STOP CASSINI Newsletter #186 -- September 12th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Public Officials

From: Russell D. Hoffman

Re: I expect Woody Smith, Curator at NASA, to resign soon

Date: Sunday, September 12th, 1999

Forum: STOP CASSINI newsletter #186 (post-flyby)

To Whom It May Concern (all but cockroaches, who are going to take over if we don't wise up):

Today's subjects:


Last week I sent out a letter to my subscribers about the impending cessation of the NOFLYBY web site, which disappointed me greatly (still does). In that letter I denounced Jonathan Mark for closing his web site so quickly.

I am now utterly convinced I spoke unfairly, and that he carefully considered his options before deciding what to do. Furthermore, I am forced by what I consider now overwhelming evidence, to believe that for most of the past year I have misunderstood his character and his motives, which appear to me now to be as honorable and consistent as those of anyone I have ever met. It is I who have been a fool regarding Jonathan. I have wronged him and I wish to apologize here, now, and forever for any disgrace I might have sent his way; I am now sure it was undeserved.

I'm happy to say he's already accepted my apologies; this is old news to him.

Although it hurts to realize you have been an idiot (and worse, to have splashed that idiocy across the Internet), it is certainly far less painful when your mistake means someone you did not trust, you should have. I do wish I could feel as I now do about Jonathan, about everyone I have denounced (especially those within the STOP CASSINI movement itself) but at this point I must continue to await at least a shred of evidence. -- rdh

(2) 1999 STOP CASSINI commemorative CD planned:

Jonathan plans to let me have a copy of his entire web site, which I will place on a CD-ROM along with my own. I have of course, vowed not to change or delete a word of what he gives me. These CD-ROMs will be duplicated and distributed to the leaders of the various movements involved, which is probably about 30 or 40 people. They will also be sent to the library of Congress (3 copies) and to NASA (3 copies). We have already pulled off many NASA web pages for inclusion but we hope that NASA will voluntarily submit material for the "1999 Stop Cassini Movement Commemorative CD". I would figure the person to ask would be Woody Smith, Curator for NASA. But I suspect he's probably going to resign soon, so it will have to be someone else (see below).

Because NASA made substantial changes to their web site (for instance, changing where the flyby would be closest to Earth from Africa to the South Pacific) we actually would like to have all the various versions (in zipped form!) to include the transgressions -- I mean transitions -- which occurred along the way. We won't hold up production of the disk waiting for NASA's contribution, of course. But we would GREATLY APPRECIATE any other webmasters who would be willing to zip up their anti-cassini, noflyby or no-nukes-in-space web site and send it to us, and I will place it on the disk. If it goes to two disks, well, so be it. (I find that inconceivable, but anyway...)

Anyone who would like a FREE copy of the disk should ask for it by name (THE 1999 STOP CASSINI MOVEMENT COMMEMORATIVE CD). As long as I can afford to, I will send the disk out at no charge to any subscriber to my newsletter or any member of the press. We hope to have it ready in a few weeks. -- rdh

(3) Where is RDH's writing going these days?

Right now just about the only writing YH&OS is doing which is not Cassini mop-up stuff (which of course should go out in the newsletters) is Y2K-nuclear-disaster-preparedness material which either has already been posted at our Y2K web site, and/or has been included in the newsletters, and/or is available on the y2k-nuclear listserv run by Paul Swann:

For more information on the y2k-nuclear listserv contact:
Paul Swann

(3) A note about recent STOP CASSINI newsletter's lack of numbering:

The past four emails (Y2K poem, "a response to Mike Orton", the email mentioned above, and the one mentioned below) plus this one, shall constitute (for record-keeping purposes) STOP CASSINI newsletters #182 through #186 inclusive (soon to be renamed). The Y2k Poem is online at the following URL and the rest of the items will be posted soon:

Staring down the Y2K demons:


Last week I sent out a letter containing something sent to the STOP CASSINI editor by Larry Klaes, which quoted James Oberg. We added some commentary as well. It was sent to my STOP CASSINI newsletter subscribers.

