Post Fukushima, we owe it to ourselves and our children to focus on our own backyard nuclear reality -- Los Alamos.
What is becoming much more evident is that the location of Los Alamos, which may once have been a sentimental memory for Oppenheimer, in reality is an earthquake prone fault zone, built on the side of one of the biggest calderas in the world.
We don't know exactly why the earthquake frequency is going up --is it 'fracking' (which is also happening in New Mexico), or is it the volcano itself ? or what?--fact is that the earth is stirring in a different way than before and it is affecting Los Alamos. Check out the following graphic:
|..that circular formation on the left is a volcano...Los Alamos is in the middle of photo...can you see any fault-lines ? click to enlarge|
As you see below LANL has the highest known likely earthquake acceleration in the state (greater than 1 g), just roughly speaking on a grand scale as compiled by the USGS, here shown in the 5 Hertz frequency (i.e. 5 waves per second) part of the spectrum for a 2,500 year recurrence interval (i.e. 2% chance in 50 years). The little dot is Santa Fe. It's from here: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/hazards/products/conterminous/2008/maps/wus/nm/5hzSA.NM.jpg.
There are only two places in the entire eastern half of the U.S. with such high values (New Madrid Fault Zone and Charleston, SC)
In the last few months the public is becoming aware that Los Alamos' current plutonium processing facility, PF-4 , is substandard and earthquake prone. PF-4 is a nuclear facility, currently involved in pit production and in MOX fuel production for commercial nuclear power plants as well.
In a study of earthquake hazards of PF-4 the facility didn't meet the safety requirements in 13 out of 15 criteria. Like certain Lab insiders from LANL, we at the Los Alamos Study Group have become convinced that this facility will never come into compliance with seismic safety standards.
One of the items that failed were some 157 'glove boxes' -- relatively small containment areas where plutonium is being handled. To just bring these glove boxes into compliance will cost between $100.000 on the low side and on the high side $850,000 per box. That one high end glove box upgrade costs about as much as the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra is in debt, and they were shut down because of it.
PF-4 will be connected by tunnels with the newly
proposed CMRR Nuclear Facility, and if everything goes as planned some of its tasks will move to this facility.
|this is what plutonium storage looks like...|
The newly proposed CMRR building itself is slated to store 6 tons of plutonium in stainless steel containers about 35 pounds per vessel (about 4 times Nagasaki). This is one of the missions of the new CMRR bunker: a plutonium vault. First of all, that begs the question: what for?? Nationally, if you have 90 tons of plutonium around --without any useful purpose--why does one need so much plutonium storage in Los Alamos? The answer is simple: to continue the expertise and keep the skills for plutonium handling alive.
|even Kim Yong-Il knows this|
More than anything this planned gathering of plutonium in one vault in the CMRR, is more like a self employment program of a nuclear corporate elite. History has proven that if you claim a hoard of plutonium....you'll have a "future" (in terms of funding).
The Russian 'scientists' had an insider joke about this kind of mentality that would always crack them up: Plutonium is very valuable....because "they" (=us) have had to pay a lot of money for it...and still do.....
The purpose of the CMRR-NF behemoth is shapeshifting all the time and, as if all of us are not already living in enough absurdity-- this is touted as a "plus". The so-called 'hotel concept' for the CMRR, that the NNSA came up with is just that: a totally secretive facility that can host different plutonium focus groups (international?), and which essentially can do their bidding and make new prototypes. It reflects the deepening privatization of nuclear weapon design, and --I regret to say-- that in some ways all of this expansive planning is aided and abetted by the recently signed the American-Russian START treaty.
Despite the support of many childish peace organizations, START is deceptive in its name & numbers: in fact START gives the 'go-ahead' to a nuclear weapons modernization program that in so many ways defines the future of the human race and governance. That is the reality that is hidden behind the word "Modernization". It is not just an upgrade to the latest technologies and security and precision systems, but a commitment to a certain type of human future, where the demon of Thanatos reins with cold tyrannical calculations of power -- pulling apart most of the common resources and like a hungry ghost-vampire, sucking dry the very live-blood of community and human survival.
Privatization of nuclear- weapons "as an industry" makes Bechtel and Co. the fountainhead of all proliferation from now on: For New Mexico, most of that calamitous and undemocratic future will be built in Los Alamos --mostly in the CMRR-NF: the holy grail for nuclear weapons and an accident waiting to happen. Similar to BP in the Gulf, or GE in Fukushima.
Costs have been spiraling up -- but to LANS that doesn't make any difference. Really, the position of the Nuclear industry is not that different from the Banking 'industry': cough it up or else we will destroy you. And if something does go wrong, it is up to the taxpayer to underwrite and insure the whole damn endeavor. That is the future Obama espouses when he promises the labs the largest increase in funding since the Manhattan Project. That money is given to LANS and this is what LANS says about itself:
Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) comprises four top U.S. organizations that have extensive experience in nuclear defense programs—Bechtel National, University of California, BWX Technologies, and Washington Group International. Our combined record of accomplishments and awards is unmatched in both science and industry.
While the State is afflicted by debt, schools and Symphony Orchestras are closing, public funding of anything is cut, rampant homelessness, poverty, increasing hunger and food-stamps, crime, insanity etc., the laboratory is somehow the proud recipient of a 7 % increase in funding. CMRR-NF is like a bad joke. Remember, Bechtel, the heavy weight partner in the LANS partnership was always in the concrete and construction industry .....and still is. Pouring concrete in Los Alamos will soon be a "hell -of-a-job".
When some voices in congress complained about the price-tag for the CMRR-NF, now at around 6 billion-- in a recent letter from LANS to NNSA, the planners came up with 11 recommendations for cuts. It has been thus far impossible for the public to get to these documents. Even the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, was apparently not notified about the proposed changes --messing up the whole certification process. However, leaks suggest that cuts are proposed in the fire suppression systems and possibly also the ventilation system associated with the plutonium storage. Like the DNFSB Safety Board, we would like to see this document and hereby I would like to ask the NM congressional staff, Bingaman and Udall, to immediately make this document available to interested groups and the press: What are the budget cuts that LANS suggests and how will they affect safety ?
If Udall and Bingaman don't currently have this document, it would take just one phone call from either one of them to get it, and I call on them to do so and make it public.
Talking about 'secret' public documents: there is yet another document which is not classified and which should be made public: the government evaluated the performance of LANS management of the Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) covering the recent years 2009-2010. They have to do these PEP (Performance Evaluation Plan) and PER's (Performance Evaluation Reports) in order to pinpoint the possible bonuses and incentive fees that LANS gets for their management performance which usually translates in millions of additional tax dollars going to LANS and is a potential source of deep corruption. Don't believe me ? here is the document covering 2008:
|'performance' numbers associated with the year 2008 --but how about PER's 2009 and 2010 ?? N/A ? Why ??|
Remember what they said about themselves: Our combined record of accomplishments and awards is unmatched in both science and industry.....This gets a whole different meaning in the light of these numbers...
There is obviously nothing to hide here, but we need to know how effectively our tax money spend was spend in Los Alamos ? We need to know and we demand that Udall and Bingaman do their job as our representatives and make this Performance Evaluation Report 2009 and 2010 available to the press and interested parties. Not doing so, as has been thus far the case -- is a disservice to the electorate of this state and it is unfair.
My friends, obviously CMRR-NF is for cynical losers, it will be built in an earthquake zone, it promotes corruption --since it represents a lost cause-- and it is not worth spending another dollar on.