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Our Comments Emphasize Legal Requirement for "Programmatic" Review before Expanding Plutonium Bomb Production

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

On June 28, 2019, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) published a formal Notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of a Draft Supplement Analysis (SA) of the 2008 Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the agency's present day plan to expand plutonium pit (bomb core) production at least 400%, from the current limit of up to 20 bomb cores per year to a new limit of 80 or more.

The stated purpose of the NNSA's Supplement Analysis is to determine whether the agency will undertake a full programmatic review of its plan to increase plutonium pit production in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The Government's Position: The NNSA's Notice in the Federal Register states, "The Draft SA concludes that further NEPA documentation at a programmatic level is not required."

Tri-Valley CAREs' Position: The NNSA has a "legal obligation to conduct a relevant, up to date Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) before taking any further action to increase plutonium pit production."

Tri-Valley CAREs' technical comment on the NNSA's Draft Supplement Analysis contains ten reader-friendly sections that explain the basis for our claim that the government's initial decision in its Draft SA to proceed with ramping up pit production without first conducting a thoroughgoing programmatic review is wrong and, if implemented, would be illegal.

CLICK HERE to read Tri-Valley CAREs' comment letter, submitted on August 12, 2019.


My Public Comment 

on the Plan to Increase Plutonium Pit (Bomb Core) Production 

Please click the NEPA email address to send this letter.

Or if you prefer copy and send in your own email.

Email: NEPA-SRS@srs.gov  (Jennifer Nelson, NNSA NEPA Document Mgr.)

Subject: Draft “Supplement Analysis” to expand plutonium pit production from the current limit of up to 20 pits per year to 80 or more pits per year

Dear Jennifer Nelson/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA):

I am commenting in opposition to NNSA’s proposal to increase plutonium pit (bomb core) production.

According to NNSA’s Notice published in the Federal Register, your agency has prepared a Draft Supplement Analysis (SA) to determine whether or not to undertake a detailed examination of the plutonium program’s nationwide impacts pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

I am disappointed but not surprised that your Notice states: “The Draft SA concludes that further NEPA documentation at a programmatic level is not required.” 

This preliminary determination is flawed and contrary to the letter and spirit of NEPA, our country’s most fundamental environmental law. 

Instead, NNSA must halt all activity leading to expanded plutonium pit production in order to first undertake a detailed and unbiased “hard look” at the potential environmental impacts of this proposal in a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).  

A PEIS should examine all potentially harmful impacts on the the two locations where production would occur, i.e., the Savannah River Site in SC for 50 or more plutonium pits annually and the Los Alamos Lab in NM for 30 or more plutonium pits annually. 

A PEIS would further examine all transportation risks, increased hazards at multiple locations due to the production of wastes, and other increased materials storage and handling hazards at the many locations across the country that will be associated with this proposal.  

Further, the PEIS should examine the “purpose and need” for increased production of plutonium pits. According to NNSA documents new pits are “needed” for new nuclear weapons, first for the W87-1 being designed today at the Livermore Lab and possibly for other, future, unnamed new designs. 

A reasonable alternative is to cancel development of the W87-1 and to forego any new-design pits in the future. This option should be fully and fairly examined in a PEIS.  

Anything less before proceeding is irresponsible, dangerous and contrary to environmental law. 

Sincerely,

Name:

Full Address:

More info: http://trivalleycares.org/new/CW_Summer2019_TriValleyFNL.pdf • Deadline: 8-12-2019


Come to Our August Meeting!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

Tri-Valley CAREs' monthly meetings are open to all interested members of the public. Come and meet great peace and environmental advocates. Take action - large or small - with us to create positive change. Hope to see you there…


Tri-Valley CAREs’ Summer 2019 Newsletter is Ready to Read

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

The latest edition of Tri-Valley CAREs’ quarterly newsletter, Citizen’s Watch, is now ready for you to enjoy. This edition is chock-full of news, reports, announcements, and events.

In our 8-page newsletter, you will find…

Plutonium News You Can Use. Page 1


We Are Strategic. Page 2

Meetings and Alerts 4 U. Page 3


Superfund and the Livermore Lab. Insert


A Letter from our Executive Director. Insert

Aug 6th Action Flyer. Insert 

Our “DC Days” Team. Page 3 

Come to Livermore on Hiroshima Day. Page 4 

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the 8-page newsletter


Designing Armageddon at Livermore Lab

Friday, July 26, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis




Tri-Valley CAREs Submits "Scoping" Comments on Plan to Use Savannah River Site for Expanded Plutonium Bomb Core Production

Thursday, July 25, 2019
Posted by Scott Yundt, Nick Bastovan and Marylia Kelley

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Today, Tri-Valley CAREs submitted technical comments on the government's plan to expand plutonium bomb core production from the current limit of 20 plutonium pits per year at the Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico to a new production level of 80 or more pits per year, with 50 or more of them to be manufactured annually at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and 30 or more to be manufactured annually at Los Alamos

The comment period that closed today involves the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration's "Notice of Intent" to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement solely on the Savannah River Site portion of the overall pit production plan. This 30-day comment period enabled what are called "scoping" comments. Essentially, this was the public's opportunity to speak to the scope of issues that should be included in the upcoming review.

Tri-Valley CAREs' scoping comments restate our demand for an overarching Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on expanded plutonium pit production rather than the current situation wherein NNSA is planning to review only piecemeal fragments of pit production, which may understate its full impacts on the environment in multiple states where the bomb core production, waste treatment, transportation, etc. would occur.

Our scoping comments also challenge the government's overall "purpose and need" in expanding plutonium pit production. We highlight the driving force for new pits, which is a new warhead under development at Livermore Lab.

Also, below, please find the scoping comments submitted by the national Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, of which Tri-Valley CAREs is a longstanding member (and has its executive director currently serving on the ANA board of directors).

Note: There will be further public comment periods on the various pieces of this plan to quadruple the authorized number of plutonium pits produced each year. Please see Tri-Valley CAREs' Summer 2019 newsletter Citizen's Watch for info on your next opportunity to speak out on this dangerous proposal to expand plutonium bomb core production.

CLICK HERE to read Tri-Valley CAREs’ scoping comment.

CLICK HERE to read the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s scoping comment.


Let's Get Strategic

Monday, July 15, 2019
Posted by Nick Bastovan

Tri-Valley CAREs board members, interns, staff and membership recently got together to think strategically, review our last year, and, plan the priorities for the coming year.

The group looked carefully at strategic opportunities and potential threats anticipated in the coming year, balanced against Tri-Valley CAREs’ current strengths and weaknesses, and then voted on which program areas should rise to the top. The following are our strategic priorities for 2019/2020.

1st Place: SAFEGUARD COMMUNITY HEALTH AND SAFETY

This is about achieving a publicly accepted, comprehensive cleanup under the Superfund law of toxic and radioactive contamination in soil, groundwater and some surface waters at the Livermore Lab Main Site and Site 300. This priority also encompasses preventing bigger bomb blasts from being conducted in the open air at Site 300. Through this priority, Tri-Valley CAREs will increase public involvement and empowerment in environmental decision-making.

2nd Place: STOP NEW NUCLEAR BOMBS AND BOMB PLANTS

This is about preventing the development of new and modified nuclear weapons – and the new factories that would produce them. Under this priority, Tri-Valley CAREs will focus on Livermore Lab’s warhead development programs, with a particular focus on the novel-design Interoperable Warhead-1 (now called the W87-1). This priority also addresses other new warheads in Trump Administration Nuclear Posture Review such as the low-yield “more usable” sub-launched nuke and an industrial-scale plutonium bomb core factory. Through this priority, Tri-Valley CAREs will influence national nuclear policy and the federal budget.

3rd Place: INVESTIGATE LIVERMORE LAB FACILITIES AND PUBLICIZE FINDINGS (Tie)

This is about “watchdog” activities to investigate key nuclear facilities at Livermore Lab. With this priority, Tri-Valley CAREs will use right-to-know laws and other means to monitor whether Livermore is gearing up for another attempt to conduct plutonium bomb core “shake and bake” experiments at its hardened engineering test building (B334) and similar initiatives. This priority also involves seeking new information on earthquake deficiencies in the Lab’s main plutonium facility (B332), vulnerabilities in its tritium facility (B331) and whether the Lab is pursuing enhanced readiness to conduct nuclear-yield tests in Nevada in order to certify novel warhead designs.

