continued nuclear and chemical waste disposal in shallow pits on LANL s narrow relatively moist and deeply fractured mesas adjacent to springs and streams upstream from public water supplies and concurrent with what is already a greater than 1 billion dollar cleanup program raises quite a few questions By way of background more than 90 of the waste to be disposed in the expanded dump sites of which there are now four three at TA 54 and one much larger one at TA 67 is expected to be newly generated waste not waste generated from building demolition or environmental cleanup Waste disposal rates for the coming 6 decades are not expected to be much below those of the past 6 decades see http lasg org waste lanl doewaste htm and the expanded operations alternative chosen by DOE at http lasg org waste lanl waste htm Much of this new waste in turn is expected to be made in LANL s expanding plutonium operations Just a few of the issues facing DOE the LANL contractor the CAB the state of New Mexico and the public are D OE orders require a Performance Assessment PA an internal analysis of its low level nuclear dumps to be renewed each five years in lieu of any external permit The PA is three years overdue the cognizant DOE official has not seen LANL s draft has not heard from LANL for the past 2 months and apparently is not included in LANL s peer review process Neither is the CAB DOE s official hand picked advisory board or the public included in this review The Study Group has been requesting the PA which because of its draft status is ostensibly shielded from U S and state information laws for 3 years An anonymous LANL internal reviewer of the prior PA concurred with us that the PA the basis of continued disposal since 1997 is a deeply flawed document which did not meet DOE s own standards Among the many technical issues in play o The period over which risks and hazards will be evaluated o The duration of assumed site control and constraints on intrusion scenarios after that o Whether future residential and

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2006/PressRelease01-24-06.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Reprogramming request of 13 Sep 2012
    the DOE re approval of 43 300 000 of the reprogramming request of 120M Sep 19 2013 pdf Study Group s letter to Officials and Staff in Congress and the Executive re DOE s reprogramming request of 9 13 12 concerning DOE s plans to convert the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building RLUOB to a nuclear facility Sep 13 2013 Letter from the Nuclear Weapons Council to the HASC re reprogramming including spending plan Aug 2 2013 pdf House Senate authorizers partially sign off on new plutonium strategy Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Jul 26 2013 Letter from House Armed Services Committee HASC Chairman McKeon to the DOE Deputy CFO re reprogramming Jul 18 2013 pdf Letter from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin to the DOE Deputy CFO re reprogramming Jul 16 2013 pdf Letter from LANL Dir McMillan to DOE Sec Moniz re reprogramming Jul 1 2013 Letter from the NWC to the HASC SASC HEWD and the SEWD re reprogramming request Jun 21 2013 pdf Charles McMillan testimony before the SASC Subcommittee on Strategic Forces May 7 2013 pdf Letter from NNSA to the SASC and the HASC re reprogramming request Apr 8 2013 pdf Study Group s

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/MPF2/Reprogramming.html (2016-02-16)
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  • New Year's Eve note to selected government staff, 31 Dec 2013
    very comfortable shorting Weapons Activities as a relative scarcity of funds is necessary but not sufficient to induce more rational behavior and planning Sacred cows must be slain A 10 cut would be just the beginning of wisdom Congress has been far too permissive and enabling as regards contractor mismanagement waste and fraud which is now structural and therefore hidden Most of NNSA s mistakes are actually contractor mistakes enabled by a weak and incompetent NNSA and by all those parties which nominally oversee the whole including Congress The pension fund cash pipeline is just one of many examples The thousands of students collectively employed at the three labs who not infrequently have been family members of existing staff historically at least at exorbitant salaries ranging up to an annualized 106K yr is just one more example out of so many others which might be cited Clearly first tier decisions in NNSA warhead management include decisions about Two major infrastructure projects and the nature of programs they are to support the Uranium Processing Facility UPF and plutonium infrastructure Life Extension Programs LEPs the overall 3 2 paradigm as well as the specific LEPs immediately pending and The scale budget and ambitions in NNSA science and computation programs e g NIF All these decisions have been badly bungled so far NNSA management needs a house cleaning Focusing on plutonium pit capacity it is far too soon to commit funds to the design of any new infrastructure at LANL The modular plan with its associated tunnel may be the riskiest and slowest path to new capacity but neither NNSA nor LANS have any idea of what capacity is actually needed or what capacity exists The Congressional Research Service CRS is in the final stages of completing a report which will illuminate some aspects of this topic Better information is needed and in some cases reports are pending on Pit lifetimes in actual service and the surveillance warning times that are now or could be available for any stockpile problems Pit reuse options particularly for any warhead for a Long Range Stand Off weapon should one unfortunately be approved Better space utilization in PF 4 and in the new Radiological Utility and Office Building RLUOB the labs in which are not being used Actual floor space requirements for analytical chemistry AC and materials characterization MC as a function of pit production rate using modern not the current decades old technology The environmental impact of all reasonable pit production alternatives which is a legal requirement and management necessity Without the formality and openness of the full EIS process pit plans are almost certain to founder again as they have done for 25 years and may be litigated by us The sensitivity of pit production requirements and alternatives to differing stockpile futures and the economies that might also be realized elsewhere in NNSA s projects and programs under these differing futures The operating and life cycle costs of new pit production facilities i e modules

