STOP CASSINI Newsletter #233 -- November 29th, 1999
Copyright (c) 1999
STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index
To: Subscribers, government officials, members of the press
From: Russell David Hoffman (hammering away)
Re: Hey Kids! Don't worry while we kill you: STOP CASSINI #233
Date: November 29th, 1999
This issue's subjects:
- (1) Aldermaston gets new management
- (2) A. Stanley Thompson, PhD, on Nuclear Power and Y2K
- (3) "I think it's best not to scare the little children of Russia." Say's who?
- (4) Tell Clinton how you feel -- Official government contact points
- (5) Newsletter subscription information
- (6) Newsletter Authorship notes and additional URLs
(1) Aldermaston gets new management:
Recently, it was learned that the nuclear fuel enrichment/reprocessing plant at Aldermaston (England) had a dozen serious safety incidents this year already, which until recently were covered up and did not reach the world press. Now this shocker comes in:
----- INCOMING EMAIL FROM PAUL SWANN (POSTED ON Y2K-NUCLEAR LIST) -----
Subject: [y2k-nuclear] New management for Aldermaston plant
BBC Ceefax, 27 November 1999
NEW MANAGEMENT FOR ALDERMASTON PLANT
The Aldermaston nuclear weapons plant is being put under new management, the BBC has learned.
Current operators Hunting Brae are to lose the contract when it comes up for renewal in April.
The plant will be run by a consortium including British Nuclear Fuels Limited and US Defence firm Lockheed Martin.
Liberal Democrat MP David Rendel, whose constituency includes the Berkshire plant, said he was worried by the move.
----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL -----
The idea of Lockheed-Martin being involved in England's nuclear weapons program is sad and dangerous. L-M has failed to serve America's needs properly -- there is no chance it will serve England's needs properly and safely. It is reckless, ruthless, rude and repulsive. It reeks of wretched radioactive wrecks. Actually, it should fit right in at Aldermaston:
----- ITEM ABOUT ALDERMASTON SEEN RADBULL, OCTOBER 25TH, 1999: -----
10/25/99 **** RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL) **** VOL 7.235
RADBULL IS PRODUCED BY THE ABALONE ALLIANCE CLEARINGHOUSE
5 Aldermaston managers say objections exaggerated
ireland.com - The Irish Times - WORLD
Tuesday, October 26, 1999
FROM SARAH HALL, IN LONDON
BRITAIN: Britain's key nuclear warheads factory was at the centre of controversy last night after it admitted more than 100 breaches of safety in the past year, but denied the public had ever been put at risk.
The director of communications at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, Berkshire, branded claims that only luck had prevented an accident worse than that in Japan as "irresponsible scaremongering". Mr Graeme Hammond added: "If the situation had been one-tenth as bad as it has been purported, we would have been shut down immediately."
Aldermaston's director of safety, Mr John Crofts, insisted: "I am not denying any of these incidents took place, and I'm not trying to give the impression they're trivial, but claims we have been on the brink of a nuclear crisis are a gross exaggeration.
"I live down the road with my wife and five children and I wouldn't do so if I thought there were any risk. I give you my personal assurance, Aldermaston is safe."
The plant's emphatic denials came after the Observer newspaper published details of a leaked report highlighting more than 100 dangerous accidents, breakdowns in safety procedures and instances of environmental contamination since September 1998.
Among these were eight breaches of the "criticality" rules in place to ensure that too much uranium or plutonium does not collect together and trigger nuclear fission, as happened in Japan, and eight instances of environmental contamination outside the site.
There were also eight occasions when materials, including plutonium, were incorrectly packaged or labelled, and 19 highly serious health and safety incidents including all firefighting pumping appliances being unfit for service.
Some of the most serious breaches included part of the system to protect the factory from a lightning strike that could trigger a nuclear explosion being "locked off and fuses removed"; a power failure leading to "widespread disruption" after emergency generators failed; and an electrician using metal equipment which could have sparked an explosion in "close proximity to explosive powder".
The leaking of the catalogue of breaches comes as the Environment Agency prepares to decide whether to prosecute the privatised Aldermaston Weapons Establishment, which comprises the Aldermaston factory and one three miles away at Burghfield, for dumping tritium, a radioactive substance, in a stream from which drinking water is ultimately sourced, in February this year.
