Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 18:59:01 -0700
To: "Andrew Barnsdale, SONGS/ CPUC" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <email@example.com>
Subject: KPBS television show a great promotional piece for SONWGS!
SHUT SAN ONOFRE NOW! 20050425 (B)
To: Andrew Barnsdale, SONGS/ CPUC
Aspen Environmental Group
235 Montgomery Street Ste 935
San Francisco, CA 94104
Included below is the second of two submissions which comprise comments about San Onofre and related nuclear issues.
Please include these comments as a submission from a concerned citizen and make them available to the public and to the commissioners. Thank you in advance.
Carlsbad, CA 92018
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, "Editor, NC Times" <email@example.com>
cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, "New Horizons Public Comments" <email@example.com>
April 22nd, 2005 -- Nuclear Activism Newsletter -- Russell Hoffman, Editor.
(1) Comments: on KPBS television "promo" regarding San Onofre's Steam Generator Replacement plan
(2) Letter: to KPBS about their television show
(3) Article: by Dr. Helen Caldicott: Nuclear power is the problem, not a solution
(4) Letter: to the North County Times: Censorship continues unabated at the NC Times
(5) NASA: Promiscuous about Prometheus and other nuclear hotties
(6) Letter: Bruce Gagnon on NASA's multitude of nuclear projects (from the space4peace.org web site)
(7) Contact information for the author of this newsletter
Pro-nukers live in a world of delusions, misrepresentations, illogical statements, falsehoods, or, perhaps, even LIES.
To start with, most of them assume that all background radiation is harmless or maybe even GOOD for you. They think they are spreading little vitamins around. I KID YOU NOT. They really are THAT DELUDED. But what else is "Hormesis" if not the theory that radioactive particles are tiny little sunshine vitamins you can take internally? It's about as logical as describing grenades as being small, healthy versions of atomic bombs.
Pro-nukers generally assume that all cell damage by so-called "low-level" radiation is repairable, which is incorrect. Pro-nukers mistake "no immediate significant danger" for "no danger whatsoever", and "no immediate visible health effects" for "no health effects whatsoever." These also are wildly inaccurate assumptions.
One pro-nuker proffered many of their various delusions on the local public television station, KPBS, earlier this week. The show seemed like a promotional piece for San Onofre in support of their upcoming steam generator replacement project. The show didn't start with hard facts about the dangers of nuclear power, and what we MIGHT have learned since 9-11 and since Davis-Besse and the Tsunami of last December. Rather, it started by giving the San Onofre plant spokesperson an open mike and a loving photo essay accompaniment.
The steam generator replacement project will probably cost well over $1 billion before it is all said and done. The utility has whittled the APPARENT cost down from around $820 million last summer when it was starting to get occasional front page news (astute citizens have known it was coming much longer) to $680 million as they begin to get more publicity and we come closer to the deadline for a public policy decision.
How did they do that?
Mainly by SEPARATING OUT numerous other repairs they KNOW they will do at the same time! So far, about $140 MILLION has been removed that way in less than a year! By the time the project is actually completed, probably enough will have been hidden away to bring the total HIDDEN COSTS to well over A BILLION DOLLARS. That's on top of the $680 million.
That's a lot of wind turbines that could be bought instead, and there are other savings available from switching away from dangerous, dirty, and inefficient nuclear power to safe and clean replacements. Society would quickly feel a financial benefit, and there are VERY SERIOUS potential consequences from NOT SWITCHING.
The entire issue of steam generator replacement is a distraction at best. Refusing to saddle ratepayers with the cost of the replacement program MIGHT result in the utility shutting the reactors down when they cross some threshold of non-profitability, around 2010 or 2012 (or perhaps much later), or when the NRC determines that a sufficient number of tubes have leaked that the reactor must be shut down, something they are unlikely to do any time soon, since the NRC basically assume that, "if the utility thinks they are making money, what's the problem?" San Onofre's owners can find ways around this steam generator replacement "problem" if it's the only thing blocking their continued operation, and anyone who thinks they can't isn't following along! For example, Bush/Cheney are promising BILLIONS to support nuclear investments at home and abroad. Perhaps SCE will be able to pay for the upgrade through some sort of federal support, in which case, the whole tactic of opposing San Onofre by opposing the steam generator replacement on the grounds of cost will fall through YEARS AFTER IT WILL APPEAR TO HAVE SUCCEEDED.
There's plenty wrong with the idea of replacing San Onofre's steam generators, but if KPBS wanted to pretend to discuss the pros and cons of nuclear power -- as they indicated with their leadoff questions -- the show shouldn't have focused on the steam generator issue, and specifically a cost/benefit analysis which does not account for terrorism, tsunamis, earthquakes, and the many other possible causes of a meltdown.
Why? Because San Onofre IS a meltdown waiting to happen! How long it will wait depends on things like Mother Nature and people like Osama bin Laden -- really predictable things like that. It also depends on factors such as accelerated embrittlement, which the nuclear industry NEVER EXPECTED and which is causing problems across the country and around the world at numerous nuclear power facilities. It's not just the steam generators which will need replacing -- it's lots and lots of other parts, too. About half the SCRAM's at San Onofre are due to aging parts (the other SCRAMs are due to things like kelp in the intake valves, faulty monitoring devices, and "unknown causes" which they sometimes never determine).
Since the KPBS show's hosts made it clear right from the start that they don't know a cooling tower from a containment dome (literally), they were walked all over by Ray Golden, the spokesliar for San Onofre, and by the "scientist" they had on to promote the supposed safety and economy of nuclear power.
According to the pro-nuker, nuclear waste is safe. The problem is simply that government failed to take back the waste -- bad government -- just make that bad ol' government take back the waste and the waste problem is solved! According to the pro-nuker, replacement power would not be feasible and would take 15 years. It was hard to believe he really believed anything he was saying, since he contradicted himself. One minute nuclear waste is perfectly safe, the next it's so dangerous that a terrorist wouldn't want to try to steal it! He did not mention that a terrorist could cause a catastrophe -- killing 100,000 people or more -- simply by blowing up the spent fuel where it sits. He did not mention that global cancer rates would rise as a result.
Now, let's talk about some of the other guests on the show.
Rochelle Becker of A4NR.org actually said "yes" when asked if we (San Diego) "needed" San Onofre's power today. That's WRONG.
The math just doesn't support the idea that San Onofre's power cannot be replaced virtually overnight if we wish. Even if the "overnight" solutions are temporary until better, more cost-effective solutions evolve, they would still work and they would still be better than keeping San Onofre open. Furthermore, ALL recent blackouts in California, especially the fake energy crises of 2000-2001, have been caused by politics, not over-use of electricity by the lowly citizen who once again is being told by the authorities that they must choose between nuclear power and freezing in the dark.
Several web sites which indicate the facts about the supposed "energy crises" are listed below. There is no benefit to continuing to pretend that we need San Onofre. We don't.
Fortunately, after her initial gaffe, Ms Becker was quite effective in pointing out the dangers of nuclear power.
Alas, the other two guests, while clearly not hopeful about the future of electrical energy from nuclear generators in San Diego county, had deluded themselves into believing that San Onofre's future was sealed simply because SDG&E, a part owner of the plant, wants to divest its 20% share. These guests seemed to feel that this somehow means the facility won't matter to San Diego residents because they are mostly SDG&E customers, not customers of SCE, the primary owner.
But in reality, a MELTDOWN won't look at your utility bill to see if you should be poisoned because you are (or are not) a paying customer. Mark both of these guests as fairly confused about the issues.
Below, I have included a letter I sent to KPBS after watching their show. (I am also sending them this newsletter.)
Also shown below is an article by Dr. Helen Caldicott, who is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, a Harvard-educated pediatrician, a nuclear researcher, the author of numerous books which include highly technical details on how radiation damages fetuses and other living things, a professor with honorary degrees from 19 universities, and, among many other honors and responsibilities, the founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Dr. Caldicott's article drives home the point that nuclear power is NOT A SOLUTION. The author sent the article to me for publication here, for which I am grateful.
Lastly, earlier this week in Florida, NASA held the first of two hearings about PROMETHEUS, their newest nuclear rocket, and I've included a very informative letter by Bruce Gagnon about NASA's nuclear commitment, which I found on the space4peace.org web site.
In 2006 NASA plans to launch a highly RADIOACTIVE probe to Pluto called New Horizons. The probe will contain approximately 24 pounds of deadly Plutonium-238 -- about 132,500 Curies of the stuff -- a frightful amount. In the event of an accident, this amount will be added to all the other radioactive burdens we each must carry, from fallout from nuclear weapons testing, to nuclear accidents, to daily, approved releases from our local nuclear power plants, to dental, medical, and security x-rays and the many other unnatural causes of our own personal cumulative radioactive burden.
NASA is taking excessive risks, which could release of an Armageddon of poisonous alpha-radiation emitters into our environment -- AGAIN. They claim they have done this successfully for 35 years (before that they did not shield the plutonium AT ALL and at least once, lost the full load (2.1 pounds)). These nuclear rockets and probes are CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY and NASA's traditional FAILURE RATES are SHOCKINGLY HIGH! NASA will continue to have radioactive dispersals, unless they are banned from using nuclear power sources in space. Otherwise, children will die, and be born deformed, because NASA is STILL spinning wildly out of control. Columbia didn't sober them up one little bit, nor have any of the many other failures since Cassini was successfully launched. (Cassini was the last big nuclear probe, although smaller amounts of nuclear material have been launched on several other "civilian" space probes, and who-knows-what has been launched on secret military missions.)
