Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 20:21:22 -0700
From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Nuclear INSecurity; Project Prometheus; ALSO: Re-introducing Bruce Gagnon, Regina Hagen, Rochelle Becker, and Carol Rosin
STOP CASSINI VOLUME II NO. I -- DEDICATED TO BRUCE GAGNON
1) Nuclear INSecurity: This is a joke, right? (oh, how I wish it was!)
2) From Prometheus, we get the gift of fire (in this case, the "Demon Hot Atom" -- no wonder eagles peck at his liver)
3) Bruce Gagnon: Trying harder than I ever imagined (after all, he's had to put up with me all these years!) (includes comments about Regina Hagen of Germany)
4) Rochelle Becker: Working hard on legal issues; needs our time and $$$
5) Carol Rosin and Jonathan Mark: My best friends in the activist movement?
1) Nuclear INSecurity: This is a joke, right? (oh, how I wish it was!):
August 18th, 2004
Dear Mr. Hobbs,
Thank you for your email (shown below). I had a tour of a nuclear power plant once, thanks -- once was enough.
You say you've got stuff you can't tell me about. What, an Uzi or two? Hundreds of cameras all over the place? Trip-wires with claymores? Big deal! I doubt it's anything that would stop a well-armed, well-trained band of suicidal terrorists and besides, you've never tested it against a significant force. We all know how weak the tests are.
The only reason we haven't had a successful terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant is because it's still in planning somewhere, as we speak. Probably in a lot of places. When it (finally) comes, the chance of you stopping it will be next to nil. They'll take into account your Uzis, your cameras, your night-vision goggles, your gas masks if you have them, your communications systems, your training, how many of you there are, and all the other little details. They might even have inside help.
If I thought for a second the terrorists were as bumbling and incompetent as the average nuclear rent-a-cop (based on studies, mind you -- I'm not making that up just to insult you), I wouldn't be half as worried as I am.
As for what EXACTLY would happen to a spent fuel pool if a grenade were tossed in it, the amount of damage would depend on a lot of things, but a criticality event is NOT impossible. It would depend on the age of the fuel, for one thing. As to what would follow such an event, all bets are off.
But besides that, I'm sure one thing we'd agree on is that no terrorist would bother to get there and only drop one grenade -- they'd have a whole satchel charge ready, at the very least, and shaped charges for the nearby dry casks which are now at many plants.
It sure would be nice if the discussions about nuclear security and other nuclear issues were honest and open and complete. But in the meantime, I can research, through public documents, more than enough details to know there is a problem too big to be ignored -- and your "secrets" can't hide that fact from ANY diligent observer, including the terrorists.
Your pop-guns and pea-shooters are no match for mortars, RPGs, shaped charges, or even flechettes made of so-called "depleted" uranium, and dropped from airplanes, hang-gliders, or even sight-seeing balloons a mile or more above the plant -- radio-controlled or fly-by-wire, take your pick (do you actually think any backyard hobbiest couldn't build this stuff?). (Flechettes would be dropped by suicidal terrorists, of course, who won't mind being in the deadly, invisible plume a few minutes later.)
Not to mention the gas attack that might precede the direct assault. There are plenty of odorless, colorless, tasteless gasses to do you in before you realize anything is wrong. I know the control room has positive air flow, but it would be standing alone in a matter of minutes (and the spent fuel pools and dry casks would be completely unguarded).
I doubt you could even stop a home-made armored bulldozer, like what we saw in Colorado a few months ago, let alone a stolen tank, like what we saw here in San Diego almost ten years ago. Yet what did it take to get any kind of cement snake for vehicles at the entrances, or load-transfers to plant-personnel-manned trucks at the perimeter? It took 9-11, followed by several years of indecision and corporate resistance, but even now, not enough has been done; not enough CAN be done.
And even if the nuclear power plants were safe from the outside (a preposterous assumption), they would still be a threat and a danger on the inside, from accidents like what happened in Japan a week ago, or to Davis-Besse two years ago, or perhaps a combination of the two.
The terrorist's weapon of choice for tomorrow will be "small" lasers. You're not prepared for that, either, and -- having personally programmed laser targeting software (for "civilian" purposes) -- I can assure you it's just a matter of time before a laser weapon attack against a U.S. military or civilian target occurs. I'm amazed it hasn't happened yet, but it's coming. And the government will act totally surprised -- like it was literally a bolt out of the blue.