It has caused quite a stir. Because of it, today, I have what I believe is strong evidence that someone is either pretending to be Woody Smith at NASA, or (we believe, far more likely) that Woody Smith is thinking about suing me for wrongs I have not committed and is pretending to be someone named "Dr. Planarian". Woody Smith, currently the Curator for NASA, lied about Cassini's dangers in several letters to subscribers of mine, and I published them and pointed that fact out. NASA, of course, was very tight-lipped throughout, and so for the most part, whenever anyone got a letter out of someone at NASA/JPL, if we found out about it, we published it.

That's how we came to have Mr. Smith's email address and we've been emailing him the newsletters ever since. He has been free and indeed, encouraged to defend NASA's madness -- his letters represent NASA's opinion to the public and we feel our condemnation of his claims were fair. He did lie to the public about the risks and the dangers of the RTGs, and that's all there was to that. He was first discussed in STOP CASSINI newsletter #103, and then in several subsequent issues (#104, #105, #108, #117, #121, #125, #129 and #141)).

NASA still has Cassini, and Woody Smith still has his job. But I wouldn't really expect the latter to last very long (and I'm not too sure about the former, either). After reading the following sequence of letters and comparing them to the letters from Woody Smith presented in our newsletters, I expect most readers will agree that Dr. Planarian is Woody Smith, and vice-versa.

If that is in fact true, Woody Smith should resign from NASA. If it is not true, I certainly owe Mr. Smith an apology. But that doesn't mean I still don't think he's a lying scoundrel. It would just mean he is not ALSO Dr. Planarian, aka Flatworm, aka (this one's my name for him) Tapeworm.

This next section comprises J.O's letter to me, then "Dr. Ivo Planarian's" letter to me, then my first two letters replying to "Dr. Planarian", then the back-and-forth so far. The only item omitted is my lawyer's name and phone number. NASA has that and "Dr. Planarian" has it. Anyone else who thinks they need it, should of course, ask me directly. -- rdh

----- JAMES OBERG'S RESPONSE (UNCUT) TO THE POSTING CONTAINING HIS OWN COMMENTS (sent out to subscribers a few days ago): -----

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Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 16:08:02 EDT
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Good to publicize this and ratchet up the awareness/anxiety level.


Needless to say I was delighted to get that back. (I'm waiting for another.) The next letter is in response to the same posting:


Date: Thu, 09 Sep 1999 08:53:01 -0400
From: "Dr. Planarian"
Organization: The Platyhelmenthean Society
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.61 [en] (Win95; I)
X-Accept-Language: en,ja
Subject: Nuclear Power Plants

Although I have found your submissions consistently to be filled with the most irrationally alarmist claptrap and misstatements and misapplications of facts that would make even a speechwriter for George W. Bush proud, I have never yet seen you make such a blatant misstatement on a fact so generally well known and so easy to check as you did on your most recent mailing. I had heretofore believed you to be, but now this confirms that you in fact are, nothing but a member of the Black Helicopter crowd.

You said, "Ever notice how there are no nuclear power plants around Washington DC? That's probably because of the danger -- dangers the Government is WELL AWARE OF but WON'T TELL YOU!"

Uh huh. What's Calvert Cliffs in Maryland? How about North Anna in Virginia? Thanks to the miracle of the Virginia Railway Express many Federal government employees actually live on the shores of Lake Anna itself, which is the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant cooling pond.

No, they probably wouldn't put a nuclear power plant in Alexandria or Tacoma Park, but that is not due to the danger but because land there is prohibitively expensive and not well suited for industrial purposes (in part because people already live on it). But North Anna and Calvert Cliffs are still easily close enough to D.C. to put the lie to your garbage.

Nuclear power is the safest and cleanest way to generate electricity, as everyone with two or more synapses to rub together knows. How many people would have died of lung cancer or emphysema already if the megawatts generated by Calvert Cliffs were from coal or oil fired generators instead?

Have you ever considered obtaining something resembling a life? Perhaps a good psychiatrist could help.

