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New “State of the Superfund Cleanup” Report

Posted on Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Posted by Peter Strauss, Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

State of Superfund Cleanup

Tri-Valley CAREs is pleased to share its analysis of the cleanup program for hazardous and radioactive contaminants at the Livermore Lab’s Site 300 high explosives testing range, located on the western edge of Tracy. The ongoing cleanup is intended to address pollutants from Site 300 operations that have leaked into soils, on-site surface waters and groundwater aquifers at Site 300, including an off-site contaminant plume.

Site 300 was placed on the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s “Superfund list” of most contaminated sites in the country in 1990. Because the contamination is complex and includes aquifers polluted with multiple hazardous and radioactive materials, the cleanup is expected to take another 60 years or so to complete. Many key decisions are yet to be made, including how much radioactive pollution will be left in the environment (e.g. “how clean is clean”).

Tri-Valley CAREs believes that public participation in Superfund decisions is crucial to achieving a comprehensive cleanup; one that will protect workers, community members and future generations. This report is part of our ongoing work to educate and involve members of the public in decisions that affect their lives.

Our report was written by environmental scientist Peter Strauss and translated into Spanish by our bilingual outreach specialist, Raiza Marciscano-Bettis. We hope you find it useful, and we welcome your questions, comments and participation in Tri-Valley CAREs in order to ensure a healthy environment for all.

Click here to read the PDF in English.

Clic aquí para leer el PDF en Españól.

State of the Superfund Cleanup

2020 National Defense Authorization Act and Energy and Water Appropriations Analysis

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2019

Posted by Joseph Rodgers

2020 National Defense

This week the United States Congress passed the Fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This act sets policy for $738 billion in defense spending, a $22 billion increase from the 2019 NDAA. Additionally, the Senate and the House both authorized the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations Agreement, which funds nuclear weapons development.

These two pieces of legislation contain destabilizing nuclear weapons policies, including the deployment of a new low-yield submarine launched ballistic missile, the development of an entirely new warhead for a new intercontinental ballistic missile, and greatly expanded plutonium pit production. These pieces of legislation fully fund every single nuclear weapons priority of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

This outcome was far from inevitable. The House and the Senate had originally introduced very different versions of the NDAA. The House’s proposal would have significantly limited the most dangerous nuclear weapons policies (for more information, click here). Ultimately, the house agreed to the Senate’s version of nuclear weapons policy provisions in the NDAA.

Click here to read more.

A Message of Peace from Tri-Valley CAREs

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

EOY Appeal.jpg

Dear friends

Hi, it’s Marylia wishing you, and our fragile world, greater peace and joy this holiday season

Here at Tri-Valley CAREs our thoughts turn to you and to everyone who makes our programs possible. Thank you!

Please consider making a generous tax-deductible gift to Tri-Valley CAREs. If you have already, many thanks! If you haven’t yet, there is still time!

Tri-Valley CAREs has two ways to ensure that your donation gets you the maximum possible deduction in 2019.

1. Send a check. Date and mail your check on or before December 31. Send it to our office at 4049 First Street, Suite 243, Livermore, CA 94551. Or,

2. Use a credit card. Press the donate button on our website. You may choose to use PayPal or Network for Good. Either way, you will receive a confirmation from the vendor and a thank you letter from us with your donation date noted.

Call me at 925.443.7148 if you have questions or wish assistance in making your gift.

As the group’s Executive Director, I am mindful of Tri-Valley CAREs’ many victories that are worthy of your support..

Click here to read more.

Your Voice is Power: A "How to" Guide in English & Spanish

Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis and Marylia Kelley

Your Voice is Power

Tri-Valley CAREs is pleased to announce a new publication tailored to help community members voice their concerns by writing clear, effective letters to newspapers and elected officials. The free "how to" guide can be downloaded, below, in English and Spanish.

The tips are based on decades of experience. Originally drafted for a workshop held last month in Tracy, we are happy to now release these tips more broadly.

You will learn how to grab the reader's attention with your opening sentence, keep your letter focused, say what matters most to you, and persuade others with a combination of key facts and just the right amount of personal experience.

You will find one section of the guide devoted to writing letters to the editor, and one for writing letters to your elected officials. The resources section that follows at the end will be expanded in future editions. We envision this publication as a growing, interactive project.

Let us know what you think of the guide, what proved most useful to you, and what else you might want to see included in future editions. And, check our website often for 2020 letter writing workshop opportunities in Tracy and Livermore!

Click here for a copy of the guide in English.

Clic aquí para una copia en Españól.

You are Invited to a Workshop: How to Write Letters to the Editor - and to Elected Officials

Posted on: Monday, November 25, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

You are invited to a workshop

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la invitación en Españól.