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/MPF2/LASG_ltr_31Dec2013.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Defense bill passes Congress, mandates new underground plutonium factory “modules” in Los Alamos, press release, 20 Dec 2013
    and documentary sources in government the latest version of the plan for plutonium modules involves circa 5 000 net square foot single purpose bunkers each of which would house a single dangerous plutonium activity in what would be an expanded plutonium factory and research complex at LANL One module would function as a plutonium foundry Another would house all LANL Pu 238 work an isotope far more radiotoxic than weapons grade plutonium WgPu The third in a three module plan might house operations involving plutonium dissolved in acid The modules would be connected by one or more tunnels to the existing main plutonium facility PF 4 and to the new Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building RLUOB RLUOB would be upgraded to handle roughly 150 times as much plutonium than originally planned for that facility 6 5 grams WgPu The module strategy has been endorsed by the DoD s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation CAPE group New Pu strategy endorsed by DoD CAPE but UPF cost questions raised Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Dec 6 2013 In September the Government Accountability Office GAO issued a report critical of National Nuclear Security Administration NNSA plutonium plans Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise Observations on NNSA s Options for Meeting Its Plutonium Research Needs see also GAO presses NNSA to think long term on plutonium mission at Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Sep 13 2013 The principal GAO finding was that NNSA had not reevaluated its plutonium needs in five years and needed to do so NNSA concurred The authorization bill by its nature authorizes appropriations but provides no funding Los Alamos Study Group Director Greg Mello It is a pity that the armed services committees prematurely chose the module plan prior to NNSA s review of its own requirements and NNSA s completion and publication of its plutonium infrastructure plan as well as prior to the more complete congressional review of plutonium policy options now underway Endorsement of this plan by two branches of government jumps the shark regarding the National Environmental Policy Act NEPA NEPA requires an environmental impact statement EIS in which all reasonable alternatives are reviewed prior to choosing one Unless such an EIS is prepared and a subsequent formal Record of Decision ROD filed DOE cannot proceed with any plan DOE s decision of record is to build a different project than this and in the same place the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF For any major federal action with significant environmental impacts DOE cannot change its choice of alternatives without an EIS which analyzes the environmental impacts of that choice alongside all other alternatives which are reasonable There is no such EIS DOE has not analyzed alternatives to CMRR NF since 2003 and none of the alternatives examined in 2003 or since are reasonable today according to DOE Multiple experienced government sources who have seen the still secret plan tell us that this would be a multi billion dollar project and already problems

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2013/press_release_20Dec2013.html (2016-02-16)
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  • NDAA FY 2014, Sec. 3117 & 3123
    search contact Follow us Forget the Rest blog National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 H R 3304 Sec 3117 and 3123 back to top 2901 Summit Place NE

