#97: CMRR litigation: One simple thing you can do to help
would like to bring you up to date on some (note the emphasis)
of what’s been happening here at the Study Group.
there is an especially simple thing you could do to help this month:
make a donation to the Study Group.
on your check, or designate your on-line
donation, “to help stop construction and
operation of the CMRR Nuclear Facility,” or words to that
effect. This part is important; don’t skip it please. We will
not release your name or the amount of the donation.
Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Nuclear Facility
is a circa $4 billion plutonium storage, processing, and
manufacturing annex at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL),
currently slated to begin construction next year. Its primary
purpose is to greatly augment LANL’s capacity to manufacture
plutonium warhead cores (“pits”).
already has, and will retain with or without this proposed building,
pit production capability. In fact, that capability is expanding
without the proposed new building. What the proposed CMRR Nuclear
Facility would provide is even more capacity, for larger and faster production runs.
there is a surfeit of pits for every U.S. weapon system, and since
all these pits will easily outlast the proposed Nuclear Facility’s
useful life, should it be built, and since existing warheads could be
maintained indefinitely (heaven forbid) without pit production, the
proposed facility and the pits it would make are not for existing
warheads. They are for new kinds of warheads. If you don’t
like the word “new,” call them “modified” or
“modernized” or “replacement” warheads, in
the tradition of George Orwell – “replacement”
warheads from a “replacement” facility. Better warheads,
to achieve disarmament and control nuclear proliferation.
seldom ask for your help, or for money, but this relatively small
action on your part would be especially powerful at this time due to
the litigation we have opened regarding the Administration’s
haste to build this project without an applicable environmental
impact statement (EIS). We believe the Administration’s course
of action is patently illegal and that’s why we have filed this
can read more about the proposed Nuclear Facility and our litigation here.
The complaint (pdf) is the best summary of the lawsuit – what it’s
about, and its pertinent background. There’s an explanatory press
release, and subsequent press
clippings. The Energy Daily article (pdf) posted there with permission, by veteran journalist George
Lobsenz, provides a good overview. Lobsenz highlights the peculiar
linkage the Administration has created between building a huge
plutonium facility and cleanup of the biggest two nuclear dumps at
LANL. Yes, build the bomb factory, create about 400,000 cubic
yards of crushed tuff and volcanic ash to dispose; no, don’t
clean up the dump, put the volcanic ash on it instead. A $4
billion weapons project trumps a comparable cleanup project.
the long run, the proposed new building would also need cleanup, but
it would almost certainly be too big and too costly to dig up and
dispose somewhere else. It would become another permanent dump.
Poor New Mexico.
you are not already a Study Group donor, your gift – whether
small or large, one-time or as part of a monthly sustaining donor
commitment – will also bring you a richer stream of information
about what’s going on in the Study Group than we send to this
broad list. We’ll tell you more about what you can do to help
us, or join with us.
please, take just a moment and make
a donation on-line or, better, mail a check to the
office, (2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106). In either
case include a simple statement endorsing our efforts to halt
construction of a new bomb factory in Los Alamos. You could also
or call her at 505-265-1200, to arrange a gift of stock or make any
other special arrangements.
need your support in whatever form you wish to provide it. Your
voice, channeled through us, is important in this matter.
been in Washington dozens of times over the past few years talking to
lawmakers and their staff and many other parties about nuclear
policy, and most of all about the infrastructure and programs which
design, test, and build warheads. We’ve observed that the
alignment of nonprofits with Democratic Party aims, strongly enforced
by major foundations, has substantially co-opted what was once a
fairly vibrant and diverse opposition. Now it isn’t vibrant,
isn’t diverse, and cheerleading has largely replaced
is muted opposition to this proposed factory in a few places, usually
contradictory to other organizational aims. Muted opposition will
not be enough. Building this factory is a key demand of Senate
Republicans in return for a possible “yes” on “New
START” ratification. President Obama and Vice-President Biden
have been lobbying personally in favor of a proposed big increase in
nuclear weapons spending, including CMRR-NF. As far as I know
there are as yet no arms control or disarmament organizations except
us who have been willing to say that the “deal” for New
START ratification, including CMRR-NF, is just not worth it.
a strange thing. Despite the proposed Nuclear Facility’s
overwhelming political support, a small but increasing number of
sophisticated observers – not necessarily “on our side,”
whatever that means – are commenting to us privately that they
do not think this monster will be built. In part they are taking our
efforts seriously, and looking forward to our success, but mostly
they are anticipating the effects of the converging crises now
beginning to break on the world, on our failing empire, and on what
was once our republic.
this project needs, at a minimum, is a pause, a “time out”
in parenting language, for mutual education. That’s why
writing an EIS on the CMRR-NF while continuing to invest in it would
be useless. An injunction is necessary. For that we want and need
understand the scale of this project. It is about three times the
size of Governor Richardson’s statewide highway GRIP project
and about ten times the size of the Big I or the Rail Runner
projects. In constant dollars it’s about the same size as
building I-40 or I-25 across the whole state. Nothing else in New
Mexico’s history comes close.
to LANL, this project would hire an average of just 450 craft workers
over its 10 years of construction. That’s all. Some of these
would have to come from out of state. Other professional specialties
would be involved, both in-state and out-of-state, but the sad truth
is that New Mexico would see very few jobs from this massive
boondoggle. It appears that this project would increase direct New
Mexico jobs by…wait for it…0.06%. This is nuclear
corporate predation pure and simple, with “modernized”
weapons of mass destruction as the clearly-stated goal.
what else can you do? A lot. The facts on the ground, our lawsuit,
and the realities of our economic decline are opening doors for
effective citizen participation. Don’t expect history to
change by filling out a pre-printed postcard or emailing some
“e-gram” to your senator. It won’t.
first thing to do, please, is to send a donation large or small, with
a note designating your donation “to help stop construction
and operation of the CMRR Nuclear Facility,” or words to
that effect. Then if you want to know how else to help, please call,
write, or add a note to that effect to your check or on-line
the meantime, read the legal
complaint (pdf), and learn about the proposed CMRR-NF
from our web
page. If you want to help, there is no substitute for
self-education at this stage. Make a list of the questions you have
and keep it evolving, because those will be the same questions others
will ask too. Then, if you haven’t done so already, please
write or call. Depending on the overall level of interest (and its
locations), we will meet with you and others in a group and answer
everyone’s questions face-to-face.
is a great deal more to say, but that’s enough for this
Bulletin. In brief: the long-awaited pit factory at LANL is
encountering headwinds, including our lawsuit, and for good reason.
We want your explicit support, which would be a first step in greater
involvement if you want it.
Please forward this bulletin (as an attachment) to any friends you think might be interested. If they want to receive future bulletins directly they will need to subscribe below.
wishes to all,
Mello, on behalf of the Study Group