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Bulletin #141: POGO releases excellent CMRR report; DC trip report: tide against CMRR running stronger than ever

Dear friends –

1.  Excellent POGO report released today

Today the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released a very welcome, important, well-researched, and readable report (pdf) on the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). 

Profound congratulations to all of the POGO team! 

As you can imagine, by now POGO has sent this report to interested parties throughout government as well as to its national press list.  POGO is a nonpartisan organization that often reaches across the partisan divide in Washington, which adds to the importance of the report. 

Over the past several years it has been difficult for many parties in arms control and disarmament circles to accept that this project has no managerial justification.  For a long time no one was willing to join in opposition to it.  The discussions leading to this report, and the report itself, are important in that respect also.  Producing such a report is never easy anywhere.

2.  DC trip report: tide against CMRR running stronger than ever

I have just returned from another week of meetings with officials and others in government in Washington.  We have now given hundreds of briefings there about this project and related warhead management and stockpile stewardship issues over the past few years. 

As far as CMRR is concerned, some of our ideas – expressed in these briefings and in our court filings – appear to be gaining currency.  There are a lot of rumors flying around, and apparently the tide is now running strongly against this project.  CMRR-NF now seems to have few friends.  If present trends continue – a very big if, of course – it cannot survive. 

Some of the loudest voices favoring CMRR-NF are suddenly finding themselves high and dry, unpersuasive in meetings, their lack of first-hand experience or detailed understanding exposed. 

We will keep you all informed as the situation develops, in Washington and in the courts. 

3.  What you can do

Read up on the project – say from the POGO report (pdf) or (more chaotically at this point) from our web site.

Share the drama of what is happening with your friends. 

Talk to newspaper editors.  Now is the time for the general public to understand what a gargantuan waste of money our nuclear weapons have become, and how little the nth nuclear weapon, the next new bomb factory, serves the national interest, or the human interest.  

Write letters to the editor.  The issues – insert issues here – are connected. 

Talk to friends who can help support our work, particularly right now our litigation.  In the summer of 2010, NNSA and LANL were poised to begin construction of this project, despite prior delays.  So we sued, and project had to stop for the duration.  Since then we have kept on fighting the project in the courts, winning procedural victories on Appeal (now fully briefed) and in a second lawsuit in New Mexico District Court. 

None of this has been easy, but it has been necessary.  Our attorneys at the Hinkle law firm, Tom Hnasko and Dulcinea Hanuschak, and Lindsay Lovejoy, have all done a terrific job so far.  I can’t say that they and we have saved our beloved Santa Fe and this state from this nasty monstrosity, because it’s not true.  We’re just messengers.  The biggest problem for this project, from the beginning, has been its own multi-dimensional stupidity.  But these attorneys, and we, are certainly helping government, whose consciousness in this country seems sluggish at best, wake up

A lot of you have helped support this progress in various ways.  I wanted to share this with you.

4. USA Today had an important story yesterday about another big Bechtel/DOE fiasco: the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant.  

Some of the themes in this evolving saga are the same themes we find in the CMRR-NF fiasco, also primarily a Bechtel-led project (through LANS).  Video and still photography links are included.  Peter Eisler, the author, is a veteran of many such investigations and this article is a real tour-de-force. 


Greg, Trish, and the Los Alamos Study Group

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