On the happy occasion of our 40th anniversary, we invite you to contemplate 40 of our successes through the years.

  1. We conducted original research and produced reports that have been cited by delegates to the United Nations, U.S. members of Congress, major media outlets and others. Examples include our seminal critique of the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship program, analyses of U.S. nuclear posture and policy, and reports on the National Ignition Facility and the dangers of pursuing new nuclear weapons such as the Reliable Replacement Warhead and most recently the W87-1.
  2. We have produced annual, reader-friendly, unique analyses of the Dept. of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget request for nuclear weapons activities, along with our recommendations for Congress and the Administration. We also release an annual budget chart of Livermore Lab’s budget request with analysis of how it has changed year to year.
  3. We held special briefings for, and conducted numerous meetings with, members of Congress, their staff and Administration officials with oversight responsibilities for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.
  4. We persuaded Congress to eliminate funding for a new, bunker-busting nuclear weapon that Livermore Lab was developing for use in the “war on terror,” called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator bomb. We played a lead role in a national coalition that prevented this bomb from becoming a reality.
  5. We followed our victory over the nuclear bunker-buster by countering the next new weapons scheme, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Tri-Valley CAREs helped win funding cuts to the RRW, briefed then-candidate Barack Obama’s point person on it, and, with allied groups, succeeded in shutting down the program.
  6. We played a pivotal role in exposing security deficiencies at Livermore Lab, including its failure in “force on force” tests, during which mock terrorists gained access to nuclear materials. We mobilized the community and pressed DOE to remove thousands of pounds of plutonium and highly enriched uranium from Livermore Lab, which finally happened in 2012. This victory constrains Livermore Lab’s nuclear weapons design capability, and we are hard at work to protect it from being rolled back.
  7. We have been invited to testify before the California legislature and the U.S. Congress on the nuclear weapons complex and Livermore Lab’s activities.
  8. We were instrumental in stopping Livermore Lab from developing a new method to produce nuclear weapons-grade plutonium using lasers to separate the isotopes. Later, the Lab tried to revive the plan and we quashed it again. And now, in the recent 2022 Draft Site Wide Environmental Impact Statement, the plan is back again, and we will take action to keep it from becoming a reality.
  9. We raised awareness about the DOE’s Complex Transformation plan to revitalize the nuclear weapons complex. We prepared an in-depth analysis and submitted alternatives that even DOE officials said significantly impacted the plan. New bomb plants that were proposed for Livermore Lab were stopped, including an annex to the High Explosives Application Facility.
  10. With colleagues, we prevented construction of numerous nuclear weapons projects across the country, including the Modern Pit Facility that would have produced up to 450 plutonium bomb cores annually. Later, Tri-Valley CAREs helped win a delay of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement – Nuclear Facility, another multi-billion-dollar proposal to produce plutonium cores for new-design nuclear weapons, a plan which has since been abandoned.
  11. More recently, Tri-Valley CAREs, along with colleague groups, took action to stop the “two-site” approach to expanded plutonium pit production proposed for Los Alamos National Laboratory in NM and Savanah River Site in SC. After submitting technical comments on various segmented environmental review documents, we filed suit in Federal District Court in South Carolina. Our lawsuit asks the federal judge to compel a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) that would cover all of the sites involved in NNSA’s plans to expand plutonium pit production, meaning not only the Savannah River Site and Los Alamos but also Livermore Lab and numerous other locations. The suit recently reached the merits phase and briefing is occurring.
  12. We brought grassroots voices from our community to Washington, DC each year for four decades to speak truth to power in meetings with Congress and the Administration. We offer first-hand experiences to inform the policy debates on nuclear weapons and waste.
  13. We participated at the United Nations in the Review and Extension Conference for the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and in numerous NPT meetings over the decades. By sharing our research we have aided countries that have chosen not to develop nuclear weapons in their efforts to hold the U.S. and other nuclear weapons states accountable to the disarmament obligations that are central to the treaty.
