Insurance for Cassini? Hardly!
by Russell D. Hoffman Copyright (c) 1997
The company that had provided the European
Space Agency with a solar option, which Karl Grossman uses as part of
the "proof" that NASA could have used solar, now claims it wouldn't
really work. Can't do it, they say. NUKEM, the German official
"civilian" nuclear company, bought the company that made the
announcement that it could provide a solar solution shortly after they
made the announcement that Karl has been using. NUKEM bought the entire
company and presumably, replaced all the spokespersons.
Spokespersons generally, by the way, are perfectly happy to bounce from
job to job anyway and don't understand a thing they themselves are
saying. They just hold a line. "We would have to study that"
is the closest they get to a confession that they don't have a clue.
Where does the logic lay?
I really believe logic is on our side on the entire
Cassini issue, not just on the availability of a solar alternative.
Even if "nearly everything else" seems to be against us (if only by
everyone being unaware): The media, the political arena, the average
unknowing citizen, all "conspire" against us. All we've got are the facts!
I can't tell you how depressing it
was to hear not once, but several times, the phrase "I had no idea
this was happening" at the conferences we just got back from in Europe.
If even the anti-nuclear and peace activists in Europe had no idea, what
chance the "common man", who has been educated by corporate giant media
owned by nuclear power companies (GE and Westinghouse own CBS and NBC)?
None of my friends have any idea. The environmentalists
are even shocked to hear our story. But in point of fact, you
hardly have to be an environmentalist to oppose Cassini!
The facts are that overwhelming.
But nobody knows. Imagine what the 99% of Americans
must feel who are learning about this here, for the very first time?
Disbelief? Dispair? Anger? Time will tell.
When you read about Cassini at this web site, it's just totally
unbelievable, isn't it? YET IT'S ALL TRUE.
Everyone makes mistakes.
Sure, we might make a mistake in a fact
here and there (I might. Karl's much less likely to do that.). In
fact, I even know of one small one that I need to correct. But by and
large, I'm sure the STOP CASSINI web site is about as right as my
ALL ABOUT PUMPS tutorial is, and
I don't hear many people tell me that's wrong! ALL ABOUT
PUMPS is even used in -- get
this -- nuclear power plants. I have cashed checks from them
(for the price of the tutorial.) Granted, they won't be
buying many more, now that I've come out of the closet on nuclear
issues (but if they call me for technical support, of course they'll
still get my best efforts), but hey--they had years to return them, and
very few of them did! So even the nuclear industry has used
-- maybe even is using -- my software to train their own
staff! Obviously, I don't hate these people. But I do think they
What about the rest of us?
Can Mainstream America believe me? Sure, why not?
I think Mainstream America is just about ready to get
totally fed up with corporate crap and is ready to change.
It seems to me polls keep saying we really are a nation of people
who WANT TO BE ENVIRONMENTALISTS. That's why recycling programs are
so common these days. And we don't want to bully everybody else on
the planet: Can't we all just get along? We want to show
them who's better, not who's boss. America is a
PEACEFUL nation in heart and in principal, so let's act like one!
We are tired of watching everyone pollute our planet.
We just don't want to get lumped in with fringe organizations. And
we don't want to have a depression -- we keep hearing how bad it can
be if the banks fail. But -- it's all false money anyway!
Less than 20 years ago the DOW was around
2000, now it's pushing 7000. What's gotten that much better in 20
years? Are we all 3 1/2 times better off? I doubt it! If we were,
then we'ed all have "heads-up" displays in our cars like they
promised would come out of Space/Military technology in the 60's!
Frankly, it's all just paper money held together by a simple
trust. NASA and other similar -- and almost daily -- affronts
to the public trust may one day (soon?) forcibly devalue the
whole system if no one believes in it any more. This can happen
nationally or internationally. Either way, it will
have global effects.
The United States could be rendered
helplessly poor if Price-Anderson (the government "insurance policy"
under which Cassini is flying) is invoked and then fails in World
Court. And it should fail, because it is lunacy. And it's
even greater lunacy to apply this archaic act to Cassini.
Who knows? Maybe a whole new cash structure is a good thing!
Yeah maybe, but it's not likely. But it is true that right now,
we are all slaves to the multi-national corporations.
If we can wrestle free of them, we can wrestle free of
anything -- even bad government!
I've heard that with all the money spent on the
COLD WAR, if we had that money now, we could pay to rebuild
EVERYTHING--every school, every dam, every civic project -- everything.
Not just in America but everything, everywhere!
That's a lot of money! Now I ask you:
who are we fighting? We buy the plutonium from Russia!
(I think most nuclear space projects are now bought from Russia,
since TOPAZ is, as well as the Pu 238 for Cassini).
So if we don't have this "Evil Empire" to aim our weapons against, just
how much investment in World War Three is the right amount?
Cassini is just the tip of the space nuclear iceberg, and the rest
of the iceberg is coming: weaponry and powerplants for STAR WARS and
it's descendants. Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact
that it's being done in such a way that win, lose, or draw,
eventually these things are going to incinerate as they fall back to
earth. Not every mission can work, even if Cassini flies as planned.
Putting plutonium and other radioactive materials in space is
just about the most dangerous thing you can do with them,
whether it's intended to go to Saturn or intended to orbit Earth
itself. In fact, it is so stupid that it would be comical, if it wasn't
ACTUALLY happening! But it is happening.
Let's talk more about money.