"Standing Room Only" at Congressional Briefing on Plutonium Bomb Cores

Posted on Friday, November 22, 2019

Posted by Joseph Rodgers and Marylia Kelley

Standing Room Only

Tri-Valley CAREs and the Union of Concerned Scientists co-hosted a congressional briefing in November that illuminated the risks associated with expanding U.S. plutonium pit (bomb core) production. The event was held in a hearing room in the Rayburn Building of the U.S. House of Representatives. The room was packed with about 45 staffers from house and senate offices as well as representatives from think tanks, academia, and administration offices.

The panel was composed of nuclear weapons and policy experts from a variety of backgrounds; Christopher Hanson from the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, Marylia Kelley from Tri-Valley CAREs, Stephen Young from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Kingston Reif from the Arms Control Association. Kathy Crandall Robinson from the Arms Control Association moderated the event.

The proposal: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the semi-autonomous branch of the U.S. Department of Energy that manages the nuclear weapons complex, is seeking congressional funding and authorization to expand plutonium pit production. Pits are the fission explosive cores in nuclear weapons that trigger the thermonuclear component. Since the Rocky Flats Plant was shut down following an FBI raid in 1989, the government has produced 11 or fewer pits per year at the Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico. No pits have been required for the stockpile, or produced, in the past decade. The current plan would radically change this status quo.

The briefing: The experts on our panel generally agreed that NNSA’s pit production project is likely to spiral billions of dollars over budget and fall far behind schedule. Panelists cited the unclassified summary of a 2019 report conducted for the Defense Department that recommended that DoD find a way to “best respond” to the near certainty that the NNSA plan to produce 80 pits per year by 2030 will not succeed.

Moreover, several panelists noted that NNSA intends to place its new pits into a new warhead with additional novel features that would, in turn, be placed atop a new intercontinental ballistic missile. The resultant wholly new nuclear weapon system will pour gasoline on the flames of a rapidly-growing global arms race, they warned.

Christopher Hanson spoke first, providing an overview of the status of plutonium pit production in Congress, including in the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act. The House bill would limit plutonium pit production to 30 pits per year by 2030 at one facility, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in NM. The Senate bill fully supports the Trump Administration and NNSA budget request by authorizing production of 80 plutonium pits per year at two facilities, with 30 to be manufactured annually at Los Alamos Lab and 50 at the Savannah River Site in SC.

Kingston Reif then provided a detailed analysis of U.S. nuclear weapons modernization, of which expanded pit production is a significant part. He explained that NNSA’s plans for a novel warhead and pits are both elements of a new weapon system that would replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

Stephen Young proffered an alternative whereby the U.S. would foreswear the new-design warhead and pits, relying instead on a previously tested, refurbished design already in the stockpile.

Marylia Kelley discussed the cost, safety and proliferation implications of making new plutonium cores, highlighting that NNSA plans to create pits that are different from anything in the arsenal. She noted that the financial cost for the resultant new weapon would top $120 billion, including the missile. Kelley shared information that the novel-design pits and warhead may present certification and other challenges that could lead to U.S. resumption of nuclear explosive testing in Nevada, which ended in 1992. Such an event, she warned, would result in other nuclear armed states likewise resuming explosive testing.

Tri-Valley CAREs is grateful to Representative John Garamendi (D-CA-3) for reserving the hearing room in Rayburn for the briefing. The event was a major success, including the lively Q & A that followed the formal presentations. We are thankful to all who spoke, attended, and participated!

Click here to read Kingston Reif's presentation backgrounder, part 1.

Click here to read Kingston Reif's presentation backgrounder, part 2.

Click here to read Stephen Young's presentation notes.

Click here to read Marylia Kelley's presentation notes.

Select reference documents from Marylia Kelley's presentation follow.

Click here to read the IDA unclassified summary for the Defense Department.

Click here to read the LLNL paper on plutonium pit lifetimes.

Click here to read the NNSA Plutonium Pit Engineering Assessment Results.

Click here to read the Kelley-Rodgers oped in The Hill

Livermore Meeting

Posted on Thursday, Novemeber 21, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Tri-Valley CAREs monthly meetings are open to all interested members of the public. You are invited to join us and create a more peaceful, just and environmentally sustainable future. Together, we are moving our community and the world toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

And, if Spanish is your first language, I'd love to provide translation on request. Contact me at [email protected]. I hope to see you!

Tri-Valley CAREs Fall 2019 Newsletter is Ready for You to Read

Saturday, November 16, 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, year-end reflections, and wonderful events.

In our newsletter, you will find...

Plutonium Pits & Congress. Page 1

Holiday Party. Page 2

Alerts 4 U. Page 3

Accomplishments. Page 4

TVC Interview. Insert

You are Invited…

Posted on: Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

All of us here at Tri-Valley CAREs want to honor and thank our members, volunteers and supporters. Over the past year, you have all contributed in so many wonderful ways toward our shared vision of a more just, sustainable and peaceful world!

