Yesterday attorneys for the Los Alamos Study Group filed a Response (pdf) to the Obama Administration's motion to dismiss the Study
Group's lawsuit, which requests a halt to further investment pending preparation of an applicable Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) for the proposed $5+ billion plutonium facility at Los Alamos
National Laboratory (LANL), called the Chemistry and Metallurgy
Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF).
response lays out further bases, beyond those mentioned in the Complaint (pdf), for halting the project.
The case is being heard
by the Honorable Judith Herrera of Federal District Court in
The Study Group is being represented by Thomas Hnasko
and his colleagues at Hinkle, Hensley, Shanor & Martin, LLP; Lindsay A. Lovejoy, and Diane Albert. This litigation would be impossible without their generous assistance, as well as that of Study Group donors and supporters.
In an important development, industry publication Nuclear Weapons
and Materials Monitor has revealed today in an article written by
veteran reporter Todd Jacobsen, that Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven
Chu "is in the process of initiating his own independent study
on the NNSA’s two biggest construction projects."
See the article here (pdf), reprinted by permission.
Vice President Biden,
in a letter made public by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
earlier this month, has nevertheless promised the Administration's
whole-hearted support for the CMRR-NF and a companion facility in
Tennessee for manufacture of uranium warhead components. Biden
told senators (see pp. 124-125) the Administration would be
announcing further increases in the Administration's financial
commitment to these projects and the National Nuclear Security
Administration's (NNSA's) nuclear weapons program "in the
fall." (Nuclear Weapons and Material Monitor broke
that story, but to my knowledge it has not been in the mainstream
Investments in CMRR-NF are intensifying. The
Administration sought and received emergency increase in nuclear
weapons spending on October 1, which includes an increase in annual
spending from $58 million to $169 million on CMRR-NF.
Group Director Greg Mello: "We are pleased that Secretary Chu
has recognized the need to re-study this facility, but greatly
question whether a thoughtful review can be done in the advertised
six weeks. We have already developed a set of reasonable
alternatives to this facility and anticipate working productively
with the review team and with Congress. What is needed for an
objective review is a halt to further investments in the project.
Likewise we need a de novo environmental review that analyzes
'all' reasonable alternatives to the project, as the law requires.
The two go together -- again, as NEPA recognizes and requires.
"Nuclear laboratory unit costs
in this proposed facility have risen by a factor of about 23 in this project since it was first funded by Congress, and its
mission is more dodgy than ever. We believe no part of this
facility -- not the vault, not the additional labs, not the
additional facility to prepare on-site subcritical nuclear testing to
get around the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) -- is remotely
necessary or desirable to maintain the existing U.S. nuclear
stockpile for the indefinite future, assuming that's the
"CMRR-NF should not be
desirable to weapons administrators because there are much better,
less managerially risky, cheaper, and safer facility options for
preserving U.S. nuclear weapons. To we who find nothing
beneficial about nuclear weapons, it is a vast misdirection of
resources, and a symbol of how dangerously perverted our priorities
have become. It's too bad that the Obama Administration offered
it up so readily to the most hawkish members of Congress in return
for their possible vote on New START ratification.
now need a new 'bipartisan' consensus that wasting boatloads of money
to create a facility to make plutonium pits we don't need -- and
which, if made, would degrade confidence in the stockpile -- is a bad
idea. The key is for the Administration to 'stop, look, and
listen' before taking the plunge on this thing."