Dr. Ivo Planarian


There is no question that coal and oil are also poor solutions to the world's energy needs. But to denigrate hydro (as he does in later letters) while speaking of nukes as a safe solution is sheer utter madness. (I have already debated the comparison with another person and will post that debate soon.) And "Dr. Planarian" has not thought of tidal, solar, wind, geothermal, and dozens of other benign and nearly benign energy solutions -- none of which have the risks associate with nuclear power (especially during Y2K). -- rdh

----- MY FIRST RESPONSE (1 OF 2): -----

Although the rest of your letter is absurd and criminally stupid bunk, I think you may have me on this one -- how close exactly are Calvert Cliffs and North Anna to DC?

--- Russell Hoffman


The fact was, I HADN'T looked that fact up and I had meant to! But what's the big deal? I said there are no nuclear reactors around Washington DC, and that's right, although definitely two were closer than I had realized. Of course, it makes sense that Washington wouldn't want a nuke near them, because anyone who knows what nuclear power plants can do (many can explode) and what nuclear weapons can do (nothing useful BUT explode, and how useful is that?) wouldn't want to be anywhere near one! So our government has some sense after all. They look out for themselves. Now, all we have to do is get them to look out for us too (the reasons why were described in the letter to Mike Orton, sent out a few days ago). -- rdh


I encourage honest and forthright debate, and because of my basic love of humanity, and despite your sickening insults, I almost took you for an honest debater. I'll know better for next time.

These two nukes sites you mentioned are well outside the blast zone from even the largest nuclear weapons, which is not to say they are not vulnerable to a nearby EMP, but the fact is, top officials in DC would have no trouble leaving town before the poisons from either of these plants' meltdowns got to the downtown Washington area:


North Anna, VA:
40 miles north west of Richmond, Virginia

Calvert Cliffs, MD:
Location: Forty miles south of Annapolis, Maryland.

Please crawl back in your hole and don't bother the world again unless you have some real FACTS instead of your grasping at whatever straws you might think exist (like comparing nukes to coal or oil in order to prove how clean they are. You are one seriously deluded individual.).

Thank you in advance,

Russell Hoffman



Date: Thu, 09 Sep 1999 13:49:06 -0400
From: "Dr. Planarian"
Organization: The Platyhelmenthean Society
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.61 [en] (Win95; I)
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To: "Russell D. Hoffman"
Subject: Re: Nuclear Power Plants
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North Anna is about 65 miles or so away just southwest of Fredricksburg. The interesting thing about North Anna is that common wind patterns would carry any airborne discharge from North Anna pretty much right over Washington, D.C. Calvert Cliffs is, I believe, even closer. They are two of the main reasons why the Washington area's air is so very clean.

In fact, Washington, D.C., is not all THAT far away from the infamous Three Mile Island.

I do not write "absurd and criminally stupid bunk," but to have it characterized that way by you is an honor.


(His letter included his first letter and my first letter to him; these have been omitted as will similar repeated messages each way in the rest of this sequence. -- rdh)


Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 14:17:49 -0400
From: "Dr. Planarian"
Organization: The Platyhelmenthean Society
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.61 [en] (Win95; I)
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To: "Russell D. Hoffman"
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Calvert Cliffs is forty miles south of Annapolis, Maryland. Washington, D.C. is 28 miles southwest of Annapolis, Maryland. North Anna is forty miles northwest of Richmond, VA. Washington, D.C., is 95 miles north of Richmond, VA. MANY government officials commute to Washington from Annapolis, and some even from Richmond.

I am not aware of many nuclear powerplants constructed in urban areas, but these two are in heavily populated areas where many government officials live with their families and commute to their jobs in D.C. And because of Virginia Electric Power's foresight in constructing the nuclear plants at North Anna and Surry before reactionary luddites like you made it prohibitively expensive, Virginians enjoy some of the least expensive electricity in America.

