LANL - Highlights & Accomplishments

CCNS successfully led public opposition in 1989 to resumed radioactive waste incineration at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). This was the catalyzing issue that lead to the formation of the CCNS LANL Program. Though the issue of radioactive incineration at LANL continued to resurface over the years, it was finally killed in 1995 during budget cuts to DOE’s waste management program.

CCNS spearheaded 1990 opposition to LANL’s proposed plutonium laboratory, culminating in a Congressional denial of funding. Construction of that advanced laboratory would have led to, in LANL’s words, the creation of a “special nuclear materials park” (i.e. plutonium and highly enriched uranium park) at the Lab.

In direct response to a CCNS request in December 1991, EPA agreed to conduct the first ever audit of LANL’s radioactive air emissions monitoring program. That audit led to a formal notice of noncompliance from EPA to LANL and the creation of a Lab remediation program.

As a result of CCNS’s 1992 Notice of Intent to Sue under the Clean Air Act, the Lab agreed to implement modifications that would reduce air emissions at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility, which has the “dirtiest” stack in the entire nuclear weapons complex. Also, as a direct outcome of CCNS's actions, DOE tightened up its management of air emissions reporting procedures throughout the country and stressed the individual accountability of DOE area managers.

In 1993, CCNS was the lead organizer for a successful conference on the future of the Laboratory, “LANL 2000: The Role of the Laboratory in the 21st Century.” The event was unprecedented in that, for the first time, people with diverse interests and from diverse organizations (including grassroots activists and LANL and DOE) sought common ground in discussions on the Lab’s future.

In June, 1994, CCNS was central in obtaining a DOE commitment to prepare a LANL Site Wide Environmental Impact Statement. In October, 1994, CCNS was central in obtaining a DOE commitment to prepare a nation-wide Stockpile Stewardship and Management Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

In January, 1995, as co-plaintiff, CCNS successfully obtained an injunction against the construction of DARHT, the world’s most advanced hydrotesting facility for nuclear weapons primaries. That injunction was lifted by the court in April 1996 after DOE prepared an Environmental Impact Statement.

In April, 1995, CCNS disclosed the existence of the Stockpile Life Study, which largely undercut DOE’s rationale for its expensive and aggressive Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program.

In September, 1995, CCNS discovered the existence of new nuclear weapons design work at LANL in the form of adaptation of existing "physics packages" to new delivery systems. This contrasts with the government's claim that no new design work is occurring throughout the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

In April 1996, in response to CCNS's motion for partial summary judgment, a Federal Judge ruled that LANL was in noncompliance with the Clean Air Act.