3rd Place: SAFEGUARD WORKER HEALTH AND SAFETY (Tie)

This is about justice for Livermore Lab, and Sandia, Livermore, workers exposed to toxic and radioactive materials. Through this priority, Tri-Valley CAREs will assist nuclear workers, and families of deceased workers obtain compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). With this priority, we will also act to preserve ongoing worker health and safety measures, including by fortifying the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) against maneuvers to reduce its scope and weaken its oversight.

5th Place: PROMOTE GLOBAL NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

This is about contributing to the global abolition of nuclear weapons. Under this priority, Tri-Valley CAREs will focus on progress toward entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This priority also addresses our participation as a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the UN in proceedings such as the Preparatory Committee Meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other similar instruments of international and humanitarian law.

Community Involvement

We love it when the community gets involved! If you have an idea on how to achieve one of our goals, or would like to help in any way, please feel free to contact Executive Director Marylia Kelley at marylia@trivalleycares.org or Scott Yundt at scott@trivalleycares.org.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la información en Españól.


Tri-Valley CAREs to Speak in Palo Alto

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is hosting a public event in Palo Alto. Tri-Valley CAREs' Executive Director Marylia Kelley will speak about nuclear weapons development activities happening now at Livermore Lab. There will also be flyers and information about our 8 AM August 6 Hiroshima Day rally, march and peaceful direct action, which will be held at the Livermore Lab's northwest corner - at Vasco and Patterson Pass Roads in Livermore.


Click here to read the invitation.


Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Superfund Cleanup 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019
Posted by Nick Bastovan

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On December 11, 1980, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) was enacted by Congress. This new law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries in which funds are placed into a trust for cleaning up abandoned or currently active hazardous waste sites. The Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities subsequently became subject to the Superfund law; however, these federal cleanup sites are funded through the Congressional appropriations process.

The worst and most contaminated of these sites are placed onto a list called the National Priorities List. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Main Site and Site 300 are both on this National Priorities List. For each these LLNL sites, the estimate is that it won’t be until 2060 before the environment is restored. Following active cleanup, at Site 300 there will be contamination left in perpetuity beyond 2060 that will require environmental monitoring. It is less clear if Main Site monitoring will still be required 41 years from today.

Recently, as the group’s legal intern, I had an opportunity to participate in an all-day meeting between Tri-Valley CAREs and Superfund cleanup staff about the progress of the Superfund program at LLNL. Participating with Tri-Valley CAREs were LLNL Superfund staff, National Nuclear Security Administration staff, the Superfund project manager from EPA Region IX, and state Superfund regulators from the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Tri-Valley CAREs organized the meeting as part of its Superfund oversight project. The morning session was devoted to the Main Site, the afternoon to Site 300. Here are some of the key facts I found particularly significant.

MAIN SITE

As a part of the cleanup activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Main Site, groundwater wells have been drilled at strategic locations to remove volatile organic compounds or VOCs from the groundwater below. The most commonly found VOC is trichloroethylene or TCE. TCE is an industrial solvent that is known to cause cancer and other neurological, immunological, reproductive, and developmental issues. These accidental releases of VOCs and other chemicals are concerning as they could threaten Livermore’s drinking water supply as well as the surrounding community.

VOCs can also migrate to the subsurface and become an inhalation risk in the ambient air. In the 2018 annual report on cleanup efforts, 43 kilograms of VOCs were removed from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Main Site. Thirty-two kilograms of these were from groundwater, and a further 12 kilograms were from soil vapor. This removal rate is very similar to what was removed in 2017, with a slight increase in the amount of soil vapor mass removed.

What may be even more concerning is the tritium that was found in the building 419 monitor well. Tritium is a rare and radioactive isotope of hydrogen with a half-life of 12.32 years. This means that the source of the tritium contamination is likely of recent origin. The tritium levels did decrease in 2018, but this may be due to a rise in groundwater levels from a large amount of rain received in 2017. It is imperative that LLNL continues to work to contain and clean up the tritium contamination.

The LLNL Main Site contains most of the site’s nuclear weapons design facilities, including the tritium building and the plutonium facility. The LLNL Main Site was founded as the nation’s second nuclear weapons design center in 1952.

SITE 300

Site 300 is the LLNL’s high explosives testing facility. It is located about 17 miles East of Livermore in the Altamont Hills. This facility has been in operation since 1955, and over the years there have been numerous open-air blasts that have contained dangerous toxic and radioactive materials. Site 300 also contains unlined toxic and radioactive waste dumps. Both Site 300 and the Main Site have ongoing weapons programs.

During its time as an operational facility, Site 300’s soil, surface water, and regional groundwater aquifers have been polluted with numerous toxins and radionuclides. These radionuclides include tritium and depleted uranium. It is estimated that the cleanup costs of Site 300 will be around 1.8 billion dollars.

In 2018, at Site 300, a team of geologists from the LLNL collected bedrock samples from 8 locations for analysis of uranium, radium, and thorium isotopes and metals. The goal was to collect un-weathered, unfractured, and coherent rock that was not altered by weather, water, or site contaminants to create a soil background data set for Site 300. Indoor air sampling also took place in 2018 at Site 300. Building 801 was sampled along with resampling of building 833. The results of these sampling tests are still pending.

In the 2019 plan, six new wells are proposed to be drilled at Site 300, along with two wells being decommissioned. These wells serve a similar purpose to the wells at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Main Site. They will be used to help monitor contaminants in the groundwater, as well as subsurface VOCs.

As a resident of Livermore for almost 30 years, the information that I have learned with my time Tri-Valley CAREs is startling. The toxic substances in the groundwater could be potentially devastating to the water supply of Livermore and along with being a danger to the surrounding community. This is why it is so essential that Tri-Valley CAREs continues its mission of ensuring compliance by the Lab and that they continue their cleanup efforts.

Here are two of the LLNL slide presentations from the meeting detailing cleanup progress.

CLICK HERE for the LLNL slides on the Main Site cleanup.

CLICK HERE for the LLNL slides on the Site 300 cleanup.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la información en Españól.


Help us Celebrate an Extraordinary Life

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Janis Kate Turner, our great friend, colleague, board president and peace & environmental “shero” passed on late last year. Tri-Valley CAREs, the Tri-Valley Sierra Club and other local groups that knew and loved her held small memorials.

Now, in public celebration of Janis' amazing life and beautiful time with us, her son Brian and daughter-in-law, Leslie - along with her beloved granddaughter Piper - invite Janis’ whole community of loving family, friends and colleagues to come together in her memory as a Celebration of Life. Her family has asked that we share this notice with others. The invitation is truly for you. Please join us to pay tribute to this extraordinary woman!

A light meal will be served. You can RSVP to marylia@earthlink.net, but there is plenty of room for you to come. Here are the details…


Click here to read the invitation.


Tri-Valley CAREs Celebrated the Rally for Love in Livermore!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

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On June 9, 2019, Tri-Valley CAREs had the honor of participating in Livermore’s third annual “Rally for Love”. The event was held at the Bankhead Theater Plaza. Its purpose was to demonstrate and celebrate the diversity we enjoy in the Tri-Valley!

We tabled, met our neighbors, listened to music and witnessed a variety of talented performers, including Filipino youth showcasing dances from their heritage. And, more!

Elected officials speaking at the event included State Senator Steve Glazer, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Dublin City Council member Shawn Kumagai and Livermore Mayor John Marchand. They spoke about immigration and human rights, showing support for our First Amendment rights and electoral system, the importance of education, and the fight to maintain a healthy environment. The event was positive, uplifting and family-friendly. It succeeded in bringing our community together.

Hundreds of participants showed solidarity, established new relationships and celebrated neighbors of all ages, races, ethnicity, religious belief, and sexual orientation. Tri-Valley CAREs thanks all of the organizers as well as the participants who came to support the Rally for Love!

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We at Tri-Valley CAREs are especially proud of this event because we organize in this community to prevent the further development of nuclear weapons while working tirelessly for their elimination. We monitor nuclear weapons and environmental cleanup throughout the U.S. weapons complex, with a special focus on Livermore Lab and the surrounding Bay Area and Central Valley communities.

Our goal at Tri-Valley CAREs is to work with all of you so that together we can protect community health and the environment. Please, do not hesitate to reach out to Tri-Valley CAREs if you have any questions and want to know more. For contact information, you can reach out to Marylia Kelley, Executive Director at marylia@trivalleycares.org and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, Community Bilingual Organizer at raiza@trivalleycares.org.

Click here to read more.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la información en Españól.


