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Tri-Valley CAREs Press Releases:   Most Recent  •  2012  •  2011 and earlier


For media inquiries contact: Marylia Kelley, (925) 443-7148, marylia@trivalleycares.org


Status of the “Superfund” Cleanup: Toxic and Radioactive Wastes at Livermore Lab Require Urgent Attention and What the Public Can Do

Media Advisory for Thurs., Sept. 18, 2014 event in Livermore

September 16, 2014

WHAT: Community meeting on the Superfund law, the hazardous contaminants in the environment, and why Livermore Lab’s broken public participation program imperils critical progress on cleanup.

WHEN:Thursday, September 18, 2014 from 7 PM to 8:30 PM

WHERE: Livermore Library Community Room A, 1188 So. Livermore Ave

SPEAKERS:

• Peter Strauss is President of the San Francisco-based PM Strauss & Associates. He began working for Tri-Valley CAREs in 1991 as Technical Advisor on the Superfund cleanup of the Livermore Lab's main site. In the mid-90s, he was also awarded a second contract by Tri-Valley CAREs to analyze data and advise on the Superfund cleanup at the Livermore Lab's site 300 high explosives testing range. His responsibilities include providing detailed analysis of reports, well logs and other technical data on soil and groundwater contaminants and their migration through the environment. Strauss also provides analyses of remediation technologies.

• Marylia Kelley is Executive Director at Tri-Valley CAREs. She brings 31 years of research, writing and facilitating public participation in decisions regarding the Livermore Lab, nuclear weapons, waste and cleanup. Kelley has served on the Livermore Lab "Community Work Group" (since 1989) to advise the government and the community on the Lab’s Superfund cleanup of toxic and radioactive pollution. Kelley has testified on issues related to the U.S. nuclear weapons complex before the House Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Congress, the California Legislature and the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, among other deliberative bodies.

• Scott Yundt is Staff Attorney at the Livermore-based Tri-Valley CAREs. He heads the group’s environmental and “right to know” litigation, and is managing Tri-Valley CAREs analysis of the renewal of Livermore Lab’s permit to store and treat hazardous and “mixed” radioactive wastes on site. Yundt also facilitates a support group for Livermore Lab and other workers made ill by on the job exposures.

WHY: At the main site, Livermore Lab has not held a meeting of its official “Community Work Group” in about two years. The public is being excluded. Contributing problems include a thick veil of institutional secrecy, hypertechnical “Lab-speak,” an absence of Spanish translation, and the regulatory agencies’ inability to compel meaningful changes in the Lab’s public involvement methods. At Site 300, a pressing problem is the lack of any official process to involve the public in Superfund cleanup decisions. Background on environmental contaminants at Livermore Lab is available at www.trivalleycares.org, or call us at (925) 443-7148. ###

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“Failure to Disarm: Holding Our Government Accountable”

Hiroshima Commemoration, Protest & Nonviolent Direct Action at Livermore Lab Highlights Courageous “Nuclear Zero” Lawsuits Brought by the Marshall Islands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 31, 2014

WHAT: California peace advocates will mark the 69th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Livermore Lab, where the U.S. is spending billions of dollars to create new and modified nuclear weapons. The aptly titled event, “Failure to Disarm,” will highlight the landmark litigation filed recently by the tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), used as a U.S. nuclear test site for 12 years, against the nine nuclear weapons states for their failure to disarm under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. The RMI also filed a separate case against the U.S. in Federal Court in San Francisco. The complaint specifically cites Livermore Lab’s activities to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile as a breach of the NPT and flagrant violation of international law.

WHEN: Wed., August 6, 2014. Rally will be from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM, with a moment of silence at 8:15 AM, the moment the first atomic bomb used in war exploded over Hiroshima. At 8:30 AM there will be a procession to the Livermore Lab West Gate, with a traditional Japanese dance and the chalking of human bodies on pavement to commemorate the vaporized remains found after the atomic bombings. Those who choose will peaceably risk arrest. Others will offer witness and support.

WHERE: Livermore Lab , corner of Vasco & Patterson Pass Roads in Livermore. Procession will go southward down Vasco Road to Westgate Drive.

SPEAKERS: • Rick Wayman will deliver the keynote. Wayman is Director of Programs for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He worked on nuclear policy with the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament before moving to Santa Barbara in 2007 to join NAPF. Wayman works closely with the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to coordinate the educational, policy and legal components of the litigation.

