Livermore Lab is one of two locations that designs every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. Much of the weapons work takes place at the Livermore Lab Main Site, located along Vasco Road and East Avenue. More than 90,000 people live in Livermore and nearly 8 million live in the 50-mile radius around the Lab and could be affected by an accident onsite.
Livermore Lab also operates the Site 300 High Explosives Testing Range near Tracy, a city that has also grown to more than 90,000 people. Open-air high explosive tests with hazardous materials to support nuclear weapons development are detonated there.
Nuclear weapons work at the Main Site and Site 300 has resulted in toxic and radioactive releases and contamination of workers and the environment. Both the Main Site and Site 300 have polluted the air, water, and soil, and both have been placed on the EPA Superfund list.
Cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater is ongoing at the two sites and will take generations to complete.
Recently, a combination of too little funding spent on cleanup and the challenges of the pandemic era have put important cleanup activities behind schedule. Furthermore, Tri-Valley CAREs has been told that funds for environmental safety and cleanup are going to be cut by 10% in the coming year.
Tri-Valley CAREs works to improve the Superfund cleanup by ensuring that it is fully-funded – and that it is conducted safely, effectively and in a timely manner. We believe that our water and other natural resources are precious.
We believe, too, that the Superfund cleanup must meet community needs; everyone’s voice is important in this process. We will press the Lab to update its Community Involvement Plan, which is mandated under the Superfund law.
Tri-Valley CAREs is conducting a daylong meeting on Thursday, June 15, at the Main Site. In attendance will be Livermore Lab, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the federal EPA, state regulatory agencies, and representatives from our organization. That evening, at our monthly virtual meeting, we will provide an update. Interested members of the public are invited. Details will be posted at www.trivalleycares.org.
Together we can act to protect our collective environment and reduce the health and environmental risks posed by the development of nuclear weapons in our backyard here in the Tri-Valley and in Tracy.
By Raiza Marciscano,