STOP CASSINI Newsletter #159 -- August 1st, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: The unstoppable terrorist within: Nuclear waste: STOP CASSINI #159

Date: August 1st, 1999

Time Frame: Just over two weeks from now, on August 18th, 1999 (August 17th in the USA), Cassini is scheduled to do the flyby of Earth near Africa.

Today's Subjects:

(1) Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow, who knows?

This clip from NASA/JPL's weekly Cassini email news service indicates that Cassini will be pushed towards Earth during "TCM-11" tomorrow. A TCM stands for "Trajectory Correction Maneuver". There are two of these left which each push Cassini towards Earth. (One other -- TCM-10 -- occurred a few weeks ago.)

----- FROM -- Cassini Significant Events for 07/23/99 to 07/29/99: -----

"TCM-11 execution, playback, and High Water Mark Clear on 08/02"


Each of these TCM maneuvers runs a risk, that the engine will be improperly fired for too long or be pointed in the wrong direction, causing the probe to go off course. It has happened before that engines on space probes have fired for too long (or not long enough) and it could happen during one of Cassini's TCMs.

And of course, any number of other things can go wrong, which result in an uncontrollable and off-target spacecraft.

(2) NASA shoots blanks for target practice:

Friday (July 30th, 1999) NASA proudly announced that they had flown Deep Space 1 (DS1) within 10 miles (9 miles, to be more exact) of Asteroid Braille for a 35,000 mph encounter. This maneuver, the media is told, indicates what NASA can do with Cassini.

As reported in July 31st, 1999's San Diego Union Tribune, NASA apparently aimed the camera in the wrong direction during the flyby maneuver, and photographed deep space instead of the nearby asteroid. Not only that, but the "Autonomous Navigation system" lost the target asteroid completely 20 minutes before the flyby!

They can't aim their cameras correctly, and they can't track the target correctly, but not to worry.

On Cassini -- they'll get that one nailed right, they tell us! They won't make any mistakes there! Or will they?

I should note that Cassini is much older technology than DS1, which is just about the most advanced spacecraft NASA has ever flown. And even it can't do a simple thing like aim a camera properly during a flyby.

That's no shame on the DS1 scientists and operators. Mistakes happen. Usually that's no big deal. But if the same sorts of errors happen with Cassini, it might be the shame of THOSE operators, and of NASA, and the nation, and the name of "science" (a once-good name which NASA is trampling).

What NASA is doing is not good science. If it were they could justify it to me because I am a follower of science. But Grinspoon wanders off in a huff. Friedman declines to debate any issues. Kulpa can't "name a number" that would scare him too, bringing him over to our side, if 72.3 pounds of plutonium 238 dioxide isn't enough to do it. None of these supposedly-capable people can explain why NASA is threatening the world with Cassini's nuclear terror. But Grinspoon sure did seem to enjoy trying to get his kicks in while he thought he had an "opening" (namely, that he knew I hadn't yet read his article). But when the time for debate arrived, he shrank away and hasn't reappeared.

Which reminds me: I heard that the Scientific American article was delayed until the September issue and will be out August 10th, 1999. They did not interview the editor of the Stop Cassini newsletter. Let's hope they visited the web site.

(3) Eileen Collins accepts risk as part of space flight:

----- FROM: -----

The shuttle's commander, Eileen Collins, said: "There's always risk in space flight - our job is to minimize the risk."

----- END OF CLIP -----

We agree, of course, but she's talking about her own risk and the risks to the "souls on board" (her crew), not the risk from spreading hundreds of billions of potentially lethal doses of plutonium throughout a fragile environment loaded with 6,000,000,000 living human "souls on board".

Sometimes -- as with Cassini -- risk need not be "minimized" -- it can be eliminated completely and the mission could still be flown, as the Europeans have proven for solar missions as far away from the sun as Cassini will go. This whole risk is pointless.

(4) Rallies to Prevent Y2K Nuclear Catastrophe -- August 6th, 1999:



The Y2K bug could unwittingly trigger a Chernobyl-type nuclear holocaust. So what are the experts doing? Hoping for the best, says Helen Caldicott, founding president of Physicians For Social Responsibility.

The picture is potentially grim. Can something still be done?