We hope you can join us for this festive, drop-in holiday party. There will be great food, mulled cider, merriment, friends and fun. Your RSVP is appreciated but not required to Marylia Kelley

You are Invited to our Holiday party

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la invitación en Españól.

You are Invited to a Community Meeting in Tracy!

Posted on Monday, October 28, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Meeting Novermber in Tracy

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la invitación en Españól.

Tri-Valley CAREs’ Director Wins “Visionary Leader” Award

Posted on: Sunday, October 27, 2019

Posted by: Eric Luna

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is honoring our Executive Director this year as a national “Visionary Leader.” Marylia Kelley will accept the award at a special reception in Washington, DC on Thursday, November 7. Reception tickets are available through PSR. The other 2019 awardees are Dr. Helen Caldicott (lifetime achievement), Kelly Campbell and Regna Merritt of the Oregon PSR chapter; and the Sunrise Movement. Recently, PSR interviewed Marylia and published the Q & A. Read on…

This year at the 2019 PSR Visionary Leaders Awards, we are delighted to honor outstanding advocates who are working to abolish nuclear weapons and to address environmental hazards to health, including the climate crisis.

Each week you will have an opportunity to meet one of our awardees. This week, meet Marylia Kelley who will be receiving the 2019 Visionary Leaders award for her work as an anti-nuclear advocate.

Marylia Kelley is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (CAREs). Tri-Valley CAREs is a non-profit organization based in Livermore California that monitors the activities of the Energy Department's nuclear weapons complex.

PSR caught up with Kelley to ask her about how she came to do this work, what inspires her, and her advice for young people just starting to get involved in advocacy.

Q: What first drew you to this type of work?

In a way, I was drawn to this work as a child. I am from the generation that practiced "duck-and-cover" drills in the classroom when the air raid sirens sounded each month. In sixth grade, I was assigned to draw the window blinds before getting under my desk. I knew that this was a futile exercise, and I also knew that it was not okay to say so out loud. I closed the blinds and crouched under my desk, hands locked behind my neck.

I was drawn to this work, too, by the Cuban Missile Crisis, when I came home from school to find my mother sitting on the kitchen floor putting extra flour and sugar and dried rice into a second set of bins, as if that could save her family. I knew I wasn’t supposed to talk about it. I also knew this was the only thing my mom could think of, and I didn’t want to take whatever small comfort it offered away from her.

I moved to Livermore, California in 1976. At first I only knew that there was a super-secret government lab that employed a lot of people in my new hometown. No one spoke about it. Slowly, I came to realize that the Livermore Lab was one of two sites that design every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. After some years of reflection and study, I came to the conclusion that nuclear weapons were immoral and that their use by anyone under any circumstance could never be justified. Now an adult, I felt a responsibility to speak out. In 1983, when I was invited to help create a homegrown nuclear watchdog group in Livermore, I said, "Yes."

Q: How have the health impacts of nuclear weapons-related policies informed your work?

The health and environmental impacts of nuclear weapons have always been part of Tri-Valley CAREs' work. When we founded the group in 1983, the major arguments against nuclear weapons involved their immorality (humanitarian impacts) and their economic injustice (guns vs. butter).

As Livermore residents, including some Lab workers, we wanted to find out if there were environmental and health impacts stemming from the development of nuclear weapons. We knew the devastation of an exploded nuclear weapon. But, we asked, what about the unexploded nuclear bomb?

As a journalist, I came to Tri-Valley CAREs with knowledge of how to use the Freedom of Information Act and related skills. Soon we were combing government records. The accounts we read of accidents, spills, and leaks at Livermore Lab surpassed by far the expectations we had held in our minds. Even our co-founding members who worked there were astonished. From our early days, researching, writing and speaking on the connection between nuclear weapons development and environmental and health harms has been central to our approach. Tri-Valley CAREs has won operational changes at Livermore Lab and other sites in the nuclear weapons complex even as we also achieved victories that stopped specific weapons programs and influenced national policy.

Click here to read the full interview.

Fourth Statewide EJ Conference in November

Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

Five years after the founding conference in Kettleman City in November of 2014, members and allies of the California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC) will hold the 4th Statewide Conference from Saturday, November 16th through Monday, November 18th in Sacramento.

Tri-Valley CAREs is a cofounding member of CEJC. Board Treasurer Inga Olson will represent us this year in Sacramento.

The conference flyer features a group photo from the last statewide gathering. Tri-Valley CAREs' IT expert Eric Luna (with beard and cap) can be seen seventh from left. Summer legal intern Makayla Whitney also participated on Tri-Valley CAREs' behalf that year.


