Alan Kohn:

Speech at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Main Gates (excerpts)

July 26, 1997

This speech was presented at a rally sponsored by the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice.

NASA is lost in space and can not find its way home. My name is Alan Kohn and I worked here (at NASA) for thirty years. I've been in the Missiles and Rockets business since 1955. I know the mind of NASA, and its heart...that is if they still have a heart. Things have deteriorated a little bit of late. We've all seen NASA and the Air Force light up the sky out here with rocketry mishaps, every single year. Rocketry, believe me, is still in its infancy. There is no safe rocket. Not out here there isn't. Not in today's world there isn't. Rockets blow up very easily.

And the plutonium canisters, NASA says they are indestructible. There's no such thing as a man made object that's indestructible. That claim is totally ridiculous.

As the Emergency Preparedness Officer on the Ulysses and Galileo missions my responsibility was to protect the government workers from the possible catastrophe of a plutonium release. They didn't give me a budget until I threatened to go public and that scared them so they gave me a budget. I converted the government buildings to fallout shelters with a lot of people's help, and there are a lot of people in there that agree with us. But they can't say so without losing their jobs. But I didn't do anything to protect the public. The notion that the public could be protected is a farce. Once plutonium is released and it begins to fall --and it would fall over populated areas onto a footprint according to wind direction, velocity and the height of the RTG breech-- there would be absolutely nothing they could do to evacuate the area. Pandemonium and gridlock. No one could get out. People would lose their lives, their homes. All insurance policies have exclusions due to war, terrorism and nuclear accidents.

I'm not just talking about people here in Brevard County. A strong wind condition and fine atomization of the plutonium could carry this deadly poison a long way. And plutonium is the deadliest known poison. This is not a game.

I don't know if we can stop Cassini or not, or if we can stop future plutonium launches. But I do know this. If NASA spills plutonium on the heads of the people, we can vote out everyone who's in Washington. Because every member of the Congress and Senate plus the President and Vice President were personally handed petitions asking them to have public hearings and to please stop this insanity. And if this happens, there won't be anything left of NASA either except for a dirty smudge on the pages of history.

By Alan Kohn.

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First placed online August 30th, 1997.
Last modified August 30th, 1997.
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