Here's a question for you, Mr. Hoffman: How many Americans have died as a result of commercial nuclear powerplant accidents since the first commercial reactor came on line? And how many would you estimate have died over that same period of pulmonary diseases caused by the pollution emitted by fossil fueled commercial powerplants? Have you asked the people living around Kane, Pennsylvania, what they think of the wonderful boon the hydroelectric power produced by the Kinzua Dam has been to their lives? Why, some of them are old enough to remember NICE weather before the dam changed their climate!

Or perhaps you would like to return to the 19th century, when we didn't have to worry about plugging things into electrical outlets.

I wonder why, in speaking of government employees evacuating Washington, D.C., you assume a nuclear powerplant accident would occur during government business hours? There is only one chance in three of this being the case for any given accident; the other two will occur while government officials are in their homes. Many of your friendly neighborhood government employees live near the nuclear powerplants at North Anna and Calvert Cliffs. Contrary to your apparent belief, they are not stupid or evil men and women plotting to pollute our environment with deadly radioactive isotopes. But I must point out that a fearmonger like you, who had to get two of his six legs removed so he could fit into human clothes, deserves insults in return for his own childishly insulting style of debate.

Watch out! The black helicopters are gonna getcha!

"Russell D. Hoffman" wrote:
I encourage honest and forthright debate.........


Let's assume for a moment that I am right that Dr. Planarian is Woody Smith. Woody Smith stated (as shown in newsletter #103), "Those RTGs are so safe it's hard to imagine anything that could cause them to release plutonium into the environment here or on any planet." That's what I call a lie. Even NASA's own documents (the 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission) lists all sorts of things that can go wrong! In fact, after a careful read of that document, it's hard NOT to imagine the things that could have gone wrong or can go wrong with one of the dozen or more nuclear missions NASA currently has planned! -- rdh

In any event, he attempts in the above letter to deflect the argument away from the dangers of nuclear waste and instead to the dangers of adding potential energy to bodies of water. I found (and find) absurd -- like comparing apples to nuclear bombs. Yes, some people have probably been KILLED by apples falling on their heads, or else at least, apple trees. Newton, fortunately, only woke up. I wonder what would wake Dr. Planarian up? Would Cassini falling on his head have done it? I doubt it! He would have claimed "no one has ever died from a NASA dispersal of Plutonium" just as he clearly thinks now, despite NASA having distributed over 60,000 Curies of plutonium into the environment already! -- rdh


Who is Dr. Planarian? What is he a doctor of? Where does he work? Where has he made his living? How does he define "urban area"? What makes him think gov't employees actually work 1/3rd of their lives? What does he plan to do with the waste? How does he answer the questions I posed to Mike Orton yesterday? How does he define "fearmonger"? How often does he compare nuclear waste to a cloudy day as equivalent dangers? And what gives this mysterious Dr. Ivo Planarian the right to accuse me of flinging insults, after he started it?

Go away or answer the questions honestly, Dr. Planarian. As far as I can tell, you are a waste of DNA. Please prove me wrong. Good luck.

-- rdh


He didn't go away, though, nor did he answer the questions honestly. -- rdh


From: "Dr. Planarian"
To: "Russell D. Hoffman"
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 08:06:30 -0400
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Who is Dr. Planarian?

Dr. Planarian is a pseudonym for one who refuses to have his name smeared any further by an unethical individual like yourself. His antecedent (or his antecedent's attorney, more likely) will be contacting you on a matter you may find to be of some urgency involving libel regarding some serious and damaging misinformation you disseminated about him long ago. You may find it amusing. His antecedent certainly does, because it seems you have SO much time on your hands you've GOTTA be rich, but perhaps only temporarily.

What is he a doctor of?

Sp.D. A Doctor of Spinology. Dr. Planarian's antecedent works at a fairly high level in political campaigns (curiously enough, for candidates you probably support because of their unusually strong record on environmental issues). But politics is his hobby, not his antecedent's profession.

Where does he work?

Washington, D.C. and environs.

Where has he made his living?

This is classified. If I told you, I'd have to kill you.

How does he define "urban area"?


What makes him think gov't employees actually work 1/3rd of their lives?