  14. With our colleagues at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), we supported the passage and entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ICAN and its member groups, including Tri-Valley CAREs, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this effort. As individual countries ratify the treaty, we have conducted outreach, locally and nationally, to publicize and involve a broad cross section of people in understanding, celebrating and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Notably, we were part of the national organizing committee catalyzing actions at more than 100 nuclear weapons sites, military bases, congressional offices and other locations each January since entry into force to celebrate and publicize the “banniversary.”
  15. We led a campaign that stopped the DOE and Livermore Lab from building a massive toxic and radioactive waste incinerator. And we permanently shut down the Lab’s existing incinerator, too.
  16. We were the first group in the western U.S. to win an EPA Technical Assistance Grant, which we used to monitor the Superfund cleanup at Livermore Lab. Then, we became the first community-based organization in the country to win a recognition award from EPA Headquarters for our work to involve directly affected members of the public in cleanup decisions.
  17. We have achieved numerous improvements in Livermore Lab’s program to clean up soil and groundwater contaminated by nuclear weapons research. For example, Tri-Valley CAREs halted a plan to send millions of gallons of contaminated groundwater emanating from Livermore Lab into the San Francisco Bay untreated. Instead, we pressed the government to send the water back to the Lab for treatment on-site in a specially built facility, which is operating today.
  18. When the EPA found high levels of plutonium in Livermore’s Big Trees Park, we mobilized the community to fight for further investigation and cleanup of the park. Our campaign, which involved posting signs in the park about the contamination, brought significant media attention to the issue. Additional studies were done and surface soil was skimmed from the area where the highest contaminant levels were found. When the Lab later wanted to build the pipeline to send contaminated water back to the Lab from the area for treatment, we developed a “Community-based Radiation Monitoring Project” involving staff, interns, board members and volunteers. Its outcomes included additional protections to prevent plutonium-contaminated dust particles from being released. The project was written up in Citizen’s Watch and daily logs and pictures were posted on our website.
  19. We chair regular daylong meetings on the Superfund cleanup with the EPA, DOE, the state Department of Toxics, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Livermore Lab. This process has led to innovative cleanup strategies that meet the needs of the public.
  20. Tri-Valley CAREs played a lead role in preventing government sites like Livermore Lab from doing an end run around the Superfund law by enacting variances by successfully advocating against a process called “Risk Based End States.”
  21. We were among the first organizations in the country to bring litigation against the DOE using state and federal environmental laws. Our first such lawsuit in the mid-1980s brought the California Environmental Quality Act to bear on Livermore Lab activities, subsequent litigation won additional review and transparency at Livermore Lab and other sites under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). One NEPA lawsuit in which we played a key role resulted in disclosures regarding contamination and waste management at DOE sites while also establishing a $6.25 million settlement fund for technical assistance to hundreds of community groups and tribes around the country directly affected by DOE’s polluting activities.
  22. We filed landmark litigation, with colleagues, to force DOE to comply with federal environmental standards before constructing bio-warfare agent research facilities at its Livermore and Los Alamos Labs. Our lawsuit succeeded in compelling an analysis of the environmental impacts of a terrorist attack on the biological facilities. It also resulted in DOE promulgating the agency’s first-ever requirement for such reviews nationwide. Further, DOE agreed to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement and hold public hearings for its planned biological activities at Los Alamos Lab, although not for those at Livermore.
  23. We then defeated a Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal to build a major bio-warfare agent research complex at Livermore Lab’s Site 300, located in the hills near Tracy. After we vigorously organized against it, the DHS website attributed the agency’s decision to abandon its plan for Site 300 to a lack of “community acceptance.”