There are a limited number of 2019 meeting spaces available. Some restrictions apply. More info at:

California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC)

[email protected]CEJCoalition.orgfacebook.com/CEJCoalition

Latinos United in Nuclear Disarmament.
For life!

Posted on: Monday, October 14, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

First Conference: Latinos and Nuclear Disarmament.

Conference sponsored by the Collaborative for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Ambassador Alfonso Garcia Robles, Nobel Peace Prize - 1982.

Tri-Valley CAREs' Staff Attorney Scott Yundt will be one of the speakers.

Simultaneous translation provided.

Latinos United in Nuclear Disarmament.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la invitación en Españól.

"Expanding Nuclear Weapon Production is Reckless"

Wednesday, October 8, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

Tri-Valley CAREs' executive director Marylia Kelley and Joseph Rodgers have an article appearing today in The Hill, an influential DC publication. It's a great read. Check it out!

By Marylia Kelley and Joseph Rodgers, opinion contributors - 10/08/19

Click here for the article or read below.

Behind closed doors, Congress is in the process of making a decision that will have a profound impact on nuclear risk levels and global security. Hanging in the balance is a decision to recklessly increase production of plutonium bomb cores or "pits." The NDAA conference committee must not make that mistake.

Pits are the triggers for thermonuclear weapons. Currently, the United States does not manufacture plutonium pits on an industrial scale. In its fiscal 2020 budget request the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) seeks authorization to produce at least 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030 at two facilities separated by some 1,500 miles. The Senate NDAA fully funds the request. The House instead authorizes 30 pits per year, all at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in NM. Los Alamos is presently authorized to produce 20 pits annually.

Plutonium pit production at such a large scale represents a major departure from our post-Cold War nuclear weapons policy. Since the Rocky Flats Plant in CO closed in 1989 following a raid by the FBI environmental crimes unit, the United States has produced pits at an annual rate of 11 or fewer. Further, there have been no orders for newly manufactured pits in nearly a decade.

Instead, the government has been utilizing some of the approximately 20,000 plutonium pits in storage at the Pantex Plant in Texas to conduct its ongoing warhead maintenance and refurbishment programs. These pits have very long lifetimes. JASON, a DOD organized group of independent scientific experts, estimated that plutonium pits will last 100 years or more.

Clearly, the Senate NDAA is not meant to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing nuclear weapons stockpile. Instead, future production is intended to enable modified pit designs for new-design warheads, contrary to longstanding U.S. arms control objectives. Given the current moratorium on explosive testing of nuclear weapons, those pits cannot be full-scale tested or, alternatively, could prompt the United States to return to nuclear testing. This would have international proliferation consequences beyond anything we've seen since the most dangerous days of the Cold War.

As if to confirm that this is the ultimate plan, NNSA's Lawrence Livermore National Lab has already begun to create a warhead, called the W87-1, that goes beyond previously-tested limits. The design that Livermore is pursuing contains a novel plutonium pit, unlike any pits in the stockpile or in storage at Pantex. The W87-1 is slated go on top of a new-design intercontinental ballistic missile, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. It too is controversial due to unknowns regarding its pending cost, schedule, and significant integration challenges to accommodate the new warhead.

Further, the 80 pit per year capability will not be reachable in the time frame NNSA posits, and its facilities may not be able to operate properly at that production rate. A Pentagon-funded report by the Institute for Defense Analyses in 2019 concluded that 80 pits per year is not achievable "on the schedules or budgets currently forecasted" by the NNSA. This problem is compounded by the fact that the Savannah River Site in SC, NNSA's proposed location to produce 50 of the 80 pits annually, has been plagued with decades of cost overruns and mismanagement. Additionally, Los Alamos's pit production capability has been crippled by safety lapses, even at the lower rate.

Placing a novel warhead design in the active nuclear weapons stockpile with a substantially untested pit is irresponsible. Rapidly increasing production at sites with spotty records compounds that error with added safety hazards. Increasing plutonium pit production to a rate of 80 or more annually is both reckless and unnecessary.

The Conference Committee can follow the Senate approach that heedlessly increases our country's risk levels. Alternatively, it can follow a more rational approach to nuclear security by supporting the House NDAA that restricts select funding for nuclear weapons production and deployment - including for expanded plutonium pit production.

Marylia Kelley is the executive director of the Livermore, CA-based Tri-Valley CAREs. For 36 years she has monitored the programs, capabilities and budgets of U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including at Livermore Lab. She has provided testimony on nuclear weapons design and production before the House Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Congress and the California State Legislature. In 2002, she was inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame.

Joseph Rodgers is a nuclear nonproliferation specialist in Washington, D.C. He has worked with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, Tri-Valley CAREs, and the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.

Read the full story...

Join Us!

Friday, October 01, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

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.

And, if Spanish is your first language, I'd love to provide translation on request to [email protected]. I hope to see you!

