by Judith Mohling
“Tokyo Should No Longer Be Inhabited,” Dr. Shigeru Mita, popularresistance.org
A woman in her 20s, Minamisoma city (one hour and 20 minutes from Fukushima): “Since the nuclear accident I’ve come to criticize others as being evil: the country, the government, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. But when I really think about it, I’ve not once participated in an election, I don’t read the newspaper, and as for TV, I only watch comedies. Even though I was living next to the power plant, I didn’t even try to learn anything about nuclear power. When I think about it now, I’m embarrassed.” globalvoicesonline.org
According to popularresistance.org, a Tokyo MD moved his medical clinic away from Tokyo in March. He and his father before him had served the Tokyo community for 50 years. He moved it because he researched the comparative radiation levels in Tokyo to the area around Chernobyl, for example. Contamination of the soil can be shown by measuring Bq/kg. The contamination in the eastern par of Tokyo is 1000-40000 Bq/kg and the capital city of Ukraine, near Chernobyl is 500 Bq/kg. He had begun to notice health problems not present before the Fukushima tragedy.
He found a decline in white blood cells in his child patients under the age of 10 that is improved by the family moving to a safer location. Same with asthma and sinusitis, rheumatic polymyalgia, flu, coughs, nosebleeds, hair loss, etc.
All of this has to do with “long-term low-level internal radiation.” This is very different from medical radiation or external exposure to radiation. The problem is breathing.
However, according to Brad Plummer, www.vox.com, nuclear power is slowly going out of style. Back in 1996, atomic energy supplied 17.6 percent of the world’s electricity. Today that’s down to just 10.8 percent — and it could drop even further in the years ahead. Many reactors are closing — and new reactors have been bogged down by delays. That’s according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014.
The upshot, Plummer asserts, is that significantly fewer nuclear reactors are in operation today than was the case in 2010 — in large part due to the shutdown of 48 reactors in Japan after the Fukushima disaster. Only China has big nuclear power plans.
New Lexicon, largest programs, and Lobbying
“to find a lexicon for talking about nuclear weapons that’s germane to a generation of people for whom its legacy is a fading memory”
How about “No”?
Sandia is a well-oiled money-grabbing machine planning for its future by “communicating” and “clarifying” with decision-makers.
SANDIA LAB NEWS • August 8, 2014 • Page 8
Managing the nuclear weapons enterprise a huge undertaking
A question-and-answer session with Jerry L. McDowell, Deputy Laboratories Director and Executive Vice President for National Security Programs
“Sandia is on-cost and on-schedule with our three nuclear weapon modernization programs. That is critical to the Laboratories. But these programs can’t be the only focus. Sandia also needs to look ahead and focus on long-term capabili- ties and exploratory work that is the foundation of everything we do. Given that, we are working to shift the paradigm — shift to engage with leaders throughout the nuclear weapons enterprise to focus on what comes next, including revolutionary rather than evolutionary strategies and approaches. Sandia is a partner in planning in new ways for our national security future.”
— Jerry L. McDowell, Deputy Laboratories Director and Executive VP for National Security Programs
“Now is a time of extraordinary opportunity to re-communicate, to find a lexicon for talking about nuclear weapons that’s germane to a generation of people for whom its legacy is a fading memory — and in a global environment that demands new directions and adaptation.”
Sandia’s Nuclear Weapons Mission
Sandia’s Nuclear Weapons (NW) Mission is to ensure the nation’s stockpile is safe, secure, and effective; that it meets military requirements and is logistically sus- tainable; and that it always works when needed and authorized, and never works when not authorized.
Sandia’s NW Mission is the driver for more than 50 percent of the Laboratories’ overall $2.5 billion annual budget. It has complex synergies with the majority of Sandia’s broad work, including that which is critical to Sandia’s foundation and overall health. It includes science-based engineering, in which fundamental science, computer models, and unique experimental facilities come together to enable researchers to under- stand, predict, and verify weapon systems perfor- mance. Nuclear weapons must survive extremely complex and often harsh environments. They must remain dormant for up to 30 years, yet be immediately available when on high alert-readiness levels. These challenges require systems engineering sup- ported by deep science along with demonstrated product delivery.
Sandia’s NW Mission has three imperatives that represent the three balanced sides of a triangle:
1) Maintain the US stockpile through surveillance and the exchange of weapon components that have limited life;
2) Sustain the stockpile into the future through life extension programs and alterations; and
3) Steward and advance the required engineering and science capabilites, operations and infrastructure to ensure the long-term vitality of the mission.
Sandia is responsible for all nonnuclear components of the nuclear explosive package. In essence, Sandia “weaponizes” the US nuclear deterrent.
Currently, the Laboratories leads three nuclear weapons stockpile modernization programs that are in full- scale engineering development — the largest programs at Sandia in decades. They are the B61 Life Extension Program, the W88 Alteration 370, and the Mk21 Fuze Replacement.
Jerry McDowell is entering his fourth year as Sandia’s Deputy Laboratories Director and Executive Vice President for National Security Programs. Jerry and his Center 200 team, headed by Director Rick Fellerhoff, are in charge of the Nuclear Weapons (NW) Mission Area strategy as well as the NW Program Management Unit (PMU), responsible for efficient implementation of the overall NW program.
The PMU activity includes anticipating, managing, and reporting about the myriad elements that come together to operationalize “Mission,” including coordination with Mission Support and the other Mission Areas core to NW work. It is a complex undertaking with an intricate, multi- dimensional matrix of people, capabilities, costs, schedules, facilities, planning, and future budgets — all simultaneously carrying near-, mid- and long-term significance for Sandia and the nation’s security.
“The Sandia NW Triangle” helps explain/simplify the enormous responsibility for overseeing the largest NW programs in decades at Sandia (see box at top right) while not losing sight of the need to balance that activity with Sandia’s other mission imperatives. So, how does Sandia’s NW Mission Area and PMU team accomplish this in our financially and otherwise constrained and ever-changing environment? Certainly they focus on a wide variety of activities and responsibilities.
One key element we explore in this Q&A with Jerry is —
What does the team do when they travel to Wash- ington, D.C.?
Jerry McDowell: Part of our responsibility is to communicate to decision-makers — whether our National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) partners, Department of Defense (DoD) customers, members of Congress, or their staff — about the work done here at Sandia on behalf of national security.
It’s a very rewarding thing to do. When my staff and I meet with sponsors and customers we’re seeking better two-way understanding; and when, at their invitation, we meet with Congress, it’s about clarifying for them what can be a daunting, complex, technical world.
Most of the congressional staff and members we inter- act with are not trained in technical disciplines. They’re doctors, lawyers, and accountants, not engineers, scien- tists, or technologists. When we visit we’re well prepared concerning our programs’ obligations and what we need to fulfill those obligations. We arrange to discuss, at a very high level, the scope and status of our program.
Sandia has a great Government Relations staff that helps facilitate all of this and frankly, you could spend day after day after day on Capitol Hill trying to explain the nuances of nuclear weapons and still have more to impart. Consequently, this is not a challenge met in a day, a week, or a month. It’s a sustained activity of communications consistency and relationship-building that has to endure, remain focused, adapt as new individuals take positions of leadership, and build over a long period of time.
In addition to proactively communicating, it is critical we spend a lot of time listening. Talking is one thing, but our team often learns more when we just listen and observe. When we do that, we come away with a better understanding of their pressures and what we can do to help them support us.
What are the “hot topics” in Washington today as they relate to Sandia’s mission work?
JM: Managing the nuclear weapons enterprise is a huge undertaking. There are differences of opinion, there are differences of roles and responsibilities, and we have to be sensitive to all.
The hot topic for us right now among the military ser- vices includes, “are you getting our products at a price we can afford?” Any way we can meet their requirements for less cost is appealing. We are in a period of time where there’s a great appreciation for the need to modernize the stockpile. They see Sandia, the rest of the enterprise, and the NNSA as a community of people who deliver an effective weapon.
Inside the NNSA it’s a different orientation. They care deeply about the product, but they also have a long-term view of the stewardship responsibility with the Laborato- ries: that we need to deliver what the military needs, but we want to do so in a way that preserves the long-term health of the enterprise. They are concerned about our core attributes as a Federally Funded Research and Devel- opment Center (FFRDC) — assuring staff excellence, long- term relationships, objectivity, and independence, advancement of science, technology, and engineering, and execution of work at a reasonable cost.
Congressional staffers tend to ask for an understand- ing of the combination of short- and long-term consider- ations — a balance between cost and requirements — more information about context. They ask, “Why? Is there a different way to do it? We don’t really understand why gadget A needs to fit gadget B — can you explain?”
What is the state of knowledge in Washington, outside the Pentagon and NNSA, about our nuclear deterrent?
JM: It’s an interesting question because you could say, what’s the state of knowledge anywhere? My view is that nuclear weapons don’t dominate today’s national conversation about security, which does not diminish their deterrence role but does change the discussion.
It’s important to note that a considerable number of people in the Pentagon, NNSA, and Congress are of an age that their personal involvement in and understand- ing of Cold War nuclear issues is pretty slim. Many came of age around the time the Cold War was ending.
Another challenge is that Sandia, as a community of scientists and engineers, is a very strong IQ community, but we must balance that strength with building our EQ — our emotional intelligence. In our mid- and senior- level leadership community we need to nurture and develop this ability to empathize with, understand, and build relationships with the stakeholders involved in nuclear weapons. It is a challenge we’re entirely capable of meeting.
What are some of the difficult Washington meetings?
JM: Sometimes Sandia finds itself in the middle of dis- agreements between the NNSA and military, and political forces on Capitol Hill. That is not a negative thing. I think one of the strengths of our democracy is a diversity of views and opinions so you have a healthy, informed debate on all issues, but the stakes involved in our nuclear deterrence are so profound … I think one of the most difficult challenges for Sandia is to maintain our own conviction about what we think is right. We stay true to our independent and objective, science-based per- spectives, while working constructively to bring parties together for a common purpose centered on clarity about our work and what it takes to get that work done.
What’s an example of a successful meeting?
JM: Fundamentally, the path to success is not having the best idea, but rather having trusting relationships with people where you find a shared point of view. And, the key word there is relationships. This position is best served by a continuity of presence, a consistent message, a simple message. It is imperative for Sandians who visit D.C. to stay focused on a consistent, simple message. Boil it down, and then stick to it and repeat it.
When visiting someone on Capitol Hill, I’m astounded by the incredible pace and fast tempo of life for them — it is a frenetic hub of activity. It’s an inter- esting challenge to brief them in their setting where we perhaps get 20 minutes to articulate our position to a staffer who has squeezed us into a day that’s 14-plus hours long. Our 20 minutes is somewhere between the price of wheat in Europe, the cost of gas in Oregon, or pick your favorite topic. It is a sound-bite setting.
It is also enormously important to develop these rela- tionships by inviting people to come visit us here at the Laboratories. We host upwards of 150 VIP executive visits a year. Most visitors leave with an enormous sense of respect for what we do. And why wouldn’t they? As important as D.C. is as a center of power for the execu- tive and the legislative branches, it’s a place about ideas and concepts and laws and regulations. Here at Sandia, we’re about doing the work. And we do it with enthusi- asm and commitment, which translates into the basic message that we’re passionate about serving our country. That sense of patriotism shows through.
What are the key NW messages we’re delivering to Washington?
JM: Many of the new messages we’re conveying concern the future.
Certainly job one for us is to deliver on our commit- ments, which basically means delivering a product on time, on budget, meeting performance requirements, all in an operationally effective way — safe, secure, quality products. That’s job one, deliver on our commitments.
Job two is to make sure job one doesn’t exhaust us. We say we must make sure that in pursuit of meeting near- term schedules, we aren’t deflected from preparing for the future. And preparing for the future means continuous improvement in the way we do our business. There’s always a better, improved way to do design, qualification, production, surveillance — pick your dimension of our NW program. Lately we’ve called that shifting the para- digm as a new generation of Sandians enter the workforce and help bring new ideas forward on how we can do our work in a more cost-effective and productive manner.
We also continue to find the balance between short- term needs and long-term health, which is particularly important in this business. If we don’t do that, we’ll become more contractor-like and less partner-like in our relationships.
In our relationship with the NNSA, we must continue to restore, broaden and reinforce our special role as their FFRDC partner. There is a quality in being a member of the Sandia community that is more than just being an employee at a contractor facility. At their best Sandians who stay here long-term and find fulfillment in their work share a collective purpose that’s bigger than each of us. In the case of nuclear weapons, it’s about being a part of the deterrent of the United States. It protects us. It’s a fundamental security issue. I think Sandia at its best is a community of people who have a common sense of purpose and who are nurtured by their sponsor. And that term is used deliberately — nurtured by — there is an appreciation by the NNSA that Sandia exists to do the technical work, but also is an organization that must be nurtured in anticipation of what will be needed in the future.
>Seems like the Israelis and North Korea are missing from this but I don’t have the dates
Is the Apocolypse US?07 Aug
Editorial: Now, a wake-up call on nukes
By Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
PUBLISHED: Monday, August 4, 2014 at 12:05 am
With all the major problems facing the world right now, from the spread of warfare to the spread of deadly disease, it would be easy to overlook the very serious accusation the Obama administration is making that Russia has violated a 26-year-old nuclear weapons treaty.
A recent State Department report on compliance of arms control agreements accuses Russia of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that President Ronald Reagan signed with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.
The administration has not said where or when the violation occurred, but retired Russian Lt. Gen. Yevgeniy Buzhinsky said the accusations date back to 2009 and claimed the current complaints were part of an “information war … being waged against Russia.”
In a page right out of the Cold War, Buzhinsky accused the United States of also falling short of its treaty obligations, but the Pentagon said the United States is in full compliance.
Now that negotiations aimed producing a multinational agreement that would curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been put on hold for several months, the administration would be wise to consider the current problems with the Russian accord as a wake-up call.
It should remember that treaties are good only when they can be monitored and are followed.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.
By Sasha Pyle and Joni Arends | Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 7:00 pm
> The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was never going to solve America’s nuclear
> waste problem. We have too much waste — too many kinds — for one facility,
> the long-controversial WIPP. And even if you believe geologic disposal could
> work, there aren’t suitable locations to sequester the poisons from the
> biosphere or future human intrusion.
> But if WIPP’s real purpose was to create the illusion of a solution — so we
> could keep on making more weapons and waste — then it did a pretty good job
> of that, until this year.
> Public relations efforts have always been a big part of WIPP. Now they are
> driving official Department of Energy policy again.
> Remember Energy Department officials saying decades ago WIPP waste consisted
> of “gloves and booties” — an image calculated to allay fears and distract
> from, ahem, plutonium? Now they’re ceaselessly invoking organic “kitty
> litter” for causing February’s explosion that contaminated the facility,
> exposed 21 workers, and blew a cloud of americium and plutonium up the shaft
> and out into the world.
> Why the cute misnomer for industrial absorbents? This is no household
> hygiene moment or YouTube cat video. This accident wasn’t caused by “kitty
> litter.” Manipulating us again with cutesy language is another attempt to
> downplay the dangers WIPP poses to life for the next quarter of a million
> Simultaneously, there’s a desperate attempt to shift the blame elsewhere,
> anywhere. WIPP consultant Jim Conca got his 15 minutes of fame promoting the
> term “kitty litter,” claiming WIPP performed perfectly and the disaster was
> caused by waste packers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
> Nonetheless, this accident was absolutely WIPP’s fault — because WIPP
> management has tirelessly petitioned the New Mexico Environment Department
> for dozens of modifications to the original operating permit.
> They haven’t been begging for more stringent regulation. All the requests
> have been to weaken the terms of the permit, protections we were promised
> for decades.
> Notably, persuading the Environment Department that it would be safe to stop
> doing previously required headspace-gas sampling of the barrels (aimed at
> preventing explosions) now looks like it was a very bad idea indeed.
> The barrels have many organic materials — not just the absorbent currently
> blamed — mixed with hazardous chemicals and radioactive debris, decaying
> unpredictably. WIPP waste has always been at risk of exploding, whether on
> the highway, during handling or after disposal.
> This was one specter that generated furious controversy among scientists and
> the public when WIPP was first proposed. Additionally, poor record-keeping
> at weapons sites during frenzied Cold War bomb-building meant that wastes
> were inconsistently documented. Waste characterization and sampling were
> issues of grave concern when WIPP was being debated 25 years ago. Clearly,
> they are once again. The state permit should never have been so dangerously
> Unsurprisingly, Los Alamos shipped easily analyzed wastes to WIPP first,
> saving “mystery” wastes for later, when regulations were relaxed and safety
> protocols at WIPP had slipped into routine. The 2004 dismantlement of the
> Environmental Evaluation Group, WIPP’s only truly independent oversight, and
> the permit modifications that virtually ended sampling, rendered accidental
> release inevitable.
> We’re also hearing a lot of desperate PR about reopening the facility ASAP.
> Really? First, how about an independent investigation to quantify future
> exposure workers and neighbors might face? WIPP boosters — including folks
> who want to get back to work right away — should consider a bigger picture
> with national, international and essentially permanent consequences. This
> isn’t about your job. It’s about materials with the power to taint land, air
> and water — to poison and kill living things — for tens of thousands of
> years. PR baby-talk can’t alter that deadly serious fact.
> Call your elected officials today and ask for an independent investigation
> of the release.
> Sasha Pyle and Joni Arends are longtime nuclear activists in Northern New
> Mexico with Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety and the Alliance for
> Nuclear Accountability, a national coalition. Pyle was a founding member of
> Nuclear Watch New Mexico and has produced many of its publications.
By JUDITH MOHLING
Three of us from Boulder’s Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center are here in DC lobbying Colorado legislators about the “Billion Dollar Boondoggles” of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) plan to spend more money for less security, as well as local issues. We are here with financial help from The Colorado Coalition for Prevention of Nuclear War.
You may know that there has been a plan to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. It has been a flop according to an analysis by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA). The report says that many NNSA projects are “over-budget and behind schedule.” The analysis points to lack of accountability in the U.S. nuclear weapons programs and that the Obama Administration should shift spending priorities and maintain the “currently reliable stockpile” and save taxpayer bucks.
ANA activist Marylia Kelley, Director of the Livermore, CA-based Tri-Valley CAREs, said, “Our report demonstrates that the agency’s ‘Life Extension Programs’ have become more a playground for bomb designers than a means to maintain nuclear safety and reliability. The NNSA is a runaway train headed toward the U.S. Treasury.”
The group we lobby with is the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a network of organizations from communities near U.S. nuclear facilities, including those that are closed like Colorado’s Rocky Flats. Activists from across the country have held nearly 75 meetings with Administration and Congressional officials this week.
The “Billion Dollar Boondoggles” report is based on the latest data from the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request and NNSA’s current Stockpile Stewardship & Management Plan. It updates a Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that “modernization” will cost U.S. taxpayers at least $355 billion over 10 years.
As we met in congressional offices, we strongly suggested a far better policy of instituting fiscal accountability for NNSA and a focused ‘Curatorship’ program to manage nuclear weapons until they are retired.
We described two parallel bills, the SANE Act in the Senate and REIN IN Act in the House that would save U.S. taxpayers $100 billion over ten years by scaling down, delaying, or canceling a variety of nuclear weapons programs and facilities.
As Brenna Schaetzle, Boulderite, remarked, “How great it would be to use even a fraction of $100 billion to invest in real human security needs like education, disaster relief, safer roads and unemployment benefits.”
Cecelia Gilboy added, “ Whoa! Maybe Rocky Flats could really be cleaned up.”
Castle Bravo Nuclear Explosion–Bikini Atoll– Marshall Islands
“Those without a lot of wealth or a lot of power are getting absolutely killed in America today,” according to Michael Snyder from “The American Dream,” and the same could be said world wide. The big corporations, the major financial institutions, the ultra-wealthy and those connected to the top levels of government are thriving even though the economies overall are in shambles. Meanwhile, ordinary people are being abused, harassed, regulated, taxed and mistreated like never before.
To maintain this status quo, the nuclear nations spend 100 billion dollars yearly upgrading nuclear arsenals, according to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and they aren’t stopping.
Enter onto this world stage a tiny nation, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, abused for 60 years by US nuclear testing, accompanying deadly nuclear radiation and resulting suffering and deaths. Sixty-seven nuclear bombs were detonated there from 1946 to 1958, according to “Nuclear Zero.” This David and Goliath little nation has filed land mark cases in the International Court of Justice and US Federal District Court against the nuclear giants, claiming that the nine nuclear-armed nations with their 17,000 nuclear bombs have failed to comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law, to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.
They are acting for the seven billion of us who live on this planet–”to end the nuclear weapons threat hanging over all humanity.”
The nuclear nations are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China, who have signed on to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed on but are nuclear nations “bound to the obligations by customary international law,” according to the Nuclear Zero law suits.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty countries meet every five years at a Review Conference to assess the implementation of the treaty. There is a Preparatory Committee conference that meets for two weeks in the three years leading up to the Review Conference. One has just convened at the United Nations in New York in preparation for the 2015 Review Conference. Undoubtedly these landmark lawsuits will be highlighted at the conference, as well as the rattling of nuclear sabers re: the Russia, US, Ukraine struggle.
May the ‘little guy,’ the Republic of the Marshall Islands, win. The world will be infinitely safer.