Environmental Lawyers Issue Warning on Plutonium Comb Cores

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

On behalf of Tri-Valley CAREs, Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Savannah River Site Watch, noted attorneys for the law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks and the Natural Resources Defense Council sent a detailed letter to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) warning the agency not to expand plutonium pit production without first meeting all legal requirements for timely public review and comment under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Plutonium pits are the fissile cores or "triggers" of modern thermonuclear weapons. The NNSA announced last year that production would quadruple from its currently authorized limit of 20 pits annually to 80 or more pits annually. The plan is to manufacture at least 30 pits per year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and at least 50 pits per year at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.

At LANL, pit production has been plagued with chronic nuclear safety problems spanning a decade. At SRS, plutonium pit production would be an entirely new mission. NNSA proposes to "repurpose" the partially constructed Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at SRS that suffered massive cost overruns before the program was canceled.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that federal agencies undertake a thoroughgoing environmental analysis of major projects. Moreover, federal proposals requiring implementation over broad geographic areas and long time frames, such as expanded pit production at multiple sites, must be analyzed in a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS). Therefore, the attorneys' letter concludes

"... taking a hard look at the expansion of plutonium pit production at LANL and the repurposing of the MOX Facility at SRS, and considering alternatives to this proposed plan, is precisely what NEPA requires. And because NEPA mandates that agencies undertake the NEPA process as early as possible in order to promote informed decision-making, DOE and NNSA must undertake a PEIS as soon as possible.

Until DOE and NNSA fully comply with NEPA through the preparation of a PEIS, any irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources to either the expansion of pit production at LANL or to the repurposing of the MOX Facility at SRS is unlawful. Accordingly, we request that DOE and NNSA respond to this letter within 30 days to explain when the agencies intend to undertake the required PEIS for the expansion of plutonium pit production at LANL and the repurposing of the MOX Facility for plutonium pit production at SRS."

Accordingly, we expect a response in the coming weeks detailing how the government plans to meet its obligations. Stay tuned!

CLICK HERE to read the 16-page warning letter from the environmental attorneys to NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty.

NOTE: On June 14, 2019 the three groups are sponsoring a public forum on the risks of pit production in Aiken, South Carolina near the Savannah River Site.  The forum will be held in the Aiken Municipal Building auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tri-Valley CAREs' executive director Marylia Kelley will speak on the link between expanded pit production and a new warhead being developed at Livermore Lab that will require new pits. Kelley will also cover the proposal's impact on arms control and disarmament. For more information about the forum go to: http://www.srswatch.org/uploads/2/7/5/8/27584045/pit_fourm_media_advisory_may_13_2019.pdf

HAGA CLICK AQUI para leer en español.


Welcome to Tri-Valley CAREs June Meeting

Monday, June 3, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

Tri-Valley CAREs monthly meetings are open to all interested members of the public. You will meet old and new friends, get up-to-the-minute reports on nuclear issues, and become part of a peace and justice community that is creating positive change locally, nationally and globally. We hope to see you!


Click here to read the invitation.


“DC Days” Team Photos

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley, Vecky Elliott, Inga Olson and Barbara Dyskant

Your Team in Washington:

Marylia Kelley, Vecky Elliott, Inga Olson and Barbara Dyskant represented Tri-Valley CAREs in Washington, DC the week of May 20th. We were there for the national Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s 31st annual “DC Days.” We were joined in the nation’s capital by 65 activists who, like us, are directly affected by U.S. nuclear weapons sites. Together, we held more than 90 scheduled meetings with Congress and Administration officials. It was exhilarating – and exhausting – all at the same time.

Our team of four participated in 48 DC Days meetings. We focused on decision-makers with authority over weapons policy and nuclear pollution as both issues have grave consequences for our members who live near the Livermore Lab Main Site and its Site 300 high explosives testing range. 

We time our DC Days meetings for maximum impact while Congress is beginning to debate and “mark up” nuclear weapons spending and policy bills. While votes were happening in real time, we had the perfect opportunity to weigh in to stop new nukes, like Trump’s “low yield” warhead for submarines and also a wholly new and risky warhead that Livermore Lab is designing for land-based silos, which will require a new-design plutonium pit (i.e., bomb core). 

The House “mark up” of its spending bill, which happened while we were there, removes all of the money the President requested for the low yield warhead while substantially cutting back funds for expansion of plutonium pit production. (Stay tuned: We will continue to post analyses and updates for you on the budget process as it continues.)

We also participated in the ANA awards reception held this year in Rayburn House Office Building. Special commendations were given to Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and to several grassroots s/heroes for their courage and noteworthy achievements, from standing up for environmental justice in nuclear waste siting decisions in NM to filing for justice and the release of Grand Jury records at the Rocky Flats Plant in CO, to working tirelessly for cleanup at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in CA. 

For DC Days factsheet on weapons Click Here
For DC Days factsheet on waste Click Here
For ANA awards invitation
Click Here



Tri-Valley CAREs’ Spring 2019 Newsletter, Citizen’s Watch

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

Tri-Valley CAREs’ quarterly newsletter, Citizen’s Watch, is now ready for you to enjoy. This edition is chock-full of news, reports, announcements, and events.

In our 8-page newsletter, you will find…

The first PDF contains the 4-page newsletter. The 4-page insert follows as a separate PDF.

SPRING 2019 CITIZEN’S WATCH

For a PDF of the 4-page newsletter click here


Tri-Valley CAREs at El Concilio’s Cinco de Mayo Festival in Stockton

Thursday, May 9, 2019
Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

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On Sunday, May 5th, Tri-Valley CAREs immersed itself in El Concilio’s Family Fiesta in downtown Stockton. Every year Stockton celebrates in a fantastic way the Mexican tradition in which we all are invited to learn more about the Mexican culture. Hundreds of people gathered in the park at Weber Point Water Front and enjoyed many engaging activities, bouncing houses for the kids, food, music, and live entertainment.

Artists, artisans, vendors and non-profit organizations such as Tri-Valley CAREs had the pleasure to be part of the Central Valley’s largest Cinco de Mayo Family Fiesta. Tri-Valley CAREs’ goal was to reach out to the Spanish speaking community in San Joaquin County to share information about what is happening with toxic materials at the Lawrence Livermore Lab’s Site 300 near Tracy and its Main Site in Livermore.

Our board members Valeria Salamanca and Gail Rieger, our Bilingual Community Organizer Raiza Marciscano-Bettis and our other members helping to staff the booth asked festival participants if they knew about Site 300. We explained that Site 300 is an experimental testing site for high explosives, and that it supports the Lab’s nuclear weapons research. Stockton residents also learned that both locations (Site 300 and the Lab’s Main Site) are federal "Superfund" sites and that the Environmental Protection Agency had placed the Livermore Main Site on its list of most poisoned sites in the country in 1987 and Site 300 joined the list in 1990.

We also told participants about the plans of Livermore Lab to increase the size and power of high explosives tests at Site 300 up to ten-fold, from the current 100-pound limit to 1000 pounds of high explosive per blast. It was important for us to learn that many residents did not know about Site 300. As we conversed, the event participants became very interested and concerned that these explosions could affect the environment. They learned that nuclear weapons activities at Livermore Lab have resulted in hundreds of documented toxic and radioactive releases to our air, soil, groundwater and surface waters.

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Not only adults learned about Site 300 and the Livermore Lab Main Site, but also children learned about this situation. With their parent’s help, we explained how chemicals could contaminate the land and seep into the water. Further, we discussed ways to prevent pollution and assure a healthy environment. It was not all about nuclear waste, kids of all ages also enjoyed activities that Tri-Valley CAREs offered for them. Kids had the opportunity to make buttons using a button machine that Tri-Valley CAREs provided. They had a great time drawing on the buttons and pinning them on their outfits!

Click here to read more.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la información en Españól.


Subcritical Nuclear Tests Raise New Dangers

Thursday, May 9, 2019
Posted by Kathy Crandall Robinson

On February 13 of this year, Livermore and Los Alamos Labs conducted a subcritical nuclear test in Nevada that breached the steel containment vessel that was supposed to contain it. One month later, on March 12, the decontamination of plutonium in the underground chamber was completed. Soon thereafter, the Trump budget request for the coming year was released. It includes no information about the subcritical release incident but is chock full of funding to conduct more frequent subcritical tests while enhancing the types of equipment that can be used in their detonation.

The accident involved cracks in the fasteners on the containment vessel. It illustrates one obvious danger with these experiments, radioactive contamination. The subcritical test program also creates less obvious risks to national and global security norms and treaties. These dangers are illuminated in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) budget request for nuclear weapons activities.

As Tri-Valley CAREs reviewed the NNSA request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, we noticed a growing budget item, “Enhanced Capabilities for Subcritical Experiments,” along with a plan for an increased “cadence” of subcritical tests.

Subcritical tests are explosive experiments conducted in an underground chamber at the Nevada Nuclear Security Site, previously known as the Nevada Test Site where more than a thousand above and below ground nuclear tests were detonated before 1992, when the nuclear testing moratorium act was signed into law.

Subcritical tests use weapons grade plutonium, but the small amounts involved do not reach a self-sustaining “critical” fission chain reaction, or nuclear explosive yield. Tri-Valley CAREs and others have raised objections to subcritical experiments and their role in new weapons development. Further, while subcritical tests may not technically violate the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which the U.S. has signed but not ratified, the tests undermine the spirit of the treaty.  

Click here to read the full article....

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer el articulo en español....



Tri-Valley CAREs Celebrates the Rally4Love

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Our motto since 1983 had been “Peace • Justice • Environment.” We see these values as inextricably connected at the root. Our motto guides our work to reduce and eliminate nuclear dangers at Livermore Lab, aid workers made ill by on-the-job exposures, and achieve cleanup of toxic and radioactive contamination that has seeped into our soil, water and air.

Caring for each other and for the Earth are also inextricably linked. With this in mind, we are thrilled to participate in Livermore’s third annual Rally4Love. And, we invite you to join us. Come by our booth to say “hi” and pick up some literature in English or Spanish. We’d love to see you!


Click here for the flyer with the information you need…

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la volante en Españól.


New Bills in Congress on Nuclear Weapons

Friday, May 3, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

We have their attention. The 116th Congress is showing fresh interest in U.S. nuclear weapons policy. This is good news.

Still, two things are clear: First, this welcome congressional spark must be fanned by grassroots action in order to grow into full-fledged policy change. And, second, public involvement at this juncture can create real progress toward nuclear disarmament.

With this in mind, Tri-Valley CAREs has been working with DC colleagues and with legislators in the House and Senate to introduce key bills to move the country away from the dangerous escalation outlined in Donald Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review.

Your calls are needed now. CLICK HERE!

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la información en Españól.


What the Budget Reveals

Friday, April 26, 2019
Posted by Marylia Kelley

If you read the press releases from Livermore Lab, you might think it’s a government “science lab.” Sadly you would be wrong.

The huge discrepancy between the Lab’s rhetoric and its reality prompted Teal McConn and Tricia Moore to take the government’s budget information and turn it into a giant poster for Tri-Valley CAREs.

We table and speak at a wide variety of venues and will make good use of it. Additionally, we thought you and other readers would enjoy it too.  


If you would like more information, with a link to the government budget document containing the raw data, simply scroll down our web page a little further - or go to http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/More_Money_for_NukesFY2020.html


Earth Day Co-Founder to Speak at Tracy Event

Posted Thursday, April 25, 2019

By Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Earth Day is about saving our planet. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) was inspired to create Earth Day as a national day of environmental action after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson first announced the concept to the media as a “national teach-in on the environment.”

Representative Pete McCloskey, a Republican, joined Senator Nelson as co-chair to create the first Earth Day in 1970. McCloskey represented the San Francisco Peninsula and Silicon Valley in Congress over the course of eight congressional terms. Together, the two recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard to serve as national coordinator for the first Earth Day.

This year, the Tracy Earth Day celebration is honored to welcome Pete McCloskey as its keynote speaker. Also speaking will be Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, the Tracy bilingual community organizer at Tri-Valley CAREs. In addition, she will offer Spanish translation for Rep. McCloskey’s remarks.

Tri-Valley CAREs is co-sponsoring the 2019 event with the Tracy Earth Project. There will be a festival of non-profit tables, a poster contest, seed plantings and much more (see the flyer below).

Tri-Valley CAREs will offer a game for kids as well as literature in English and Spanish about environmental pollution and cleanup activities at the Site 300 high explosives testing range. Site 300 is located on Corral Hollow Road just west of Tracy, and is used primarily to develop nuclear weapons.

Tracy Earth Day is Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 9am to Noon at the Civic Center Plaza, 333 Civic Center Drive in Tracy. For more information, send an email to raiza@trivalleycares.org or give us a call.




“Keeping Faith in the Face of Empire” at Livermore Lab

Marylia Kelley points to nuclear programs inside the fence.
Photo by Mark Coplan

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley & Eric Luna

As the sun rose on April 19, Good Friday on the Christian calendar, approximately one hundred peace advocates gathered just outside the Livermore Lab fence line for an ecumenical service.

The event speakers offered a diversity of traditions, including Native American, Muslim and Jewish. Presbyterian minister Will Garvey delivered a powerful sermon, titled, “Keeping Faith in the Face of Empire.”  

Tri-Valley CAREs’ executive director, Marylia Kelley described nuclear weapons programs happening right now at the Livermore Lab, illuminating the role and importance of peaceful witness at this site where nuclear weapons of mass destruction get more than 80% of the Lab budget.

Following the service, many participants walked in procession along the fence to the Lab’s West Gate for a nonviolent direct action.

Mark Coplan has posted his photographs and video on-line:

Photographs

Good Friday Service at Lawrence Livermore Lab 2019:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/54922368@N07/albums/72157708255973804

Good Friday Action at Lawrence Livermore Lab 2019 (Civil Disobedience):   https://www.flickr.com/photos/54922368@N07/albums/72157704654796292

Videos

Good Friday Service at Lawrence Livermore Lab 2019 (1 hr 23 minutes):   https://vimeo.com/331591927

Good Friday Action at Lawrence Livermore Lab 2019 (11 minutes):   https://vimeo.com/331601877



Nonprofits, Local Businesses Plan Livermore Earth Day Events

Friday, April 12, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

Livermore's 2019 Earth Day celebration will take place on Saturday, April 20 with a daylong series of events, including nonprofit booths and a film at the Livermore Civic Center Library, 1188 South Livermore Ave. Tri-Valley CAREs will be tabling from Noon to 4 PM, so come on by and say "hi." Local nurseries, vineyards and other businesses are planning open garden events and workshops during the day. Local activist Ann Brown created a chart of events to help folks find the fun. For your convenience, we have posted it under our flyer.

Click here for the 4-page chart of events.


EL CONCILIO CINCO DE MAYO FAMILY FIESTA

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis


CLICK HERE to read more about El Concilio Cinco De Mayo Family Fiesta.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la invitación en Españól.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

Tri-Valley CAREs monthly meetings are open to all interested members of the public. You will meet old and new friends, get up-to-the-minute reports on nuclear issues, and become part of a peace and justice community that is creating positive change locally, nationally and globally! Join us!


Budget Reveals New Nuclear Weapons Springing Forth at NNSA:
Includes Blooming Perennials and Seeds Planted for Coming Years

Posted by Kathy Crandall Robinson

The recently released Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Weapons Activities Budget further advances plans outlined in the Trump Administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.  The overall NNSA Weapons Activities Budget Request is $12.4 billion an increase of 11.8% compared to the FY 2019 enacted spending. The FY2020 budget covers the time period from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

Included here are summary highlights of key nuclear weapons development programs. Further budget information on other components of the NNSA Weapons Activities is forthcoming.  For those who want to dive deeper into details, there are page references in parentheses to The Department of Energy FY2020 Congressional Budget Request, Volume 1 - a 651-page document covering the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

The W76-2 Warhead Modification – production complete end of 2019.

The price tag and work for FY 2020 drops to $10 million (from $65 million in FY 2019.)  This is because all warhead modifications are to be completed by the end of 2019 with only final program documentation and close out activities to be completed in FY 2020. This new low-yield warhead is planned to be deployed on Trident D5 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles. (See pp.  82, 85) Currently Tri-Valley CAREs is an active partner in the effort to push Congress to stop deployment of this low-yield weapon, see: “Last Chance to Stop Trump’s More Usable Nuclear Warhead is Now.”

W80-4 Life Extension Program (LEP) – moves to next phase of development (6.3) with an increased price tag.

This extends the life of the W80 warhead for use on the new nuclear air-launched cruise missile called the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) cruise missile. In December 2018, the phase 6-2A Weapon Design and Cost Report was completed and laid out requirements for additional resources, which are included in the FY2020 budget. The W80-4 is now awaiting Nuclear Weapons Council authorization to proceed to Phase 6.3 in the second quarter of 2019.  The next milestone aim is to complete a Baseline Defense Review in 2021. This progress makes it more difficult to stop the warhead and LRSO plans, and it also ensures that the price tag will climb further for the warhead. This year the increase to the direct budget for the LEP is over 37%, as the price climbs to $899 million in FY 2020 over the FY 2019 spending of $655 million. The projected budget for the W80-4 LEP for 2021 is over $1 billion with the price continuing to climb thereafter (See pp. 82-83, 85, 92.) The “lead lab” for the W80-4 design is Livermore.

W87-1 -Modification Program /Warhead Replacement (Formerly Known As IW-1) budget more than doubles, and activities blooming.

This name changing warhead was called the IW-1, or Interoperable Warhead-1 in the FY 2019 budget, and is planned to replace the W78 warhead by 2030 and support fielding on the U.S. Air Force (USAF) GBSD (Ground Based Strategic Deterrent) missile system planned to replace the current Minuteman III ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) force. This weapon replacement program has been a key driver for new plutonium pit (bomb core) production. Even without the “interoperability” feature, modifications to this weapon are likely to lead to a pit design different than currently available pits.  In FY 2019 the cost of the design work for the W87-1 was $53 million. The FY 2020 request is over $112 million – an increase of 111%. In FY 2021 an even larger increase is planned to $363 million and by FY2024 costs are planned to be $558 million (See pp. 82-83, 86-87, 93)

B61-12 LEP begins production and B83 remains too.

The expensive B61-12 “bunker buster” warhead is designed to consolidate and replace the B61-3, -4, -7, and -10 bombs. In June 2020 it is scheduled to enter a production phase (phase 6.5).  There is a nominal drop in spending for the costly B61-12 from the FY 2019 $794 million to the FY 2020 request of $792.6 million (See pp. 82-83,85, 86, 97-98.)

Amid previous controversy over the expensive B61-12 some in Congress (including California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein) were persuaded to reluctantly curtail opposition to the B61-12 in part with a promise that the B61-12 LEP would lead to the retirement of the huge B83 megaton-yield nuclear bomb. The President’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) reversed this decision and now funds are being expended to sustain the B83 in the stockpile indefinitely. For FY 2020 the cost to maintain the B83 “in accordance with the NPR” is $51.5 million, an increase of $16.5 million (or 47%) over FY 2019 enacted spending of $35 million.  Tri-Valley CAREs continues to oppose the B61-12, and we will further urge Congress to insist on retirement of the B83. (See pp. 73, 76, 100).

W88-Alteration 370 begins production.

W88 Alt 370 production phase 6.6 begins in FY 2020 with Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) to support Initial Operational Capability (IOC) by FY 2020. The final weapon development report will be in FY 2021. The W88 Alteration is scheduled to be completed by FY 2024, consistent with Nuclear Posture Review requirements. The projected budget for FY 2020 is $304.2 million - $99 thousand less than FY 2019 enacted. Alteration is the term used for a weapons refurbishment that is less extensive than a LEP. (pp. 82-83, 85-86, 90-91)

Sowing Seeds - Strategic Missile Warhead (Formerly Known As “IW-2 and now also called “Next Navy Warhead”), and a Sea-Launched Cruise Missile Study.

Beginning in 2023 the plan is to conduct feasibility studies for the “Next” warhead as part the Stockpile Responsiveness Program that aims for alignment with current DOD nuclear modernization plans. The planned cost for the Next Strategic Missile Warhead is $57 million in FY 2023 and growing to $182.5 million in FY 2024.  (See pp. 75-76, 83, 87, 140, 183-184)

Additionally, in keeping with the Nuclear Posture Review, there is a study considering Sea-Launched Cruise Missiles as part of the W-80 Stockpile Systems. While there is very little information about the planned study in the FY 2020 budget, the NPR called for consideration of a new nuclear-armed lower-yield Sea-Launched Cruise Missile. (See pp. 8, 84,100 and the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, p. 55 )

Along with blooming weapons, the nuclear weapons enterprise grows too.

We note that as new weapons designs and capabilities sprout, pressures to resume explosive nuclear testing will also grow.  Thus, Tri-Valley CAREs will be looking more carefully at plans to increase the number of subcritical experiments as well as the development of the “Enhanced Capabilities for Subcritical Experiments” project – a program with costs rising from $50 million in FY 2019 to $145 million in FY 2020 and continuing to rise in Fiscal Years 2021-2024. We are likewise scrutinizing other subcritical testing activities mentioned in the budget, as these tests in Nevada may be promoted by weaponeers making more radical changes to warhead designs. (See pp. 69, 74, 138, 158.)

These highlighted weapons programs together with growing new production facilities (such as a dramatic increase in plutonium pit production) show a burgeoning nuclear weapons development program. Tri-Valley CAREs will be further investigating additional key programs such as plutonium pit (bomb core) production and other infrastructure production activities.

Look for additional articles, fact sheets and action alerts as we continue to probe the FY 2020 budget request and related documents.


Livermore Lab Budget Request – Funding the New Arms Race

Monday, March 25, 2019
Posted by Scott Yundt and Marylia Kelley

The Department of Energy Budget Request for Livermore Lab for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) has been released. The pie chart above shows the Trump Administration’s priorities in action at Livermore Lab – and it includes more money for the development of new and modified nuclear weapons.

The one bright spot in the budget request involves new funding to address heavily contaminated buildings on-site that had been left to rot (called “High Risk” facilities in a report by the Inspector General).

Here are a few details to go along with the pie chart we created from the numbers in the DOE FY20 budget “Laboratory Table.”

The overall DOE budget request for Livermore Lab in FY20 is $1,841,887,000 (i.e., about $1.842 billion). The request is $278,535,000 (i.e., about $279 million) more than the Lab received for the same programs last year.  

Nearly $167 million (i.e., the lion’s share) of that increase is for Nuclear Weapons Activities. As you can see in the pie chart, the FY20 request for Nuclear Weapons Activities is $1,511,576,000 (more than $1.5 billion).

Indeed, Nuclear Weapons Activities comprise more than 82% of all the money requested for Livermore Lab in FY20. Compare that to the budget request for Science at the Lab, which is a mere 2% of the total. Research on Energy Efficiency and Renewables doesn’t even crack 1% of the request. And Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation is struggling toward the 8% mark.

This is a budget request that supports and accelerates a new global nuclear arms race, in line with the Trump Nuclear Posture Review released last year.

We did promise you one bright spot, and here it is.

Last year only $25 million was allotted to tackle the huge challenge of Decontaminating & Decommissioning abandoned, heavily contaminated buildings at Livermore Lab.

For context, visualize an old, contaminated nuclear reactor located just within the fence line off Vasco Road and Westgate Drive, and now visualize growing cracks in the walls and shielding that can be seen with the naked eye. That’s just one of the “High Risk” buildings on site.

The FY20 request for Livermore Lab to address these buildings is $128 million, an increase of $103 million over last year. For some years now, Tri-Valley CAREs members have raised the alarm in Washington, DC and locally about the “High Risk” buildings at Livermore Lab and other sites in the nuclear weapons complex. It’s gratifying to see this increase.

True, $128 million is only a start. And, it’s small potatoes compared to the Nuclear Weapons Activities budget.

We have a long way to go in transforming Livermore into a “Green Lab” dedicated to a civilian science mission and the moral obligation to clean up the environment from decades of nuclear weapons programs. And, changing what gets funded at Livermore Lab is central to changing its mission.  

Click here to read the DOE FY20 Budget Request “Laboratory Tables”


Getting Inside the Fence at Livermore Lab Main Site and Site 300

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Livermore Lab is organizing community tours inside the classified fences of the Livermore Lab Main Site and its Site 300 high explosives testing range near Tracy. These tours will include major areas of contamination being cleaned up under the Superfund Law. The Lab is offering the tours on a “first come-first served” basis.

If you would like to join a tour, please contact Billie Christian in the Laboratory’s Public Affairs Office at tours@llnl.gov by close of business on FRIDAY, MARCH 29, 2019.

Note: The deadline for returning the security form is actually not until close of business MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2019. If you see this notice before then, contact Billie Christian at tours@llnl.gov to see if you can be included in the tour of your choice.

Tour Dates and Times.

1. Livermore Lab Site 300 (Tracy)
The tour is: Thursday, April 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Site 300 was established to conduct open-air bomb tests with toxic and radioactive materials. Current operations allow for contained tests and open-air detonations; high explosives R&D, machining and manufacturing; and waste burning and storage. Site 300 was placed on the EPA’s Superfund list of most contaminated locations in the country in 1990. The tour will include views of unlined toxic and radioactive waste pits and at least one open-air “firing table” as well as some of the groundwater remediation equipment in use.

