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Environmental Protection Agency's New Emergency Plan for Drinking Water Concerns Many

November 14, 2016
Source:
NBC News Bay Area

It happened with devastating speed in Fukushima, Japan.

It’s happening slowly all over the United States: radioactive waste is seeping into the soil and groundwater.

As she paces the fence at Lawrence Livermore Labs near her home, Marylia Kelley shakes her head about a new Environmental Protection Agency proposal that could affect communities like hers if a future radioactive release were to occur. It’s called a Protective Action Guide, or PAG. If formally adopted, it would set new, much higher levels on radioactive materials to be allowed in drinking water supplies following any kind of “radiological” accident or spill for an undetermined “intermediate” period of time.

Neighborhoods around Livermore labs already have radioactive uranium and tritium in the groundwater - a byproduct of the lab’s research on nuclear weapons. It’s been on the Superfund list for decades. As Executive Director of Tri-Valley Cares, a community watchdog group that monitors Lawrence Livermore Lab, Kelley has been keeping tabs on all the contaminants that show up in the groundwater.

“The current state of understanding of radioactive pollution is that there is no safe level of radiation exposure,” says Kelley. “ She adds that, “Ironically, it was a researcher here at Livermore Lab who first promulgated and then over time proved that hypothesis.”

That researcher was John Gofman, a medical doctor and nuclear physicist. In his book, Nuclear Witnesses, Insiders Speak Out, Gofman wrote, “It is not a question any more: radiation produces cancer, and the evidence is good all the way down to the lowest doses."

Kelley worries about what the new EPA PAG plan will do to her community. “The health of the workers and the health of my community and my family are literally put at risk when you make cleanup standards more lax,” Kelley says... Source: Environmental Protection Agency's New Emergency Plan for Drinking Water Concerns Many | NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/E-P-AS-NEW-EMERGENCY-PLAN-FOR-DRINKING-WATER-CONCERNS-MANY-401206656.html#ixzz4RQJ0oITq Follow us: @NBCBayArea on Twitter | NBCBayArea on Facebook

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Entries Sought in Youth Video Contest

September 1, 2016
Source:
The Independent

The launch this month of Livermore-based Tri-Valley CAREs’ third annual Youth Video Contest is part of the group’s ongoing initiative to engage the next generation in nuclear weapons and environmental policy questions and to ensure that their voices are heard.

“Are Clean Groundwater Aquifers Important to you?” is the theme of this year’s Youth Video Contest. The basic instructions are simple: Describe what you think. In a video, address whether and why clean groundwater is important to you.

“Youth voices are often left out of environmental decision-making at Livermore Lab,” noted Tri-Valley CAREs’ Staff Attorney, Scott Yundt, who is coordinating the contest. “The 2016 Youth Video Contest allows young people to speak to issues that will impact their future through video, a format of interest to many youth.”

Youth from ten to thirty years old are invited to submit videos of two minutes or less, with a Grand Prize of $500, a Second Place prize of $250, and a Third Place prize of $100. All videos are due electronically by October 31, 2016 and will be posted on the contest Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/youthvideocontest2016 and Youtube Channel. Details of the contest can be found at: http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/contest2016.html

While submitters may take a broad perspective, contest rules require that the video address some aspect of groundwater pollution or related nuclear weapons activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Main Site in Livermore or its Site 300 near Tracy. Both locations are on the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Superfund” list of the most contaminated sites in the country, laregely because of contaminated groundwater. Cleanup of contamination at both sites is scheduled to take another 40-60 years or more.

Contestants need not be from Livermore or Tracy. Groundwater contamination affects a wide area. A committee that includes a professional videographer has been empaneled to judge the videos. Video submittals can be cartoons, live-action, documentary style, etc. Contestants can film with such technologies as cell phones and laptop web cams.

Winners will be notified in November 2016. The three winning videos will be shown at a special awards ceremony and party on Wednesday, December 7th at the Livermore Main Library, 1188 South Livermore Ave.

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Take a stand against nukes

Friday, August 5, 2016
Source:
The Union Democrat (Tuolumne, CA) Letter to the Editor by Joseph Rodgers

Seventy-one years ago at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped Little Boy. 44.4 seconds later, the bomb forever changed the world. The blast from just one 15 kiloton nuclear bomb killed approximately 80,000 people instantly and another 60,000 by the end of the year. The arms race was on.

Tsar Bomba, the largest bomb ever exploded, had a blast yield of 50 megatons, over 1,500 Little Boy bombs. The seismic waves from Tsar Bomba were measurable the third time that they traveled around the earth.

Unfortunately, these weapons are much more than just history. Today, over a thousand nuclear weapons are kept on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched in as few as 10 minutes. These weapons continue to threaten the existence of humanity at every moment.

Worse yet, these weapons are being designed just a few dozen miles from our homes. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of two labs in America that develops the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The nuclear weapons activities of these labs continue to plague the environment, threaten the health and safety of workers and undermine international security.

This Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, at 8 a.m., concerned citizens and nonprofit organizations from the community will gather at the corner of Vasco and Patterson Pass Road in Livermore for an annual rally outside of the lab.

This year’s keynote speaker is the Honorable Tony Debrum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands. He is heading a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice against five nuclear weapons states. Among other speakers is Nobuaki Hanaoka, a survivor of the Nagasaki bombing on Aug. 9, 1945. Please join us and take a stand against the world’s most dangerous weapons.

Joseph Rodgers.

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Nagsaki Anniversary!

August 9, 2016
Source:
KPFA Radio: Talkies with Kris Welch

Listen to the full story...(Marylia Kelley interview begins at minute 4)




Must demand that the nuclear-armed states disarm

August 5, 2016
Source:
East Bay Times: Op-Ed by Jacqueline Cabasso, Marylia Kelley and Tom Webb

Many Americans are not aware that about 15,000 nuclear weapons, most orders of magnitude more powerful that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, more than 90 percent held by the U.S. and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity.

In August 1945, the United States ushered in the nuclear age with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, incinerating tens of thousands of children, women and men in an instant. By the end of 1945, more than 210,000 people were dead. More than 90 percent of the doctors and nurses in Hiroshima were killed or injured. The survivors, their children and grandchildren continue to suffer physical, psychological and sociological effects of the bombings. Health effects caused by genetic damage to future generations are still unfolding.

In July 1946, the United States began a series of 67 nuclear test explosions over the Marshall Islands, detonating the equivalent of 1.7 Hiroshima-sized bombs daily for 12 years. The largest, the 15-megaton Bravo shot, turned the sky blood red for hundreds of miles. Birth defects never seen before and other radiation-related health effects continue to plague the Marshallese people.

In 1951, the U.S. also opened a nuclear testing range on Western Shoshone ancestral land 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, spreading fallout across cities like St. George, Utah, and tracked as far as New York. The U.S. government has linked testing in Nevada to domestic cancers and other health problems.

Lasting health and genetic effects are not the only nuclear dangers that remain today. Many Americans are not aware that about 15,000 nuclear weapons, most orders of magnitude more powerful than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, more than 90 percent held by the U.S. and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity. And the dangers of wars among nuclear-armed nations are growing.

Nuclear weapons have again taken center stage in confrontations between the U.S., its NATO allies and Russia. Tensions have been intensified -- potentially catastrophically -- by the brandishing of nuclear arms by both sides.

The conflict in Europe is only one of several potential nuclear flashpoints, with new tensions and arms-racing from the Western Pacific to South Asia. In Syria, the U.S., Russia and France -- three nuclear-armed nations -- are bombing side-by-side and on different sides. An accidental or intentional military incident could send the world spiraling into nuclear confrontation.

Further, the U.S. plans to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize its nuclear bombs and warheads, the submarines, missiles and bombers needed to deliver them, and the infrastructure to sustain the nuclear enterprise indefinitely.

At the nearby Livermore Lab, scientists are modifying a new warhead for a new long-range standoff weapon capable of launching a nuclear sneak attack.

Recognizing these growing dangers, the Republic of the Marshall Islands stepped forward to challenge the nuclear-armed states in the International Court of Justice and U.S. federal court for their failure to disarm as required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and customary international law.

Other international initiatives to achieve nuclear weapons abolition are gaining momentum. Locally, a growing number of peace and justice advocates and their allies are opposing new weapons activities in Livermore and globally.

On Tuesday, the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, people will gather at Livermore Lab to call on the nuclear-armed states to disarm now. Nagasaki A-bomb survivor Nobuaki Hanaoka will share his experience and insights. International lawyer John Burroughs will discuss the Marshall Islands' lawsuits. The 8 a.m. rally will be followed by a procession to the gates and nonviolent direct action.

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Aid is available for lab workers sickened on job

August 4, 2016
Source:
name of news outlet

The process for Livermore Lab employees who were made ill by on-the-job exposures to radiation and/or toxic chemicals to receive compensation and benefits is getting easier.

The Special Exposure Cohort for Livermore Lab workers was recently approved for an expansion to cover employees who worked at least a year (250 work days) between 1952 and Dec. 31, 1989 (the previous cutoff was Dec. 31, 1973).

If you also have one of 22 specific cancers on the eligible list, you're automatically awarded $150,000, plus medical benefits and an impairment award, even if you were previously denied. If you have a deceased loved one who worked at the lab during this period and suffered one of the specific illnesses, you may be eligible for an award as well.

I am an intern at Tri-Valley CAREs, a nonprofit in Livermore that offers employees and families assistance in making claims for benefits. If you have any questions about your eligibility or for help filing a claim, contact our staff attorney, Scott Yundt, at 925-443-7148.

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Nuclear Weapons

August 4, 2016
Source:
The Independent - Letter to the Editor by Jo Ann Frisch

As a Livermore resident, I participate in annual rallies at Livermore Lab to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to say “never again” at the location where nuclear weapons are still being created. This year, that observance will be held on August 9th. I wrote a chant that expresses my feelings about the smudged “shadows” of atomic bomb victims’ bodies that resemble chalked outlines:

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Nuclear clock

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Hiroshima

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Children play hop

Scotch, chalk, chalk, chalk

On the sidewalk

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

All blown away

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Nuclear clock

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Nagasaki

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Children play hop

Scotch, chalk, chalk, chalk

On the sidewalk

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

All blown away

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Never again

Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk

Demand, disarm

Stop, stop, stop, stop!

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Help With Claims

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Source:
The Independent - Letter to the Editor by Vivian Connolly

The process for Livermore Lab employees who believe they were made ill by on-the-job exposures to radiation and/or toxic chemicals to receive compensation and benefits is getting easier. The Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) for Livermore Lab workers was recently approved for an expansion to cover all employees who worked at least a year (250 work days) between 1952 and December 31, 1989 (the previous cut off was December 31, 1973). If you also have one or more of the 22 specific cancers on the eligible list, you automatically are awarded $150,000, plus special medical benefits and an impairment award, even if you were previously denied. Alternatively,if you have a deceased loved one who worked at the lab during this period and suffered one of the specific illnesses, you may also be eligible for an award as a survivor.

I am an intern this summer at Tri-Valley CAREs, a nonprofit group in Livermore that offers employees and their families assistance in making claims for these benefits. If you have any questions about your eligibility or for help filing a claim, feel free to contact our Staff Attorney Scott Yundt at (925)443-7148.

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Nuclear Weapons

Thursday, July 14
Source:
The Independent: Letter to the Editor by Stephanie Ericson

We struggle to make sense of senseless violence in our world, whether in war-ravaged areas or in our own communities. While our hearts should and do go out to the many innocent victims, we must not forget the victims of the past.

On August 9, 1945, an atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki killed 70,000 Japanese men women and children within weeks -- slow horrible deaths for most; Hiroshima’s bomb, dropped only three days earlier, killed as many as 120,000. Tens of thousands more died later from long-term radiation effects.

Perhaps even more senseless, we now have the nuclear weaponry to create thousands of Hiroshimas and Nagasakis.

Tri-Valley CAREs and other groups invite everyone to commemorate Nagasaki Day at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9 at Livermore’s nuclear weapons lab’s northwest corner, Vasco and Patterson Pass Roads. Our theme is DISARM NOW: We stand with Nuclear Survivors for Global Justice.

Keynote speaker is Tony DeBrum, former Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, which suffered from US atomic testing; Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka, a Nagasaki A-bomb survivor, will also speak. A short march to the lab’s West Gate will follow to support peaceful direct action participants.

Find more information at trivalleycares.org.

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Watchdog group sues for documents from the Department of Energy

June 21, 2016
Source:
Physics Today

A California advocacy group has filed suit against the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for alleged violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The watchdog group, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), says in a June 10 complaint filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California that the NNSA is up to four years overdue in delivering requested documents.

The information in question concerns experiments with plutonium at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a shipment of anthrax to the lab, and management of the lab’s aging high-risk facilities. Tri-Valley CAREs also alleges that the NNSA failed to provide information about a 2012 study on the construction of a proposed plutonium pit manufacturing facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The project, known as the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Facility, was formally canceled by DOE in February.

“The DOE and NNSA are egregiously out of compliance with the law,” said Tri-Valley CAREs staff attorney Scott Yundt in a statement.

An NNSA spokesperson says the agency does not comment on litigation. FOIA requires federal agencies to produce requested information within 20 business days, unless it is harmful to national security, is proprietary, or is subject to several other narrowly defined exclusions. Agencies can claim unusual circumstances and take an additional 10 business days to furnish the material. The law also requires agencies to provide the requester with written notification of the date when they expect to deliver the information.

The lawsuit claims that the NNSA has supplied only a small fraction of the volumes of information Tri-Valley CAREs had sought in 2012 about the Los Alamos plutonium study and also has produced only a partial response to the watchdog group’s 2015 request for information on the use of fissile or fissionable materials at NIF. A January 2016 request for information about a 2007 shipment of live anthrax to LLNL from the US Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah has elicited no response from the NNSA, the complaint says.

Last year Tri-Valley CAREs and the Natural Resources Defense Council asked LLNL to cancel plutonium experiments at NIF because the environmental, safety, and proliferation impacts hadn’t been adequately assessed. But the lab insisted that those considerations had been addressed as part of previously completed environmental impact statements.

Tri-Valley CAREs initiated similar FOIA litigation on six other occasions between 1998 and 2013 to compel DOE to release documents. In each case Tri-Valley CAREs succeeded in obtaining material, although in some cases the group ended up narrowing the scope of the information requested.

“We should not have to file lawsuits in order to obtain public information,” Yundt said in the statement. “Congress enacted the FOIA specifically so that organizations like Tri-Valley CAREs would have free access to unclassified, non-exempt records that disclose the operation of the government.”

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Freedom of Information Federal Lawsuit Filed

June 16, 2016
Source:
The Independent

Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) filed a Federal lawsuit in United States District Court for the Northern District of California last Friday against the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The suit charges the two failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which requires federal agencies to respond to public requests for information within 20 days.

According to the complaint, Tri-Valley CAREs alleges four separate instances the DOE and NNSA failed to provide responsive, unclassified documents regarding operations at the agencies’ Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The information that is the subject of the litigation is overdue by up to two years, said a press release.

The group’s lawsuit asks the judge to issue a court order appointing a Special Counsel to investigate the pattern of abuse wherein DOE and NNSA fail to comply with the law. The Special Counsel would then determine whether disciplinary action is warranted and against whom.

“The DOE and NNSA are egregiously out of compliance with the law,” noted Tri-Valley CAREs’ Staff Attorney, Scott Yundt. “This frustrates the public’s basic right to know.”

Yundt added. “In some cases, important opportunities for public input have elapsed and projects have gone forward while the group’s information requests went unanswered.”

Tri-Valley CAREs brought similar FOIA litigation to compel the release of documents under the Freedom of Information act in 1998, 2000, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013. “We should not have to file lawsuits in order to obtain public information,” said Yundt.

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Tri-Valley CAREs Executive Director Marylia Kelley on KPFA Evening News

May 27, 2016
Source:
KPFA

The segment is previewed in the opening and the interview runs from 2:22 to 6:26.




Show Conviction

May 26, 2016
Source:
San Francisco Chronicle - Letter to the editor by Janis Turner

President Obama will visit Hiroshima on Friday, the first U.S. President to do so while in office. White House spokespeople have emphasized that Obama will “offer a forward looking vision” about nuclear disarmament, but have remained vague about its content.

Let me help you, Mr. President. This is not the time for soaring rhetoric that lacks an implementation plan. Instead, you must announce concrete actions in Hiroshima. Cancel the new nuclear-tipped cruise missile. Scale back the trillion-dollar buying binge at the Pentagon and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Announce that you will lower the risk of accidental nuclear war by taking US nuclear warheads off high alert, often referred to as “hair trigger”.

Tangible actions like these will honor both the living and the dead by seizing this moment in history to move us further from the brink of a future nuclear conflict. Mr. President, show the courage of your convictions in Hiroshima.



A future free of nuclear arms

May 26, 2016
Source:
San Francisco Chronicle - Letter to the editor by Marylia Kelley

On Friday, President Obama will visit Hiroshima and lay a wreath commemorating victims of the first atomic bomb used in war. U.S. media attention has been focused on whether Obama will issue an apology (he won’t). In Hiroshima, however, a different and more profound question emerges.

Sunao Tsuboi was a student when the A-bomb was dropped. He remained in a hospital, unconscious, for more than a month. He said recently, “We want to see progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons before we die. I will repeat that demand until my heart stops beating.”

The Hibakusha (survivors) ask for action toward elimination of these weapons so that no one else will suffer as they have. “Never again” is their cry on behalf of all humanity. I have met with survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I urge Obama to spend time in their company, to look into their eyes and to hear their stories. And, to answer their question: What action will you take toward a future free of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war?




Must seize moment, stop making nukes

May 26, 2016
Source:
The East Bay Times- Letter to the Editor by Loulena Miles

President Barack Obama's trip to Hiroshima on May 27 is an important opportunity for us as a nation to reconsider how much money and energy that we are funneling into modernizing our nuclear weapons today despite the unconscionable tragedy inflicted on so many innocent civilians when we dropped the bombs in 1945.

Incredibly, Obama has quietly rolled out a $1 trillion program over 30 years to upgrade every aspect of our nuclear arsenal, including new warheads, missiles, subs, bombers and nuclear weapons production facilities.

As Bay Area residents, we have a critical role to play in this because one of our nation's two nuclear weapons design labs, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, sits less than 50 miles away and has lobbied extensively for this work.

Our communities should demand a stop to nuclear weapons design work and convert that lab to purely civilian science to improve humanity.

We should all call upon our president to cancel the nuclear modernization programs and comply with our commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

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Good time to talk nuclear disarmament

May 24, 2016
Source:
East Bay Times - Letter to the Editor by Scott Yundt

President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima on May 27 while he is in Japan for the G7 summit. He will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to rely heavily on nuclear weapons and is planning to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize all aspects of our nuclear arsenal, including the warheads (many of which will be designed at Livermore Laboratory right in our backyard), submarines, missiles, bombers, production facilities and command and control infrastructure.

I encourage Obama to make substantive contributions to nuclear disarmament while he is there, such as: Removing the U.S. nuclear arsenal from high-alert status and encouraging all other nuclear-armed nations to do the same; initiating negotiations for global nuclear disarmament as required by Article VI of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; announcing further nuclear reductions with Russia, as use of even a fraction of the current arsenals could cause nuclear winter and canceling all or some of the $1 trillion, 30-year plan to completely overhaul the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

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30 Years After Chernobyl, World's Worst Nuclear Disaster, U.S. Activists Warn of Ongoing Risks

April 19, 2016
Source:
Democracy Now!

We are on the road in New Mexico, home to Los Alamos and the birthplace of the nuclear age. The atomic bombs used in World War II were designed and developed here, and it remains one of two places that design every nuclear weapon in the United States arsenal. This comes as today marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the former Soviet state of Ukraine, which is still considered the worst nuclear disaster in history. It sent a cloud of radioactive fallout into Russia, Belarus and over a large portion of Europe. Fifty thousand people living in Chernobyl’s immediate surroundings had to be evacuated, and a vast rural region became uninhabitable. The legacy of Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power accident, which occurred five years ago last month in Japan, particularly resonates with residents here in the Southwest and in the Western United States. The other facility is in Livermore Lab in California, and we recently spoke with Marylia Kelley, a Livermore resident and the executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, or Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, a partner organization with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. The group just put out a new report called "Trillion Dollar Trainwreck: Out-of-control U.S. nuclear weapons programs accelerate spending, proliferation, health and safety risks."...

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DC Days

April 14, 2016
Source:
The Independent - Letter to the Editor from Scott Yundt

Several local environmental and peace activists will be travelling to Washington, DC in late April to attend the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s (ANA) “DC Days” lobbying week. The event will bring together nearly sixty activists from around the country to speak truth to power about the impacts of nuclear weapons on their communities. The four-day event is organized each year by the ANA member groups, including Livermore-based Tri-Valley CAREs.

This year the theme is “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck” in reference to the estimated one-trillion taxpayer dollars planned to be spent on “modernization” of our nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles over the next 30 years. A report of that title (with sections by Tri-Valley CAREs Executive Director Marylia Kelley) will be distributed to Members of Congress and will be available on the CAREs website, www.trivalleycares.org . the participants will conduct about a hundred pre-set meetings with members of Congress, committee staff and top officials in the Obama Administration.

Together we will conduct the advocacy necessary to preserve nonproliferation programs and important cleanup activities at nuclear weapons complex sites. Another major focus will be to stop dangerous and provocative nuclear weapons programs.

All are invited to attend an April 21st Tri-Valley CAREs meeting at the Main Livermore Public Library at 7:30 for a report back from this event. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

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U.S. Nuke Budget A “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck”

April 14, 2016
Source:
Early Warning By: Cora Henry and Noah Williams

The trillion dollar trainwreck - A report from the weapons communities of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability details the problems with U.S. plans for its nuclear arsenal. “Proliferation begins at home. That has never been clearer than now, as the United States embarks on what many scientists at its nuclear weapons laboratories are calling ‘the second nuclear age.’ The United States plans to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to ‘modernize’ all aspects of its nuclear arsenal.”

--Trillion Dollar Trainwreck focuses primarily on the FY 2017 budget for nuclear weapons and wastes. It highlights Life Extension Programs (LEPs), proposed new production facilities, and other projects at Department of Energy sites. Most of them are completely unnecessary for national security. All of them are mismanaged, behind schedule, and wildly over budget... Failure to [address these problems] places workers, the public and the environment at ever greater risk of catastrophic consequences.” Full report here. http://bit.ly/1VnF18v

Video - Watch Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, speak about Trillion Dollar Trainwreck with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!.

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Amy Goodman: Obama's trillion-dollar nuclear-arms train wreck

April 14, 2016
Source:
The Union : By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

STANFORD, Calif. — “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” These were the words from the Hindu religious text, the Bhagavad-Gita, that flashed through the mind of the man credited with creating the first atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, as the first nuclear explosion in history lit up the dark desert sky at the Trinity blast site in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

Weeks after that, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and thrust the world into the atomic age. Since then, humanity has lived with the terrible prospect of nuclear war and mass annihilation. Conventional wisdom holds that the likelihood that these unconventional weapons will be used has decreased since the end of the so-called Cold War. That perception has been challenged lately, especially since President Barack Obama announced a 30-year, $1 trillion program to modernize the U.S. nuclear-weapon arsenal.

Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on Monday, the first sitting U.S. secretary of state to visit the site. Kerry was in Japan for a meeting of the G-7 nations. In his public remarks at the memorial, Kerry offered no apology for the nuclear attacks. He did say, though, that the museum “was a reminder of the depth of obligation that every single one of us in public life carries — in fact, every person in position of responsibility carries — to work for peace ... to create and pursue a world free from nuclear weapons.”

Despite the lofty rhetoric, President Obama has launched what the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability calls the “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck.” That is the title of a new report on Obama’s massive plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear-weapons arsenal, to be released next Monday. Marylia Kelley is one of the report’s authors. She serves as executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, or Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, a partner organization with the Alliance. Of Kerry’s visit to Hiroshima, Kelley said, on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, “Kerry went empty-handed. The United States needs to go with a concrete plan to roll back its own nuclear-weapons program. You cannot preach abstinence, in terms of nuclear weapons, from the biggest bar stool in the room.”...

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As John Kerry Visits Hiroshima, U.S. Quietly Launches $1 Trillion Effort to Upgrade Nuclear Arsenal

April 13, 2016
Source:
Democracy Now!

On Monday, John Kerry became the first secretary of state to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city destroyed by a U.S. nuclear bomb on August 6, 1945. Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, the U.S. dropped another nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands were killed. The United States is the only country ever to drop an atomic bomb. Kerry offered no apology for the U.S. nuclear attack but called for "a world free from nuclear weapons." Despite his remarks, the Obama administration has been quietly upgrading its nuclear arsenal to create smaller, more precise nuclear bombs as part of a massive effort that will cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. We speak to Marylia Kelley. Her group, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, just published a report titled "Trillion Dollar Trainwreck: Out-of-control U.S. nuclear weapons programs accelerate spending, proliferation, health and safety risks."...

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Livermore Lab's budget priorities totally out of balance

March 22, 2016
Source:
Contra Costa Times: Letter to the Editor from Jo Ann Frisch

The 2017 budget request for Livermore Lab exceeds $1.2 billion. What programs will this budget support?

Science is only 2.8 percent of the budget request, and the problem of global climate change is a mere portion of that. An even smaller piece of the budget is allocated to cleaning up the lab's contaminated groundwater and leaking nuclear wastes.

Eighty-six percent of the budget is for nuclear weapons activities. Livermore Lab is developing a new nuclear warhead for a cruise missile to be fired from a plane. Because this new nuclear weapon will appear identical to a conventional cruise missile, it has been called "destabilizing" by Pentagon officials.

I am outraged this dangerous pursuit that could trigger nuclear war will get a bigger budget than science, cleanup and other good programs at Livermore Lab. The lab has world-renowned scientists. Shouldn't they be working on productive things that preserve the environment and make our world a safer place?

Livermore Lab must be brought into balance. I invite others to join me in this effort. More information is at trivalleycares.org.

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Nuke weapons machine is still revving back up

March 8, 2016
Source:
Contra Costa Times: Letter to the Editor from Stephanie Ericson

The president's budget request for Department of Energy funding in FY2017 shows a disappointing and dangerous continued trend toward greater nuclear weapons development.

It does take a few small positive steps, such as this year's modest increase to $69 million in spending for dismantling previously retired nukes. But overall, the $9.94 billion proposed in nuclear weapons activities, up 4.45 percent this year, reflects an escalating commitment to new nuclear weapons development. This runs counter to international treaty commitments, publicly stated goals and common sense.

The new W80-4 warhead, a potential first-strike weapon being developed at Livermore Lab, is particularly disturbing. From $9 million in FY2015 to $220 million in FY2016 to $636 million in five years and beyond, the expected total cost of this warhead plus its associated new missile is $30 billion. Former Defense Secretary William Perry calls it "uniquely destabilizing" because other countries could not distinguish the nuclear-tipped missile from its conventionally weaponized twin, if launched.

Are we now senselessly engaged in a new arms race, in the face of all wisdom, morality and fiscal prudence?

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New Arms Race

February 25, 2016
Source:
The Independent - Letter to the Editor - Stephanie Ericson

The President’s budget request for Department of Energy funding in FY2017 shows a disappointing and dangerous continued trend towards greater nuclear weapons development.

It does take a few small positive steps, such as this year’s modest increase to $69 million in spending for dismantling previously retired nukes. But overall, the $9.94 billion proposed in nuclear weapons activities, up 4.45% this year, reflects an escalating commitment to new nuclear weapons development. This runs counter to international treaty commitments, publicly stated disarmament goals and common sense.

The rapidly upward funding trajectory for the new W80-4 warhead being developed at Livermore Lab is particularly disturbing. From $9 million in FY2015 to $220 in FY2016 to a planned $636 in five years and continuing upward, the expected total cost of this warhead plus its associated new missile is $30 billion. A potential first-strike weapon, its critics include former Defense Secretary William Perry, who calls it “uniquely destabilizing” because other countries could not distinguish the nuclear-tipped missile from its conventional weapon twin, if launched.

We seem to be senselessly engaged in a new arms race, in the face of all wisdom, morality, and fiscal prudence.

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The lab should quit developing nuke weapons

January 19, 2016
Source:
Contra Costa Times - Letter to the Editor - Scott Yundt

I believe we who live and work in the Tri-Valley have a special duty to pay attention to activities at Livermore Lab.

In recent years, the lab lost its authority to use large quantities of nuclear material because it failed to secure them. Consequently, the lab's role in the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise began to diminish.

Rather than committing to civilian (non-nuclear weapons) science, the lab began pushing for a new nuclear-tipped cruise missile, known as the Long Range Stand Off warhead.

The need for this new weapon is highly questionable at best. In fact, our U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein, who is the ranking member on the Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee, said earlier this year, "I know of no compelling case (for developing it)." Sen. Feinstein is in a position to halt funding for this weapon. I urge people to call her through the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

It is time for Livermore Lab to get out of the nuclear weapons business and to commit its significant scientific prowess to more pressing needs.

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