Action Alert From Nuclear Watch New Mexico

Action Alert:
Call Your House Armed Services Committee Representative by Wednesday June 22
Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) is offering an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act
Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) is offering an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that establishes military policies for Fiscal Year 2023 that begins this October. In the face of continuing problems and escalating costs for the expanded production of plutonium “pit” bomb cores for nuclear weapons, his amendment requires:
1)   “An integrated master schedule for the overall plutonium pit production effort of the National Nuclear Security Administration, including timelines, required resources, and budgets for planned work;”
2)   “A holistic programmatic environmental impact statement on expanded plutonium pit production that accounts for all simultaneous pit production at multiple sites;” and
3)   “An independent review of plutonium pit lifetimes.”
Incredibly, the NNSA does not have an integrated master schedule for simultaneous pit production, long recommended by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO). NNSA plans to produce at least 30 pits per year by 2026 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico and at least 50 pits per year by 2030 at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The agency has admitted that the 2030 date is already long delayed. NNSA last gave an overall cost estimate for expanded pit production in 2018 of $43 billion over 30 years. That did not include $7-8 billion in sunk costs for the failed MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility at SRS which NNSA now seeks to “repurpose” to pit production. But even that estimated “repurpose” cost has already more than doubled to $11 billion. Thus, the estimated cost for expanded plutonium pit production is more on the order of $55 billion and rising. To add to this, the Department of Energy (which includes NNSA) has been on the GAO’s “High Risk List” for project mismanagement since 1991.
Further, NNSA has refused to complete a new programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) on expanded plutonium pit production. NNSA is legally relying upon the last one completed in 2008, which did not contemplate simultaneous pit production at two different sites, nor other sites directly involved in related programs (the Livermore Lab, the Kansas City Plant, the Pantex Plant). A new PEIS is clearly required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) given that an agency must consider significant “new information and changed circumstances” which have obviously occurred since 2008. NNSA is denying the public its legal right under NEPA to analyze and comment on a proposed major federal action.
Finally, the fundamental need for expanded plutonium pit production is not clear. With respect to concerns about potential plutonium aging, Los Alamos Director Thom Mason has stated, “The best way to deal with this dilemma is to take it off the table. We do that by making new pits, immediately.” But independent experts concluded in 2006 that pits last at least a century (they are currently around 40 years old). Moreover, the U.S. already has at least 15,000 pits in storage. No pit production is scheduled to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing nuclear weapons stockpile – instead it is all for future new designs that could prompt the U.S. back into testing. Thus, Rep. Garamendi’s call for a new independent pit lifetime study is on the mark.
If you, family or friends have a Member of Congress on the House Armed Services Committee, please call them by Wednesday June 22 to express your support for this prudent amendment before NNSA starts wasting your taxpayer dollar. Time is of the essence!
(Please feel free to use any or all of the text of this action alert. See list below for House ASC members.)
House Armed Services Committee Members
Democrats
Adam Smith, Washington, Chair
James R. Langevin, Rhode Island
Rick Larsen, Washington
Jim Cooper, Tennessee
Joe Courtney, Connecticut
John Garamendi, California
Jackie Speier, California
Donald Norcross, New Jersey
Ruben Gallego, Arizona
Seth Moulton, Massachusetts
Salud Carbajal, California
Anthony G. Brown, Maryland
Ro Khanna, California
Bill Keating, Massachusetts
Filemon Vela Jr., Texas
Andy Kim, New Jersey
Chrissy Houlahan, Pennsylvania
Jason Crow, Colorado
Elissa Slotkin, Michigan
Mikie Sherrill, New Jersey
Veronica Escobar, Texas
Jared Golden, Maine
Elaine Luria, Virginia, Vice Chair
Joe Morelle, New York
Sara Jacobs, California
Kai Kahele, Hawaii
Marilyn Strickland, Washington
Marc Veasey, Texas
Republicans
Mike Rogers, Alabama, Ranking Member
Joe Wilson, South Carolina
Mike Turner, Ohio
Doug Lamborn, Colorado
Rob Wittman, Virginia, Vice Ranking
Vicky Hartzler, Missouri
Austin Scott, Georgia
Mo Brooks, Alabama
Sam Graves, Missouri
Elise Stefanik, New York
Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee
Trent Kelly, Mississippi
Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin
Matt Gaetz, Florida
Don Bacon, Nebraska
Jim Banks, Indiana
Liz Cheney, Wyoming
Jack Bergman, Michigan
Michael Waltz, Florida
Mike Johnson, Louisiana
Mark E. Green, Tennessee
Stephanie Bice, Oklahoma
Scott Franklin, Florida
Lisa McClain, Michigan
Ronny Jackson, Texas
Jerry Carl, Alabama
Blake Moore, Utah
Pat Fallon, Tex
Steven Horsford, Nevada
Stephanie Murphy, Florida
Jimmy Panetta, California
Please consider supporting our vital work! You can mail a check to: Nuclear Watch New Mexico, 903 W. Alameda #325, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Please make check out to “SRIC”, our fiscal agent. You can also donate online using the button below. All donations are fully tax deductible. Please be as generous as you can.
Thank you!
Jay Coghlan, Executive Director
Scott Kovac, Research Director
Sophie Stroud, Digital Content Manager and Youth Specialist
Please mail a check today to: Nuclear Watch New Mexico, 903 W. Alameda #325, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Please make check out to “SRIC”, our fiscal agent. You can also donate online using the button below. All donations are fully tax deductible. Please be as generous as you can.

2 comments

    • I doubt it. They’ve always been LANL cheerleaders. It was Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan, when they were our representatives, who pushed for pit production there.

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