Nuclear weapons are the biggest threat to our existence, but the National
Nuclear Security Agency plans to make more of them. Lots more. We must stop
Los Alamos National Lab is being ramped up now to be producing at least 30
new nuclear bomb cores (called plutonium “pits”) per year by 2026, and 80-100
per year by 2030. The pit is the part of the nuclear weapon that causes mass
destruction. Each one can destroy a large city in a flash, killing millions.
These new pits are intended to be used in futuristic nuclear warheads being
designed at weapons labs around the country. There’s even a whole new program
of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s) being cooked up, to house and carry
the new pits.
LANL is the only place currently capable of making the pits that these high-tech
warheads are being designed for. So if LANL can be stopped or even stalled, the
whole nuclear weapons “modernization” nightmare will grind to a halt.
Why make more nuclear weapons? It’s not like the U.S. doesn’t have enough of
them. We have thousands, enough to annihilate life on earth. It’s just that the
National Nuclear Security Administration insists we need new ones. The NNSA tries
to justify the production of new plutonium pits saying the “old” ones (average age
40 years) are degrading. But in fact the half life of plutonium is 24,000 years.
And it’s not like these bombs are cheap. Each pit costs $50 million to produce.
That’s 667 nurses salaries. The entire nuclear weapons modernization program is
costing us – our tax dollars – $60 to $70 billion annually. We could end
homelessness in America with $20 billion.
Los Alamos is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation because of the
billions of tax dollars that go to LANL each year. Yet New Mexico remains one of
the poorest states in the nation, worst in education outcomes, child poverty,
hunger, etc. All that money flowing to Los Alamos only increases inequality, and
does nothing to benefit average New Mexicans.
Further, it’s not like we need these bombs for our security. They’re actually
threatening our very existence. One could be launched accidentally by a computer
error or human mistake, or intentionally by a deranged person in a position of
power, and suddenly we have mass death and horrific suffering among survivors.
That’s why they’re illegal under the international Treaty on the Prohibition of
Nuclear Weapons, since 01/22/2021. And that’s why Pope Francis says it’s immoral
to even possess them.
So, making more nukes is unnecessary, insane, astronomically costly, illegal,
immoral . . . Did I mention perilous? Production at LANL will require processing
tons of radioactive plutonium, the most dangerous substance known, and will
produce massive amounts of hazardous radioactive waste. Yet the NNSA has no
plan for the safe disposal of the radioactive waste. They have never even managed
to dispose of legacy radioactive waste currently sitting in thousands of barrels on
the Los Alamos mesa, much of it out in the open covered only by tents. No one
knows where all the future radioactive waste will be disposed.
LANL has a history of contamination problems, accidents, and employee
exposure to injurious levels of radiation, including over 1,600 federally documented
deaths from radiation exposure. LANL repeatedly fails to fulfill the Defense Nuclear
Facilities Safety Board’s standards. How much worse will it be when they’re
processing tens of tons of radioactive plutonium every year?
Further, the NNSA could not have chosen a riskier site for plutonium pit
production: an earthquake hazard zone. According to the US Geological Survey, a
major earthquake (magnitude 6.3 to 7) in the Pajarito fault zone is 100% probable.
Another serious risk comes from the wildfires that frequently plague the forests
surrounding Los Alamos, fires that grow increasingly destructive as our
southwestern drought deepens.
Despite all these dangers, the NNSA has refused to perform a thorough
environmental impact analysis at LANL – openly violating the National
Environmental Policy Act.
If there’s an accidental release of radioactive plutonium dust into our air, the
first people to suffer will be the pueblo people living on the reservations that
surround Los Alamos: Jemez Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, San Ildefonso Pueblo, Santa
Clara, Pojoaque, Tesuque. This will perpetuate the long history of Native lands
being used as toxic sacrifice zones.
If there’s a catastrophic release due to an earthquake or fire, the
contamination will be widespread, and we will all suffer, all over the southwest.
We must stop the production of nuclear weapons. Our lives depend on it. LANL
should be re-purposed toward dismantling our current nuclear stockpile and
cleaning up waste from previous plutonium projects.
Citizen action succeeded in shutting down the toxic Rocky Flats plant near
Denver, which used to produce plutonium pits. Now, citizen action is needed to
shut down pit production at LANL.
Citizens must speak up now. We have to dissuade Congress and the
president from this deadly plan.
Will you call senators Heinrich and Lujan, and your representative Stansbury,
Leger Fernandez, or Herrell? Tell them to
HALT PLUTONIUM BOMB CORE PRODUCTION AT LANL!
The US Capital switchboard will connect you: 202-224-3121.
Then, will you contact the White House? Go to the White House comment
page: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and tell President Biden:
PUT AN END TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS PRODUCTION!
Let’s make our voices heard loud and clear.