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(NuClean) Marian Naranjo's Presentation


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Marian Naranjo, founder of Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE), gives a Native American perspective on the nuclear waste issue.

The NuClean Kick-Off workshop was held on Nov. 7, 2013 at the Handlery Union Square Hotel in San Francisco, CA, co-located with the AIChE 2013 Annual Meeting.

For more information on NuClean, visit:

For more information on AIChE's Center for Energy Initiatives (CEI), visit:

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(NuClean) Marian Naranjo's Presentation

  1. 1. NuClean Center of Excellence Workshop Presentation November 7, 2013 By Marian Naranjo, Founder/Director Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE) Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico
  2. 2.                 Marian Naranjo, Director RT 5 Box 474 Espanola, NM 87532 Phone: (505) 747-4652 or (505) 929-2151 E-mail: or
  3. 3. Uvi A:gin (With your permission) (Tewa Language/mannerism to speak) Ung Sengi tee e di (Good afternoon) My name is Marian Naranjo, Founder and Director of a community-based organization located at Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. Santa Clara Pueblo is an Indigenous, Sovereign Nation located in Northern New Mexico and internationally known for our Traditional Pottery. We are approximately 12 driving miles from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Our head waters are less than 5 air miles from the laboratory. Our organization, H.O.P.E., has been working on environmental concerns from LANL operations since 1998 and we also work on Cultural Preservation and Cultural Reclamation Projects within the Pueblo.
  4. 4. It is a teaching that,” one must know our past in order to understand the present so that we can plan for the future.” To begin my presentation I have prepared a short Historical Overview of the Pajarito Plateau, what this “Place” means to Pueblo People & where Los Alamos National Laboratory is presently located.    
  5. 5. The Sacred Jemez Mountains lie to the north of the Albuquerque Basin in the Rio Grande rift, the tail end of the Rocky Mountains, the continental divide. The Pajarito Plateau located within the Sacred Jemez Mountains, is part of the geological remains made by a Super Volcano that erupted millions of years ago and several times later. The volcano is presently, "dormant". This Sacred plateau is bounded by the Valles Caldera to the west and consists of nineteen finger-like mesas, cliffs and canyons that flow into the life-giving Rio Grande to the east.
  6. 6. Aerial View of the Valles Caldera  
  7. 7. Ancestral  Home  to  the  Descendants   from  Santa  Clara  Pueblo  
  8. 8. Puye Cliff Dwellings
  9. 9. Ancestral  Homes  of  Cochi7  and  San   Ildefonso  Pueblos  
  10. 10. There are twelve major mesas in the Pajarito Plateau where the ancestral cave dwellings exist. We can trace our bloodline to some of these cave structures through the stories that have been passed down.
  11. 11. Rare photo of Harvest at Santa Clara Pueblo before 1940’s
  12. 12. As land-based Peoples, we see how industry and technology developed by the modernized world have changed our present and future relationship to the land. The Peoples of this area have always understood their responsibility in a relationship coexistence as the caretakers of this Place, because we are this Place. The Sacred Jemez Mountains are the Ancestral Homelands of Pueblo People. This, Place, sustained our ancestors with pure water for drinking and ceremony, food supply of elk, deer, wild turkeys, fish, plants, herbs, medicines, healthy soils for agriculture of our native seeds, such as corn, beans and squash. We still depend on this area for our sustenance. These ancient sacred mountains are a place that continues to nurture life as they have throughout millennia, recording cycles that are held in the sacred dimensions of time immemorial.
  13. 13. In November of 1942 the U.S. Army began to transform the area into a top secret army post. Selected largely for its geographic isolation, not safety! The sole purpose was to develop weapons of mass destruction. It was an unnatural occurrence that changed life as we know it. When this military action occurred, the land was seized under the War Powers Act, a set of values that separated the Peoples from the land. During the war years, over 4,000 people lived and worked in the secret city. After World War II, many scientists and maintenance workers moved on. Others stayed, drawn by ongoing jobs at the Laboratory. Hence, the city of Los Alamos came to be. Some of the scientific research and development projects at the Los Alamos Laboratories involve the production of plutonium and other weapons work. Today, it’s the only pit manufacturing facility in the nation.  
  14. 14. Pajarito  Plateau   Sacred Jemez Mountains Topography view Los Alamos National Laboratory
  15. 15. One of LANL’s Tech Area’s    
  16. 16. TA- 54 LANL Nuclear Waste Disposal Area
  17. 17. Some Highlights of H.O.P.E.’s environment work 1998 to Present - Researched information concerning LANL’s operations which included LANL’s Environmental Impact Statement (s) for continued operations - Addressed LANL/DOE’s insensitivity to our Cultural beliefs including Sacred sites within their boundaries - Began networking with other organizations to address past releases from LANL operations and pushed for CDC’s Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) Project - Helped to organize meetings with Congressional Delegation and workers who had become sick from working at LANL and became involved in establishing the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICPA). - A party/participant in two successful citizen law suits against LANL/DOE; Not in compliance with Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act - Participated in Hearings with Testimony in LANL’s Permit processes; Hazardous Waste Permit and Individual Stormwater Runoff Permit
  18. 18. - Participated in the public process of the installment of LANL’s characterization wells, now considered as monitoring wells - Participated in the NEPA Process and engaged my community to make comments for 4 LANL Environmental Statements/Supplements for Continued Operations - Disseminated pertinent, researched information to all 19 Sovereign Pueblo Nations including 2 Apache Nations and Navajo Nation concerning LANL/DOE/NNSA operations - Working with scientific experts to address LANL’s seismic analysis, stormwater runoff, and health affects from past releases - Working with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other Environmental Justice (EJ) Groups to address solutions to EJ problems within Region 6 - Participated in forming the Risk Analysis, Communication, Evaluation, and Reduction, Stakeholder Environmental Data Transparency Project for Los Alamos National Laboratory - RACER Project, which is now known as Intellus, the first federal site to provide the full set of data to the public that experts use to make environmental decisions
  19. 19. Problems and Frustrations
  20. 20. Forest Fires Documentation of large fires occurred approximately every twenty years on the Pajarito Plateau; A 1906 fire, several fires in the 1920’s, a fire in 1946, the 1954 Water Canyon Fire. In 1977 La Mesa Fire burned 15,000 acres in the Bandelier National Monument which is located south of LANL The Dome Fire in 1996 burned 16,000 acres in 9 days and threatened the southern section of LANL. Four years later, in May 2000, there was a major forest wildfire called, “The Cerro Grande Fire”. 48,000 acres burned. 400 families lost their homes and structures at LANL were also destroyed or damaged. Eleven years later, on June 26th, 2011, the Las Conchas Fire started. On the first day it burned 43,000 acres – a rate of about an acre per second and burned more than 150,000 acres. The fire pushed north and burned 16,000 acres of the Santa Clara Pueblo much of it was the watershed. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Los Alamos and the laboratory was closed to all non-essential personnel. The aftermath of these fires include floods, erosion and massive runoff of sediments and debris, for years! At Santa Clara, we are witnessing hundreds of large boulders coming down from the canyon from the flash floods and movement. On July 17th, 2011, one month after the Las Conchas Fire, a 3.8 earthquake occurred in the Pojoaque valley. I live 12 miles from the epicenter and my house cracked. This earthquake has been the focus of many questions, hours of research, reports, a trip to Washington DC, letters and presentations to congressional delegation and local elected officials.
  21. 21.       Cerro Grande Fire Image
  22. 22. Las Conchas Fire Image
  23. 23. (Continued Problems and Frustrations) Networking with other organizations with common interests `- required years with much discussion for folks to be familiar, understand and respect Indigenous culture and lifeways Working with multiple Government Agencies - Attended many, many meetings to acquire relationships with personnel in key positions in order to be comfortable to ask questions, and to get straight answers. Then there is a turn over of personnel and the process has to start again. Agencies are not always on the same page with issues or unknowledgeable about each others projects. Tribal Governments - Some Tribes have only one year in office and working on issues is difficult because of Leadership turn over. Sometimes it requires much repeated education/explanation for permission to disseminate information to the Pueblo communities. Working within Tribal entities is a timely process and one must know the protocols for each nation. The community is not included in decision making with Tribes that have made Accord Agreements with DOE. Permits/NEPA Process Although public participation is a requirement for both permits and comments for continued operations, LANL has ways to override the public testimonies even though other scientific experts are brought in to testify on their chosen methods, plans etc… It feels like a waste of time, money and our voices are not heard. Scientific Disagreements It is fact that the scientists disagree with each other and causes much mistrust in data gathering and the data itself. (Example: LANL’s network of characterization wells that are now considered as monitoring wells. Clearly these wells not in the proper monitoring locations and the drilling methods that were used hide contamination).
  24. 24. Politics - Learning that elected officials have other agenda’s and become divided in decision making. Hence, the problems still exist and even become worse over time. Congress - Congress is divided when it comes to National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the contractors for LANL /DOE. And the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB), mandated by Congress to basically oversee the safety of operations at all of the nuclear sites. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA gives permission to pollute. Some standards for pollutants are different for each state or region. It would be good if the standards were the same no matter where and to be protective of the most vulnerable.  
  25. 25. Department of Energy - Throughout the years of working on issues of concern, we have developed a mistrust in LANL/DOE/NNSA’s method’s of gathering data, operations, decision making, and implementation for safety and protection of the environment and the public. Presently, HOPE’s primary concern is the failure of LANL/DOE/NNSA to comply with the four National Industry Standards; 1. for detailed study of the faults close to the LANL nuclear facilities (including the plutonium pit manufacturing facility PF-4 and in the region up to 25 miles from the facilities and 2. for the safe design of the nuclear facilities to survive the very destructive power of earthquakes that may occur at LANL. Federal Law and DOE regulations require compliance with the four industry seismic standards. The DNFSB”s 23rd Annual Report to Congress identified the earthquake hazard at LANL, the LANL PF-4, as the highest priority safety problem in all of the nuclear sites in the nation. All documents, letters/correspondence can be found at:
  26. 26. HOPE’s Present Position
  27. 27. At this time, HOPE is not a supporter of continued production of nuclear weapons, or man-made plutonium needs for NASA, at LANL. We are also not supportive of storage of nuclear waste on top of a major watershed that is known to have numerous faults. However, we are supportive of environmental remediation which requires knowledgeable experts on how do we really cleanup, without moving large quantities of earth. We are supportive of Biohabitats Inc., who’s engineers are professional in conservation planning, ecological restoration, regenerative design, design building and water management. We are presently working with them at LANL designing methods for the surface water management program utilizing green infrastructure and LTD’s. We also understand the need for safer places and methods to store and manage nuclear waste. We support and commend the establishing of NuClean for these purposes and expertise required for these processes.
  28. 28. In conclusion, I would like to summarize what I feel are the top three issues that must be taken into consideration before addressing our particular community needs: 1. It is vital that all Peoples recognize the importance of Indigenous communities, their locations, and to be respectful of their protocols and beliefs. There are four Pueblos that surround LANL who have signed agreements with LANL/DOE. They are; Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Cochiti and Jemez. They are presently referred to as, “The Four Accord Tribes”. 2. Tribal leadership are the decision makers for each sovereign nation. In order to work with tribes, contact must be made with the tribal governors office/ environmental offices to explain intent and ask for permission. 3. There are independent scientific experts who are extremely knowledgeable about specific LANL/ DOE/NNSA issues of concern. These scientist need to be sought out in order to fully understand the grave problems that need to be fixed.
  29. 29. Our Communities Needs •  To gain access to useful, relevant, and complete data regarding nuclear and related toxic waste and their impact on our community •  To gain access to truthful information about risk to our community – people and environment •  To know what to do with that information •  To be included in planning and decision making for clean up of contaminated areas •  To know how to clean up our lands ourselves •  To be informed by trusted parties in timely ways in the future
  30. 30. Kunda wha haa a (Thank you very much) for this opportunity to present I hope this information will be helpful in accomplishing the goals intended.
  31. 31.                 Marian Naranjo, Director RT 5 Box 474 Espanola, NM 87532 Phone: (505) 747-4652 or (505) 929-2151 E-mail: or