NASA's many failures in the past few years seem to have only made them more determined to launch more unmanned, high-powered (read: NUCLEAR) probes. They might be saving the lives of NASA astronauts this way -- a good thing, in theory -- but choosing nuclear power sources means THOSE lives will be saved at the expense of OTHER (and vastly more) lives around the globe. That is normally called murder -- or, in this case, it will be genocide.
In some accident scenarios involving collisions with space debris, 100% of the plutonium payload -- 132,000 Curies -- could be released as fine aerosolized particles -- POISON GAS -- during the launch of NEW HORIZONS. NASA claims it won't become a particulate, but their own tests suggest otherwise -- they use statistical averaging to claim the system is safe, not sound engineering. 132,500 Curies of plutonium (or anything) is about 294,000,000,000,000,000 decays per minute.
Pu-238 has a half-life of 87.75 years, making it an immediate threat of extreme magnitude in the event of an accident or terrorist attack during the launch. The public is not being told much about this risk to their safety. NASA again estimates the odds against an accident using unrealistic assumptions NOT based on their own 50 years of real-world failures.
See this page to realize that California DOES HAVE ENOUGH CAPACITY TO SHUT SAN ONOFRE FOREVER. There are usually nearly 10,000 megawatts of excess capacity in the state. Peak period shortages, usually only during a few summer days, can be made up for quickly with natural gas generators until renewable energy systems come on line to replace them:
On 4/20/2005, for example, average capacity was about 34,000 megawatts and average usage was about 25,000 megawatts. BOTH FIGURES CAN BE MADE TO VARY WITH THE WILL OF LARGE CORPORATIONS so by the time you read this, it might be quite different, but on average, there is PLENTY OF EXCESS CAPACITY to shut our nukes down FOR GOOD immediately. So no citizen or report need ever claim anything else is true, because it isn't.
This web page looks at the phony energy crises, including a discussion of peak usage before and during the "crises" which proves there was no crises at all. The figures below are taken from the URL given and are in line with similar figures this author has seen:
Highest peak rate of power flow through the Independent System Operator in 2000:
43.8 gigawatts, on August 16.
Highest peak rate of power flow through the ISO in 1999:
45.9 gigawatts, on July 12.
Peak ISO load for the week in January 2001 when rolling blackouts hit:
31.7 gigawatts. Note how much lower this is than the summer peak.
Peak ISO load for the corresponding week of January 2000, when there was no crisis:
Here's a look a little further back into California's energy history, by Harvey Wasserman:
"On February 23, 1995, responding to a SoCalEdison petition, FERC blocked a California Public Utilities Commission order that required the utilities to purchase more than 600 megawatts of renewable energy, primarily from wind and geothermal sources. Among other things, the FERC said -- with what now seems terrible irony -- "we have grave concerns about the need for this capacity," mostly because the state commission" was relying on 1990 data, which FERC called "stale.""
"In 1996 hearings, SoCalEd and PG&E branded their nuclear reactors at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon as too uneconomical to compete in the competitive free market that deregulation would allegedly bring."
Historic data for California Energy Generation (1983 - 2003):
Why would anyone think for even a minute that we cannot shut San Onofre AND Diablo Canyon down IMMEDIATELY? WE CAN AND WE MUST!
(2) Letter to KPBS about their television show:
Subject: Why we should shut San Onofre now; unpublished letters to NC Times, NY Times
April 18th, 2005
To Whom It May Concern, KPBS,
Your report today was frightening. To think that reporters "attempting" to present the "full focus" story on San Onofre don't even know a cooling tower from a containment dome (and Tom Fudge didn't know the difference this afternoon, either).
I hope KPBS employees make a serious effort to learn about San Onofre and its deadly nuclear waste. I hope you'll also make the effort to understand that there ARE clean energy alternatives which San Diego could implement in months -- not years, and certainly not "15 years," like that pro-nuclear scientist you had on was alluding to. Admittedly, "up-front" costs would be high to make a bold commitment to, say, wind energy. But long-term costs would be extremely low. San Diego has more than enough energy from renewable sources to be a net energy EXPORTER, not an IMPORTER. Right now we import fossil fuels and uranium fuel rods primarily. We burn the fossil fuels and we stick the uranium fuel rods together so the rods self-irradiate themselves until they are so "hot" with daughter "fission" products that they are of no use to society without expensive, dirty, and dangerous "reprocessing," which is illegal under current federal law.