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/MPF2/NDAA_FY2014_Sec3117_3123.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Letter to federal parties re: resumption of NNSA budget & program hrgs, 17 Apr 2013
    to hold the evolution of nuclear policy hostage to prior folly e g the Section 1251 report of November 2010 This lag between rapidly changing realities and our ability to respond is one of the most dangerous features of today s national security field It is certainly true for nuclear weapons In such a time it is important to bring as many eyes onto the issues as possible Yet as a former NNSA lawyer said to me earlier this year this Administration which ran for office on government transparency is the most opaque ever This is also my view For the above project reversals there is much blame to spread around The problem is not in stopping unnecessary projects It was in starting them in the first place Generally the problem mostly lies in the project conception and development stage when powerful institutional self interest shoves aside all other views Appropriate analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act NEPA may be omitted Congressional backbone has been lacking specific members of Congress have pressed their parochial priorities too hard the White House has been too passive NNSA has been too subservient to its contractors and the contractors have been too greedy Behind and underlying it all there is no Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Plan which would provide Presidential guidance on the stockpile of the future In other words you are still facing much more planlessness than meets the eye Much of what you see before you is based on little more than a wing and a prayer You are on thin ice Cost review by the DoD Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation CAPE group doesn t produce a sound budget if the program plan itself is riddled with excess Which it is We are absolutely appalled at the growing NNSA Weapons Activities budget line For too many in Congress and for the laboratory M O contractors especially growing that budget line has been an end in itself These parties have succeeded over the years in creating a highly dysfunctional high overhead structure within NNSA warhead programs It is now an agency where nuclear facilities cost 30 or more times per square foot in constant dollars what comparable space cost in the 1970s If preserving the U S nuclear deterrent so called were the true goal without the ever evolving bells and whistles that are as a group just as likely to subtract overall system safety reliability and security as to add them the work could be done for about half or two thirds what is spent today and with better management It costs as much as it does because Congress allows or demands it The problem with the complexity being attempted is that it is starting to fail in multiple cases i e collapse toward simpler solutions Where there are no actual deliverables NNSA and Congress may deceive themselves that all is well until some event e g peace activists waltzing into Y 12 shows otherwise Obviously we are in a

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/MPF2/LASG_ltr_budget_17Apr2013.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LANL Plutonium Modular Approach CD-0 Approved, NSDM, 4 Dec 2015
    laboratory space for LANL s plutonium operations according to the Nov 25 approval memorandum for the program intended to replace the suspended Chemistry Metallurgy and Research Replacement Nuclear Facility project with separate less expensive facilities The memo from Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood Randall to NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz said the project s cost range is 1 3 billion to 3 billion and its expected completion date is between 2025 and 2027 The fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the NNSA to design a modular building that would meet its plutonium pit production requirements and support its maintenance of the nuclear weapons stockpile for over 30 years In an Oct 27 memorandum Sherwood Randall recommended approval of CD 0 noting the NNSA had developed a plutonium infrastructure strategy in which the first two steps would maximize the use of the recently constructed laboratories within the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building RLUOB and repurposes existing space in the Plutonium Facility PF 4 while the final step would add modules to address the need to conduct plutonium operations over the long term The PMA project is intended to extend the life of the PF 4 and support the pit production

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/NSDM_4Dec2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LANL Plutonium Modular Approach to Reach CD-0 Soon, NSDM, 16 Oct 2015
    Decision CD 0 for the Plutonium Modular Approach yet NNSA spokeswoman Shelley Laver said by email yesterday After CD 0 we would develop an Analysis of Alternatives prior to CD 1 consistent with DOE Order 413 3B We want to complete these efforts in a timely manner to meet our commitments and program needs but it is critical to not rush these early analyses The National Defense Authorization Acts for both fiscal 2013 and 2014 require that NNSA develop a new plutonium facility at LANL to replace the Chemistry Metallurgy and Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF program which the Obama administration suspended in 2012 The modular approach would involve building smaller separate facilities with a much lower price tag than CMRR NF The fiscal 2014 bill said the modular facilities must be operational by Dec 31 2027 One informed industry official criticized NNSA s intention to conduct the AoA citing concerns that analysis paralysis could hamper the modular construction timeline This is in direct contradiction with the commitments of the Nuclear Weapons Council and also stipulated by the FY13 and FY14 NDAA the official said by email The issue has been studied to death previously Now they want to

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/NSDM_16Oct2015a.html (2016-02-16)
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