I've "cc'd" my Governor (and I hope you'll do the same with your response, whatever it is) in the hopes he will realize -- having played a lot of "action" roles of both realistic and science fiction varieties so presumably he knows the difference -- that what I've written here is not only absolutely correct, it's actually only the tip of the iceberg. You will not be able to defend the plants against any sort of serious effort. It's as simple and horrible as that. You'd need an army.
Thank you again for writing. I wish you the best of luck, for all our sakes, and fully endorse the use of force to protect the plants. However, no private security force can possibly suffice. I doubt ANY force can stop a determined terrorist, let alone an inexpensive and nearly invisible force, because you cannot possibly have sufficient firepower, backup, situational awareness, and tactical control to secure those plants. There are too many weaknesses. There are too many access points and possible methods of getting past the protective perimeter. One inexperienced nut-case trying to just walk right in? Yeah, you might be able to stop that. I'm not impressed.
P. S. You should see the made-for-TV movie MELTDOWN (on FX, not SciFi, and they tried very hard to be technically accurate) to learn some of the other ways the terrorists might get past your perimeter. Also, see the related article shown below your letter to me.
At 09:32 AM 8/14/2004 -0700, Dave Hobbs <email@example.com> wrote:
"Donít count on the plant security forces -- they arenít nearly strong enough. These plants are each vulnerable to air strikes, truck bombs, boat bombs, and of course, the well-equipped and well-armed single madman or small group of terrorists. All anyone needs to do is toss a grenade into a Spent Fuel Pool and hundreds of thousands or even MILLIONS could die."
As a nuclear security officer I can tell you that the above statement is completely ridiculous you wouldn't get near a spent fuel pool with a grenade, security at these plants is extremely tight, high tech, and well armed. I can't give you details because it is classified but what you see for security on the scifi channel has nothing on what we are doing at the plant, no one is getting in. Besides, even if you did throw a grenade into a spent fuel pool nothing significant would happen and no one would die (except the person who threw it) and that would be from getting shot by security. You should go visit a nuclear plant sometime see if you can even get close to the spent fuel pool even without a grenade. It won't happen we don't give tours.
Subject: business as usual . .
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2004 12:49:40 -0700
NYTimes August 6, 2004, Friday
Battle Swirls On Security At A-Plants
By MATTHEW L. WALD (NYT) words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 15 , Column 1
The nuclear power industry's trade association has hired the company that guards half of the nation's civilian reactors to train and manage ''adversary teams'' that attack the plants in ... The decision, by the Nuclear Energy Institute, has drawn the disapproval of a government watchdog that has issued several reports...
Project on Govt Oversight - http://www.pogo.org
August 3, 2004
Nuclear Power Plant Lobbyists Shape Post-9/11 Security Tests
For Immediate Release
Contact: Peter Stockton or Danielle Brian (202) 347-1122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In a troubling post-9/11 move, the federal government is allowing the nuclear industry's leading lobby to develop the teams of mock terrorist attackers who evaluate security at nuclear power plants, according to a letter released today by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). "This is more than a case of the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse. It is not an apparent conflict of interest -- but a blatant conflict of interest," said POGO's letter from Executive Director, Danielle Brian, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The lobby, called the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), in turn hired the company with the biggest financial stake in finding no problems at the plants, to provide the specialized teams. That company is Wackenhut Corporation which is the nation's largest nuclear s ecurity plant provider, with contracts to protect roughly half of the plants.
Wackenhut has a strong incentive to discourage the mock terrorists it hires from mounting a realistic security test. Earlier this year, the Department of Energy's Inspector General found that Wackenhut managers had been cheating on such force-on-force exercises for two decades at the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, TN. According to NEI: "The Wackenhut contract employees selected for the exercises must meet NRC requirements. The NRC has the authority to determine and ensure that the force-on-force exercises meet the level of attack against which the industry must defend" (see http://www.nei.org/doc.asp?docid=1203).
According to POGO's conversations with NRC officials, the agency claims it cannot afford to pay for the security testing so has turned to the nuclear industry organization NEI to fund the tests. NEI has aggressively lobbied against legislation aimed at improving security at the power plants and ran a series of misleading advertisements claiming the plants were well-protected post-9/11.
Wackenhut is a subsidiary of a Danish-British conglomerate. As Brian notes, the Congress has barred foreign firms from operating security at U.S. airports. Full text of the letter follows bellow. An inside story appeared in the Wall Street Journal today on the topic.
2) From Prometheus, we get the gift of fire (in this case, the "Demon Hot Atom" -- no wonder eagles peck at his liver):
The letter was postmarked from a city with a large NASA/JPL facility a little ways north of here. My wife asked if I knew anyone from there.
"Not yet." I replied.
Inside, there was an August 5th, 2004 press release (04-260) from NASA HQ, with a little blue post-it note attached to it. The note read as follows:
Dear Mr. Hoffman,
May I suggest you begin opposing this now, well BEFORE it can get anywhere near a launch pad?
According to the press release, the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration -- Naval Reactors (NR) has entered into a "memorandum of understanding" with NASA.
By so doing, DOE NNSA Deputy Administrator for Naval Reactors, Admiral Frank L. "Skip" Bowman, U.S. Navy, and his counterpart at NASA (Sean O'Keefe) continue to destroy the American values of protecting Earth and space for future generations, of protecting democracy, and of respecting science.
They are calling it NASA's "Vision for Space Exploration." It's a cover for the weaponization of space.
The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) is supposed to become the first NASA space probe to use "a nuclear-reactor energy source for exploring our solar system." The reactor provides electricity for ion-drive propulsion, and for "scientific" experiments. It's called Prometheus.
According to NASA, Prometheus "will have multiple safety features including a design that will prevent criticality while the vehicle is still near Earth." Starting the reactor after it gets out of Earth orbit does nothing to prevent its later return to Earth from miscalculations or on-board explosions, for example.
In reality, JIMO will be an opener for a more terrestrially-aimed use of Prometheus to follow, namely, to supply power needed for space-based weapons systems.
The Navy's record with nuclear power has not been good. Reactor accidents are actually quite common in naval vessels. When they happen, the Navy immediately dismisses them as not being a reactor accident, because [they assume] the loss of the reactor was a secondary event, not the initiating event. Never mind all the billions of Curies that are released into the ocean when it happens!
More than 1% of all US reactor-powered submarines have failed catastrophically (two out of 190). Russia has a 2% or 3% failure rate -- perhaps greater. These are just the accidents we know about.
In a real shooting war, where the "boomers" and other submarines and surface reactor-powered vessels are attacked with nuclear missiles or nuclear speed-boats, or nuclear one-man submarines, or even nuclear mines, the catastrophe from the spent nuclear reactor fuel being blown to smithereens would be incalculable.
The people who propose, order, design, build and run these ships are each looking only at a small part of the picture -- "We don't have to refuel for 25 years!" sounds great, but it really is meaningless since the fuel supply is only a small part of the BIG PICTURE, which incudes the potential ecological damage to "third parties" such as unborn generations of children on both sides of, and not involved in, the conflict.
Another "BIG PICTURE" question the military eggheads ignore is: What are we going to do with all the waste?!?
Space warfare could result in complete destruction of the "near Earth environment" in just one or two attacks (or retaliations, or mistakes)!
Imagine if, every time the cowboys of the Wild West shot a bullet, that bullet kept spinning around the Earth for 25,000 or even 1 million years!
That's how it is with Space Debris. NASA is responsible for creating hundreds of thousands of significant pieces of junk up there. They track the 10,000 largest pieces, each traveling in a different orbit at an average speed of about 18,000 miles per hour. But the rest are too small to track (less than about four inches). A lentil-sized grain of space debris can destroy a space station.
Instead of worrying about THAT, NASA is afraid that without nuclear power, it has only a "limited" ability to explore the solar system, according to their "memorandum of understanding" with the nuclear navy.
The near-forever bullet is also not a bad analogy for how it is with nuclear waste here on Earth. The waste isn't going away -- it decays of millions of years. It won't be shot into space (except disguised as "exploration"). It won't be buried safely underground -- it can't be. (Yucca Mountain is a scientific disaster!)
So the Navy ignores it. NASA ignores is. The DOE ignores it. The nuclear industry ignores it. Sean O'Keefe and Frank Bowman ignore it. For the media, the connection is too distant -- they can't see that it is direct and close. So they too ignore it.
Thank goodness "Anon." is not ignoring it, and nor should we!
