October 24, 2003
Release Date: October 27, 2003

Norm Buske, TRAC, (360) 275-1351, search@igc.org
Joni Arends, CCNS, (505) 986-1973, jarends@nuclearactive.org

EARLY WARNING: A Radioactive Rio Grande

Study confirms radioactive cesium-137 seeping from LANL into the Rio Grande.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) and The RadioActivist Campaign report today that low levels of radioactivity are already leaking into the Rio Grande. That contamination is seeping from the Los Alamos National Laboratory on the Pajarito Plateau in New Mexico, into the river below the nuclear weapons site.

CCNS cites evidence from different types of samples collected from two locations in Pajarito Stream that flows into the Rio Grande.

Norm Buske, Director of The RadioActivist Campaign (TRAC) and author of the report, Early Warning: A Radioactive Rio Grande, said he has found cesium-137 at levels of 0.01 to 6 picocuries. Cesium-137 is a by-product of nuclear fission and is known to cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an exposure goal of zero for radioactivity from cesium-137. The enforceable maximum limit for cesium-137 is 200 picocuries.

Joni Arends, Executive Director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS), said: "This independent study reveals contaminated groundwater from LANL seeping into the Rio Grande. Despite its monitoring programs and public assurances, LANL has failed to report this growing problem. The Rio Grande is the vital water supply for ten million people."

CCNS will use the scientific report and an accompanying video to spearhead CCNS's educational campaign -The Rio Grande Watershed Initiative- to stop new sources of pollution and to force clean-up of existing contamination.

CCNS is a non-profit organization that seeks to protect all living beings and the environment from the effects of radioactive and other highly hazardous materials, now and in the future. CCNS, founded in 1988, is based in Santa Fe. See www.nuclearactive.org.

The RadioActivist Campaign measures radioactivity around nuclear facilities in the United States and abroad and reports the results and implications to the public. TRAC, founded in 1983, is based in Belfair, Washington. TRAC's report, "Early Warning: A Radioactive Rio Grande," will be posted at www.radioactivist.org/new.html on October 27th.

To obtain aPDF copy of "Early Warning: A Radioactive Rio Grande" contact Moon Callison at mooncal@tscnet.com.


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