2. Livermore Lab Main Site (Livermore)
The tour is: Tuesday, April 30 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Main Site contains most of the Lab’s principal nuclear weapons development facilities, including the plutonium facility and vaults, hardened engineering test building, tritium facility, radiography facility, high explosives application facility, National Ignition Facility, and others. The Main Site was placed on the EPA Superfund list in 1987. The tour will visit groundwater treatment facilities, including several areas where new technologies for remediating soils and water are being tested.

From the Livermore Lab general public notification

The tours are free and open to U.S. citizens 18 years of age and older. Site access badges will be required. On-site transportation will be provided. Participation will be on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive information about site access badging requirements as well as additional details in preparation for the tour. --"Christian, Billie V." <tours@llnl.gov>

CLICK HERE to read more.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer en Españól.


Good Friday Action at Livermore Lab

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

For more than thirty years, the Ecumenical Peace Institute has led a Good Friday ecumenical service, rally and nonviolent direct action beginning at 7AM at the Livermore Lab near the corner of Vasco Road and Patterson Pass Road.


This year’s theme is “Keeping Faith in the Face of Empire.” There will be music and speakers, followed by a procession with stops at peace centered stations-of-the-cross on the way to the Lab’s West Gate. Participants of all faiths and good will are invited.



Community Meeting in Tracy

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Tri-Valley CAREs hosted a community meeting on March 13th in Tracy to bring attention to and discuss the slow-going Superfund cleanup and the proposed increase in bomb blasting planned for Livermore Lab's nearby Site 300. People from the Tracy community came to join us and learned about and discussed these very important issues. Here is a bit about it...

Presenters included Gail Reiger, Tri-Valley CAREs' Board Member and Tracy resident, Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, Tri-Valley CAREs' Bilingual Community Organizer, and Scott Yundt, Tri-Valley CAREs' Staff Attorney. The discussion began with some background about Site 300, an 11 square mile High Explosives Testing Range operated by Livermore Lab to support its nuclear weapons mission, about which many attendees, who were mostly Tracy residents, had little knowledge.

The discussion focused on Livermore Lab's plan to increase the size and power of explosions at Site 300 ten-fold, from the current 100 pound limit to 1000 pounds of high explosive per blast. This is especially concerning to residents given the recent approvals for the "Tracy Hills" development (where construction of up to 5500 homes has begun) roughly one mile from Site 300. These explosions will contain over 120 toxic contaminants that can hurt our heath and affect the future of our community, especially those living nearby.

The Superfund cleanup was discussed in detail. Site 300 has been on this list since 1990, and the cleanup from past testing activities (and dumping of waste onsite) is slow-going and will take many more decades. Citizen involvement is key to ensuring that contamination is remediated to a level that protects public health and supports environmental quality at this ecologically sensitive location that borders a recreation area and a burgeoning suburban area.

Raiza spoke about her outreach and provided Spanish translation. Community members at the meeting were very receptive and they offered solutions that could be implemented. They agreed that air, water, ground and noise quality will suffer a great impact from the bomb blasts. They worried that toxic contaminants will be released into the air that residents will be breathing, exposing them to lung cancer, asthma, many other diseases and even early death. One visitor was concerned about how much and how far those contaminants will spread: "We have a lot of wind going though here, this will affect us greatly."

Tracy residents were also glad to hear of opportinities in the Superfund law that provide for public involvement. Several Latinx Tracy residents offered to work with Raiza to help spread the word to Spanish speakers in the community.

Tri-Valley CAREs needs you; this needs to be a citizen led effort in Tracy. We can be a motivating force by sending letters to the editor, reaching out to real estate brokers, sending memos, etc. Together, all of us in the community decide how clean is clean. We at Tri-Valley CAREs are open to hearing new strategies, and we ask for help to connect with other organizations in Tracy that may be willing to include some of this information in their activities.

We would like to thank you for coming and supporting clean air, land and water in Tracy.

CLICK HERE to read more.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer en Españól.

CLICK HERE to sign a petition to Protect California Air from Toxic Pollution.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para firmar petición para Proteger el aire de California de la contaminación tóxica.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna


“Skinny Budget” Presages Increased Nuclear Spending; Cuts Elsewhere

Monday, March 11, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

On Monday, March 11, 2019, President Donald Trump released the summary outline for his administration’s Fiscal Year 2020 request.

The document is titled, “A Budget for a Better America,” which may be true if you are a major defense contractor or nuclear weapons lab. For the rest of us, however, the title is misleading at best.

In the vernacular, this document is called a “skinny budget” because it contains agency “top line” numbers only and is bereft of detail.

The President’s full FY2020 budget request is scheduled “soon,” according to government pronouncements. Various sources, however, have said to expect its release on Monday, March 18 or perhaps later that week.

Tri-Valley CAREs will prepare a full analysis of key programs within the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as soon documents become available. Further, we will produce a graph detailing the request for Livermore Lab.

 

In the mean time, here are the top line numbers from Trump’s skinny budget. From them, you can already see the outline of what will be in the full request – and the numbers increase the nuclear danger.

For example:

The FY2020 budget request for NNSA is $16.5 billion, up from $15.2 billion this fiscal year.  The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the DOE that principally develops new and modified nuclear bombs and the bomb plants to build them.

The FY2020 budget request for all the other parts of DOE combined is $15.2 billion, down from $20.4 billion last year. This includes the DOE Office of Environmental Management (cleanup), the Office of Science, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewables, and others. Even without the details, can you visualize what’s being gutted?

The skinny budget includes a bit of overview text, which is also revealing of its priorities. It says the President’s FY2020 budget…

Modernizes the Nuclear Deterrent. The Budget supports the Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review by maintaining a tailored and flexible nuclear deterrent that protects the homeland, assures allies, and, above all, deters adversaries. While the investments in America’s nuclear weapons are large, given their importance in keeping America safe, the investments should be regarded as both necessary and affordable. The Budget increases investments in the nuclear stockpile to guarantee it is modern, robust, safe, and effective. Specifically, the Budget completes development and production of the W76-2 warhead, begins production of the B61-12 and the W88 Alteration 370, and continues development of the W80-4 and the W87-1. The Budget also continues support of the underlying Stockpile Stewardship Program, which facilitates stockpile modernization while advancing scientific understanding that can be applied to other national security missions.

Rebuilds Nuclear Weapons Infrastructure. The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear security enterprise of national laboratories, production plants, and the Nevada National Security Site is a critical component of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. However, the physical infrastructure is in acute need of updating to better support the stockpile, as more than half the facilities are over 40 years old. To maintain a modern, resilient infrastructure, the Nation must invest in facilities needed to produce strategic materials and components for U.S. nuclear weapons. The Budget makes these significant investments, such as construction of the Uranium Processing Facility in Tennessee. The Budget also increases funding to repurpose the Mixed-Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina for production of nuclear weapons plutonium pits [bomb cores] to meet Department of Defense requirements. NNSA must have a modern enterprise with the capacity to respond to unforeseen developments…”

Here is a link to the skinny budget: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/budget-fy2020.pdf

Check Tri-Valley CAREs’ website at www.trivalleycares.org for more information as soon as the full request is released.

We will also be sponsoring action alerts and other activities in the coming weeks and months to turn our country from profligate nuclear weapons spending to meeting human needs and protecting our environment.


Meeting March in Tracy

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para ver la invitación en Españól.

Tri-Valley CAREs’ Winter 2019 Newsletter, Citizen’s Watch

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

Tri-Valley CAREs’ quarterly newsletter, Citizen’s Watch, is now ready for you to enjoy. This edition is chock-full of news, reports, announcements, and events.

In our 8-page newsletter, you will find…

  • Warning on Plutonium Expansion in Hill Meetings. Page 1
  • Promoting Environmental Justice. Page 2
  • Doomsday Clock. Page 2
  • Calendar of Events. Page 3
  • Alert! Your Calls are Needed Now. Page 4
  • Tracy Community Meeting March 13 - English. Insert
  • Tracy Community Meeting March 13 – Spanish. Insert
  • Meet Raiza, our Bilingual Community Organizer - English. Insert
  • Meet Raiza, our Bilingual Community Organizer - Spanish. Insert

The first PDF contains the 4-page newsletter. The 4-page insert follows as a separate PDF.

