We Call for Sanity,
Not Increased Nuclear Production
LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico — Further development and manufacturing of nuclear weapons by the United States undermines the ethical basis of our society, breaks treaties our nation has signed, wastes our nation’s wealth, and permanently contaminates our environment while undermining true US national security.
New Mexico’s two nuclear weapons labs lead the world in spending for weapons of mass destruction. But as the labs have grown, our state’s relative economic standing has declined and now trails almost all other states. We are consistently ranked at or near the bottom of all states in overall “child well-being.”
We cannot build our society, nurture our children, inspire our youth, or improve our communities by investing in apocalyptic nightmares.
At Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), plutonium warhead core (“pit”) production is slated to begin in 2023 and ramp up through the mid-2020s long before any “need” related to maintaining current US nuclear weapons, at current deployment levels. LANL’s pit production program is required only for producing new warheads as soon as possible, not for maintaining any old ones.
We call upon our elected officials to:
- Opposeplutonium warhead core (“pit”) production at LANL first and foremost, but also elsewhere.
- Opposethe design, testing, and production of new and “upgraded” nuclear weapons.
- Prioritizeremoval and disposal of approximately 16,120* drums of legacy plutonium waste from LANL over production of additional nuclear waste from nuclear weapons.
- Choosehuman security, community resilience, and environmental protection over nuclear weapons production and our bloated military, which (until the special covid relief acts of 2021 and 2022) consumed two-thirds of federal discretionary spending. We can no longer delay. We must use every opportunity, at every level of government, to prioritize human needs, invest in our communities, and build a more just and sustainable society.
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In 2006, hundreds of organizations, businesses, and religious institutions in New Mexico, nearly a hundred national and international organizations, and thousands of individuals joined the “Call for Nuclear Disarmament,” demanding “Disarmament, Not Production!” (brochure).
We are reopening that Call now in an updated form, to reflect current pressing issues.
Plans for plutonium warhead core (“pit”) production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) collapsed in 2012, in no small part due to litigation by this organization. But the danger is back. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is now planning a vast expansion of LANL’s nuclear weapons programs, especially pit production.
LANL is gearing up for round-the-clock pit production, involving thousands of additional radiation workers and support staff. Under this plan – the full scope of which has not been made public, and which is proceeding without any environmental analysis – LANL would become a new, mid-sized “Rocky Flats Plant.” Other LANL nuclear weapons missions are also slated to expand dramatically, along with nuclear waste production and shipping. This is a form of “development” we cannot afford or allow.
Now is the time to resist. Decisions are being made for us. We must speak up and inspire others to do so with us. If we do not, our silence will be taken for enthusiastic assent, because that is how our congressional delegation is characterizing New Mexico’s wishes. There is a very real danger that New Mexico’s future will be defined by nuclear weapons, preparations for war on earth and in space, and nuclear waste.
LANL, the Pajarito Plateau, and the area’s roads are in many ways “full,” so LANL and NNSA are expanding into surrounding communities, including Santa Fe and as is likely, the Indian Pueblos. [Added 9/13/21:] Office and conference space has been leased in Santa Fe in three buildings; pit production training space has been leased in Los Alamos. Light laboratory space is being sought.
Warehousing, construction laydown areas, and trailer parks for construction crews (“man camps”) are also actively sought in the Pueblos. New parking lots capable of feeding dozens of coach-class buses may soon be needed, as LANL has announced plans to bring 2,000 – 3,000 people to the site daily by bus, to alleviate some of the road congestion LANL is causing.
We will not let northern New Mexico become a physical, political, and cultural sacrifice zone for the nuclear weapons industry.
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NOTE: Updated August 29, 2022 by dropping the demand for a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for LANL, which NNSA has now announced on multiple occasions that it will conduct, most recently on June 21, 2022. Please see this discussion. There is absolutely no indication that NNSA will pause any preparations for pit production at LANL, or pause anything else, for the sake of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance. NEPA requires analysis before, not after, decisions to proceed with major federal projects. In this case NEPA is being used in bad faith by DOE and NNSA to obscure rather than to provide transparency, and as a tool to provide legal coverage for current and future expansions and environmental impacts.