If we switched to renewable sources of energy, environmental risks would be extremely low, and terrorism threats would be non-existent. Wind and solar power are only two choices which can be implemented quickly and can be very widespread. Renewable energy IS ready. We're just not buying it, because pro-nukers on shows like yours tell us nuclear waste is safe -- even though, in the same show, they have to admit it's so dangerous they don't think a terrorist would survive an attempt to steal it! (But where are all those missing fuel rods, one has to ask? Could they have been made into nuclear bombs???? YES! So-called "spent fuel" contains bomb-making material. Reprocessing spent fuel into reactor fuel ALSO enables the creation of nuclear bombs -- which is one reason we made reprocessing nuclear fuel illegal in America several decades ago.)
Terrorists, on the other hand, can separate out the bomb elements from spent fuel without anybody's permission. And they can attack our nuclear power plants with those rogue nuclear weapons. Or our cities. But even conventional weapons can be used to cause a MELTDOWN at San Onofre. And an operating reactor is much more susceptible to catastrophic accidents such as those at Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, or like Davis-Besse (Ohio, 2002) almost was. A reactor which has been shut down is much less vulnerable. One that's been shut for many years is even less likely to cause a catastrophic loss of life -- accidents can STILL happen, though. We will never be rid of this problem. But there is no reason to keep making it worse.
Please read the list of problems at San Onofre from just the last few years (shown below) and visit some of my web pages on the subject of nuclear power (given at the end of this email). PLEASE educate yourselves, instead of letting pro-nukers walk all over you.
In addition, you should be aware that Ray Golden, who got SOOOO MUCH air time in the preliminary segment, has a LICENSE TO LIE from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). It reads as follows: "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 description was in a letter from the NRC to this author, about Ray Golden specifically, March 30th, 2002. Since all other judicial bodies defer all technical issues regarding nuclear power to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it is a very effective license to lie, which Golden uses regularly (see below).
Please wise up before San Onofre's owners fool the public into extending their license to kill. Every day they release extremely hazardous radioactive products into our environment. So-called "small" leaks in the current steam generators at San Onofre produce deformed babies in our community. Not maybe. Not possibly. It's what they do. It's a scientific, medical, statistical certainty. The power plant owners deny every death they cause. They deny every danger. They hide every problem they possibly can. Not one of your guests mentioned the constant threat from tsunamis. Yet you could do a whole show just on the dangers from the loss of hydrostatic pressure in the intake systems! KPBS needs to catch up with reality BEFORE your reports are all about how much San Onofre is leaking and how far we should run!
(Note: Yesterday's newsletter was attached.)
(3) Article by Dr. Helen Caldicott: Nuclear power is the problem, not a solution:
The article shown below was published in several papers in the United States as well recently, and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) referred to it as a "diatribe" in a response published in an Ohio paper. The response from NEI was, itself, illogical and was not able to substantiate its claim that the following article is in any way a "diatribe" at all. It is a knowledgeable person's look at a dangerous situation. The NEI is guilty of libel, in addition to their day-to-day crime of genocide. -- rdh
From: "helen caldicott" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "'Russell D. Hoffman'" <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: corrected article
Did you see this?
It was published in the Australian last Wednesday
PS Feel free to circulate
Nuclear power is the problem, not a solution
THERE is a huge propaganda push by the nuclear industry to justify nuclear
power as a panacea for the reduction of global-warming gases.
At present there are 442 nuclear reactors in operation around the
world. If, as the nuclear industry suggests, nuclear power were to replace
fossil fuels on a large scale, it would be necessary to build 2000 large,
1000-megawatt reactors. Considering that no new nuclear plant has been
ordered in the US since 1978, this proposal is less than practical.
Furthermore, even if we decided today to replace all
fossil-fuel-generated electricity with nuclear power, there would only be
enough economically viable uranium to fuel the reactors for three to four
The true economies of the nuclear industry are never fully accounted for.
The cost of uranium enrichment is subsidised by the US government. The
true cost of the industry's liability in the case of an accident in the US
is estimated to be $US560billion ($726billion), but the industry pays only
$US9.1billion - 98per cent of the insurance liability is covered by the US
federal government. The cost of decommissioning all the existing US
nuclear reactors is estimated to be $US33billion. These
costs - plus the enormous expense involved in the storage of radioactive
waste for a quarter of a million years - are not now included in the
economic assessments of nuclear electricity.