• Scott Yundt will detail weapons activities currently underway at Livermore Lab. Yundt is Staff Attorney at the Livermore-based Tri-Valley CAREs. He manages the group’s environmental and “right to know” litigation, and is preparing an amicus brief in support of the Marshall Islands’ Federal case. Yundt facilitates a support group for Livermore Lab and other workers made ill by on the job exposures.

• Jackie Cabasso will address resurgent U.S. militarism in Asia-Pacific and the growing dangers of great power wars among nuclear armed nations. Cabasso, Executive Director of the Oakland-based Western States Legal Foundation since 1984, is an internationally recognized leading voice for nuclear weapons abolition. She was the recipient of the 2008 Sean McBride Peace Prize.

• Chizu Hamada will speak on the links between nuclear weapons, nuclear power and the ongoing dangers at Fukushima Daiichi. Hamada is a San Francisco business owner and spokesperson for the No Nukes Action Committee, a group of Japanese citizens, Japanese-Americans and others who came together after the 3/11/2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

• Music by Duamuxa, world music ensemble, and Daniel Zwickel, singer-guitarist.

WHY: On the 69th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, we will gather at the location where scientists are developing new and modified nuclear weapons. The Livermore Lab budget request reveals that 89% of the money will go to nuclear weapons activities in the coming fiscal year. Overall, the U.S. government spends nearly $2 million each hour on the nuclear weapons stockpile. U.S. spending will reach nearly $4 million each hour by 2030. This reality stands in stark contrast to the President’s rhetoric of seeking a “world without nuclear weapons” and the U.S. legal commitment to disarm under the NPT. The tiny Pacific Island Nation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands has filed valiant “Nuclear Zero” lawsuits against the U.S. and eight other nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The nuclear nine are: the U.S., Russia, UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. The Marshallese have also filed separately against the United States in the U.S. Federal District Court in San Francisco. The Marshall Islanders know all too well the devastating effects of living in the nuclear age. From 1946 to 1958, the U.S conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands. Their explosive power was estimated to be 1,000 times greater than the atomic bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet, the Marshallese are not seeking damages in their historic litigation. Instead they seek to compel compliance with the nuclear disarmament obligation enshrined in the NPT and in customary international law binding on all states.

The Japanese Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) also speak for global nuclear disarmament. Each August 6 and 9th, their voices are raised to cry “never again,” so that no others shall ever feel the horrific blast, heat, thirst, radiation sickness and either bloody death or [often] lingering illness that follows. On this August 6th, we will remember with sadness our government’s use of nuclear weapons on the Japanese people and recommit with joy to our ongoing our efforts to abolish nuclear weapons – an urgent necessity for our collective survival. We will stand, too, in solidarity with the people of the Marshall Islands as their historic litigation for nuclear zero wends its way through the international and domestic court systems.

OPS: Pre-event interviews with speakers, artists or organizers available on request.

Photo opportunities available at the rally site at 7:30 AM, and also along the procession route and at the Livermore Lab’s West Gate. Call for details.

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Inaugural Youth Video Contest on Livermore Lab Contamination Issues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 24, 2014

Livermore, CA - “Six Decades of Nuclear Bombs at Livermore Lab” is the theme of the inaugural Youth Video Contest sponsored locally by Tri-Valley CAREs*. The instructions are simple: Describe why a clean environment is important to you.

On Tuesday, July 29th at 10am at Livermore Main Library (1188 South Livermore Avenue), Tri-Valley CAREs will hold a press conference announcing the video contest. Members of the organization will put up a display on the bulletin board in the main hall, as well as be available for interviews, questions, and photo opportunities.

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LIVERMORE GROUP HEADS TO WASHINGTON TO EXPOSE “BILLION DOLLAR BOONDOGGLES” FOR NUCLEAR FACILITIES & WARHEADS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 14, 2014

Livermore, CA - Members of Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) will be in Washington, DC the week of May 18 to oppose U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear projects, including work proposed for, and being done at, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, that will waste billions in taxpayer funds, damage the environment and undermine the nation’s non-proliferation goals. The group will meet with leading members of Congress, committee staffers, and top administration officials with responsibility for U. S. nuclear policies.

The Livermore delegation will be working with colleagues living around other DOE facilities, from a dozen other states, who are participating in the 26th annual Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) "DC Days." The activists will meet with California Senators and Representatives, as well as leaders of congressional committees that oversee nuclear issues, and key federal agency staffers.

On Monday, May 19, ANA will release Billion Dollar Boondoggles, a comprehensive analysis of the Obama Administration’s latest plans to spend more money for less security. Tri-Valley CAREs’ Executive Director, Marylia Kelley, authored several sections of the report and will speak at the Monday news conference to release it to media and the public. The report highlights the proposed use of plutonium in the National Ignition Facility at Livermore Lab and warhead “Life Extension Programs,” among other topics.

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Budget Dispatch #3 – NUCLEAR AGENCY WITHHOLDS CRITICAL BUDGET DOCUMENTS; WATCHDOG GROUP DECRIES DELAY, PROVIDES OVERVIEW OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, NONPROLIFERATION & CLEANUP FUNDING REQUEST BASED ON AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS

This is the third in a series of Tri-Valley CAREs’ dispatches from deep within the FY 2015 budget request documents for the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). This dispatch will conclude our remarks on the budget documents released today. The NNSA’s detailed budget submittal to Congress has yet to be made public. We will resume these dispatches when key details become available, which may not be until March 11, 2014.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 4, 2014, 5PM

Tri-Valley CAREs celebrated important budget victories in the placement of the Mixed Oxide Plutonium Fuel (MOX) program into “cold standby” and the 5-year deferment, amounting to cancellation, of the new W78/88-1 “interoperable” nuclear warhead (see dispatches #1 and #2). The overview of the entire nuclear weapons budget request is far less rosy, however.

The “top line” request for DOE NNSA nuclear weapons activities rises to $8.3 billion, an increase of nearly $534 million, or about 7%, above the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 level, which was already far too high. Notably a major increase is requested in FY2015 for “directed stockpile work” (mostly to combine 4 versions of the B61 into a new B61-12 nuclear bomb, a risky enterprise that is neither desirable nor necessary). Additionally, the related increase in NNSA’s “readiness campaign” was also attributed to the B61-12. (See pages 12 and 13 in the DOE Budget Highlights).

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Budget Dispatch #2 – INTEROPERABLE W78/88-1 WARHEAD DESIGN DEFERRED 5-YEARS; TRI-VALLEY CAREs PRONOUNCES THIS LIVERMORE LAB PROGRAM “DEAD”

This is the second in a series of Tri-Valley CAREs’ dispatches from deep within the FY 2015 budget request documents for the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 4, 2014, NOON

Tri-Valley CAREs applauds the White House decision to defer the W78/88-1 "interoperable" nuclear warhead by at least 5-years. Further, the nuclear watchdog group declares that the Livermore Lab-led program is now “effectively dead in the water.”

The W78/88-1 Life Extension Program, as envisioned by weaponeers at Livermore Lab, would have entailed the design of a new, untested warhead “mash up” of the land-based W78 warhead, the submarine-launched W88 warhead and the core from a third design, the W87. The NNSA estimated about its cost at around $14 billion, but congressional staff and independent analysts, including at Tri-Valley CAREs, estimated its costs would meet or exceed the $28 billion mark.

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Budget Dispatch #1 – TRI-VALLEY CAREs CELEBRATES MAJOR VICTORY; MIXED OXIDE FUEL (MOX) BOONDOGGLE IS PUT IN “COLD STANDBY”

This is the first in a series of Tri-Valley CAREs’ dispatches from deep within the FY 2015 budget request documents for the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 4, 2014

Tri-Valley CAREs declares a major victory as the White House announces it will place the Dept. of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s beleaguered Mixed Oxide Plutonium Fuel (MOX) program into “cold standby” as it examines other less costly alternatives for disposition of plutonium declared surplus from nuclear weapons programs.

The MOX plant, under construction at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, has been rife with escalating costs, including a new, internal estimate rumored to top $30 billion. Tri-Valley CAREs is one of dozens of organizations across the country that has worked tirelessly over the past several years to bring accountability to the MOX program and to encourage the federal government to reopen a search for disposition alternatives that will be safer, faster and cheaper, including further analysis of the “immobilization” option.

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QUESTIONS FOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) FY 2015 NUCLEAR WEAPONS, REACTOR AND CLEANUP BUDGET

from Tri-Valley CAREs, Livermore, CA & Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Washington, DC

for use with March 4, 2014 Obama Administration Budget Request

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 3, 2014

The U.S. nuclear budget is out of control. Huge cost overruns for unnecessary production facilities are common. At the same time, cleanup of radioactive and toxic pollution from weapons research, testing, production and waste disposal is falling behind. The Department of Energy (DOE) budget for FY 2015 will reveal the Obama Administration’s nuclear priorities.

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), a 25-year-old network of groups from communities downwind and downstream of U.S. nuclear sites, will be looking at the following issues. For details, contact the ANA leaders listed at the end of this Media Advisory.

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Unfinished Business and Our Most Urgent Responsibility: Banning the Bomb at the Livermore Lab and Globally

Hiroshima Commemoration, Protest & Nonviolent Direct Action at Livermore Lab

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 1, 2013

WHAT: Northern California peace advocates will mark the 68th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Livermore Lab, where the U.S. is presently spending billions of dollars to create new and modified nuclear weapons. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of two locations that have designed every warhead in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

WHEN: Tues., August 6, 2013. Rally will be from 7 AM – 8:15 AM, the moment the first atomic bomb used in war exploded over Hiroshima. At 8:15 AM there will be a procession to the Livermore Lab West Gate and the chalking of human bodies on pavement to commemorate the vaporized remains found after the atomic bombings. Those who choose will peaceably risk arrest. Others will offer witness and support.

WHERE: Livermore Lab, corner of Vasco & Patterson Pass Roads in Livermore. Procession will go southward down Vasco Road to Westgate Drive.

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Tri-Valley CAREs Files Federal Lawsuit to Compel Release of Information About Nuclear Weapons Activities at Livermore Lab

Group charges Energy Dept. illegally withheld documents on dangerous plans to use plutonium in the National Ignition Facility, ship nuclear bomb cores to California, and more; requests Special Prosecutor be named

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, June 7, 2013

LIVERMORE & OAKLAND, CA – Today, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) filed a Federal lawsuit in United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for numerous failures 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 filed today in US District Court, Tri-Valley CAREs alleges five separate instances the DOE and NNSA failed to provide responsive, unclassified documents regarding operations at the agencies’ Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as required by law. The information that is the subject of the litigation is overdue by time periods between one and two years.

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For a PDF of the press release, click here.

To read the whole Tri-Valley CAREs' Complaint filed against the DOE and NNSA, click here.



Tri-Valley CAREs Team Heads to Washington to Cut Spending on Nuclear Weapons Programs; Restore Needed Funds for Radioactive Waste Cleanup and Securing Nuclear Materials

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A unique delegation of activists and experts from Tri-Valley CAREs will be in Washington, DC from April 14 through 17 to conduct meetings with leading members of Congress and the Obama Administration in the wake of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request’s increases for nuclear weapons, which were released April 10, 2013. The team aims to prevent billions of dollars from being spent on ill-conceived nuclear weapons projects that threaten the nation’s nonproliferation goals as well as public health and the environment.

Representing the Livermore, CA-based group will be Janis Kate Turner, the Board President whose home sits near a contaminated groundwater plume emanating from Livermore Lab. Additionally, Dr. Robert Civiak, a physicist and former White House official, will be joining the team. Rounding it out will be Scott Yundt, the group’s Staff Attorney, and Marylia Kelley, its longtime Executive Director. Tri-Valley CAREs’ delegation will be in DC working with colleagues from a dozen other states who are participating in the 25th annual Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) “DC Days.”

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For fact sheets and more information on “DC Days” events, check here.



From Tri-Valley CAREs, Livermore, CA for Reporters and the Public: Our Initial Response to the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request for Nuclear Weapons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 10, 2013

Noon April 15, 2013: The “top line” budget numbers for the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) are now on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website. Tri-Valley CAREs notes with concern that the NNSA “nuclear weapons activities” are receiving an increase in this era of budget austerity.

The request of $7.87 billion for Fiscal Year 2014 (page 89) is actually $900 million (13 percent) above the FY 2013 final enacted level including the sequester. Indeed, all posted comparisons in the NNSA budget request to FY 2013 funding levels are misleading, because they do not reflect the effect of the 7.8 percent sequester.

