Reading Room

LLNL Public Comment Extension

September, 10, 2020
The Independent News

In his letter published Sept. 3, Tom Ramos asserts that nuclear weapons keep us safe. He also seems to suggest that President John F. Kennedy’s visit to what was then Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in March 1962 was a form of approbation for nuclear weapons.

In an address to the United Nations on Sept. 25, 1961, JFK decried nuclear weapons in words that feel even more true in 2020, as we stand on the threshold of a new nuclear arms race supported by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s weapons design work. Kennedy said, “Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet will no longer be habitable. Every man, woman, and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation, or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”

Nuclear weapons don’t keep us safe in Livermore either. Laboratory research and design of nuclear weapons creates hazards. The upcoming Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement assessing the effect LLNL’s proposed work would have on the environment implicitly acknowledges that there is an impact. 

We know, right now, that there is ongoing EPA Superfund cleanup work for toxic and radioactive materials that will take several decades to complete, assuming there are no new additions to the toxic load. We also know that thousands of LLNL employees have the 22 cancers that qualify for Energy Employees Occupational Illness and Compensation Program benefits. These cancers are associated with exposures to radioactive and toxic materials that have been part of their jobs. How safe is that?

Livermore residents need to have a say in LLNL safety, community safety, and how our tax money is spent. Unfortunately, the short notice given by the National Nuclear Security Administration offers insufficient opportunity for required public comment on the assessment process, especially given the difficulties associated with fires, smoke, and a pandemic.

Once again, I urge concerned community members to take action. Immediately send NNSA a request for a public comment period extension of at least 90 to 100 days and ask for a second public comment meeting. Email your request to [email protected], or call (833) 778-0508. You can find more information and materials at

Mary Perner,


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Click here If you would like to read Tom Ramos' Letter to the Editor...

Click Here If you would like to read Tom Ramos' copy of the letter in Tri-Valley CAREs...