Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pantex nuke leak?

Pantex Radiation Safety Technicians found Alpha contamination while conducting contamination surveys on legacy components. The technicians confirmed the contents of the bag, properly packaged and labeled the component, and set it aside for further disposition.

As a precaution whole body surveys were performed on the Radiation Safety Technicians who performed the work. The results of the whole body surveys indicated background levels only. Analysis of nasal smears provided by the Radiation Safety Technicians indicated negative results. An area contamination survey of the work area was also conducted that indicated background levels.


Dems Want Nukes Gone

By Dan McKay
Copyright © 2010 Albuquerque Journal
Journal Staff Writer
Albuquerque city councilors found time this week to discuss more than just the usual array of zoning regulations, budget matters and road projects.
Monday's meeting took a turn for the global when the council took up whether to ask the federal government to remove and dismantle nuclear weapons stored at Kirtland Air Force Base. The resolution was rejected on a 5-4 vote along partisan lines.
The U.S. Department of Defense won't confirm or deny that nuclear weapons are at Kirtland or any other particular location, but it's widely believed that Kirtland maintains an estimated 2,000 nuclear warheads at an underground weapons storage complex.
New Mexico also is home to two national laboratories that do nuclear weapons work.
Councilor Rey Garduño sponsored the measure and said that while the city can't force the Air Force to do anything, seeking removal of the weapons is worthwhile.
"I hope (the munitions) will never explode or have anything disastrous happen," he said, "but I don't understand why people are so reluctant to discuss the issue and deal with it. We need to. It's a public safety issue, the dismantlement and disarming of those nuclear weapons."
Others weren't convinced.
"I don't believe it's within the City Council's purview to give direction to the federal government," said Trudy Jones, vice president of the council. "We are not the elected body to do that."
Garduño's resolution called on the U.S. House and Senate to seek funding to expand the capacity of the Pantex Plant in West Texas and accelerate the dismantlement of nuclear weapons. It further called on Congress to "take action to have the nuclear weapons at Kirtland removed and dismantled at the earliest possible time for the safety and welfare of the people of Albuquerque and the region."
Garduño said the request simply matches what the United States already agreed to in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for, among other things, negotiations toward the eventual disarmament of nuclear weapons.
Garduño said Albuquerque's emergency teams aren't prepared "to handle a mass evacuation" if one is ever needed. Accidents can happen, he said, and the military is not infallible.
He added that seeking funding for nuclear disarmament isn't much different from tapping federal funds for local road projects.
Jones, meanwhile, said the public already has elected federal representatives who can push for policy changes, if that's what constituents want.
In any case, she said, "I believe that nuclear weapons have had, and probably do still have, a place in the defense of our country," she said.
Voting against the resolution were five Republicans: Jones, Dan Lewis, Michael Cook, Brad Winter and Don Harris. In support were the council's four Democrats: Garduño, Isaac Benton, Debbie O'Malley and Ken Sanchez.

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