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Mr. President Kill the New Cruise Missile! — Washington Post Guest Editorial16 Oct

The Below editorial reveals again the fact that the US Military does not build and maintain nuclear weapons for deterrent purposes but also includes them in war fighting plans (or wants to).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mr-president-kill-the-new-cruise-missile/2015/10/15/e3e2807c-6ecd-11e5-9bfe-e59f5e244f92_story.html?postshare=9471444964127600

Mr. President, kill the new cruise missile
By William J. Perry and Andy Weber October 15 at 8:42 PM

William J. Perry was U.S. secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997. Andy Weber was assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs from 2009 to 2014.

Because they can be launched without warning and come in both nuclear and conventional variants, cruise missiles are a uniquely destabilizing type of weapon. President Obama can lead the world to a stabler and safer future by canceling plans for a new U.S. nuclear-capable cruise missile. Moreover, taking such a step — which would not diminish the formidable U.S. nuclear deterrent in the least — could lay the foundation for a global ban on these dangerous weapons.

Two years ago, when Britain decided not to pursue a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile, Philip Hammond, then-British defense secretary and now-foreign secretary, explained the problem well: “A cruise-based deterrent would carry significant risk of miscalculation and unintended escalation. At the point of firing, other states could have no way of knowing whether we had launched a conventional cruise missile or one with a nuclear warhead. Such uncertainty could risk triggering a nuclear war at a time of tension.”

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev recognized the destabilizing nature of nuclear cruise missiles and prioritized the elimination of ground-launched versions in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Similarly, in 1991, President George H.W. Bush unilaterally ordered all sea-launched Tomahawk nuclear cruise missiles taken off surface ships and attack submarines and put into storage. There they sat unused until Obama formally retired and directed their dismantlement in 2011.

The Defense Department’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report stated that a decision would be made “whether and (if so) how” to replace the current air-launched cruise missile. This missile will reach the end of its operational life in about 2030, and the only bomber that can deliver it — the B-52 — dates to 1955. The vastly superior B-2 stealth bomber carries not the cruise missile but two types of nuclear gravity bombs, the B61 and megaton-plus B83.

The Obama administration deserves great credit for increasing investment in B-2 sustainment, command and control, and a costly but vital program to extend the life of the B61 nuclear bomb. The extended B61 will replace four existing models, including the tactical version deployed to Europe in support of NATO, and allow for the retirement of the very high-yield B83. With these efforts, the B-2 and B61 will provide the core capability of the bomber leg of the strategic air-land-and-sea nuclear triad for decades to come. The Air Force has also prioritized procurement of 80 to 100 next-generation stealth bomber aircraft, which will be called the Long-Range Strike Bomber, or B-3.

One of us (William J. Perry) led the Defense Department’s development and procurement of the current air-launched cruise missile and the B-2 stealth bomber in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, the United States needed the cruise missile to keep the aging B-52, which is quite vulnerable to enemy air defense systems, in the nuclear mission until the more effective B-2 replaced it. The B-52 could safely launch the long-range cruise missile far from Soviet air defenses. We needed large numbers of air-launched nuclear cruise missiles to be able to overwhelm Soviet air defenses and thus help offset NATO’s conventional-force inferiority in Europe, but such a posture no longer reflects the reality of today’s U.S. conventional military dominance.

With the updated B-2 and B61 expected to remain in service for many decades, and the planned deployment of new B-3 penetrating bombers with B61 bombs starting in 2025, there is scant justification for spending tens of billions of dollars on a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile and related warhead life-extension program. The old Cold War requirement for such a capability no longer exists. We can, and should, maintain an extremely effective bomber leg of the triad without it.

Some have argued that a new nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missile is needed to allow future presidents the “flexibility” to engage Russia or China in limited nuclear war. That is Cold War thinking, and it is dangerous. Such “tactical” use of nuclear weapons would be a grave mistake. As Bush told the nation in 1991 when he announced his path-breaking Presidential Nuclear Initiative: “We can enhance stability and actually reduce the risk of nuclear war. Now is the time to seize the opportunity.”

