New Mexico Nuclear Activists Brainstorm on How to Stop LANL, WIPP Expansion – Taos Enviro Film Festival – via Nuclear Hotseat

Libbe Halevy

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This Week’s Special Feature:

New Mexico Nuclear Activists – On August 8, as part of the commemoration of the atomic bomb being dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Taos Environmental Film Festival produced an important panel discussion.  Anti-nuclear and peace activists shared their views on the problems and possible solutions for nuclear dangers at two New Mexico sites:

  • the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) – which is being tasked by the government with producing 30 plutonium pits a year for mega-bombs we do not need
  • and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) – which is already storing low- and mid-level radioactive nuclear waste, but is being proposed for expansion far beyond its intended storage capacity and its use-by date of 2025.

Six activists offer strong perspectives and some practical suggestions that anyone, whether you’re fighting nukes in New Mexico or your own back yard, can use to up the amps, attract members, and put pressure on politicians to get these potential disasters under control.

The participating activists are:

  • Joni Arends – She serves as the Executive Director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS), which she co-founded in 1988 to address community concerns about the proposed transportation of radioactive, toxic and hazardous waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
  • Scott Kovac is Operations and Research Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico. NWNM, along with other watchdog groups, recently filed a lawsuit against the US government over its expanded production of plutonium cores for the U.S. nuclear weapons “modernization” plans.
  • Erich Kuerschner is a noted Taos Peace Activist whom writes important editorials on behalf of peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.
  • Ken Mayers founded Veterans for Peace Santa Fe in 2002. In 2012, he was named a Santa Fe Living Treasure. Since he resigned his commission as a U.S. Marine Corp Captain in 1966 he has worked as a peace activist. Ken has promoted a variety of causes, including a freeze and cutback of worldwide nuclear weapons. As a global peace promoter, Ken has been active overseas. His professional life focuses on administration, consulting, communications systems and helping large organizations function better.
  • Bud Ryan (Modertor) is a Peace & Justice Activist & made an antinuclear documentary with Stuart Overbey called The Forgotten Bomb which won Best Documentary from the Irvine International Film Festival in California and is a featured film at The August Peace Pilgrimage.
  • Serit Kotowski is a Taos Artist.  She is the founder of the Embudo Valley Environmental Monitoring Group, based in Dixon. EVEMG organized following the May 2000 Cerro Grande fire. EVEMG collected air samples every two weeks for years to protect the community from LANL emissions. She is well informed about emergency response at LANL, as well as using her art to express concerns about nuclear weapons. […]

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