He knows a whole lot of them who work harder than any private sector moron on the planet. You find a far higher level of dedication among government employees than you do among those in the private sector because many government employees are actually interested in the causes of the agencies for which they toil.

24 divided by 8 equals 3; most government offices have nominal eight hour days.

Go ahead. Keep slandering the "lazy bureaucrat." That'll win you LOTS of points among those who could help your cause the most.

What does he plan to do with the waste?

The waste can be dealt with, as you know. I personally am going to do nothing with it. That stuff is DANGEROUS!

How does he answer the questions I posed to Mike Orton yesterday?

Not being Mike Orton, he has some difficulty responding to this. Perhaps Mr. Hoffman thinks Dr. Planarian is the Great Carnak.

How does he define "fearmonger"?

One who uses disingenuous arguments to instill an inappropriate level of fear in his audience. Fits you like a glove, Hoffman.

How often does he compare nuclear waste to a cloudy day as equivalent dangers?

Well, not yet. But I believe if you research the issue you'll find that the weather in the area of the Kinzua Dam has been affected somewhat more seriously than what would be described as a "cloudy day." First of all, whole thriving towns were inundated by the resulting lake, which is a problem that I would not describe as weather-related. But now it snows there almost every day from mid Autumn to the middle of Spring, which causes more deaths on the highways each year than have ever been caused by nuclear powerplants or nuclear waste in the United States..

And what gives this mysterious Dr. Ivo Planarian the right to accuse me of flinging insults, after he started it?

Check your constitution. There's this pesky first amendment thing that lets me accuse an insulting little weenie like yourself of insulting me, particularly when you have.

But I am not one to complain about ad hominem in political arguments. They are the spice that keep such discourse from being bland and featureless.

What you wrote and distributed about Dr. Planarian's antecedent, however, went beyond the pale and very nearly cost him his job. There were real, assessible damages involved, as you shall soon see.

Go away or answer the questions honestly, Dr. Planarian. As far as I can tell, you are a waste of DNA. Please prove me wrong. Good luck.

Actually I am not a waste of DNA at all. I'm a fictional character.

Now, since I HAVE answered your questions honestly, if you're man enough, which I doubt, answer MY questions, which were somewhat more relevant than yours to the issue at hand:

How many Americans have died as a result of commercial nuclear powerplant accidents since the first commercial reactor came on line? And how many would you estimate have died over that same period of pulmonary diseases caused by the pollution emitted by fossil fueled commercial powerplants?

Just to show you how kind and beneficent the good Dr. Planarian can be, I will give you the answer to the first question absolutely free of charge: Not a one.

Now, Mr. Hoffman, what is the answer to the question about how many people have died as a result of the generation of electricity by burning fossil fuels in the United States?

It's tough when a true believer in false doctrine has his dogma challenged like this, isn't it, Hoffman?

-- rdh

At 02:17 PM 9/10/99 -0400, you wrote:...............



Dear Mr. Tapeworm:

My lawyer's name is ............. His phone number is (760) ....-..... If your antecedent has any complaint of substance, he's the man for your attorney to contact as he will be handling the matter, I'm sure, if it ever goes to court or, as it appears to be doing from your letter, heads in that direction.

Me, I'll have nothing further to do with ghosts, made-up people, the criminally insane, or antecedents. If I published something that might have hurt someone unfairly, I'm sure there are remedies which that person would already have taken when the spotlight was on, so I'm not too worried. I have no doubt you do not have anything of substance you can use against me, as I have always striven to debate only those who had arguments worth debating about, and who made statements which needed answering. If it makes you feel any better, though, I'm not rich (for an American), which means there isn't much you can get, so to that extent it would be a waste of your time even if you won, which I don't think is very likely and I suspect you don't really, either. That little matter of the first amendment you are so quick to remind me about might get in your way. As long as I'm honest, I can pretty much say what I want, and that's the way it's been. Not to mention there are also Good Samaritan laws which can be used to protect those who try to warn others about impending dangers such as those from nukes.