North Side of Market Street, between 7th & 8th Streets Civic Center BART Station - United Nations Plaza Exit





(510) 814-8215 (510) 540-0545 (510) 482-1588

For information about Y2K as it affects nuclear power plants, visit these web sites: (Nuclear Information & Resources Service) (Y2K & Nuclear Safety Forum) (Three Mile Island Alert) (The Co-Intelligence Institute)

Please Copy & Distribute This Flyer
Take Action to Prevent Nuclear Meltdown

There are 433 nuclear power reactors in the world, 103 are in the United States. The Y2K computer bug has the potential to create a disaster at any of these sites. While critical time slips away, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, overseer of US reactors) appears ready to let reactors get by without proof of Y2K compliance. If action is not taken, systems with proven Y2K-sensitive chips will remain operational through the New Year. It is critical that the government is held responsible for the public safety and that our elected officials act promptly to prevent all possible reactor disasters.

Nuclear reactors have the potential to malfunction in a variety of ways. The average reactor in the U.S. has thousands of embedded chips in numerous computer systems. An NRC audit of the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire found twelve safety related systems and 800 other significant systems which were affected by theY2K problem. Meltdown could occur if computers report incorrect data and reactor personnel act upon this misinformation. Both the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island reactor disasters occurred because of operators acting upon incorrect data.

External power failures could also cause reactor meltdown. Nuclear reactors require power from the grid to pass coolant through the core. Without power the core could begin to melt in less than two hours. In cases of power failure, reactors rely on diesel generators to run the cooling systems. Unfortunately, these generators are reported by the NRC to be only 95% reliable. (Non-governmental sources, however, claim only 85% reliability.)

The federal government is publicly saying that the risk of reactor problems is not great enough to justify shutting down the reactors for the New Year's transition. Experts agree that no nuclear power will be needed in the U.S. on January 1, 2000 there will be plenty of electrical generation available. The public needs to let its officials know that Americans are willing to live without nuclear power through the New Year in order to avoid a nuclear disaster. To safeguard against Y2K nuclear plant accidents, reactors in the U.S. and throughout the world should be taken off line and the diesel back-up generators must be checked to assure they are running properly and that a long-term supply of fuel is available.

Contact your government representatives TODAY.

Tell them to ensure that nuclear reactors are shut down for Y2K and are supplied with reliable back-up power.


Take nuclear reactors & nuclear processing facilities off-line from December 1, 1999 until after the New Year. Each facility must show it meets Y2K compliance criteria with testing and verification before restart.

Install additional reliable back-up power systems, and certify that diesel generators are in good working order with a minimum of 3 months fuel supply.

De-alert all nuclear weapons no later than December l, 1999. (Take them off “hair-trigger” alert, 20 minutes to fire.)

----- END OF Y2K/NUKES FLYER -----

Note: The editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter goes further than the above statement and recommends an immediate and permanent shutdown of ALL nuclear power plants, and destruction of all nuclear weapons.


From: Yumi Kikuchi (

Hiroshima Day Action for global Launch of WASH Campaign:

1, No More Hiroshima Nagasaki Chernobyl Y2K Citizen's Concert Let Nuclear Bombs and Power Plants have Rest for New Year!

at Hibiya Park, Outside Small Concert Hall,
Demonstration in Ginza street starting 3;45
Free of charge
Musisians; Syonosuke Ohkura, Momoko Ishida, Gen Morita, Ryusuke Seto, Toron and others.

contact person; Yumi Kikuchi 0470-97-1422

Bank acount to support Y2K WASH Campaign Office
Fuji Bank, Nakano Kitaguchi Branch(243)
Futu-koza(general Account);1921336

Please support us, so far each person like me has been paying everything out of their own pocket, and we can not continue forever.

2, Niji-no Matsuri (Rainbow Festival), in Nara, Tohdaiji
Prayer for Peace
Launch of global WASH petition
contact; 06-6965-1312 Mr. Okano

3. Hiroshima will be doing something, but no details yet.


The position of the Stop Cassini newsletter editor is that all the nuclear plants around the world should be shut down IMMEDIATELY because of Y2K concerns, as well as the regular day-to-day threats from terrorism, tornados, tidal waves, operator error, manufacturing defects, the Electromagnetic Pulse, and a thousand other things.

If we want to gamble, we can go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City or an Indian reservation, where all we can lose is our shirts. Not our lives. Well, okay some gambling debts have been paid in blood, but at least in those instances, the one who pays is the one who plays. And besides, such payment is both illegal and immoral. Nuclear waste kills randomly, "knocking us off" one by one, from cancer, leukemia, and birth defects. It's a backdoor, alleyway, under cover, silencer-equipped kind of killer. An unstoppable terrorist.

(5) Nuclear power plant mishaps in Bulgaria and France

The San Diego Union Tribune reported today (August 1st, 1999) that the oldest nuclear power plant in Bulgaria suffered a short-circuit which shut it down. The report was quick to assure us there was no danger to the public from radiation leakage.

The North County Times reported today that a nuclear power plant in France caught fire and was also shut down. The report was quick to assure us there was no danger to the public from radiation leakage.

It is interesting that neither paper carried both reports, as far as I could tell. Divide and conquer!

A fire is easy to put out when countrywide outages have not crippled the nation at the same time. A short circuit is easy to fix when you can call and order another circuit on a phone system or Internet that is fully functional.

These sorts of failures are each minor, but can cascade into catastrophe. They are relevant statistical indicators of what we might face tomorrow, or New Year's, or any other day. But the truth about honest science is this: Science does not play dice with people's lives.

Derek Jeter went "oh for five" yesterday and hit into 2 double plays. As Yankee manager Joe Torre said, any day that happens is "an unusual one." But it happens. Jeter can go Oh for forever, and nobody and nothing gets hurt (except his pride, but he's so humble, I doubt even that would take a big hit).

In the short run, it's often better to be lucky than smart, but in the long run, it's far better to count on being smart than to count on being lucky. Y2K is no worse than the daily risks we force humanity to take -- all rolled into one moment of one day. It will probably be no worse than a flood, a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, a riot and a war -- all at once. That's something that is worth preparing for, isn't it? The San Diego Union Tribune also published today, an Op-Ed piece by a software engineer with 20 years' experience (about the same as YH&OS). He claimed nothing would go wrong during Y2K (as if he could somehow know) and pointed out that in fact, we face many of these threats every day. That's true, we do. That is precisely why we should reevaluate what we are risking because many of these risks, we risk every day for nothing.

Maps of locations of nuclear power plants in Europe:

Article in THE NATION about the dangers of Y2K and nukes (supplied by Bill Smirnow):

Most recent article by the STOP CASSINI editor about Y2K and nukes:

(6) Misc. links of interest to readers of the SC newsletter:

NASA's future may be nuclear:

The letter was sent by Dr. Earl Budin to N. Jasentuliyana, Director, Office for Outer Space Affairs, U.N. dated 2 April 1999:

This page asks: "Can we stop this? Well I know that if we don't try we certainly will NOT!!!!"

John Turner ( is a Toronto-based freelance writer and currently the Online Editor for He has worked with The Nation, Vibe, Warp and VICE:

(7) What you can do today to stop the Cassini flyby of Earth:

The hour is late: To stop Cassini and other future mad-scientist launches, please redistribute this newsletter to everyone you know! Chances are they have never heard of Cassini, never visited our STOP CASSINI web site, never heard of or considered the effects of the Electromagnetic Pulse that will undoubtedly start a nuclear war if one occurs at all. And chances are good they would not even be able to tell you who played Dr. Strangelove (and two other roles) in the movie of the same name! There is a crisis in education in America and around the world -- you can take it seriously or you can let it kill you. But if we all join together and oppose this impending global destruction, maybe, just maybe, we can convince the powers that be to put down their genocidal toys.

To learn about the absurd excuses NASA used to launch Cassini in 1997, ask them for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission, and all subsequent documentation. At the same time, be sure to ask them for ANY and ALL documentation available on future uses of plutonium in space, including MILITARY, CIVILIAN, or "OTHER" (just in case they make a new category somehow!). To get this information, contact:

Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011 or
(818) 354-6478

NASA states that they do not have the resources anymore to answer most emails they receive. Liars! They have $13 billion dollars to play with. They can answer the public's questions!

Here's NASA's "comments" email address:

Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address: or

Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:


Be sure to "cc" the president and VP and your senators and congresspeople, too.

Always include your full name and postal address in all correspondence to any Government official of any country.

(8) Subscription information

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Published by Russell D. Hoffman electronically.
Written in U.S.A.
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First placed online August 1st, 1999.
Last modified August 1st, 1999.
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