It is said that nuclear power is emission-free. The truth is very
In the US, where much of the world's uranium is enriched, including
Australia's, the enrichment facility at Paducah, Kentucky, requires the
electrical output of two 1000-megawatt coal-fired plants, which emit large
quantities of carbon dioxide, the gas responsible for 50per cent of global
Also, this enrichment facility and another at Portsmouth, Ohio, release
from leaky pipes 93per cent of the chlorofluorocarbon gas emitted yearly
in the US. The production and release of CFC gas is now banned
internationally by the Montreal Protocol because it is the main culprit
responsible for stratospheric ozone depletion. But CFC is also a global
warmer, 10,000 to 20,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
In fact, the nuclear fuel cycle utilises large quantities of fossil fuel
at all of its stages - the mining and milling of uranium, the
construction of the nuclear reactor and cooling towers, robotic
decommissioning of the intensely radioactive reactor at the end of its 20
to 40-year operating lifetime, and transportation and long-term storage of
massive quantities of radioactive waste.
Contrary to the nuclear industry's propaganda, nuclear power is
therefore not green and it is certainly not clean. Nuclear reactors
consistently release millions of curies of radioactive isotopes into the
air and water each year. These releases are unregulated because the
nuclear industry considers these particular radioactive elements to be
biologically inconsequential. This is not so.
These unregulated isotopes include the noble gases krypton, xenon and
argon, which are fat-soluble and if inhaled by persons living near a
nuclear reactor, are absorbed through the lungs, migrating to the fatty
tissues of the body, including the abdominal fat pad and upper thighs,
near the reproductive organs. These radioactive elements, which emit
high-energy gamma radiation, can mutate the genes in the eggs and sperm
and cause genetic disease.
Tritium, another biologically significant gas, which is also routinely emitted
from nuclear reactors is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen composed of two neutrons
and one proton with an atomic weight of 3. The chemical symbol for
tritium is H3. When one or both of the hydrogen atoms in water is
displaced by tritium the water molecule is then called tritiated water.
Tritium is a soft energy beta emitter, more mutagenic than gamma
radiation, that incorporates directly into the DNA molecule of the gene.
Its half life is 12.3 years, giving it a biologically active life of 246
years. It passes readily through the skin, lungs and digestive system
and is distributed throughout the body.
The dire subject of massive quantities of radioactive waste accruing at
the 442 nuclear reactors across the world is also rarely, if ever,
addressed by the nuclear industry. Each typical 1000-megawatt nuclear
reactor manufactures 33tonnes of thermally hot, intensely radioactive
waste per year.
Already more than 80,000 tonnes of highly radioactive waste sits in
cooling pools next to the 103 US nuclear power plants, awaiting
transportation to a storage facility yet to be found. This dangerous
material will be an attractive target for terrorist sabotage as it travels
through 39 states on roads and railway lines for the next 25 years.
But the long-term storage of radioactive waste continues to pose a
problem. The US Congress in 1987 chose Yucca Mountain in Nevada, 150km
northwest of Las Vegas, as a repository for America's high-level waste.
But Yucca Mountain has subsequently been found to be unsuitable for the
long-term storage of high-level waste because it is a volcanic mountain
made of permeable pumice stone and it is transected by 32 earthquake
faults. Last week a congressional committee discovered fabricated data
about water infiltration and cask corrosion in Yucca Mountain that had
been produced by personnel in the US Geological Survey. These startling
revelations, according to most experts, have almost disqualified Yucca
Mountain as a waste repository, meaning that the US now has nowhere to
deposit its expanding nuclear waste inventory.
To make matters worse, a study released last week by the National
Academy of Sciences shows that the cooling pools at nuclear reactors,
which store 10 to 30 times more radioactive material than that contained
in the reactor core, are subject to catastrophic attacks by terrorists,
which could unleash an inferno and release massive quantities of deadly
radiation -- significantly worse than the radiation released by
Chernobyl, according to some scientists.
This vulnerable high-level nuclear waste contained in the cooling pools at
103 nuclear power plants in the US includes hundreds of radioactive
elements that have different biological impacts in the human body, the
most important being cancer and genetic diseases.
The incubation time for cancer is five to 50 years following exposure to
radiation. It is important to note that children, old people and
immuno-compromised individuals are many times more sensitive to the
malignant effects of radiation than other people.
I will describe four of the most dangerous elements made in nuclear power
Iodine 131, which was released at the nuclear accidents at Sellafield in
Britain, Chernobyl in Ukraine and Three Mile Island in the US, is
radioactive for only six weeks and it bio-concentrates in leafy
vegetables and milk. When it enters the human body via the gut and the
lung, it migrates to the thyroid gland in the neck, where it can later
induce thyroid cancer. In Belarus more than 2000 children have had their
thyroids removed for thyroid cancer, a situation never before recorded in
Strontium 90 lasts for 600 years. As a calcium analogue, it concentrates
in cow and goat milk. It accumulates in the human breast during
lactation, and in bone, where it can later induce breast cancer, bone
cancer and leukemia.