Whoever you are, you have many things yet to learn about the world, that's for sure. I strongly advise you do try to answer the questions I posted to Mike Orton, since if you have answers, the world needs them and I will publish them. Unlike you, I try to be fair, open, and honest.


Russell Hoffman


Still, I had no idea who Dr. Planarian was (though I hadn't looked very hard). Then he sent one more letter: -- rdh


At 04:58 AM 9/12/99 -0400, wrote:

There were reasons for delay which will be made clear to you. Your arrogant, insulting brand of discourse, though ineffective in achieving your aims, can do harm to those you so stridently and, in my opinion, foolishly oppose.

I see you are unable to answer my simple, straightforward questions regarding the compararive safety of nuclear power generation versus other methods in a manner that suits your dogma. Perhaps you should consider examining the validity of your dogma if you find it is inconsistent with the facts as they exist in the world.

That's just good advice. Thank you for your lawyer's name. We'll be in touch.

I am not a made up person. "Dr. Planarian" is merely a made-up name for a very real person who does not wish to subject his good name any further to your style of defamation.

I have been reading the material you write for quite some time now and I have yet to see you be right even once about risk. Nothing you have attempted to make your readers fear has come to pass.

Think about that. Consider the fact that we are living on a small piece of dark matter in the accretion disk of a black hole. Kinda makes you think.


I sent my response to that letter to all the NASA addresses I have, and am now sending it to everyone else as well. The spelling of "doppelganger" has been corrected: -- rdh


Dear Sir,

I certainly didn't say I couldn't answer your questions, I merely declined as I have more interesting people to debate than doppelgangers. Like Mike Orton and Peter de Jager, to name two that have come along since the Cassini flyby. Those were some great debates!

I hope your boss Daniel Goldin concurs with your recent actions, Mr. Woody Smith, Curator for NASA. That IS who you are, isn't it? Just guessing of course, from the quote at the bottom of your most recent message. Whoever you are, you threatened to kill me if you happened to (accidentally or on purpose) reveal your real self to me -- which you have now done, I suspect. I'm sure there are ways to get the missing information for a positive ID.

The real Woody Smith will receive this email; if I'm mistaken as to who you are, I apologize to him in advance, and hope he will set me straight with a sworn statement that it was not him. But I really, really doubt that's going to happen, Mr. Tapeworm, or Flatworm, or Dr. Ivo Planarian, or whoever you want to call yourself today.

-- Russell Hoffman

PS: While it's true that 24/8=3, 168/40 is less than 1/4. Think about it.


Needless to say, I meant 40/168 is less than 1/4th. Gee, does that mean I would have installed a 200 ton reactor backwards? Accuse innocent people of crimes they have not committed? Yes indeed, I might have done that. But I have never claimed to be incapable either of failing, or of learning from those mistakes. If you read the bio line attached to Woody Smith's letters shown in newsletter #103, it is remarkably similar to Dr. Planarian's tagline: "The truth is, we're all living on a little piece of dark matter inside the accretion disk of a black hole. Kinda makes you think." Other striking similarities also exist. NASA undoubtedly has records of whether or not Woody Smith got in any trouble for writing to Evelynn (as shown in newsletter #103). It would certainly have been appropriate that he would have been reprimanded, since he lied, but that obviously isn't my fault! -- rdh

(6) United States Government official contact points:

NASA needs to be told in no uncertain terms NEVER to launch nuclear rockets of any type ever again!

To learn about the absurd excuses NASA used to launch Cassini and its 72.3 pounds of plutonium 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

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

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

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.

President Bill Clinton
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20500; Ph. (202) 456-1111, Fax (202) 456-2461;
e-mail --

Vice President Albert Gore
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,
N.W.,Washington, D.C. 20500;Ph. (202) 456-1414, Fax (202)
456-2461; e-mail --

Secretary William Cohen
1000 Defense
The Pentagon
Washington D.C. 20301

Secretary Bill Richardson
Department of Energy (DoE)
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20585
fax: 202-586-4403

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

(7) Subscription information:

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