50th Anniversary for Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center!

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Tri-Valley CAREs congratulates the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center on its 50th Anniversary. We have collaborated on many projects over the years, including a march one year from Walnut Creek to Livermore Lab for the annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki rally and action.

In honor of the occasion, you are invited to the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center’s celebratory Peace Fair in the Park on Sunday, September 29 at Civic Park in Walnut Creek. The Peace Fair is free and open to the public from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

The Peace Fair will feature live entertainment, special guest speakers, a student art showcase, art-making stations, and food & wine. There will also be a lively community resource fair with non-profits, including Tri-Valley CAREs.

We will have a table with great literature to take in English and Spanish. Come by and say “hi” to our bilingual Community Organizer Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, our Intern Brendan Phillips and other wonderful members and friends. See you there!

Click here to read the invitation.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la invitación en Españól.

Come to Our September Meeting!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

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…

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with Us

Thursday, Sep 5, 2019

Posted by Raiza Marciscano-Bettis and Marylia Kelley

Hundreds of people come out every year to Tracy's Lincoln Park to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. The all-day "Cultural Celebration" is on Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The festivities will begin with a parade. It starts at Sixth Street and Central Avenue then continues north on Central and Holly Drive to Lincoln Park.

The program at Lincoln Park will feature a car show, food, games, music, raffle prizes, information booths, and much more!

Celebrating each other and the Earth is a core concept at Tri-Valley CAREs. We are thrilled to join South Side Community Organization and participate in this amazing annual festivity.

We invite you to join us. Come by our booth to say "hi." Pick up literature in Spanish and English regarding Tri-Valley CAREs' activities to address environmental issues at Site 300.

We'd love to see you!

Click here to read the invitation.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la invitación en Españól.

Inside Glimpse into Livermore Lab Watchdog

Thursday, August 27, 2019

Posted by Eric Luna

The News Editor at Physics Today recently profiled Tri-Valley CAREs for the magazine’s online edition. Physics Today is the flagship publication of the American Institute of Physics.

The Q&A format with Tri-Valley CAREs’ longstanding Executive Director highlights several of our organization's key nuclear weapons "watchdog" programs. The profile features our current programs and past successes as well as responses from Livermore Lab. It offers a cogent glimpse into our organization - and into the site we monitor.

Q&A: Marylia Kelley, Lawrence Livermore watchdog

The longtime nuclear disarmament activist says that even those who don’t share her agenda believe the organization she cofounded, Tri-Valley CAREs, plays a vital role.

David Kramer

On 6 August, Marylia Kelley stood in front of the gates of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and spoke at an event commemorating the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Organizing the annual demonstration is one of many tasks for the executive director of Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (Tri-Valley CAREs, or TVC for short).

Marylia Kelley.

Kelley cofounded TVC in 1983 to advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons and to serve as a watchdog for the Livermore lab, which is one of two facilities where all US nuclear weapons have been designed (Los Alamos National Laboratory is the other). Since then TVC has scrutinized, and in many cases opposed, activities at Livermore, including construction of the world’s largest and most energetic laser, the National Ignition Facility (NIF).

PT: How did you become an activist?

KELLEY: I moved to Livermore in 1976 to attend the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. I thought of it as an adorable, relatively small community near Berkeley with lots of parks and soccer for my son. I only slowly came to understand that I was living in a community where US nuclear weapons are designed. Back then there wasn’t much talk in the community about Livermore lab and what it did.

After a couple years of reflection, reading, analysis, and research, I concluded that nuclear weapons were immoral and their use would be immoral by anyone under any circumstance. After a while, there came an opportunity to cofound an organization in Livermore that would become a watchdog of the lab and, over the years, of the weapons complex more broadly. The initial group included a computer scientist from Sandia National Laboratories [which designs all the nonnuclear components of US nuclear warheads], a human resources specialist, and a retiree from Livermore lab. This was in 1983. We’ve always represented a broad cross section of the community.

PT: What were your original goals, and how have they changed over the years?

KELLEY: Our goal was always to educate ourselves and the community about the nuclear weapons and related programs at the lab. And to be a watchdog. The lab in the 1980s was planning a huge incinerator for radioactive and toxic waste, and lab officials credited Tri-Valley CAREs with stopping it. One of the biggest successes is more amorphous: changing the culture in Livermore and making it okay to talk about the laboratory. We pierced the veil of secrecy and made the science and operations of the lab more democratic and open for discussion. We inserted the idea that workers and the public have a right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

PT: You mentioned you’ve broadened your focus to cover the rest of the nuclear weapons complex over the years.

KELLEY: We’ve taken the results of our research on Livermore lab and the weapons they are designing to Congress, the United Nations, and other venues, where that information was used in making decisions. TVC played a key role in the debate in 2002–3 over whether the US should develop a robust nuclear earth-penetrator bomb. That was going to be an adaptation of the Livermore-designed B-83 bomb [the last megaton-class warhead remaining in the stockpile]. We were a huge part of why that weapon was never developed.

PT: Do you think things would have been quite a bit different without your activism?

KELLEY: Yes, both for the community and nationally. TVC has also joined national and international networks, including the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, which is made up of other watchdog groups around all the major NNSA facilities. [The National Nuclear Security Administration is the Department of Energy division that runs the nuclear weapons complex.] Internationally we are members of the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, ICAN, which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

PT: After all these years, do you still think nuclear weapons are immoral?

KELLEY: Yes, my views haven’t changed. But on a personal note, my respect for science has increased enormously through this job. I came at this with a journalist’s background.

PT: When they hear “Livermore,” many people think of NIF. Can you discuss your concerns with it?

KELLEY: Part of my critique of the lab is when politics and the desire for money trump good science. TVC is not opposed to lasers. But from a scientific perspective, the lab was not ready to build NIF. The planners pursued a design build, which means trying to solve problems during construction. NIF’s scientific and technical problems are still not worked out, even though we have invested well over $10 billion in it. [Lab spokesperson Lynda Seaver says that NIF, which was completed in 2009, cost $3.5 billion to build and has an annual operating budget of $344 million.]

LLNL panorama.
A panorama of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Credit: LLNL

From a peace and security perspective, NIF comes with a vertical proliferation risk. Currently it is doing experiments using plutonium. You may recall public pronouncements early on that researchers would not use plutonium in NIF. Then, in a 2005 environmental impact study [EIS], it was stated they would create an internal containment vessel for the plutonium experiments. They worked on one for years but couldn’t get it to work. So there is no containment vessel. They decided to make it compliant with the EIS by using smaller samples of plutonium and using the plutonium-242 isotope instead of plutonium-239. They also use beryllium and other toxic materials that get vaporized. They have to send workers in there to clean it. They’re being exposed to this stuff. [Seaver says NIF was designed to conduct shots using radioactive materials, with the debris contained within built-in shielding.]

I asked weapons designers if they would change something in a weapon based on the results of a NIF experiment with a small sample of plutonium-242. One of them told me he would never use anything they came up with on what he’s doing in weapons design. But less conservative weapons designers might.

There is a tremendous danger that with the data from NIF they can walk a weapon away from what was fully tested in Nevada. They’re in double danger because they are using experiments on NIF to change weapons codes that are at the heart of weapons development. It’s pushing designs in a way that is incredibly dangerous. If the US wants nuclear weapons far away from the designs that were tested, it will increase pressure to resume testing. Then we are completely back into a Cold War–style arms race. [Seaver declined to respond to statements about weapons design.]

PT: Over the past few decades, the issue of whether the US really needs two laboratories that design nuclear weapons has been debated several times. And Livermore has always been discussed as the one that could go.

KELLEY: NIF was part of a deliberate push by former lab directors to keep Livermore a full-service nuclear design lab, at a time when the lab could have transitioned in a way similar to what Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory had done earlier. Berkeley was part of the Manhattan Project, yet for decades it has done no classified research. Now they do world-class science. That’s the fate Livermore saved itself from. It hung on for dear life to its glory days as a nuclear weapons lab.

It was Livermore that came up with the interoperable warhead [proposed for both land-based and submarine-launched missiles]. They’ve changed the name of that program to W87-1. It’s a fully new design that will walk the US away from the pedigree of weapons that were tested. It is what is keeping Livermore a nuclear design lab for the foreseeable future. That’s the real motivation. It’s the tail that’s wagging the dog of US nuclear weapons policy.

PT: Do you think a new warhead would be placed into the arsenal without being tested?

KELLEY: They say they can make a new warhead without testing. But when it gets to the certification process, they are going to face an unacceptable choice: You either certify something for the arsenal that is less reliable than the warhead it’s replacing, or you resume testing in Nevada at some yield to proof test it.

PT: What role do physicists play in your organization?

KELLEY: We have always had scientists, including physicists, as part of our membership, and others from the lab who are informal advisers. Before we conclude whether our group will support, oppose, or pass on something, we try to investigate the science and technology questions. Scientists will often explain things in an unclassified manner, which promotes democracy by helping all our group members understand the underlying science better. They will also at times share questions that can and should be asked.

Marylia Kelley meets with Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Marylia Kelley (center) meets with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA; left) to discuss the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. Credit: Tri-Valley CAREs

It’s also true that whether they agree with our mission or not, lab scientists agree there needs to be an outside body looking in at the lab. I had a lab guy come to a meeting with unclassified pictures of nuclear testing. The individual wasn’t convinced that we should be working toward a world free of nuclear weapons, but he was absolutely convinced that our organization plays a unique and important role in shining a light of truth and openness into the lab.

PT: To what extent do the scientists talk to you on the record, versus remaining anonymous?

KELLEY: It depends on the individual and whether that person is working at the lab. I know a scientist whose wife was part of Tri-Valley CAREs. When the lab found out, he was taken into the hall by his boss and told he would never advance. He left and went to the University of Michigan. We’ve lost some of our best members when scientists have left the lab for reasons of conscience, or as in this case. The amount of social control at the lab is extreme. Which is antithetical to good science. [Seaver says the lab is unaware of such incidents and that lab employees are free to express their personal views.]

PT: How has your relationship with the lab and NNSA changed over the years?

KELLEY: My relationship with the lab and with NNSA and Lawrence Livermore management has never been a monolith. The contract to manage the lab used to be held solely by the University of California. Now it’s a for-profit LLC. That change didn’t solve the problems it was supposed to solve, and it has brought its own set of problems. Information that used to be public and available through the California Public Records Act is no longer gettable, so we only have the federal Freedom of Information Act.

PT: How would you assess the current NNSA management?

KELLEY: I’m not certain if the terms dysfunctional and bureaucracy belong together in the same sentence, but in this instance they do. I have no particular animosity, but NNSA seems to be internally dysfunctional, and different parts of it appear to be working at almost cross-purposes. It’s an extremely political organization, where power and politics play a huge role in decision making. That’s always been true, but it’s truer in the current administration. NNSA has become opaquer under the Trump administration. I can’t get meetings with NNSA officials as regularly, and when I do, they aren’t always with high-level officials.


National Defense Authorization Act

Wednesday, August 26, 2019

Posted by Kathy Crandall Robinson

Overview of the NDAA

The House and Senate have each completed their separate versions of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Behind the scenes, staff for the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are working on settling differences and preparing for final conferencing to one bill that is planned to be finalized by the end of September.

This final NDAA will set policy and authorize defense spending of about three quarters of a trillion dollars. When it comes to nuclear weapons and related issues, there are quite significant differences between the House and Senate bills.

The Senate completed its consideration of the NDAA on June 27 after an abbreviated consideration with no significant debate on nuclear weapons amendments. This followed the, as usual, closed Senate Armed Services Committee consideration of the bill on May 20-22. As further described below, the Senate version of the NDAA includes some very concerning measures including deployment of the W 76-2, expanded pit production and funding to move forward with the W 87-1 warhead and related plans for a new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the current Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). In general, the Senate version of the bill does much to further policies and programs pushed in the Trump Administration's 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

In contrast, there was much public transparency and debate in the House over key nuclear weapons provisions. Moreover, the House bill challenges significant aspects of the NPR-driven policies as well as the Trump Administration's derogation of arms control efforts.

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) consideration went from the morning of June 12 through the night to past 6am on June 13 and included much partisan debate on nuclear weapons issues. In the House Armed Services Committee, Democrats prevailed on key issues debated including stopping deployment of the so-called "low-yield" W 76-2 on submarines, and restraint of authorized production of 30 plutonium pits (bomb cores), rather than 80. Then, hundreds of amendments were offered for full House consideration of the bill concluding on July 12. While several nuclear weapon amendments that would have improved the bill failed, there were significant victories including a full House vote that thwarted funding for deployment of the low-yield W 76-2 on submarines. Overall, when it comes to nuclear weapons policies, the House version of the NDAA is worth strong support.

In addition to high profile controversial issues, such as deployment of the W76-2, the Senate and House versions of the NDAA contain a treasure trove of reporting requirements and policy recommendations, on weapons programs, safety and nuclear weapons site cleanup, and other related issues. Below in the “Key Details Comparison” some of the reporting requirements and policy recommendations related to specific nuclear weapons programs that Tri-Valley CAREs will be following through the year are addressed.

(Note: A forthcoming, separate blog from Tri-Valley CAREs will review the appropriations process that will also be unfolding early this fall as the Senate prepares to move forward on appropriations spending measures. The House has completed its work on both the Defense and Energy and Water Appropriations bills that address nuclear weapons issues. We expect many of the differences in the House and Senate bills to be similarly reflected in the Senate and House Appropriations bills.)

Bottom Line: A Clear Contrast

When it comes to nuclear weapons policies, there is a clear contrast between the House and Senate versions of the NDAA. The Senate version clearly aligns with the Trump Administration. There is funding and policy support in furtherance of the President’s dangerous Nuclear Posture Review promoting new nuclear weapons and an expansion of production. The Senate version also fails to adequately support arms control treaties and efforts. In contrast, the House version of the NDAA limits expensive and dangerous nuclear weapons expansion and seeks to support vital arms control treaties.

Please see key details comparing the two bills below.

