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"Forget the Rest" blog
For immediate release 10/21/05

Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board Joins Hundreds of New Mexico Businesses, Organizations and Thousands of Citizens in Recommending Halt to Nuclear Waste Disposal at Los Alamos

Contact: Greg Mello, 505-265-1200 or 505-577-8563
Peter Neils, 505-243-2546

On September 28, the Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) issued its final Recommendation 2005-10, which calls for an end to the disposal of nuclear waste at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). LANL operates a nuclear waste disposal facility, “Area G,” which is the largest permanent nuclear waste dump in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado.

The Los Alamos Study Group has been working to end nuclear waste disposal at LANL among other key goals since its first organizing meetings in 1989. We learned of this important recommendation just yesterday from a press account (“Lab cleanup faces hurdles,” by Roger Snodgrass, Los Alamos Monitor 10/05/05).

The full text of the recommendation can be found at http://www.nnmcab.org/recommendations/recommendation-2005-10.pdf.

The CAB’s recommendation (7 pages including a 1-person dissenting opinion that also calls for an end to disposal but differs on small points) is sweeping in its argument, which is grounded in sound earth science and logic while also expressing a “moral” responsibility for stewardship of the land.

All these arguments and more have been made by the Study Group at various forums, letters, reports, and meetings down through the years in New Mexico. The technical arguments for closure were especially emphasized at a standing-room only forum in Los Alamos in March of 2002.

This year (2005), some 258 businesses and 87 groups have endorsed an end to disposal at LANL as part of the Call for Nuclear Disarmament (see www.lasg.org). So has the City of Santa Fe (in a resolution paralleling the Call for Nuclear Disarmament, passed 7-1 on April 13, 2005). The City of Taos addressed such a resolution over a period of several months this spring and summer, culminating in a standing-room only crowd on July 19 and a decision to defer. A list of the New Mexico organizations who have been requesting closure of Area G is available on our web site.

Prior to this year, approximately 3,840 New Mexicans had petitioned governors Johnson and Richardson to close Area G in the “Can-Paign” to halt nuclear disposal in northern New Mexico, with most of these people paying $3 to convey their wishes on a can of food with a “nuclear waste” label.

Three prior waste managers at the Department of Energy (DOE) and LANL have told the Study Group that Area G should close for environmental and cost reasons; the New Mexico Attorney General’s office has asserted that the site was operating illegally, lacking as it does any kind of hazardous waste permit for disposal although it remains a declared hazardous waste disposal site. The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed a measure this year calling for DOE to prepare life-cycle cost analyses for its low-level radioactive and mixed low-level radioactive waste (LLW/MLLW) disposal, expressing “concern” over the cost-effectiveness of DOE’s LLW disposal practices.

“We applaud the CAB’s action and even more so the clear scientific reasoning and values behind it,” said Study Group Director Greg Mello, whose involvement with the site stems from 1984, when he was the state’s first hazardous waste inspector for LANL. “The CAB has joined with the thousands of New Mexicans who want this dump closed. Let us hope that NNSA listens.”

***ENDS***

 

 


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