  24. Tri-Valley CAREs spent several years challenging a proposal to increase the strength and frequency of open-air bomb blasts at LLNL’s Site 300. We mobilized significant numbers of the affected Tracy community to speak out at public hearings before the NNSA and Valley Air (the San Joaquin County Air Pollution Control District). We mobilized the Tracy City Council, the developer at Tracy Hills nearby and the local member of Congress to oppose the plan. After our pressure, Valley Air requested more information from the Lab (including additional CEQA analysis), which delayed implementation of the proposal. Finally in 2023, it was confirmed, the agency is no longer pursuing the increase in bomb blasts at Site 300.
  25. With allied organizations, we pioneered federal legislation to aid workers at Livermore Lab and other sites made ill by on-the-job exposures. Since the law’s enactment, our work has improved the law and increased worker access to the compensation it provides. For example, we garnered congressional support and funding for a Resource Center to inform workers about their rights and we facilitate a support group for sick workers and their families.
  26. Our staff attorney has represented over 100 former Livermore Lab and Sandia Lab employees with illnesses they believe were caused by or contributed to by exposures to radiation and toxic chemicals on the job. By directly representing these individual claimants in the Energy Employee Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICPA), we helped them receive the just compensation and access to medical benefits they deserve. In addition, we successfully advocated for expansion of the expansion of the EEOICPA Special Exposure Cohort for Livermore Lab employees to include employees who worked from 1973-1995.
  27. We helped initiate a process to involve the community in deciding what to do about the plutonium-contaminated sludge from Livermore Lab that was given to residents for use in their lawns and gardens. We worked with state and county health agencies and other organizations to establish a plutonium sludge task force.
  28. We successfully sued the government a dozen times using the Freedom of Information Act and other open-government laws. Examples include legal victories to force public disclosure of Livermore Lab’s nuclear weapons activities and to stop DOE from shipping plutonium from its Rocky Flats plant in Colorado to Livermore Lab. Moreover, our victory in that lawsuit prevented DOE from shipping plutonium across the country in DT-22 containers that had failed a simple “crush test.”
  29. We have conducted a longstanding truth-telling campaign around Livermore Lab’s largest single project, and one of the DOE’s biggest boondoggles, the National Ignition Facility mega-laser. We compelled declassification of plans to use plutonium in NIF, and have forestalled those experiments so far. We have revealed NIF’s soaring costs. Our campaign disclosed illegal overhead cost shifting at NIF, which was terminated due to our efforts. Tri-Valley CAREs is widely recognized for its NIF research.
  30. We submitted an innovative, multi-volume proposal to run Livermore Lab when its management contract was put up for bid. Our plan would have moved Livermore Lab away from nuclear weapons to civilian science initiatives. Although we never expected that DOE would award the contract to us (indeed, a consortium of Bechtel Corporation, the University of California and other military-industrial partners got the contract) we succeeded in our goal of bringing local and national attention to the Lab management issue. We changed the terms of the debate by showing what Livermore Lab could become and illuminating the direction that management should lead it.
  31. We have enhanced community empowerment by organizing numerous vigils and demonstrations at the gates of Livermore Lab. Working with allied groups throughout the Bay Area, on the annual Hiroshima Day and at other times we have mobilized hundreds of peace advocates – and sometimes thousands – to say “NO” to nuclear weapons and “YES” to nonviolent solutions.
  32. We brought much-needed attention to an anthrax release caused by Livermore Lab. Our community right to know advocacy forced the Lab to come clean with details surrounding the release. We also used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain additional information about this occurrence, which resulted in workers being placed on the antibiotic Cipro due to exposure risks.
  33. In 2013 Livermore Lab revealed plans to ship plutonium bomb cores from Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico multiple times per year to Livermore for testing, we initiated a major campaign to mobilize opposition to the dangerous plan locally, and all along the shipping route. The testing would consist of “shake and bake” environmental tests in which the bomb cores would be shaken and heated up in chambers at the Lab to test how they react to conditions in which they might be used. We activated thousands of individual petition signatures, dozens of opposition letters from organizations along the route, many letters to the editor and critical media attention. After months of pressure, the plan was abandoned.