----- END OF ITEM SEEN IN ROGER HERRIED'S RADBULL, #7.235, OCTOBER 25TH, 1999 -----
The managers are Aldermaston sound just like the fools at NASA who continue to support Cassini and other nuclear launches, despite the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter. For them, no danger is too great to be ignored. For them, no preponderance of evidence of past failure provides a clear trend towards a future disaster (which could be averted if the facts were properly faced). Nothing stops these people from supporting their use of the "demon hot atom" in order for them to make a living. They say the objections are exaggerated, but they are not -- Aldermaston should be shut down because it is an accident waiting to happen and it builds weapons of mass destruction for the highest bidder! -- rdh
(2) A. Stanley Thompson, PhD, on Nuclear Power and Y2K:
The editor wishes to alert readers to a frightening article found on the Mother's Alert web site, written by A. Stanley Thompson, PhD. Thompson's resume (included in the article) reads like an encyclopedia of nuclear projects and other technical issues, spanning the years from 1941 to 1976 (his nuclear work started in 1946 and lasted 17 years). His conclusions, whatever his background, are the same as this editor's conclusions: We must turn away from the nuclear option and towards a renewable energy environment ("gentler energy sources" is how Dr. Thompson describes it). The editor called Dr. Thompson this morning and did a quick interview with him. He sounds not a day over 50 (he doesn't smoke) but in fact told me he is 85 years old. Time is a-wasting. People like Dr. Thompson and Dr. Gofman and many others need to be given the floor, today, 33 days before Y2K. I urge news organizations to contact these experts themselves, and I urge our government to
pay attention to them as well.
Readers are strongly urged to read this article and share it with everyone they know:
Dr. Thompson's email address is included in the article for those who wish to correspond directly with him. Dr. Thompson also has a brochure, which he calls "Comments on nuclear power" which he will be happy to send to anyone, or you can read it here:
"I didn't have any view to begin with because I didn't know anything." He adds, "I thought this would be my life's work.". He added that he wrote a book which came out in 1956 called Thermal Power from Nuclear Reactors (Thompson and Rodgers, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). He lectured to Admiral Rickover's people on nuclear propulsion. He has worked at Oak Ridge, General Atomics, North American Aviation, Westinghouse and others.
Dr. Thompson told me "I think it would be impossible to sell a nuclear reactor in the U.S. at this time" unless you snuck it in past the public somehow, but added a stern warning, that third-world countries are still eager to buy these things, not understanding (and not being told) the dangers, and thinking that a nuclear power plant is the first step to being able to build a nuclear weapon.
As to the anti-nuclear movement in general, Dr. Thompson figured out the fallacy of what America was doing many decades ago, and for a long time, had to speak out virtually alone. "I don't feel as lonely as I did at one point. There was a point you know, if you said some of the things I'm saying, they would say, 'who are you'?" Obviously, they would say that no matter who you actually were and not matter how strong your credentials!
Dr. Thompson also told me that he was strongly opposed to NASA's Cassini space probe because of the use of Plutonium 238 in highly vaporizable form. There was over 400,000 Curies of plutonium dioxide (72.3 pounds) on board Cassini. Right now the probe is heading towards Jupiter, after a risky and extremely hazardous flyby of Earth last August.
While readers visit the Mother's Alert web site, we would also like to mention that readers who are interested in Sara Shannon's Diet for the Atomic Age book (discussed in the previous newsletter, #232, item #2, November 27th,1999) will want to check out the updated information she provides, which is available at the Mother's Alert web site under the heading "Get Info":
-- Russell Hoffman
(3) "I think it's best not to scare the little children of Russia." Say's who?
The front page of the San Diego Union-Tribune ran an article today (November 29th, 1999) titled, "Bah, Y2K Bug! Russia doesn't want to hear it". It was by Nick Wadhams of the Associated Press. Dateline: Moscow.
----- START OF ARTICLE IN SD U-T TODAY: -----
Western experts warn that Russia is among the countries that have done the least to prepare for the Y2K computer bug, but many Russians are decidedly nonchalant about the potential implications: severe failures in vital services.
"We will pass quietly through 2000 just like we have every other year," said Ilya Klebanov, Russia's deputy minister in charge of defense. "I think it's best not to scare the little children of Russia."
No one really knows exactly what Y2K glitches -- the result of unfixed older computer and embedded circuits mistaking 2000 for 1900 and going haywire -- might do in this nation of 148 million people spread across 11 time zones.
At their worst, computer failures could plunge Russian cities into darkness while in the grip of winter, cutting off heat and power to millions.
Foreign analysts are almost certain that the chances of a nuclear disaster are remote. But they are concerned about utilities, including possible cutoff of natural gas supplies to much of Europe.
----- END OF FIRST PORTION OF ARTICLE IN SAN DIEGO UNION -TRIBUNE -----
What does "almost certain that the chances... are remote" mean?
EXACTLY NOTHING! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
The article mentions the well-publicized news story about a few Russian officers who will be in Colorado playing video games for New Year's, claiming this sort of band-aid decreases the dangers enough so that the common Russian (or American, for that matter) needn't worry: "Russia has worked with the West to make sure no problems occur with its nuclear weapons arsenals and nuclear power plants." The article continues: "While Western officials admitted chances are slightly higher that Russian nuclear reactors could go awry, they said the government has mostly cornered the problem."
What does THAT mean? "Mostly cornered the problem"? Mostly avoided a catastrophe? That's not nearly good enough. And those Russian officials who "will camp out at a command center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado" -- what does this mean? It means the world will have to trust that no nuclear war will happen to 20 Russian officials celebrating the millennium playing video games in the U.S.A.! If they don't like what they see, KABOOM! They start World War Three.
