Media Event Tuesday July 10, 10:30 AM, Hotel Santa Fe, 1501 Paseo de Peralta
Re: Radioactivity Levels Hazardous in Los Alamos Area. Plutonium
Detected in Santa Fe Drinking Water.
LANL Plutonium Reported in Santa Fe Drinking Water, While Dignitaries
Celebrate First Plutonium Pit
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 quality
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 nation¹s
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
Registered Geologist, Robert H. Gilkeson, said that intermittent and low
level detections can be an early indication of an approaching contaminant
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
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
Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext. 137, cell 202.236.3733
Press Advisory: GAP to Release Report Showing Elevated Radioactivity
Found Around Los Alamos Press Conference to be Held Tomorrow in Santa
What: Press conference to release and discuss latest
report on citizen environmental sampling performed around the Los
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 Oversight Program
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 leading
whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating
whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal
reforms, GAP's mission is to protect the public interest by promoting
government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a
non-profit, public interest advocacy organization with offices in
Washington, D.C. and Seattle, WA.