What You Can Do to Make a Difference

Please call to urge Senate and House Armed Services Committee chairs and ranking members to support the House version of the NDAA in light of nuclear weapons policy and funding that better assures national security. Please make these calls in the next two weeks.

Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121

  • Chair of Senate Armed Services Committee – James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Ranking Member Senate Armed Services – Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Chair of House Armed Services Committee – Adam Smith (D-WA) * Please thank Congressman Smith for his leadership on the NDAA with nuclear weapons policy initiatives and funding restraints that better assure genuine national security.
  • Ranking Member of House Armed Services Committee – Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

Senate vs. House NDAA Comparison of Key Details

CLICK HERE to read more.

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: [email protected]  (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. 



Full Address:

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

Failure To Disarm

Posted on August, 11, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Justice Advocates

About 200 peace and justice advocates gathered at Livermore Lab on the morning of August 6 to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The rally also examined Livermore Lab's present-day role in “Designing Armageddon.” Livermore Lab is one of two locations in the U.S. that is creating new nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

With speakers, music, dance and art, the action was a powerful expression supporting the global elimination of nuclear weapons while opposing the U.S. plan to invest $2 trillion over the coming 30 years on novel warheads and new means to deliver them.

The rally’s keynote speakers were Daniel Ellsberg, famed whistleblower, Pentagon nuclear strategist and author of “The Doomsday Machine” and Nobuaki Hanaoka, a retired Methodist minister who, as an infant, survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki that claimed the lives of some of his family members from radiation, including his mother. Marylia Kelley, director of Tri-Valley CAREs, derailed some of the Lab’s nuclear weapons activities.

We offer deep appreciation for all who participated in the event. Special thanks are due as well to Jim Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan of Ecological Options Network who filmed it. The links below offer the major addresses, music and some of the procession and peaceful direct action in the gates. Check it out!


2019 Livermore Lab Rally and Non-Violent Action

Individual links:

Welcome - Andrew Kodama and Julia Malakiman

Marylia Kelley

Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka

Rafael Jesús González

Dr. Sharat G. Lin

Daniel Ellsberg on the New Nuclear Arms Race


Call to Action - Phyllis Olin and Jackie Cabasso

March & Non-Violent Action

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 [email protected] or Scott Yundt at [email protected].

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


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.


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 [email protected], 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


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!


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 [email protected] and Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, Community Bilingual Organizer at [email protected].

Click here to read more.

HAGA CLIC AQUÍ para leer la información en Españól.

Community Forum on New Plutonium "Pit" Plan

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Posted by Marylia Kelley

The controversial proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to expand production of plutonium "pits" - the core of all nuclear weapons - will be the subject of a public forum in Aiken, South Carolina near the Savannah River Site, which is targeted for a new bomb plant that would produce 50 or more plutonium pits per year.

The forum will be held on Friday, June 14, 2019. The event is free and open to all members of the public.

In response to DOE's lack of public engagement about the proposal and its potential environmental and health impacts, three public interest groups that work on DOE and nuclear weapons issues have taken the initiative on the matter. The sponsoring groups are Savannah River Site Watch, Columbia, SC; Tri-Valley CAREs, Livermore, CA; and, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, in Santa Fe.

The proposal by DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration would conduct pit production at the Savannah River Site into the shuttered MOX plant at a rate of 50 per year - a totally new and unproven mission for SRS. The plan would also expand pit production at the Los Alamos National Lab to 30 or more pits per year.

This would raise production limits from the current rate of 20 per year at Los Alamos to 80 or more per year at two locations.

Expanded pit production is intended for a new warhead under development at Livermore Lab. The warhead used to be called the "Interoperable Warhead 1" and has been recently renamed the W87-1 by NNSA. It is a replacement for the land-based W78, which presently sits atop ICBMs.

The role of new warheads and expanded pit production in stimulating a global arms race will be addressed at the forum alongside the pit plan's myriad financial, environmental and health risks.

For those unable to attend in person, here are presentation slides from the three organizations. Also included below are two of the source documents presented by Marylia Kelley alongside her slide presentation.

CLICK HERE for slides from Tom Clements (SRS Watch).

CLICK HERE for slides from Jay Coghlan (NWNM).

CLICK HERE for slides from Marylia Kelley (Tri-Valley CAREs).

CLICK HERE for an article on pit "aging" (by LLNL).

CLICK HERE for the summary of a classified report by the Institute Defense Analyses (for DoD).

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 K elley, 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.


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


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.


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 [email protected] 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:


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


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.


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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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." <[email protected]>

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.


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 [email protected] or [email protected]).

Click here for the PDF




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: [email protected]

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: [email protected].

Kind Regards,

Raiza Marciscano-Bettis

Bilingual Community Organizer

Raiza cell: 925-980-4975


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: [email protected].


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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