WINTER 2019 CITIZEN’S WATCH

For a PDF of the 4-page newsletter click here

For a separate PDF of the 4-page insert click here


Tri-Valley CAREs Sounds Warning on Plutonium Expansion in Hill Meetings and “Pit” Briefing Hosted in the Senate  

February 15, 2019

Posted by Kathy Crandall Robinson

Tri-Valley CAREs’ Executive Director Marylia Kelley headed to Washington, DC in late January to meet with colleague organizations and policymakers to make the case that expanded plutonium pit production will fuel a growing new nuclear arms race. Kelley and colleagues also shared internal National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and other documents showing the plan is prohibitively expensive and fraught with technical challenges.

Jay Coghlan, Executive Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico and TVC Senior Policy Consultant Kathy Crandall Robinson joined Marylia for a dozen meetings with congressional offices and Administration officials.  

We had the opportunity to speak with key new congressional staff and offices, and to discuss strategy with offices where we have already developed strong relationships. For example, we had a great meeting in Congressman John Garamendi’s office (D-CA-3) and are pleased to report that he remains committed to challenging expanded pit production.  We also had very fruitful meetings with Democratic staff for both the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and others.

A highlight of the DC trip was a policy briefing and discussion, “The Pitfalls of Plutonium Pits,” organized by Stephen Young of the Union of Concerned Scientists and hosted by Chris Hanson, Democratic professional staff on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee, through which the nuclear weapons budget must pass. Special thanks are due to Chris Hanson for his insightful participation - and for securing the Dirksen Senate hearing room for the briefing.

Even with a declared snow emergency that shut down Congress, twenty people participated in the briefing and lively discussion that followed, including five key congressional staff and good representation from the DC arms control and disarmament community.  

Marylia Kelley started off the panel presentations by noting that although plans for expanded pit production are “not on the 6 O’clock news” they are nonetheless devastating to arms control and disarmament. She especially emphasized how pit production is intertwined with planned new weapons development and pressures to resume nuclear explosive testing in Nevada.  

 

Plans to produce at least 80 pits per year at two facilities (Los Alamos and Savannah River Site) would ensure that the United States is in the nuclear weapons production business forever and able to produce pits for warheads with new military capabilities. Marylia spoke to the ways in which new, industrial-scale pit production would provide the means for weapons designers to add new bombs and warheads to the arsenal, moving the U.S. further from the disarmament we seek and into uncharted new weapon design territory fraught with peril. Production of new-design pits for new warheads creates scientific uncertainty as these novel additions don't trace back to a "pedigree" of already-tested designs. This uncertainty will create pressure to resume nuclear testing in Nevada. It is clear that other nuclear-armed nations would follow suit.

 

Marylia further explained that pit production is being driven by the development of the W78 warhead replacement (to sit atop a new ICBM) now to be called the W87-1 warhead, which is being designed at Livermore Lab to be markedly different than its namesake. One key change is that this new warhead is being designed with a novel untested shape for its plutonium pit (thus requiring expanded pit production).

If this name-change game for the new warhead seems confusing, it is. For instance, there are already W87 warheads in the arsenal that have been successfully refurbished without changing their design. For simplicity, however, we will call this new-design beast the W87-1 warhead because that is the name NNSA has chosen for it.

Marylia closed her presentation noting the necessity to terminate this plan quickly before it further undermines arms control and disarmament and puts our public health, environmental safety and national treasury at risk.

 

Jay Coghlan’s presentation emphasized the ways in which NNSA’s plans for pit production run afoul of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Jay covered the value of NEPA’s technical analysis and public participation elements. Jay discussed the importance of congressional and public insistence on the crucial need and legal imperative for NNSA to conduct a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) analyzing the impacts of expanded pit production and alternatives to current plans. He noted the historical precedents of previous pit expansion plans that were defeated with pressure related to previous PEIS activities.  

 

Longstanding Tri-Valley CAREs members likely recall our group’s role in fighting off the Modern Pit Facility and the Complex 2030 “Consolidated Plutonium Center” to name two of the former proposals. As Jay noted in his closing remarks, we must prepare for a similar struggle and with the lever of the law (i.e., NEPA) we can succeed again.

 

Also presenting on the panel were Andy Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Defense and staff director of the Nuclear Weapons Council, and Professor Steve Fetter, former Assistant Director in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. On the basis of informed, insider analysis, both men challenged the “need” for large-scale pit production to address the requirements of the current nuclear weapons stockpile. Each noted that the W78 could be retired as an alternative to creating this new, mash-up W87-1 warhead. Each offered a variation on the fundamental question, why not rely on the existing W87 rather than put a new design into the stockpile alongside it?

 

In the very good question and answer and discussion that followed the presentations, we heard a plea for more basic education and simple arguments making the case against pit production. We recognized the need for further education about additional pit production issues, and we noted questions that Congress and NGOs should raise, including:

 

  • Why is this level of production necessary given the approximately 20,000 existing pits stored at the Pantex facility that could be reused? What role could the proven technique of “pit reuse” play if we foreswore new designs?

  • How will we afford this and hope to meet all of the technical challenges, when NNSA’s preliminary estimate for expanded pit production tops $40 billion? How should we consider that many complicated NNSA projects go over-budget by factors of 2 to 10 - and some, like MOX at SRS and ignition at NIF at LLNL, never work as intended?

  • Why do we want to support this build-up of the nuclear arsenal and risk a return to nuclear explosive testing? What role could further arms control and disarmament play?


Tri-Valley CAREs plans for follow up include a series of east-to-read fact sheets and messages particularly aimed at new congressional staff on key committees. We will post our new fact sheets on our website and link as well to other materials crafted by colleague organizations.

In addition, as we receive more information about next year’s budget request at NNSA and plans around its “plutonium strategy,” we will urge questions from congressional offices at key opportunities.  We will also continue to reach out to arms control and disarmament colleague organizations in Washington, DC to integrate understanding of pit production and related nuclear weapons policy issues into their work.

Pit production and related issues will be featured as part of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability DC Days, May 20-22 which will include approximately 75 participants from nuclear weapons complex sites with approximately 100 congressional office and administration meetings.  Tri-Valley CARE’s will have a leadership role in shaping the education and strategy related to new nukes and pit production for DC Days. With current federal budget process delays, raising issues about pit production plans and costs in late May in DC will be particularly timely.

In sum, while Tri-Valley CAREs, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Nuclear Watch New Mexico made enormous strides in DC last month, your future participation in stopping expanded plutonium pit production is essential to the ultimate success of the project.

Stay tuned, check our website for new information, come to our monthly meetings for great discussion and action ideas, and join us for DC Days if your schedule allows (space is limited; timely RSVP is essential to marylia@earthlink.net or marylia@trivalleycares.org).

Click here for the PDF


 



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YOUR CALL IS ESSENTIAL:


Last Chance to Stop Trump’s “More Usable” Nuclear Warhead is Now

Friday, January 25, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

This week, Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Adam Smith (D-WA), the incoming Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, joined forces to reintroduce the “Hold the Low-Yield Nuclear Explosive (Hold the LYNE) Act” to prevent deployment of a new, more usable submarine-launched nuclear warhead.


Specifically, they circulated what’s called a “Dear Colleague” letter, which goes out to congressional offices asking other Members to join Reps. Lieu and Smith in introducing the bill this year.


The Congressmen begin the letter: “We invite you to join as an original cosponsor of the reintroduction of the Hold the Low-Yield Nuclear Explosive (Hold the LYNE) Act. Our legislation would reverse course on an unnecessary and destabilizing new low-yield nuclear warhead to be carried on US submarine-launched ballistic missiles.”


The letter continues, “Last May, more than 30 former officials, including former Defense Secretary William Perry, former Secretary of State George Schultz, and former Senator Richard Lugar, wrote a bipartisan letter rejecting the low-yield warhead as ‘dangerous, unjustified and redundant’.”


The Dear Colleague letter notes the new majority in the 116th Congress - and the fresh opportunity that represents to stop the deployment of this new warhead. The letter asks Members of Congress to contact Corey Jacobson, the Legislative Director for Rep. Lieu to sign on. That email address is: Corey.Jacobson@mail.house.gov


How can you help?


First, contact your Representative. The capitol switchboard is 202.224.3121. Ask for the Defense Aide, if he or she is available. Tell any staff person with whom you speak that you want your member of Congress to cosponsor this important bill. Be sure to mention the “Dear Colleague” letter that Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. Adam Smith circulated. A link to the letter is HERE for easy reference.


Note: If the staff person is not sure whether the office received the Dear Colleague letter, you can give the staffer Corey Jacobson’s email address to follow up.


What is this new warhead?