Cesium 137, which also lasts for 600 years, concentrates in the food
chain, particularly meat. On entering the human body, it locates in
muscle, where it can induce a malignant muscle cancer called a sarcoma.
Plutonium 239, one of the most dangerous elements known to humans, is so
toxic that one-millionth of a gram is carcinogenic. More than 200kg is
made annually in each 1000-megawatt nuclear power plant. Plutonium is
handled like iron in the body, and is therefore stored in the liver, where
it causes liver cancer, and in the bone, where it can induce bone cancer
and blood malignancies. On inhalation it causes lung cancer. It also
crosses the placenta, where, like the drug thalidomide, it can cause
severe congenital deformities. Plutonium has a predisposition for the
testicle, where it can cause testicular cancer and induce genetic diseases
in future generations. Plutonium lasts for 500,000 years, living on to
induce cancer and genetic diseases in future generations of plants,
animals and humans.
Plutonium is also the fuel for nuclear weapons -- only 5kg is necessary to
make a bomb and each reactor makes more than 200kg per year.
Therefore any country with a nuclear power plant can theoretically
manufacture 40 bombs a year.
Nuclear power therefore leaves a toxic legacy to all future generations,
because it produces global warming gases, because it is far more
expensive than any other form of electricity generation, and because it
can trigger proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Helen Caldicott is an anti-nuclear campaigner and founder and president of
the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, which warns of the danger of
International Physicians for the
Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)
727 Massachusetts Ave., 2nd floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 868-5050, ext. 280
(617) 868-2560 (fax)
(4) Letter: to the North County Times: Censorship continues unabated:
Subject: North County Times CENSORSHIP continues unabated...
April 22nd, 2005
To The Editor:
It is amazing to see the North County Times get all worked up about a pile of dirt in Moab, Utah and yet support, year after year, San Onofre NUCLEAR WASTE GENERATING STATION.
Your horror at the idea that the radioactive mine tailings in Moab might slide into the Colorado river is not wholly inappropriate, but it IS wholly out of balance.
San Onofre is a much bigger threat.
And while it's true, as one of your pro-nuclear readers recently pointed out, that the United States has cut into a salt bed in New Mexico, called it a "Low Level Waste Dump," and furiously started trucking so-called Low Level Radioactive Waste there at the rate of many shipments per week, it is illogical to compare that dump to Yucca Mountain -- as the pro-nuker did, pretending the technical challenges were exactly the same.
Yucca Mountain, if it is ever built (which is very unlikely for scientific reasons as well as political, environmental, environmental racism, and other reasons) will contain waste which is a minimum of a million times worse (10^6), and usually 10-million or 100-million times worse than the waste that is being shipped to the WIPP project in New Mexico. Here, "worse" might be defined as, for example: Capable of forcing the permanent abandonment of any town it passes through if an accident happens on the way to Yucca Mountain. Or perhaps: Capable of being ignited by a terrorist with ONE Rocket-Propelled Grenade and causing significant increases in cancer rates as far as 500 miles downwind, as well as killing hundreds of thousands in the first few hours and days after the accident. Or pragmatically: Capable of causing trillions of dollars in damage.
Nothing being shipped to New Mexico's facility right now is capable of that level of destruction. Since the pro-nuker undoubtedly is aware of this, his comments were presumably meant to mislead the public intentionally. Even though Yucca Mountain may never exist, new highways are being built all around the country just to transport the "high-level" waste away from the reactors, INCLUDING a new highway that goes directly towards Yucca Mountain from San Onofre, without going through Los Angeles, something the nuclear industry wants to avoid like the plague.
In any event, the pro-nuker whose letter you recently published only came out of the woodwork to libel one of the anti-nukers. This time he picked on activist Shirley Vaine, who became concerned about San Onofre just a few years ago, and bless her for joining the fold. She was, at the time, concerned mostly about Depleted Uranium Poison Gas Munitions, another serious nuclear issue and again, a local one that is not being covered by your paper. Depleted Uranium Munitions (DUM) is a local issue because it poisons our soldiers when they use DUM in Iraq, for instance, and we have a huge military community in the local area.
Many of these soldiers will come back poisoned, like in World War One, but this time, instead of blinding them, we give them FLAMING SEMEN! This is just one of the symptoms of Depleted Uranium Poison Gas Munitions poisoning, along with dozens of other horrific ailments including kidney failure, deformed children, and seizures.