Disingenuous NASA web page about Prometheus:
3) Bruce Gagnon: Trying harder than I ever imagined (after all, he's had to put up with me all these years!) (includes comments about Regina Hagen of Germany)
For many years -- since 1997, a few months after I met him -- I've written that I thought Bruce Gagnon must be an infiltrator. That I didn't think anyone could possibly be as misguided as he seemed to be, hurt the feelings of so many other activists, be so imprecise, fall for government/industry tricks, etc., without being on the "inside" -- i.e., without purposefully trying to dominate and then destroy a movement.
Recently I watched the movie Arsenal of Hypocrisy featuring Bruce Gagnon, co-written by Gagnon, and directed, produced, and co-written by Randy Atkins. (Readers may recall my publishing information about the existence of the movie some months ago.) After communicating with Mr. Atkins, it was clear that no matter what Bruce was/is, Randy was "in the clear." I didn't need to see his film to learn that.
I did need to see his film to learn the realities of Bruce Gagnon and I'm sorry it's taken so long.
While none of us are above suspicion, I no longer think there is any possibility Mr. Gagnon is a infiltrator, a spy, or anything but a sincere, dedicated activist. I'm sorry that I could not see the truth sooner and I apologize for any disruption to our mutual goals that this may have caused. I'm sorry I couldn't see that his failures were those of a sincere, but human, activist. His flaws, however serious, have certainly been no worse than mine have been, over the years.
His goal, unfortunately, is way too grand to be attained, and his apparent efforts to lump the nuclear issue in almost as an afterthought to the weapons in space issue is still very, very troublesome to this author, but now, only because I wish he could be persuaded to fight the nuclear issue first and foremost. Succeeding would solve most of the space weapons problem anyway (since nuclear options are necessary for the enormous power required), but it wouldn't offend those who realize that America is simply not going to give up space superiority. So we must make sure that it is done safely -- which is the same problem we are having with nuclear submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers, nuclear bombs and bomb-making equipment, uranium weapons, etc. etc. etc.. They inflict the hell of war on unborn noncombatants and other living things.
Yes, Gagnon (and others) are right -- war has become too violent. Too much of an ecological disaster. Too many innocents get killed. War was never a very good idea anyway, but the reality is that there will be war. We must remove the lasting damage that radiation weapons cause and we must create a stigma against them that would prevent their use by "civilized" nations. I'm certain that the first step in stopping war altogether is to stop killing uninvolved innocent people. All nuclear weapons are the antithesis of that basic principle. All nations must renounce them.
We can demand environmentally sound rules be established and followed, not only in times of peace, but even in time of war. The military swears it's impossible to prosecute a war with ANY shackles on, but Abu Ghraib proved otherwise, as did Mi Lai before it, and who-knows-how-many-other events in between. If our military had been given a green light to do whatever they wanted, they'd have nuked Russia long ago -- and Vietnam and Iraq, too, just to name a few countries on their "hit list" -- we can't let that thinking rule. For one thing, the payback would almost surely be nuclear. Indeed, by using uranium munitions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, we are almost guaranteeing a nuclear response, possibly against our nuclear power plants (see related document in this email)). We should demand that the truth about the dangers to the health of unborn generations of children be told to the public.
In Arsenal of Hypocrisy, Gagnon looks back proudly on the fact that NASA raised the flyby height of Cassini, supposedly in response to activist's concerns. But, I believe the height was raised specifically to suffocate Gagnon's own voice and that of others. For example, the flyby height was raised above 1000 km in the last few weeks to suffocate the international voice, such as that of Regina Hagen (whom I also will assume, from here on in, could not possibly be an infiltrator). In terms of hitting the debris field around Earth and then crashing into Earth, there was an added safety factor in raising the height. But, it did little for trajectory miscalculations or malfunctions that might have occurred even just a few hours before the flyby, when the probe was 100s of thousands of miles away from Earth. Any miscalculation, miscommunication, or hardware failure could have sent the probe tumbling to Earth. Raising the flyby height did little for stopping the next flyby, and the next and the next. In fact, Gagnon's endorsement of NASA's game helps enable NASA's next flyby, as long as it's above 1000 km. I do hope that Mr. Gagnon will learn not to fall for such obvious "tricks" in the future.
But all in all, his goals are very important and I wish him all the luck in the Universe, and hope I can be of some help in achieving those goals.
Bruce Gagnon is a co-founder and current secretary of Global Network Against Nukes and Weapons In Space:
4) Rochelle Becker: Working hard on legal issues; needs our time and $$$:
I went to hear Rochelle Becker speak last week in San Diego (prior to watching the Arsenal of Hypocrisy video).
Becker impressed me a great deal. We haven't seen eye-to-eye in the past, so for me, it was an epiphany -- I want to support her efforts in any way I can.
Becker is a spokesperson for the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Mothers for Peace, a globally respected organization nearly 30 years old. One wonders how many nukes California would have were it not for Mothers for Peace. A dozen? Twenty? God only knows. In reality, California has four operating nuclear reactors.
I think all four of California's reactors could be shut down with NO disruption of power, except due to political forces and greed. But in the long run, so does Becker. And that "long run" might only be a year or two. In the meantime, Ms Becker believes there's a good chance we can get TWO of them shut down -- the energy loss for California would be low enough that it could be absorbed by relatively minor conservation efforts and/or new natural gas turbines -- a good tradeoff, to be sure. Over time we can build renewable energy solutions.
The Mothers For Peace are actively involved in several lawsuits to improve safety at California's nuclear power plants, or get them shut down. The lawsuits that Becker thinks may help us close California's reactors involve plans to replace the steam generators.
California's reactors are aging rapidly. Each needs to have their "steam generators" replaced, which are comprised of thousands of tubes which transfer the heat from the highly pressurized Primary Coolant to the Secondary Coolant. The new steam generators will have to be manufactured outside the United States (thus, no inspections!) because no one in the U.S. manufactures steam generators for nuclear power plants. The cost will be at least $1 billion for San Onofre's reactors alone, and probably closer to $2 billion, if not more, when all the other parts are inspected and various other corroded and worn pipes, pumps, valves and vessels are found and replaced.
Co-owner SDG&E and the cities which have invested in San Onofre have taken the easy way out of the dilemma and simply refused to pay for the work. But SCE, the majority holder, wants to go ahead with it anyway, which will cost SCE customers dearly, since they'll be the ones who will end up footing the whole bill.
And what if a vital part is NOT replaced, and fails ten years down the road? Then, we ALL will "foot the bill" for an accident!
They never expected to have to replace the steam generators in the life of the reactors. They expected to be able to just plug up tubes as they failed (a standard industry practice) but too many tubes have needed to be plugged up to continue simply plugging up more and more of them. The efficiency and safety (the ability to draw off heat is a safety factor) both decline as more and more tubes are plugged up. The NRC has picked a number, more or less out of a hat, and decided not to allow a greater percentage of steam generator tubes than that to be plugged up. All of California's reactors (and many others) are approaching that number.
As we are learning from events in Japan and here at home, things wear much faster in nuclear power plants than the nuclear industry or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ever expects.
This upgrade will require EXPOSING THE REACTOR because they'll have to CUT A HOLE IN THE DOME. Cutting a hole in the dome is likely to weaken the structure permanently, as well as allowing additional access for terrorists during the time the hole remains open, which would probably be many months as it is chipped apart and then sealed up afterwards.
Who knows how many Davis-Besse type corrosion failures there might be waiting for us? San Onofre had at least one serious pipe break this year. It wasn't as bad as Japan's recent accident, but that was pure luck. The whole plant is obviously under-inspected (or there wouldn't be an ongoing litany of events). We are in constant danger of a catastrophic failure.
San Onofre can, and should, be shut down.
Here's the URL for the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace:
5) Carol Rosin and Jonathan Mark: My best friends in the activist movement?:
I thought it would be a good idea to reintroduce Carol Rosin and Jonathan Mark in this newsletter. Dr. Rosin is a highly experienced former space industry "insider" -- a whistleblower. She was a co-founder of Gagnon's GN group, more than 15 years ago. She was one of the first people to try to publicize one of the core issues regarding the militarization of space, which is this: Space is already militarized. It is now becoming WEAPONIZED -- a much greater worry for all.
Rosin has stuck with me year after year, trying to help me "see the light" about Gagnon (and herself). Gagnon doesn't know it, in fact, but Rosin is probably HIS best friend in the activist community, too! She tried so hard to warn me that I was wrong. Only Jonathan Mark tried as hard ( http://www.FlybyNews.com ). Bless them both for their efforts -- I wish they had succeeded. I wish I had listened.
Authorship notes and contact information:
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