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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


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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LAST NRC PUBLIC MEETING TOMORROW Th. October 15th from 9 am to noon MST (Online) – Friends in Texas, New Mexico and around the country are urged to join in and speak out! We urgently need everyone’s voices…

CALL IN TO COMMENT ON THE Nuclear Regulatory Commission draft Environmental Impact Statement for Supposedly “Interim” Nuclear Waste Dump and Massive Transport Across the US for Decades Oct 1, 6, 8, 15th

Four Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) teleconference public meetings about the Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners proposal to bring 40,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants by rail to the west Texas/New Mexico border, five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico. For more information, fact sheets, transportation maps, and talking points:  http://nonuclearwasteaqui.org/

Th. October 15th from 9 am to noon MST   https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=details&Code=20201101

Teleconference: Bridge Number  (888) 989-9268  Pass Code 5300047

Important:  Press *1 as soon as you get through, which allows you to talk when it’s your turn.

     Webinar: https://usnrc.webex.com/   Meeting number 199 125 5213 Password: ISPDEIS

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Join Us Online to Comment on the Holtec and Waste Control Specialists/ISP proposed NUCLEAR DUMPS in NM & TX – and the Dangerous Nuclear Transport Through the Whole Country to Get There!

Join Texans–SEED Coalition and 15 other sponsoring groups on Thursday evening Sept 17th at 7 Central time for a ZOOM comment letter writing party–bring your own drinks, snacks and computer or tablet or phone to send comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on both the Holtec (NM) and Waste Control Specialists/WCS ISP (Texas) draft environmental impacts statements AND a letter to your US Representative. We will write, chat and send together via email or www.regulations.gov

The link is:   https://tinyurl.com/NoNuclearWaste 

LET’S GIVE INPUT THIS WEEK together with each other online live!

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NEW MEXICO–HALT HOLTEC ZOOM COMMENTS TO NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) – WEDNESDAY SEPT 16th at 6 Mountain Time

Join New Mexico folks (Nuclear Issues Study Group-NISG) on-line this Weds evening Sept 16th to make comments on ZOOM (you can watch via FaceBook Live) on the Holtec draft Environmental Impact Statement, starting at 6 mountain time. Visit NISG’s Facebook event for updates on how to participate: https://fb.me/e/1GwpMN9KHA People’s Hearing–a ZOOM COMMENT OPPORTUNITY on Holtec’s proposed high-level radioactive waste dump on SEPT 16th at 8 PM eastern/ 7 Central/ 6 Mountain – hosted by Nuclear Issues Study Group (NISG) based in New Mexico  Please email protectnewmexico@gmail.com for more information or if you would like to make a public comment.

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