But back to the spent fuel pools. The pro-nuker's comments about Ms Vaine's letter actually had some small amount of substance. Her apparent concern -- about the consequences of the water simply evaporating from the spent fuel pool -- is, by itself, not terribly significant, as published, because someone can, after all, pour more water on the pool, right? Perhaps -- but not if the pool is UNDER a flaming 747 carcass at the time! There are many dangers to leaving spent nuclear reactor cores in our midst, but probably the gravest danger regarding the spent fuel pools and dry storage casks has to do with accidents and terrorist acts which drain the pools QUICKLY or ignite the dry casks as they sit on our coast. For example, a private plane filled with explosives taking off from Oceanside airport would, in under five minutes, be able to cause the largest catastrophe in history by breaking open just ONE dry cask! In fact, just a gram from that dry cask's deadly payload would be enough to force the permanent evacuation of any typical North County city, if it were simply ground up or IGNITED and spread around the town in fine particles too small to clean up effectively -- in other words, a typical DIRTY BOMB would need less than a gram of spent reactor core fuel! But one private plane from Oceanside, filled with explosives and gasoline, could release ten million DIRTY BOMBS into our community -- from ONE dry cask!
Perhaps, the original un-edited version of Ms Vaine's letter referred to a scenario like that, which the pro-nuker did not address AND CANNOT ADDRESS without lying, obfuscating, or misrepresenting the facts.
Of course, no one, pro-nuker or anti-, can do the topic justice within your absurd space limitations.
And you guys aren't telling the public any of this, are you? You don't want to scare them or something, I guess. Well, being afraid of things that might really kill you is perfectly reasonable. The public should be told, so that they will properly factor in these concerns when deciding to support -- or NOT -- the San Onofre steam generator replacement project, or the creation of additional dry storage casks on our coast, or the continued operation of the reactors at all.
You have a monopoly in the community -- yours IS North County's "paper of record," for what it's worth. The First Amendment was created so that people who want to tell the public the truth would have a forum to do so within their communities and across the nation, but the North County Times consistently fails to tell the public the whole story, and then you prevent others from doing so on your behalf and in your place, by your pathetic letters policy.
North County's most censored writer and speaker on nuclear power
(5) NASA: Promiscuous about Prometheus and other nuclear hotties:
NASA has all sorts of nuclear assaults up its sleeve. Crossing it's collective fingers with each launch, hoping against hope that they will not irradiate first and foremost Florida with their foul footprint, and then Africa and onward and outward across the planet and across the solar system -- and beyond.
What are they looking for? Signs of life. What will they kill to get there? Life. Your children. Your children's children.
Notice that even though much of the work will undoubtedly be done in California, at JPL and so forth, nevertheless, all three hearings about Prometheus are on the East Coast.
NASA criminals should be stopped! NO NUKES IN SPACE!!
NASA's Prometheus program is looking for input on the possibility of developing a space nuclear reactor.
Prometheus Nuclear Systems & Technology, along with Department of Energy's Office of Naval Reactors, is evaluating the possibility of developing a space nuclear reactor to supply future exploration spacecraft with a significant increase in on-board power and spacecraft propulsion capability. Such an increase in power would enable missions to the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond as well as substantially increasing the amount of science per mission.
As a first step, NASA is evaluating whether or not to pursue development of a space nuclear reactor to provide on-board spacecraft power and propulsion capabilities.
"We're seeking input on what sorts of issues we should consider in our evaluation," said Matt Forsbacka, the program manager. "We welcome public comment at each stage of the process." Prometheus Nuclear Systems and Technology will document the evaluation, including alternatives to be considered in a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) scheduled for publication in 2006.
NASA plans to hold three public scoping meetings to provide information on the Prometheus PEIS and solicit public comments. Two meetings will be held on Tuesday, April 19, at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, Florida, from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m EDT. A third meeting will be held in Washington, DC on April 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. EDT at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
For more information about Prometheus Nuclear Systems and Technology, the PEIS scoping meetings and information on submitting comments, please visit the Prometheus Home page.
Email comments to NASA about prometheus here:
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space:
View a flash animation by Russell Hoffman about nukes in space here:
(6) Bruce Gagnon on NASA's multitude of nuclear projects (from the space4peace.org web site):
Mr. Kurt Lindstrom
Mission and Systems Management Division
Science Mission Directorate
Dear Mr. Lindstrom:
I write on behalf of our organization to offer comments about NASA's Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the New Horizons mission to Pluto. We, as we have been since the 1989 launch of Galileo, remain opposed to the launching of nuclear power in space for any purpose.
It is known that when NASA and the Department of Energy (DoE) identify a new mission they have a joint committee that sits down to decide on the kind of power source to be used. It is our understanding that the nuclear industry, who views space as a new market, have made sure to place their operatives right in the middle of this process. So at the very outset this is a rigged game.