  34. We supported the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ “nuclear zero” litigation against the nuclear weapons states. We participated in legal strategy discussions and drafted and submitted an Amicus brief to the U.S. District and Appeals Courts, spoke at a day-long panel at the Vienna University of Technology on the significance of the litigation with Tony deBrum, the Marshall Islands’ Foreign Minister and others. This work helped to bring significant media attention to the nuclear testing legacy suffered by the Marshallese people as well as the ongoing dangers of nuclear weapons development.
  35. In 2016, Livermore Lab began the renewal of its hazardous waste permitting process with the State of California’s Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) for both the Livermore Lab Main Site and Site 300 High Explosives Testing Range. The permit governs the storage, packaging and treatment of both hazardous wastes and “mixed” wastes (i.e., radioactive wastes mixed with one or more chemically hazardous constituents), and ultimately authorized the Lab’s Main Site to store 913,270 gallons of hazardous waste. The DTSC issued a cursory and inadequate permit in March 2016, which we appealed on numerous grounds. Following a full briefing of the issues, the permit was stayed (stopped) in 2018 and remanded back to DTSC’s Permitting Division to correct deficiencies brought up in our appeal. After a 3-year wait, a new Draft RevisedPermit was issued in October 2021 for public review, public comment, and a (virtual) public meeting. We submitted extensive comments again. The DTCS released the Final Revised Permit on September 30, 2022 responding to all of the comments it received. The new final permit was substantially improved due to the public comments received on the first draft permit, our appeal of the initial final permit, the briefing on the appeal, and the second round of public comments on the second draft permit. The difference between the original 2016 draft permit and the 2022 final permit is night and day, thanks to our efforts. While there is always a risk from the Lab’s activities, strong and well-explained agency oversight from the DTSC and a thorough public process significantly lessened that risk.
  36. We published a newsletter, “Citizens’ Watch,” in print for many years that has kept our members and the community informed about activities at Livermore Lab and throughout the DOE nuclear weapons complex for three decades. In the past 3 years we have moved to an electronic communication with our membership that has grown from 450 to more than 5,600 families.
  37. We have facilitated an internship program for many years that has brought high school, community college, university and law students into the organization to study and learn about nuclear weapons policy, global disarmament efforts, environmental advocacy and cleanup, and community organizing. Many of these students have stayed active with the group, participated as board members and even gone on to other positions in the field.
  38. Our bilingual community organizer has activated the Spanish speaking residents of Tracy and San Joaquin County who are among the directly affected population exposed to contamination from Site 300, but who have been left out of the decision making process about the site and its cleanup because the Lab does not translate relevant materials into Spanish. We have taken on the task of translating technical reports and our own analyses. We have collaborated with existing cultural groups in Tracy and created a space for community members to meet and gather in the community. We host the translated Spanish language materials on our website, post on our designated Spanish language social media pages, and provide live translation at our events.
  39. We advocated for and hosted dozens of special community cleanup focused tours of Site 300 and the main site with presentations from cleanup staff at both sites as well as by our own staff, with Spanish translation available. These tours focused on several former open air firing tables and dump sites heavily contaminated with depleted uranium, VOCs, tritium and other contaminants of concern as well as presentations of proposed cleanup methods and technologies and discussion of their efficacy. On occasion, we organized special community tours of the Livermore Lab main site, including one for High School seniors and another for Japanese peace activists. Additionally, we have developed our own “fence line” tour of the main site and guided dozens of interested parties from Japan, the Marshall Islands and other affected communities on those tours.
  40. We provide a website that includes fact sheets, reports, upcoming events, a “what’s new” blog and other important materials. Thousands each week, and about a half-million people annually, visit us at trivalleycares.org

These 40 successes provide a snapshot of our work together. Each of our successes has been a collaborative endeavor. You continue to make it all possible. We thank you for your participation and hope you will join us on December 6 to celebrate 40 years of work for peace, justice and a healthy environment.


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