I would rather trust my life to the very sane idea of dismantling the nuclear weapons so that it would take a thousand mad Russians to attack us with even ONE weapon. And I would rather we dismantle our own weapons so that even a thousand insane Russians would not be enough to start World War Three.
It is virtually unquestionable that Russia is at great risk in many ways because of Y2K. But so is America. The article claims that "Russians are used to living with disaster." I say, no one ever gets used to disasters. Russia needs our help. As Ukraine holds the world hostage against Chernobyl #3, demanding billions in cash for two more nuclear power plants, so too is the Russian government doing virtually nothing to solve its Y2K problem -- because they are trusting that Americans will be smart enough to step in, like we do so often, and solve the problems. Add backup generators. Guarantee energy so that the nukes can be shut down. Dismantle our nuclear weapons so they will dismantle theirs.
One thing is certain. 33 days before Y2K, there appear to be no smart players on the global field. Thousands of nuclear weapons are still on hair-trigger alert. Nuclear power plants are being left to weather Y2K like it was "just another three-day snowstorm" (as FEMA is suggesting it might be like). The world is risking nuclear disaster for nothing.
Nuclear power has seen its glory days, and they are gone forever. No civilized country can afford to ignore the Y2K-related dangers of nuclear power. It is best that the children of Russia know the truth -- especially those who are suffering right now from thyroid damage from the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant more than 10 years ago. It is best that they be able to tell their leaders what fools they are. It is best that they be given a chance to demand sanity from their government -- just as our children, who are left at least as confused about the issues by official U.S. Government platitudes as are the Russian children -- should be allowed to know the truth of what dangers we have created for them, for no good reason. Supposedly for their safety and national security, but it never gave them that. If there is any chance that "Mutually Assured Destruction" ever stopped a war, still no one can prove that thousands of nuclear weapons on hair trigger a
lert today are saving anyone from anything, 33 days before Y2K.
(6) Tell Clinton how you feel -- Official government contact points:
To contact the top government officials:
President Bill Clinton
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone -- (202) 456-1111 Fax -- (202) 456-2461
Vice President Albert Gore
(same postal address)
Phone -- (202) 456-1414 Fax -- (202) 456-2461
Secretary William Cohen
Washington D.C. 20301
Phone -- (703) 695-6352 Fax -- (703) 695-1149
Secretary Bill Richardson
Department of Energy (DoE)
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20585
Phone -- (202) 586-6210 Fax -- (202) 586-4403
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: email@example.com
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:
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT NASA IS DOING TO YOUR HEALTH.
NASA should never have been allowed to launch monstrosities like Cassini and Galileo, but the next breed -- such as Europa Orbiter and Pluto-Kuiper Express are not much better and the policy is being set for greatly increased rates of missions! The danger continues! To complain to NASA about their future nuclear space probes, here are two addresses you can use:
For Europa Orbiter:
"Europa Orbiter comments" <
For Pluto-Kuiper Express:
"Pluto-Kuiper Express comments" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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, because otherwise they will throw it out unread, or hand it directly to their police force to try to identify the author. (Thus, nothing good will come of it.) Also, ALWAYS include a personal message of some sort, indicating YOUR OWN VIEWS, even if you include a lot of material written by other people (me, for instance).
(7) Newsletter subscription information:
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Published by Russell D. Hoffman electronically.
Written in the United States of America.
This newsletter is free and is not distributed for profit.
The opinions expressed are those of the individual authors.
Please distribute these newsletters EVERYWHERE!
"There can be no democracy without truth, no justice without mercy, and no nuclear dispersals without ill consequences."
(8) Newsletter Authorship notes and additional URLs:
Many of the issues presented by Russell Hoffman in this letter are based on conversations with Dr. John W. Gofman (who isolated the first working quantities of plutonium), the late Dr. Karl Z. Morgan (who was known as the "father of health physics"), Dr. Ernest Sternglass (a noted epidemiologist who has done statistical studies about LLR), Dr. Jay Gould (ditto), Dr. Horst Poehler, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Dr. Ross Wilcock and dozens of activists, as well as many others on both sides of the nuclear debates, including ex military nuke expert Jack Shannon (responsible for the design of the D2G Navy reactor, the most widely used reactor in the U. S. navy), award-winning investigative reporter Karl Grossman, ecologist and human rights advocate Pamela Blockey-O'Brien, etc. Also, I've read a few dozen books on the various subjects. And scads of government documents purporting to explain how something so dangerous can be safe.
Professionally, my pump training software is used throughout the pump industry and even in some nuclear power plants around the world to train their staff about mechanical pumps. Any errors herein are regrettably my own, but I believe it would take an extremely unlikely preponderance of errors to invalidate my basic position on these issues.
Russell D. Hoffman, Carlsbad, California, Peace Activist, Environmentalist, High Tech Guru:
Hoffman's Y2K Preparedness Information:
Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here:
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First placed online November 30th, 1999.
Last modified December 1st, 1999.
(various URL's updated May, 2001)
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