- The Santa Fe Water Quality Report for 2006 was delivered
with the June water bills. The report stated that there was a "qualified
detection of plutonium 238" in Buckman Well Number 1. This means
that plutonium from the development and production of nuclear weapons at
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was detected in Santa Fe drinking
water supplies. However, the actual amount of plutonium contamination could
not be determined by the test performed. The Water Quality Report is issued
each year as required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In 2006,
all contamination detections were below federal and state drinking water
- Plutonium is the main ingredient in the core or trigger
of a nuclear weapon, known as a plutonium pit. At the same time that
the detection of plutonium is being reported, LANL is once again taking
its place as the nations plutonium pit manufacturing facility. Dignitaries
were invited to a celebration for certifying the first plutonium pit to
be accepted by the government for use in the nation's nuclear-weapons
stockpile since 1989, when Rocky Flats was raided by the FBI for environmental
crimes. According to Nuclear Watch New Mexico, a Santa Fe based NGO, this
new pit cost approximately $2.2 billion.
- In the production of plutonium pits, contaminants are
released into the environment through air and water emissions and radioactive
and hazardous waste is generated. The first plutonium pit was manufactured
at LANL for use against Nagasaki, Japan during World War II. At that
time, the waste was dumped in unlined and shallow trenches.
- Approximately 12,000 cubic meters of plutonium contaminated
waste remains in unlined burial areas on the LANL site, which is a source
of the groundwater contamination. LANL is located above the regional
aquifer, which flows towards the Buckman Well Field, where the City of
Santa Fe gets 40% of its drinking water.
- Registered Geologist, Robert H. Gilkeson, said that intermittent
and low level detections can be an early indication of an approaching
- Gilkeson said, "There is an emerging environmental
emergency. Detections of LANL radionuclides in Santa Fe drinking water
wells have been published by the Department of Energy in environmental
reports since the late 1990s, but the detections have not been adequately
investigated. The contamination must be addressed now with monthly sampling
using the most sensitive analytical methods."
- In addition, a recent independent study of the area surrounding
LANL found elevated and potentially harmful levels of radioactivity in
materials which humans are routinely exposed to, such as dusts and plant
life. The Government Accountability Project performed the study, with
technical assistance from Boston Chemical Data, Inc. They will hold a
public press conference to discuss these findings on Tuesday, July 10
at the Hotel Santa Fe, beginning at 10:30 am.
- Joni Arends, of CCNS said, "LANL contaminants are
impacting the surrounding communities. What is national security if we
do not have clean air, water and soil? LANL contamination must be prioritized
as the threat, and the mission transformed to clean up past operations.
The time for nuclear weapons is over."
- Government Accountability Project
- West Coast Office
- 1511 3rd Ave., Suite #321 · Seattle, WA 98101
- 206.292.2850 · www.whistleblower.org
- July 9, 2007
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
- Contact: Tom Carpenter, GAP Nuclear Oversight Dir.
- Phone: cell 206.419.5829
- Email: email@example.com
- Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
- Phone: 202.408.0034 ext. 137, cell 202.236.3733
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Press Advisory: GAP to Release Report Showing Elevated
- Found Around Los Alamos Press Conference to be Held Tomorrow
- What: Press conference to release and discuss
- report on citizen environmental sampling performed around
- Alamos National Laboratory. Report released by Government
- Accountability Project (GAP).
- When: July 10, 2007, 10:30 a.m.
- Where: Hotel Santa Fe, 1501 Paseo de Peralta,
Santa Fe, NM
- Who: Tom Carpenter, Director, GAP Nuclear
- Marco Kaltofen, Scientist, Boston
Chemical Data, Inc.
- Contact: Dylan Blaylock, GAP Communications Director,
- 202.408.0034, ex 137
- Tom Carpenter, 206-419-5829 (cell)
- Government Accountability Project
- The Government Accountability Project is the nation's
- whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating
- whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing
- reforms, GAP's mission is to protect the public interest
- government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977,
GAP is a
- non-profit, public interest advocacy organization with
- Washington, D.C. and Seattle, WA.