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QUESTIONS FOR THE APRIL 10 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) FY 2014 NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND CLEANUP BUDGET ROLLOUT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 8, 2013

for further information:

Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs, Livermore, CA (925) 443-7148

Katherine Fuchs, ANA, Washington, DC (202) 544-0217

Bob Schaeffer, Public Policy Assoc. and ANA, (239) 395-6773

and local contacts listed below

An overriding issue for the Wednesday, April 10, budget release is: Will the Obama Administration continue to escalate funding for unnecessary nuclear programs in light of current fiscal constraints while cutting legally required cleanup spending? The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), a national network of groups from communities downwind and downstream of U.S. nuclear facilities, is concerned that out-of-control spending on nuclear weapons will divert resources from legally required environmental cleanup, dismantlement, and critical nonproliferation efforts. Here are some key questions that the Department of Energy (DOE) budget should address:

-- How much will be spent on construction of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) plutonium fuel plant at the Savannah River Site, which is far behind schedule and over budget? What is DOE’s re-baselined cost estimate for building the facility, recently reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to have increased from $4.9 billion in 2008 to $7.7 billion? What is the projected life-cycle cost for all aspects of the MOX program, which ANA estimates to be over $20 billion?

-- Will the budget rein in over-spending on the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) in Oak Ridge? Will there be any accountability for the flawed $500 million building design fiasco before more money is spent? Will an Independent Cost Estimate be required before UPF construction funding is released?

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Federal Official “Cooks the Numbers” in Livermore Lab Management Review; $44 Million Bonus and Contract Extension Unwarranted, Charge Watchdogs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 7, 2013

As the nation faces sequestration and across the board budget cuts, one federal official has made "an adjustment to the recommended incentive fee" for the Limited Liability Company (LLC) that manages and operates the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the U.S. Dept. of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The contractor, Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), LLC is a consortium made up of Bechtel National, the University of California, Babcock and Wilcox, the Washington Division of URS Corp. and Battelle.

The just-released NNSA Fiscal Year 2012 Performance Evaluation Report (PER) shows that the numbers were cooked to benefit the management contractor after the evaluation had been completed, allowing for an increased fee award and an extra year, non-competitive extension of the contract for the LLC. Nuclear watchdogs, including the Livermore-based Tri-Valley CAREs, are crying foul and calling for "greater oversight of taxpayers’ money and a more open and transparent contract process."

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Click here to read the publically available summary of the Fiscal Year 2012 Performance Evaluation Report of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Click here to read the FULL Fiscal Year 2012 Performance Evaluation Report of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory




Livermore Lab at the Crossroad

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 28, 2013

Forum this Wednesday on Potentially Illegal Plan to Ship Plutonium Bomb Cores from NM to CA

On January 30, Tri-Valley CAREs will host a forum in Livermore with environmental, legal and nuclear experts from New Mexico and California to discuss a federal proposal to transport plutonium bomb cores from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area. Livermore and Los Alamos are the nation’s two major nuclear weapons design facilities. The event will be held from 7 PM to 9 PM in the large community room at the Livermore main library, 1188 South Livermore Avenue. Livermore Lab permanently lost its security authorization to handle, use or store bomb-usable quantities of plutonium, including bomb cores, on September 30, 2012. At that time, Livermore Lab changed from a Category I/II security infrastructure to a lesser Category III security posture, which does not allow any nuclear bomb-usable quantities of plutonium on-site. Yet, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), the agency that owns both weapons labs and mandated the de-inventory of plutonium from Livermore Lab, left a suite of bomb core diagnostics in a service bay in Livermore’s Bldg. 334. The DOE now proposes to bring whole plutonium pits from NM to CA to utilize the diagnostics, known as “shake and bake,” which consist of a shaker table, thermal unit and drop test. Los Alamos Lab does not currently possess this particular diagnostic suite and Livermore Lab does not possess the security infrastructure to safely handle the plutonium bomb cores, also called “pits”.

Tri-Valley CAREs’ Executive Director Marylia Kelley commented on plan, “Livermore Lab management appears to be placing its bomb testing desires above public safety. Moreover, DOE is exercising poor planning in leaving the diagnostics behind. The bottom line,” Kelley continued, “is that communities should not be put in danger because Livermore Lab has ‘plutonium envy’ and DOE Headquarters suffers from an abysmal lack of foresight. The government must either decommission the bomb core diagnostics at Livermore or move them to where the bomb cores are located.”

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