May 10th, 2003

Dear Readers,

Worrying about nuclear weapons in preference to nuclear power is backwards.

First, the nuclear power plants produce the material for nuclear weapons.  If we "cut off the spigot", eventually they'll be UNABLE to build more nuclear weapons -- at least until they figure out a new source for the bomb material.

Second, nuclear power plants are protected by "rent-a-cops", and nuclear weapons are protected by Marines.  If you were a terrorist, which would you rather fight your way past?

Third, nuclear weapons are stored in hardened facilities in the middle of nowhere, while nuclear power plants are in the midst of population centers (the industry calls nuclear power plants "hardened", but it's just a spin-doctored term and has no real meaning).  Because the weapons facilities are isolated, they're much more difficult to approach.  Sure, you could crash into a missile silo with a 777, but the actual warheads are deep underground and probably would not be damaged.  A spent fuel pool is a much more vulnerable target.

Fourth, nuclear power plants are a "force multiplier" for nuclear weapons, since the most devastating target for a nuclear weapon is a nuclear power plant and its spent fuel pool.

Yet, despite these facts, most of the so-called anti-nuclear leaders concentrate nearly all their energy on banning nuclear weapons, and pay relatively little attention to shutting down the world's 430+ nuclear power plants.

I know that Dr. Helen Caldicott is well aware of the dangers of nuclear power, but she only touched briefly on the subject a couple of times during the presentation she gave recently in San Diego, California.  Her focus was almost entirely on nuclear weapons.

Afterwards, in a conversation with one of the other attendees, I was told she is "more dangerous than Hitler" because of her inaccurate statements (he could not, however, nail down one of those inaccurate statements for me).  He turned out to be a "Pressure Safety Officer" in the Health, Safety, and Radiation Department at Los Alamos National Labs, Dr. Robert F. Bourque.

Dr. Caldicott did make one inaccurate statement, saying that California has "three" nuclear reactors -- in fact we have four operating reactors (two at San Onofre, two at Diablo Canyon).  But overall her assessment of the dangers we face from nuclear weapons and nuclear power was chillingly accurate.

She said that she is founding a new organization to take on the "Right-Wing Think Tanks" which has several goals, including eliminating nuclear weapons and nuclear power within five years.

Why wait?  Our nuclear power plants are unlikely to last five years!  The chance of a meltdown before then is high.  I do not believe Dr. Caldicott actually has anyone qualified to speak about the dangers from nuclear power plants on her new committee.

What a crazy world!  On the one hand, I have to spend half an hour listening to a vehement pro-nuker denounce Caldicott as "worse than Hitler", and tell me that Wind, Wave, Tide, Solar, Geothermal, Hydroelectric, and OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) have EACH been proven ineffective, and on the other hand, Dr. Caldicott is paying little more than LIP SERVICE to the problems of nuclear power generation -- the source of all that radiation, and the far larger national industry and financial institution!

The pro-nuker told me that windmills kill birds.  What does he think happens around Chernobyl?  Does he think it's a bird sanctuary?  He also told me that Dr. John W. Gofman had been debunked years ago.  "Is he still alive?" he asked.  "Yes," I replied.  "He must be very old."  "Yes, but he's still active" I replied, and asked, "When was he debunked?  Who debunked him?"  I got no answers. The pro-nuker then went over to talk directly to Caldicott, who had just finished signing books for a long line of people.

It's clear she's dealt with hecklers like him many times.  She asked me if I worked at Los Alamos too, since I was standing next to him and had walked over to the table with him (but at least, I had a copy of her book in my hand to be signed!)  "Oh, you know me, Dr. Caldicott! " I replied, and handed her another copy of my TALKING POINTS ABOUT SAN ONOFRE document.  I had passed out around 150 copies of the Talking Points document just prior to the start of the presentation.  I had printed it on bright yellow paper, so I could see that a copy had reached Dr. Caldicott within a few minutes. (Once she knew who I was, Dr. Caldicott was very encouraging about my writing, which I greatly appreciated, because of my own respect for her efforts.)

During the lecture, someone had submitted a question about San Onofre and she said something like, "Russell must have submitted that!", evidently thinking that in a room of nearly 400 people in San Diego, California, nobody else would ask about San Onofre -- and that they would all know me by just my first name!  I hadn't submitted it, actually, and didn't know the answer.  She suggested we should ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission if we want the answer to questions like that (where is the San Onofre Unit 1 Reactor Pressure Vessel being stored right now?).  AS IF the NRC answers any but the most trivial and obvious of our questions (or was that Dr. Caldicott's point?)!

We can't ask anything from the nuke power plant owners, either!  Aside from the fact that Ray Golden, San Onofre's spokesperson, doesn't return my phone calls, the nuke plant spokespeople are not required to tell the truth, anyway!  The following was in a letter sent to me by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year: "Statements made by the public affairs officer of a NRC licensee are not regulated activities.  Therefore, the veracity of such statements will not be investigated by the NRC."

That's a license to lie.
Dr. Caldicott claims she plans to get the plants closed within five years, but as far as I can tell, there isn't a single person on the masthead of her new foundation dedicated to that topic -- NOT ONE.   Judging from their biographies, none of them even has specific expertise about, or focus on, nuclear power plants!  None are former plant workers or concentrate their efforts on stopping nuclear power.

We need to close all the world's nuclear power plants TODAY!  We will NOT "freeze in the dark" as the nuclear industry claims will happen.  These plants simply aren't VITAL.  Right now, the fact is that the nuclear industry considers itself beleaguered and unable to expand, because of a perceived negative political environment.  They think that will change some day.  It will -- it will get much worse -- because every accident makes their "political" environment worse. Every scientific study which shows low-level radiation -- especially internal radiation -- is more harmful than government "experts" have been claiming -- makes it harder for the nuclear industry to release radiation and pretend it's safe.  Nuclear power is doomed.  It's just a question of when, and how many people will die with it.

The nuclear industry's current plan is to keep the plants which are already operating online, at a terrible risk to the public, but at great financial gain to themselves.  No U.S. nuclear power company is investing in the next generation of nuclear power plants, which shows how little confidence they have in their own future.  But in the meantime, the plants are lurking like terrorists in our midst, ready to meltdown and explosively release their contents, thus killing tens of thousands, or even millions of people who live downwind.

Between the so-called California energy crises of 2000 - 2001 and now (May, 2003), California has built nearly TWICE AS MUCH GENERATING CAPACITY -- all of it non-nuclear -- as is produced by our four nuclear power plants even when they all are running.  The fact is, that ALL of that new generating capacity could have been from renewable energy systems.  But one way or another, we COULD shut down all the nuclear plants in California TODAY, with no impact on services.  The rest of the nation and the world could do so too.  Instead, California alone is creating 1000 lbs per day of high level radioactive waste, stuff so dangerous and useless that we cannot safely store it, ship it, process it, or dump it.  50 tons of "spent fuel" are created around the world each day.

I believe Dr. Caldicott is being seriously misled by infiltrators and government handlers such as Bruce Gagnon.  Rochelle Becker often takes on this role in California. I don't know if Dr. Caldicott has a working relationship with Becker or not, but my guess is that she does.  I'm sure Dr. Caldicott has more than enough evidence to be cautious of Bruce Gagnon, but instead, she finds him "prophetic" and her new book, titled THE NEW NUCLEAR DANGER, is -- believe it or not! -- actually dedicated first and foremost to that SPY.

What a crazy world!


Russell Hoffman
Bearing witness to an eminent disaster in America from
Carlsbad, CA