It is also known to us that NASA and the DoE have been defunding the research and development of alternative space power concepts in recent years. It is abundantly clear that the nuclear industry intends to ensure that there are not other significant players in the game.
Our concern and opposition is of course centered around the fact that space technology can and does fail. We have seen rocket explosions on launch. We remember the 1996 Russian Mars mission carrying plutonium on-board that failed to achieve proper orbit and fell back to Earth burning up over the mountains of Chile and Bolivia spreading the plutonium over that region. At the time the Boston Globe reported that those governments requested assistance from the U.S. to send in radiological teams to help identify the plutonium contamination belt, but then President Bill Clinton refused to respond. Then we witnessed the Columbia shuttle disaster two years ago and I myself saw NASA operatives on TV dressed in haz-mat suits with Geiger counters taking readings of people in Texas and Louisiana who had come in contact with debris from that accident. Local police forces were heard on National Public Radio warning the public to stay away from Columbia debris and said they were told by NASA that "radioactive" sources were on-board that mission. Just what was the radioactive source on Columbia?
In addition to space accidents, we are also concerned about the entire nuclear production process and its contamination of workers and communities. You should understand that we have very little confidence in the DoE. Years of contamination at the nuclear labs across the country is a matter of public record. The New Mexican, in Santa Fe, reported in 1996 that "Mishaps in which workers and equipment have been contaminated with radioactive sources are on the rise at Los Alamos National Laboratory." The reason? "Lab officials say the rise in radiation exposure and radioactive mishaps since 1993 has one primary cause: the [NASA] Cassini project and an ongoing effort to build radioactive heat sources." So in fact, even if there is no launch problem the production process is already contaminating and likely killing people.
Now NASA and DoE are saying that they have so many plans for space nuclear power in the coming years that they must ramp up production of plutonium and it appears that DoE will center its operations for these missions at the Idaho National Laboratory. A $230 million proposed facility expansion is now underway. Citizens across Idaho are opposed to this expansion and they fear, with good reason, that they will not get the truth about contamination from the DoE. In a recent article in the Boise Weekly newspaper, Jeremy Maxand, director of the nuclear watchdog group The Snake River Alliance, says the following in regard to this issue: "The DoE is proposing a project that could leave Idahoans breathing plutonium for the next 80 years and they won't tell us what its for. Let's talk about something they can't hide from the public. Plutonium-238 is lethal and difficult to contain. Is this secrecy going to benefit Idahoans given the DoE's well-documented and abysmal track record for worker, community, and environmental safety?"
Maxand goes on to say, "It makes me highly suspicious that on one hand they sell this extremely hazardous process to Idahoans via sleek NASA space batteries, when in fact we've made them for decades using plutonium purchased from Russia's stockpile. Then in the next breath they'll say that the plutonium-238 produced in Idaho will be used for classified national security missions...."
Forgive us for not believing anything our government says. But you all have no credibility. One example is Kodiak island in Alaska. The U.S. government built a rocket launch facility there and promised the citizens of Alaska that it would only be used for civilian launches, never military. But in reality the only missions that have yet been launched have been Missile Defense Agency (MDA) tests. We are convinced that the expansion of nuclear power in space for missions like New Horizons are a Trojan Horse. We are convinced that NASA, DoE and the Pentagon are setting up the nuclear space infrastructure to eventually build nuclear reactors for warfare in the heavens. New Horizons is an ice breaker.
For all these reasons we must say that the New Horizons mission must be cancelled. NASA and DoE must develop new non-nuclear power sources for space exploration. We will work against the New Horizons mission in the same way we did for Galileo (1989), Ulysses (1990) and Cassini (1997). Project Prometheus, the nuclear rocket, will also be a target of our organization. NASA has been taken over by the military and the nuclear industry.
The time has come for the public to reject plans to move war and nuclear power into space. It is our money that is being wasted on these dangerous projects while schools and libraries close across the nation and people can't afford health care. Jobs are leaving the U.S. by the millions and we are told there is no money to help the people. The public is turning against NASA and their gee-whiz plans for nuclear launches because the public understands the dangers involved. NASA and DoE are out of control and must be restrained by the taxpayers of the nation and the citizens of the world.
In anticipation of a nuclear space accident the U.S. Congress has created the Price-Anderson Act that limits the liability of the U.S. for nuclear contamination clean-up. This law would not have been passed if NASA did not expect a space nuclear accident at some point in the future. We will not wait until the tragedy happens before we speak out. Cancel New Horizons and all other space nuclear missions today before it is too late.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
(7) Contact information for the author of this newsletter: