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N.M. Nuclear Safety Group Blasts Results of Government Reports

Nuclear safety advocates are speaking out after a series of audit reports show cost overruns and delays at New Mexico nuclear labs. (Geralt/Pixabay)
Nuclear safety advocates are speaking out after a series of audit reports show cost overruns and delays at New Mexico nuclear labs. (Geralt/Pixabay)
August 29, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. — A local nuclear safety group is speaking out after four government reports released in August on the country's nuclear stockpile show management issues, delays and cost overruns at eight labs across the country, including two in New Mexico.

The audit reports from the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Energy's Inspector General were part of a program which will spend a trillion dollars over the next 30 years to modernize the nation's nuclear weapons.

Joni Arends, executive director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety in Santa Fe, questioned the need for such a massive investment in nuclear technology.

"The Department of Energy and its contractors want to move forward with programs that will provide profit to the private corporations that run the Department of Energy sites such as Los Alamos National Laboratory or Lockheed Martin at Sandia National Laboratory,” Arends said.

According to the Department of Energy, the upgrades are necessary to make the weapons more precise at varying altitudes.

But there is a movement at the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons, Arends said, and the money would be much better spent elsewhere.

"The Department of Energy should be using this money to clean up these dumps,” she said, "to store the waste in buildings where it can be monitored rather than having it disposed in unlined dumps threatening our water supplies in New Mexico."

Arends is spearheading a campaign encouraging voters to write to their representatives and ask them to put a halt to these projects until management problems are corrected.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NM