As described in the Trump Nuclear Posture Review and fiscal 2019 budget, the new nuke, dubbed the W76-2, will be a submarine-launched low yield variant to sit atop Trident D5 missiles.


Reports indicate that its nuclear yield will be around 6.5 kilotons, about half the size of Hiroshima. According to the President, this new low-yield option will make a U.S. nuclear strike more “credible.” And, that’s the problem. In plain language, those words mean it’s more likely to be used. This warhead will lower the threshold for nuclear use and make a nuclear war more likely.


Why should you act immediately?


Certainly one reason is that the Hold the Low-Yield Nuclear Explosive (Hold the LYNE) Act has a real chance of passage this year, especially if it gathers a large number of cosponsors in the House. But that’s not the only reason immediate action is needed.


Because this low-yield, more usable W76-2 is a relatively simple modification of the existing higher-yield W76, with parts of its nuclear explosive package removed, it can be developed in short order. It initially showed up in the budget last year.


Today (January 25, 2019) a reporter for the industry-publication Nuclear Security and Deterrence Monitor, Dan Leone, tweeted out: “The Pantex Plant has initiated assembly of the W76-2 First Production Unit.”


Leone further notes that the Trump Administration says the National Nuclear Security Administration “is on track to complete the W76-2 Initial Operational Capability warhead quantity and deliver the units to the Navy by the end of Fiscal Year 2019.”


That means that this dangerous, more usable warhead could be rolling off the assembly line and headed toward its next phase (deployment) by September 30th. Stopping it next year could be too late.


Now is the time to stop the W76-2.  The Hold the Low-Yield Nuclear Explosive (Hold the LYNE) Act is the way. Call your member of Congress today.


Again, the capitol switchboard is 202.224.3121. The good news is that it’s not too late. If enough people call, and the new Congress acts, we can do this!


CLICK HERE for the Dear Colleague letter



Doomsday Clock Remains at 2-Minutes to Midnight

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

The resurgent risk of nuclear war and unresolved climate danger have caused the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to keep the Doomsday Clock set at 2-minutes to the apocalyptic midnight hour in what the magazine’s scientists and scholars, including 15 Nobel Laureates, decried as “the new abnormal.”

The minute hand did not move from last year, but that position is the closest to annihilation as it has ever been. “The fact the Doomsday Clock’s hands did not change is bad news,” said Robert Rosner, Chair of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board.

Before 2018, the last time the Clock was set at 2-minutes to doom was in 1953, marking the first time both the Soviet Union and the United States possessed the ability to use powerful Hydrogen bombs.

We have returned to the greatest danger the world had ever known. The Bulletin’s statement noted that the “modernization” of arsenals currently underway in the U.S. and other nuclear-armed states is “all but indistinguishable from a worldwide arms race.”

Jerry Brown, our former California Governor and now Executive Chairman of the Bulletin, put it this way at the news conference, “The blindness and stupidity of politicians and their consultants is truly shocking in the face of nuclear catastrophe and danger.” Brown continued, “We are almost like travelers on the Titanic, seeing the iceberg up ahead but enjoying the elegant dining and the music.”

Moreover, the Bulletin said “the world failed dismally last year” to address climate change. “To halt the worst effects of climate change, the countries of the world must cut net worldwide carbon dioxide emissions to zero by well before the end of the century.”

The Trump administration’s nuclear and climate policies contributed to the decision to keep the hands so close to midnight noted the scientists. The Bulletin also noted the “corruption of the information ecosystem” is embrittling democracy and adding to the global risks.

The iconic Doomsday Clock was founded in 1947.


Promoting Environmental Justice for our Communities

Monday, January 21, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Tri-Valley CAREs' acting board president, Mary Perner, and bilingual community organizer, Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, met today in Tracy with newly-elected Congressman Josh Harder (D-CA-10) to discuss our members' environmental justice concerns regarding the Livermore Lab's Site 300 high explosives testing range, which is located near Tracy in the 10th Congressional District.

In particular, Raiza and Mary outlined our concerns about Livermore Lab's reticence to provide Spanish translations or community involvement opportunities as mandated by EPA guidelines in the Superfund cleanup of toxic and radioactive materials in the soil and water at Site 300.

Raiza and Mary also discussed our objections to the huge open-air bomb blasts planned at Site 300. Opposition to this project includes the City of Tracy, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and the Tracy Hills developer, among others. Thousands of residents signed our petition to stop the project, and many also provided comments and spoke at a public hearing last year.

Rep. Harder indicated his support for Tri-Valley CAREs' goals to engage and empower the Tracy area community. He pledged to work with us to carry out these goals. Rep. Harder was knowledgeable on the subject of Site 300 and showed an avid interest about what mattered to us.

Thank you, Rep. Harder, for meeting with constituents so soon after taking your oath of office in the U.S. Congress. We appreciate your attention to these major environmental justice issues that directly impact our communities.

CLICK HERE to read more.

CLICK HERE to sign petition to Protect California Air from Toxic Pollution.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para firmar petición para Proteger el aire de California de la contaminación tóxica.


Introducing New Bilingual Community Organizer

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Hello team:

Hope you're all having a great day!

My name is Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, I have been hired as a Bilingual Community Organizer here at the Tri-Valley CAREs. I am originally from Panama (Central America). I have lived in the USA for more than 24 years! Since I know we will be working together to protect community health and the environment, I wanted to reach out and briefly introduce myself.

My main job will be promoting environmental justice, including by writing, speaking and translating in English and Spanish. I will be responsible for building community outreach and empowering residents in Tracy and San Joaquin County, as well as Livermore. I will be communicating factual information so you and your neighbors can influence decision-making at the Livermore National Laboratory. I will build and maintain relationships with governmental and non-governmental organizations to increase everyone's understanding of the cleanup of toxic pollutants at the Main Site and Site 300. I will also be responsible for posting information in English and Spanish on the Tri-Valley CAREs website.

I'm super excited to work with you all and am looking forward to meeting you personally during our upcoming meetings. Please, do not hesitate to reach out with anything you need. I am happy to participate in every way possible! Additionally, if you know of any Spanish-speaking residents, please send me their contact information or share mine. My email is: raiza@trivalleycares.org.

Kind Regards,

Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Bilingual Community Organizer

Raiza cell: 925-980-4975

IN SPANISH:

Hola equipo:

¡Espero que estén teniendo un buen día!

Mi nombre es Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, he sido contratada como una Organizadora Bilingüe de la Comunidad aquí en Tri-Valley CAREs. Soy originaria de Panamá (Central América). ¡He vivido en los Estados Unidos por más de 24 años! Ya que vamos a trabajar juntos para proteger la salud de la comunidad y el medio ambiente, quería presentarme brevemente.

Mi trabajo principal será promover la justicia ambiental, como también escribir, hablar y traducir en inglés y español. Voy a ser responsable de construir la comunidad y dar poder a los habitantes de Tracy y el Condado de San Joaquín, así como también Livermore. Voy a comunicar información factual para que usted y sus vecinos puedan influir en la toma de decisiones en el Laboratorio Nacional de Livermore. Voy a construir y mantener relaciones con organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales para aumentar la comprensión de todo el mundo de la limpieza de contaminantes tóxicos en el Sitio Principal y Sitio 300. También seré responsable de publicar información en inglés y en español en las páginas de web de Tri-Valley CAREs.

Estoy super emocionada de trabajar con todos ustedes y espero conocerlos personalmente durante nuestras próximas reuniones. Por favor, no vacilen en preguntarme cualquier cosa que necesiten. ¡Estoy feliz de participar en cualquier forma que sea posible! Además, si ustedes saben de cualquier residente de habla hispana, por favor envíenme su contacto o compartan mi información. Mi correo electrónico es: raiza@trivalleycares.org.

Atentamente,

Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Organizador Bilingüe de la Comunidad

Raiza cell: 925-980-4975


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

Build Peace & Justice in the New Year


A Snapshot of Cleanup at the Livermore Lab

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

As we begin the New Year, we are cognizant of new opportunities and ongoing responsibilities. Tri-Valley CAREs will continue to involve the community in Superfund cleanup decisions at the Livermore Lab Main Site and Site 300 near Tracy. Our goal is to ensure a comprehensive cleanup that will reflect the needs of the affected residents and protect the land, air, water for generations to come. We offer this factsheet based on a 16-site series written by staff at an industry “trade” publication, Weapons Complex Monitor. Tri-Valley CARS provided information for the series, and is quoted, however the editorial perspective is that of the publication. Read on…

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la información en Españól.


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