We therefore urge President Obama to cancel the current plan to develop and buy 1,000 to 1,100 new nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles. Such strong U.S. leadership, coupled with a challenge to the other major nuclear powers to eliminate or, in the cases of China and India, forgo deployment of this extremely destabilizing class of weapons, would reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use and be a historic practical step in the direction of a world without nuclear weapons.

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Peace in Space — No! US uses space as the “High Ground” in Warfare15 Oct

Peace Train October 16, 2015

By JUDITH MOHLING

Gazing at the stars while camping in the San Luis Valley recently, I mused on the fantasy that space should be the world’s peaceful commons. It isn’t. Think of drone warfare in near space, for example.

A U.S. airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 19 people at a hospital run by international medical-aid organization Doctors Without Borders early last Saturday, prompting condemnation from humanitarian groups and the United Nations, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Increasingly, this is how the United States chooses to fight its wars. Drones lead the way and dominate the fight against the several non-state actors we now engage — Al Qaeda, the Shabab in Somalia and now ISIS.”

Both US and Russian drones are surveying and dropping bombs on Syria, directed from space. Space is the navigational medium. “Denial” is the ethical medium. In an interview in GQ Magazine with former drone pilot, Brandon Bryant, Bryant recalls, “sitting in a control station on an Air Force base in Nevada, the three victims were walking on a dirt road in Afghanistan. After the Hellfire missile fired from the drone struck the three men, Bryant watched the aftermath on his infrared display.”

“The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot. His blood is hot,” Bryant says. “But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast. It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”.

But, won’t the day of reckoning arrive? Aren’t we engendering the wrath and indignation of more and more of the world’s citizens by our unilateral, imperious behavior?

“Our violence spawns violence and never-ending configurations of enraged militants.” Chris Hedges, TruthDig. Stop drones. Stop perpetual war. Make space peaceful for all.

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Republican House Military Spending Bill Madness –Fiscal Responsibility??06 Oct

US Military Spending has over the past 20 years has 8.5 Trillion dollars unaccounted for. (Hidden? Lost? Cost Overruns? Illegal spending?). Some of that “money was used to buy the weapons systems that destroyed a Doctorsw/oBorders hospital in N. Afghanistan on Sunday. The General responsible just said “Whoops”? “We are investigating”–really? Do you think the Military can be trusted to do a serious accounting of its own war crimes if it can’t be held accountable for its robbing the national wealth for $8.5 T??
http://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2015/10/04/huge-waste-now-heads-in-the-604-billion-defense-bill-for-the-final-senate-cloture-vote/

Huge Waste In $604 Billion Defense Bill Heads For Final Senate Cloture Vote

The $604 billion defense spending bill now nears passage with many billions of dollars in rampant defense waste scattered throughout. Aircraft waste on the pricey but flawed F-35, Navy waste on a next generation of nuclear submarines, and systemic waste in unchecked new weapons, all have found their costly places aboard the defense authorization bill.

Last week the House rushed this bill from conference to passage, and now it awaits a cloture vote in the Senate. There is still a major battle ahead about the overall issue of the Congressional budget limits, but virtually no resistance, it seems, to the many billions in waste on specific matters.

Starting with the aircraft, a previous piece of mine noted that the Lockheed F-35 fighter is high on the list of cost-overruns, helping Lockheed reach its corporate level of “cost overruns on development programs” of 37 percent (Bloomberg ). Yet this defense spending bill will not only commit to spend billions on the Defense Department’s relatively balanced request of F-35 purchases, but will go far beyond that to add a “wish list” of much more.

Specifically, USNI News reports that “The bill maintained the support that both [House and Senate] committees had for six additional F-35B Joint Strike Fighters for the Marine Corps,” on top of the Administration’s already generous nine; and “funding for 12 additional FA – 18E-F Super Hornets for the Navy.” Basically, the armed forces, and Lockheed, first received billions from the Administration budget. Then the armed forces and Lockheed did an end-run around the Administration, took a “wish list” to Congress, and got wasteful billions, by definition lower-priority, in this bill. The F-35s are made in Texas, not far from the district of the House Committee Chair, Rep. Thornberry (R-TX).

For the Navy, there is the opening wedge toward an entire new class of nuclear submarines – a $90 billion plus program, a key piece of the overall strategic nuclear trial project of $1 trillion. Even the Navy knows this program is unsustainable. The Navy was caught illegally lobbing for the subs.

This bill facilitates funding this new generation of submarines in a separate big-dollar fund outside the Navy’s regular budget, named the “National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund.” A piece by William D. Hartung, a noted defense waste-hunter, exposed this wasteful charade. As he said, “If the new submarine account is funded, it will simply drain resources, from other, more urgent priorities like military readiness.”

What’s more, he noted, an envious Air Force will seek to set up a similar fund for its nuclear bombers and missiles, also off the books. This doesn’t make these one penny less costly to the taxpayer. It just conceals the enormous scale of costs. Perhaps Congressional Republicans, since they like to conceal hidden funds so much, should set up a “Veterans Administration Illness Deterrence Fund” or a “Food Stamp Hunger Deterrence Fund” to hide these, too.

Senator McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, has wanted to take away development control from the somewhat objective and even skeptical civilian Defense Department, which has a relatively serious testing office. Instead, Senator McCain, and the defense contractors, wanted to give the authority to the individual armed services, namely, the Air Force and the Navy. The Administration vigorously fought this. It noted that the individual armed services are wildly overenthusiastic in their reviews of their own pet weapons, and do not control the rampant risks of cost overruns. Federal News Radio has an interview on this subject.

Events,News

N-8 Witness October 301 Oct

Abolish Weapons of Mass Destruction

We still have 49 nuclear missiles on ready alert in northeastern Colorado

Under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we are obliged to get rid of our nuclear weapons. But the present administration is planning to develop new and more destructive ones. The weapons manufacturers will be richer, but we will not be safer.

Vigil October 3, 2015

12:00 noon

Missile Silo N8 in northeastern Colorado
Carpool from Denver, Boulder or Colorado Springs. For carpool locations or directions to missile silos: Judith in Boulder – 303-447-9635; Bill in Colorado Springs – 719-389-0644; Mary in Denver –303-807-2109

News

Can a person claim to be a Catholic and work to produce nuclear weapons? NO. Neither could a Buddhist25 Sep

Pope Francis Calls for the Complete Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Santa Fe, NM – In his speech today at the United Nations Pope Francis stated:

” The Preamble and the first Article of the Charter of the United Nations set forth the foundations of the international juridical framework: peace, the pacific solution of disputes and the development of friendly relations between the nations. Strongly opposed to such statements, and in practice denying them, is the constant tendency to the proliferation of arms, especially weapons of mass distraction, such as nuclear weapons. An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are self-contradictory and an affront to the entire framework of the United Nations, which would end up as “nations united by fear and distrust”. There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the non-proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.”

“Separately, the United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement in advance of tomorrow’s (September 26) International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons tomorrow. He said:

The norm against the use of nuclear weapons – the most destructive weapons ever created, with potentially unparalleled human costs – has stood strong for seven decades. But the only absolute guarantee that they are never used again is through their total elimination.”

The Pope’s words builds upon a December 2014 paper entitled “Nuclear Weapons: Time for Abolition” that the Vatican presented at an international conference on the “Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons” held by the Austrian government in Vienna. In it, the Catholic Church declared that the provisional justification it once gave for possession of nuclear weapons for the sake of “deterrence” during the Cold War is no longer valid. The Vatican further stated in no uncertain terms, “Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons, but the immorality of their possession, thereby clearing the road to nuclear abolition.”

Contrary to the Catholic Church’s growing push to ban nuclear weapons, the recent May 2015 NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference ended in failure. The immediate reason was that the United States, United Kingdom and Canada blocked the adoption of a “Final Document” seeking to implement a previously agreed-to conference on a Middle East nuclear weapons free zone, at the behest of Israel, a non-signatory to the NPT and a non-declared nuclear weapons power. A broader, deeper reason is that the majority of non-weapons states are growing increasingly frustrated by the nuclear weapons powers’ failure to honor their NPT Article VI obligation “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament…”, first promised in 1970. This is now exacerbated by accelerating nuclear weapons “modernization” programs, led by the United States which plans to spend a trillion dollars over thirty years completely rebuilding its nuclear weapons stockpile and infrastructure.

New Mexico plays a key role in these modernization programs, with two of the nation’s three nuclear weapons laboratories, Sandia and Los Alamos. Currently the labs’ main focus is “Life Extension Programs” that prolong the service lives of existing U.S. nuclear weapons for up to 60 years while giving them new military capabilities, despite denials at the highest levels of the U.S. government. These programs are clearly contrary to the Vatican’s push for nuclear weapons abolition.

New Mexico also has one of the highest percentages of Catholic citizens, at around 40% of the total population. The full name of its capitol Santa Fe (Holy Faith) is “The Royal City of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi,” the saint from whom Pope Francis takes his papal name. St. Francis and Pope Francis are both known for their focus on the poor. Ironically, Los Alamos County, next to Santa Fe, is the second richest county in the USA because of nuclear weapons programs, while some of the poorest communities in the country (the San Ildefonso and Santa Clara Pueblos) are contiguous to it.

One of New Mexico’s two Catholic Archbishops, Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, is chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, and is playing a leading role in the Catholic Church’s accelerating push for nuclear weapons abolition. He delivered a homily at a mass at the Nagasaki Cathedral in Japan on August 9, 2015 commemorating the 70th anniversary of the city’s destruction by a plutonium bomb designed and produced in New Mexico. He described it as a life-changing experience, and declared:

The bishops of the United States join in solidarity with the Church in Japan in advocating for global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in the face of the tragedies that occurred here when atomic bombs struck… the U.S. bishops committed themselves to shaping “the climate of opinion which will make it possible for our country to express profound sorrow over the atomic bombing in 1945. Without that sorrow, there is no possibility of finding a way to repudiate future use of nuclear weapons….”

New Mexico’s other archbishop, Santa Fe’s newly installed John Wester, has not yet stated his position on nuclear weapons. His diocese includes the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories.

Jay Coghlan, director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, commented, “Northern New Mexico has been a Catholic stronghold for centuries, and the birthplace of nuclear weapons seventy years ago. Catholics and non-Catholics alike must examine their consciences and the Pope’s calling for the prohibition of nuclear weapons, and how that squares with the nuclear weapons industry that is so deeply embedded in our culture and economy. The choice is not easy, but clearly we must follow faith and good will toward elimination of these worst of weapons of mass destruction. I hope that Santa Fe’s new Archbishop John Wester will help guide us in following Pope Francis’ call for the complete probation of nuclear weapons.”

Pope Francis’ quote is from http://time.com/4049905/pope-francis-us-visit-united-nations-speech-transcript/

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Forever Waste–24 Sep

To: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov

Re: Docket ID NRC-2011-0012 – 10 CFR Part 61 – Proposed Rule and Guidance re shallow burial of low-level radioactive waste

Here are our observations and recommendations regarding low-level radioactive waste and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)’s proposal to amend 10 CFR Part 61 by including the unanalyzed nuclear waste streams which were left out of the original ruling.

Our principal reference source is the official transcript of proceedings of the NRC which took place on Tuesday, November 19, 2013. The purpose of this meeting was for the Department of Energy (DOE) to advise the members of the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards’ Subcommittee on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Materials about the shallow burial of low-level radioactive waste.

After introductions, those representing the Savannah River National Laboratory, the DOE’s Office of Health, Safety, and Security, the DOE’s Savannah River Site, and a member of the Nevada site office of the Nevada National Security Site, gave presentations on their approach to land burial of low-level radioactive waste. They talked about various processes they used to reach decisions, defense-in-depth, and how all of these various processes fit into their way of thinking. Their use of a thousand-year time frame for quantitative compliance was discussed at length. However, their choice of that particular time frame was not based on scientific data, but was picked at random.

Those from the NRC had difficulty understanding this approach of the DOE.

On page 10 of the transcript, a member of the NRC’s Subcommittee on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Materials raised questions, e.g: “In the case of uranium where there is no peak, you know, how do you terminate that? I mean, what’s the end point for let’s say depleted uranium? That’s an issue that’s churning around here, you know, it’s always building up, it’s riskier in the future than it is today…. What does the DOE do?” (Page 10 of the transcript)

The DOE put off answering these questions. Instead they continued on with their presentation.

The chairman of the Subcommittee, on page 20 of the transcript, returned to the subject of uranium. He says, “The hard thing to get some folks to think about is a thousand years is a long time. Well, forever is even longer, because uranium will be here when the planet is cleaved in half. It’s ten to the ninth year half-life? It’s not going anywhere soon. So it’s a forever waste…. I’ll be curious when you get to that stuff. We’d like to hear about your strategies for dealing with these longer-lived radionuclides and their persistence in the environment beyond almost any kind of engineering you can think of. So with that little tidbit laid out there for the future discussion, go ahead.”

Instead of directly addressing this, a DOE spokesman started talking about hazardous waste rather than radioactive waste.

The majority of the discussion is from the viewpoint of what the DOE has experienced, and how they think there is no need to do the calculations to know what this would mean for the exposure of future generations.

We in Environmentalists, Inc., disagree with the DOE and call attention to the changes that have been going on since nuclear weapons were manufactured and nuclear power has been used to generate electricity. Before both of these, avoiding exposure to radiation was a matter of limiting the time you spent in the sun, only having X-Rays when absolutely necessary. People knew where the sources of radiation were, and how to keep from having skin cancer. There were no sources of radiation taken internally, only external radiation.

Throughout the meeting, no one mentioned stopping the production of this waste material for which there is no solution on how to isolate it from people and the environment.

Our recommendation to the NRC is to focus on isolation projects and phasing out nuclear power projects, both the reactors and the fuel cycle facilities. There is a crucial need to stop making radioactive waste.

We request a dialog on the subject of low-level radioactive waste, a dialog which includes our group and other public interest and civic organizations, as well as independent researchers. By independent we mean those who do not benefit from taking a pro-nuclear position.

We ask that you accept our being a party to these decisions. Serious mistakes have been avoided because of input from the public and public interest organizations. Expensive mistakes have been made because public input was not considered.

Ruth Thomas
Environmentalists, Inc.
354 Woodland Dr,
Columbus, NC 28722
828-894-6305

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Plutonium forever under your landscape?24 Sep

Peace Train September 25, 2015

By JUDITH MOHLING

According to Tikkun Daily Blog,“when artist Jeff Gipe talks about his sculpture Cold War Horse – a renegade art piece he created to protest the construction of a toll road and housing development near the former plutonium plant and Superfund site, Rocky Flats – it sounds as though he’s reading from the pages of a John Grisham novel.” He grew up near Rocky Flats and his dad worked there twenty years and died from Parkinson’s disease which he had attributed to exposures to toxic elements at Rocky Flats.

When he was a boy, the Rocky Flats plant that ultimately produced 70,000 plutonium pits, was a “sort of ominous, mysterious place.” An early memory is going with his dad to work on a ‘take your kid to work,’ day. He said in his interview with Tikkun Daily Blog that “there were tanks rolling around, armed guards everywhere. All this stuff was a complete shock to me. I just remember partially being terrified but also really intrigued too.”

He grew up to become a remarkable artist, and much of his art reflects his Rocky Flats childhood. (http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/227811-jeff-gipe) He recently created the larger than life sculpture of a horse in a brilliant red hazmat suit, to honor the thousands of previous Rocky Flats workers and to alert people to the dangers of leftover hot particles of plutonium blowing in the infamous winds of the Rocky Flats area over the homes that are being built to the south of Rocky Flats and sold to eager but unwitting new home buyers.

The sculpture was placed across from the Candelas development (see http://www.candelasglows.com) on private land along highway 72. It was mounted on a thick cement slab. Two weeks after it was erected, it was vandalized—probably chained to a truck, pulled over and smashed with sledge hammers.

Jeff intends to go ahead with a dedication for the horse on October 18 even though the horse probably will not be repaired by then.(Exact time and place TBA) Kristen Iversen, author of “Full Body Burden, Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats,” is planning to speak at the dedication, as well as Dr. LeRoy Moore of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and former FBI agent Jon Lipsky who led the raid on Rocky Flats which ultimately led to its closure as a plutonium pit facility.

Resources

Secretary General on International Day against Nuclear Tests11 Sep

“Addressing a meeting to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests, observed annually on 29 August, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted the devastation caused by nuclear testing.

“I have witnessed the lasting societal, environmental and economic damage nuclear tests have caused,” he told the gathering. “Since the first test in New Mexico 70 years ago, the world has endured over 2,000 nuclear tests. Those tests devastated pristine environments and local populations around the world.

“Many have never recovered from the legacies of nuclear testing – including poisoned groundwater, cancer, birth defects and radioactive fallout,” Mr. Ban continued. “Today let us also send a strong signal that the international community stands united to take action that will lead us to a safer and more secure world – a world free of nuclear weapons.”
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51843#.VfJjaHsqTmo

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Prohibit public access to Rocky Flats02 Sep

Prohibit public access to Rocky Flats
By LeRoy Moore
Boulder Daily Camera, September 2, 2025

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) did a “soft opening” to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. One can now join a group of 10 or fewer for a three-mile hike to see plants, wildlife and birds. To the aware public, the “soft opening” is an insult. It catches us unawares and preempts public input before the full opening mentioned in official documents. It flies in the face of broad opposition to public access expressed in 2004 when FWS sought public comments on its Environmental Impact Statement for the future refuge. Eighty-one percent of commenting parties opposed public access.
Refuge visitors could be exposed to radioactive plutonium-239 in the environment at the refuge and the Department of Energy (DOE) land that surrounds it. The two-square-mile DOE plot is the former industrial area of the Rocky Flats nuclear bomb plant, which for 37 years produced the explosive plutonium core of nuclear warheads. Fires, accidents and routine operations released billions of tiny, highly toxic particles of plutonium-239 into the environment.
For reasons known to the concerned public, FWS should not allow public access to the refuge — reasons also known to officials at DOE and the agencies that regulated the Rocky Flats Superfund cleanup: the EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE). DOE has routinely denied the scientific and medical reality at Rocky Flats. EPA and CDPHE went along, perhaps because they are paid by DOE to regulate DOE, a little noticed conflict of interest.
Key reasons for prohibiting public access to the refuge:
•Plutonium-239, with a half-life of 24,110 years, is present in the environment at Rocky Flats in the form of particles too small to see.
•The radiation from plutonium cannot penetrate skin, but if plutonium is inhaled or otherwise internalized it lodges in the body and constantly irradiates nearby tissue, endangering one’s health.
•Columbia University researchers found that a single particle of plutonium taken into the body induces genetic mutations that may produce cancer or other ailments.
•Those responsible for the cleanup assumed plutonium left in soil would remain in place, despite Dr. Iggy Litaor’s discovery in 1995 that plutonium migrates during rain events and Dr. Shawn Smallwood’s finding in 1996 that burrowing animals bring plutonium to the surface, where it can be redistributed by the wind common at Rocky Flats.
•Plutonium on DOE land will migrate onto the refuge. This probably happened in the September 2013 flood, but DOE’s streambed monitors failed during the storm, leaving us in the dark about whether and how far the plutonium traveled. Sheet flooding, present in 2013, has never been monitored at Rocky Flats.
•The Rocky Flats Superfund cleanup was designed to protect a wildlife refuge worker. But plutonium will far outlive the refuge. The greatest harm will be to future generations.
•Genetic effects of plutonium on wildlife are poorly understood. There have been no genetic studies of wildlife at Rocky Flats.
•The FBI raided Rocky Flats in 1989 to collect evidence of environmental law-breaking at the site. The documents were sealed. EPA and CDPHE were given the opportunity to review the evidence during the cleanup, but they declined. In the raid EPA took environmental samples that have never been revealed.
•Although children are especially vulnerable to radiation, FWS expects them at the refuge.
Of the more than 600 national wildlife refuges, Rocky Flats is the only one on the radioactive site of a former nuclear weapons factory. To FWS, this doesn’t matter, as evidenced by the “soft opening.”
In the face of all this uncertainty, biology professor Harvey Nichols and former county commissioner Paul Danish generated a very sensible proposal. Congress should enact legislation requiring that all DOE nuclear weapons sites that undergo Superfund cleanup remain closed to the public for at least 250 years after completion of the cleanup.
Enactment of this proposal would protect the innocent and bring praise for supporting legislators. It would introduce into the nuclear realm the precautionary principle that where uncertainty regarding harm to public health and environmental integrity exists, as it does at Rocky Flats, caution should prevail over carelessness. People of future generations will be grateful. I strongly suggest that our current state and congressional delegations support this concept. By the time a site has been closed for two-and-a-half centuries, whether visiting it poses a danger or not should be known. Any questionable site could be kept closed permanently.

LeRoy Moore works with the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.

Resources

Mt. McKinley–The importance of being ashamed! Saul Changed his name to Paul31 Aug

By Bob Kinsey

Mt. Denali– Good. Mt. McKinley — bad –just celebrates a President who began a war with Philippine Freedom Fighters and bent a war allied with Cuban Freedom fighters to the establishment of a “Protectorate” over them, the Manifest Destiny Imperial crowd that even the Progressive but Social Darwinist President TR joined as he sent the Great White Fleet around the globe. This is a dark strand in the history of the US and its so-called commitment to the idea that all humans should be free and have natural rights to life, liberty and property (pursuit of happiness). This dark strand is racist and militarist (US Navy push for “coaling stations” in the Pacific, overly proud of its so called Western “Civilization”– in the name of which President McKinley went on his knees in prayer and learned from the Almighty that he should take the Philippines and “civilize them”(having to water board them first). Just so did President Truman “Thank God” for giving us the Atomic bomb shortly after he used it (of course, to save lives –really?).

The blindness of so called Progressive Republicans and Democrats to this underlying history of unjust conquest and dominance, racism and militarism, is nearly ubiquitous as none will dare to challenge the mindless, a-historical promulgation of the myths by such groups as the American Legion, VFW, and NRA who cannot endure the shame they must face in this history. More recently AIPAC joined in self righteous conquest of land and the killing of Palestinians in the name of self defense, (though they include a large body of conquest in that Zionist definition of “self”) including the right to disobey international law and the Non Proliferation Treaty. And the US supported all this with arms sales and transfers as well as international cover as our “Friend”. So much for the self determination of people. PNAC (Project for a New American Century) finds its roots in this dark strand of history that funded and armed the genocide of Mayans in Guatemala, the Contra War in Nicaragua, the death squads and assassination of Archbishop Romero in El Salvador, the genocide in East Timor, all in the name of fighting for their proclaimed God ordained Capitalism vs. “godless” Communism. This dark strand was rooted in the Machiavellian strand of the Renaissance– a justification of the rule of the Borgias (including Pope Alexander V!) and the Medici by force and fear. Mr. Cheney — war criminal — reads “The Prince” as a New Years ritual. Mr. Trump’s bombast about making America great again is the redneck version.

We cannot be offended by the facts of our history–our military/imperial/economic history. Yes it involves enduring some shame but there is more honor in correcting our errors as much as possible than in denying and continuing them. It’ s time to change the name of Mt. Evans to Mt. Soule in Colorado, as Gov. Evans was an exterminationist empire builder who set Col. Chivington on a band of submissive Cheyenne and Arapaho at Sand Creek. Take down the war memorials celebrating the victories in this imperial strand of US history. Sure mourn the deaths of those who were ignorant of the land speculators’/investment bankers motives and called to military service under false pretenses, but lets honor the likes of Lincoln who voted against the Mexican War of conquest, and Silas Soule who blew the whistle on Chivington as a bald faced liar bent upon destruction of Indians who tried to defend land and way of life, or Samuel Clemens and the anti-Imperialist league in the Congress. Stop honoring President Reagan for his illegal and immoral foreign policy because it “won the Cold War”. Like Cheney he never showed up on the front lines but was happy to praise the dead as heroes and damn the “enemy” dead (mostly all civilian) as evil empire Communists. Reagan National Airport, Reagan this, Reagan that.

Self Righteousness is so much more comfortable than confession and repentance. Have we no shame? Well, its hard when we won’t face facts or teach them to our children. Shame on those Christian Churches who join in the self-righeous self-congratulatory acts of the past (remember how those “Christians” justified the institution of slavery in the early 19th Century? –and weep.) They were willing to spill the blood of countless brothers in the Civil War. They are the same type who are upset about renaming Mt. McKinley or telling the truth about the Enola Gay.

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The Colorado Coalition
P.O. Box 102245
Denver, CO 80250-2245
303-949-4073

Bob Kinsey, Board of Directors Email