Cassini cost about $3.4 billion dollars, but that doesn't include
potential insurance payouts if it fails. However, in a sense, we
have also already taken care of that. No, the money's not in the bank.
It's in your pocket. Here's how: If Cassini fails we will
have the Price-Anderson act to fall back on. It's an artificial limit
on the amount of damages the government will pay out for a
nuclear-related accident. The Domestic payout was originally capped
at around $780 million dollars, but it has risen over the time the
act has been in effect and is now capped at around $7 billion
dollars. That's enough to buy about two Cassinis.
And after that? If Manhattan
becomes radioactive, we have agreed to pay up to two Cassini's for the
entire city. So we might just FIND OUT what it's like to have all
our financial institutions fail! If the Government won't pay, well,
somewhere, somehow, someone's going to have to pay! It's a simple law
of economics! Sure, the people it lands on will pay in death,
disease, heartaches, and lost property values. But so will everyone
else! The government's own estimates for maximum cleanup
costs is about equal to the national debt! I'm serious!
And they have this great
plan, too! Dig the soil up and put it somewhere else! Yeah! Like
where, NASA? This world isn't big enough for plutonium and people.
You can't shovel the problem away. IT'S A CLOSED SYSTEM.
But it gets worse.
If Paris gets hit by Cassini and becomes instantly radioactive, well,
that's just $100 million in insurance.
That won't buy ONE PAINTING in the Louvre! (I'm thinking of the one
painting being the Mona Lisa, but there are other paintings and
statues worth nearly as much, and maybe even more.)
$100,000,000.00 wouldn't even be enough to replace an
antenna on Cassini! But
foreign insurance claims are limited to $100,000,000.00 by a law we
wrote and are flying Cassini under called Price-Anderson. Even if
Price-Anderson made sense domestically for nuclear power plants 40 years
ago when it was enacted (which it didn't, but that's how it came
about) it makes no sense at all for Cassini. It's not for flying
space vehicles, it's for grounded nuclear power plants. So the
international liability clauses make no sense. If we could pick up
Three Mile Island and dump it in some other country's lap... Actually I'm
sure we would, but we can't. With Cassini, we can. Pu 238
is 280 times more radioactive (and thus 280 times more
dangerous per atom) than Pu 239 (the kind found in Chernobyl).
This means that in terms of health effects, it is like having 73 X 280 =
over ten tons of plutonium 239 spilled into our atmosphere!
That means potentially more health effects than even Chernobyl!
Perhaps scattered worldwide, probably lasting for over 1000 years.
This is what Cassini can do. This is disgusting.
This is a poisoned pill.
Cassini will (just a few seconds after launch, for starters) fly
over Africa and its teaming millions, then over the rest of the
globe, and that's just the takeoff! On the flyby we do it all again,
and I'll bet NASA has NO IDEA right now what part of the globe the
flyby in 1999 will be occuring over! GO AHEAD AND ASK THEM.
Just one more thing they have
no idea of the real answers about! What if it's over New Zealand,
whose people and government have surely opposed this lunacy from the start?
Is that fair, to impose this on them and then only offer
$100,000,000.00 maximum damages if it falls on them? Of course not,
but that's what America has done. We are a rogue nation! (Actually,
we are not a rogue nation. We are joined by other rogue nations
in the European Space Agency! But the liability for the RTGs is OURS!)
I've studied nukes a lot longer than pumps, and NUKES SUCK. And
nukes wouldn't work without pumps, by the way, but RTGs would, if
you want to get technical. I'm not afraid to get technical. I can
handle myself pretty well, and besides, I have friends that can help
if anyone tries to simply get too technical on me. The facts are
the least of my worries -- because they're all on my side!
If we fail to stop the space nuclear madness, future generations
will suffer. It really is such a pain
to really, really, truly feel like the lives of millions -- hundreds
of millions -- depend on winning this one battle. But hey,
I think they do. This one should be winnable. It's one blind roll
of the dice. America, the world, can realize this makes no sense.
Didn't we learn anything from Chernobyl? How many loved ones need to die?
How many rockets need to fail? (Don't let NASA's claims that they
are totally unlike Chernobyl fool you--we've answered that
comparison several times already. Sure, there are nuances of
differences, but the similarities far outweigh the differences. What
we are doing is a lot like having Chernobyls in the sky...)
NASA is risking the unthinkable.
What happens if NASA succeeds in launching, and then fails (the probe
fails in any one of the many worst-case scenarios we've described)? It's
so unthinkable, but I feel that we have to think about it. We can
all watch idly as 800,000 Rwandan Tutsi's are slaughtered by their
Hutu neighbors in this decade (it was all over the TV) so I think
we can look at stark realities about Cassini without being told we
are using "scare tactics". But I hate thinking about what
I'm doing this all for and why I feel so passionate. As I write this
we've got what, less than 200 days left to stop it? Can the rest of my
life please come to a halt, thank you? No, it won't. I'm releasing a new
ALL ABOUT PUMPS tutorial, adding articles to the web site, working
on two or three other people's tutorials... Life goes on...
Copyright (c) 1997 by Russell D. Hoffman.
Related pages at this web site:
- Stop Cassini Home Page
- No Nukes In Space! Not now, not ever.
- Space Debris Home Page
- A series of articles on this shameful problem.
Related pages outside this web site:
- NUKEM, Inc.
- The web site for NUKEM, in case you thought it was a joke.
This article has been presented on the World Wide Web by:
The Animated Software Company
First placed online April 3rd, 1997.
Last modified June 13th, 1997.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman