188 US-60, Panhandle, TX 79068 treasurer@peacefarm.us

Media Release: January 18, 2021

contact: Hon. Lon Burnam, Peace Farm (817) 721-5846 lonburnam@gmail.com | Joyce Hall, Pax Christi, 214-357-2173, hallmj@sbcglobal.net

DELIVERING THE NUCLEAR BAN TREATY TO NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO MARK THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: LOCAL RESIDENTS CELEBRATE TREATY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE

January 22, 2021, will be a historic day for nuclear weapons. On that day the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will enter into force, establishing in international law a categorical ban on nuclear weapons, seventy-five years after their development and first use.

The momentous occasion will be marked by actions, events, and celebrations around the globe and across the United States.

In Dallas, representatives of The Peace Farm, Dallas Pax Christi, and the Dallas Peace and Justice will mark the historic day by delivering copies of the treaty in person to 6 Texas State Congressional offices.

“Right now, the Treaty does not legally apply to the United States,” said Lon Burnam, “because we have not signed or ratified it. But that does not mean we will not be feeling the moral force of the Treaty. All nuclear weapons, including the 3,900 in the US stockpile, have been declared unlawful by the international community.”

The effort to deliver copies of the Treaty to congressional offices in Dallas is just one of many events happening around the country. At nuclear weapons production sites in Tennessee, Kansas City, New Mexico and California, banners declaring NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE ILLEGAL will be hung on fences at the plant entrance.

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NNSA issues Notice of Intent to prepare Environmental Impact Statement for Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program

The approach will require new, modified, or existing capabilities at SRS, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Pantex Plant, and WIPP. The SPDP EIS will also analyze the No Action Alternative and any other viable alternatives that may arise from public scoping.

WASHINGTON – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register Dec. 16 to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program (SPDP), which would dilute and dispose of 34 metric tons of material using the capabilities at multiple sites across the Nation.

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Pantex breaks ground for High Explosive Science and Engineering facility

FACILITY WILL REPLACE 15 OBSOLETE FACILITIES AT PANTEX WITH AVERAGE AGE OF 68 YEARS

Leaders from the Pantex Plant, Consolidated Nuclear Security, and NNSA broke ground on the High Explosive Science and Engineering Dec. 8.
Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

AMARILLO, Texas – On Dec. 8, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) marked an infrastructure modernization milestone with an internal groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the High Explosive Science and Engineering (HESE) facility at the Pantex Plant.

This facility is an example of our collective ability to find ways to adapt and deliver, streamline operations, improve efficiency, and provide a state-of-the art facility where our most important asset, our people, can continue our critical work.

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What the Defense Bill Means for Texas

William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021

Today the House will vote on the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021.  You can read the legislation here, and below is a summary of its impact on Texas:

·       Raises troops’ pay by 3%.

·       Authorizes $183 million for military construction projects in Texas, including:

o   a barracks, flight simulation system, and F-16 Mission Training Center at Joint Base San Antonio,

o   an F-35 Operations and Maintenance Facility, Vehicle Maintenance Shop, and Aircraft Maintenance Hangar at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth,

o   Fuel Facilities at Fort Hood, and

o   National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) funds for the Pantex Plant in Amarillo.

·       Authorizes 93 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which are built by Texans in Fort Worth.

·       Increases funding for universities like Texas A&M that partner with the DOD in defense-related research and development.

·       Invests in Texas students with $15 million for DOD’s STARBASE program in Austin, Houston, San Angelo, and San Antonio.

·       Increases funding for Impact Aid by $70 million to support schools educating military children, and especially those with severe disabilities.

·       Supports family readiness by ensuring access to high-quality childcare on military bases.

·       Advocates for military spouses’ professional development with $2.5 million for reimbursement of re-licensing.

·       Improves DOD’s ability to track and respond to incidents of child abuse and sexual assault on military installations.

·       Responds to the pandemic by establishing a coronavirus disease panel to review the military health system’s response to COVID-19, evaluate its effects, and report to Congress by June 1, 2021.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Read more: The Gilmer Mirror – What the Defense Bill Means for Texas

UT, Texas A&M Systems hope to manage Y-12 National Security Complex and the Pantex Plant

Monica Kast Knoxville News Sentinel

The University of Tennessee System and the Texas A&M University System have announced plans to compete as a team for a bid that would allow them to manage and operate both the Y-12 National Security Complex and Pantex Plant.

If the bid is accepted, the schools would join a team that would manage and operate both Department of Energy facilities, which manufacture, store and monitor the nation’s nuclear weapons. 

Both universities currently partner with the plants in their state and provide “extensive workforces for the plants,” UT said in a news release. 

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott objects to nuclear waste facility proposed in Permian Basin

“The proposed ISP facility imperils America’s energy security because it would be a prime target for attacks by terrorists, saboteurs, and other enemies,” read [Gov. Abbott’s] letter. “Spent nuclear fuel is currently scattered across the country at various reactor sites and storage installations.”

BY: Adrian Hedden | Carlsbad Current-Argus

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continued to voice his disapproval against nuclear waste storage in the Permian Basin region in a letter last week to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) opposing such a project in Andrews, Texas.

Interim Storage Partners (ISP), a joint venture between Waste Control Specialists and Orano USA, was formed in 2018 to request the NRC resume evaluation of an application submitted originally in 2016 to build a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) that would hold spent nuclear fuel rods temporarily at the surface while a permanent repository is developed.

Abbott has been a frequent critic of the concept of a CISF and of siting such a facility in the Permian Basin, writing a letter to President Donald Trump in September to oppose CISFs in both Texas and New Mexico.

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Pantex fire, Potter County fire and AMS all using new COVID-19 precautions as cases in community rise

By Taylor Mitchell | November 23, 2020 at 5:32 PM CST – Updated November 23 at 6:21 PM

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) – The Pantex Fire Department and Potter County Fire Department will expect new machines to disinfect equipment, vehicles and stations.

During the pandemic, AMS has been using a fogger system to disinfect areas and vehicles.

The Pantex Fire Department has a new hypochlorous acid machine in order to disinfect their station and equipment to help protect their plant employees, responders and the community from the coronavirus.

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Watts Bar 2 to Start Weapons Tritium Production When Current Refueling Outage Wraps

BY EXCHANGEMONITOR |  NOVEMBER 17, 2020

When the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor reactivates from a refueling outage that started Oct. 26, it will begin producing tritium for nuclear weapons for the first time, a National Nuclear Security Administration spokesperson said Monday.

The specialized rods will start producing yield-boosting gas for nuclear weapons during Watts Bar Unit 2’s Cycle 4. Watts Bar Unit 1 already makes tritium and is on its 17th fuel cycle.

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