Correspondence between Arthur J. Starling III and Russell D. Hoffman, Sept. 25th, 2000

From: Russell D. Hoffman
To: Arthur J. Starling III
cc: President Clinton, others
Date: September 25th, 2000
Re: Our previous correspondence

Dear Mr. Starling,

The attached emails were received today in response to my distributing my email to you of yesterday, which followed your unsolicited (and insulting) comments to me (shown below).

We are ready to debate these issues openly, and welcome your best and most earnest efforts. But truly, these issues need not be debated any more. There is nothing to be said about nuclear power's failures which has not already been said. We are in a clean-up phase all around the world; nuclear power is not paying for that cleanup: The taxpayer, and the sick who suffer from the pollution, are paying for it. The Navy is not paying for it. Humanity is paying for it.


Russell D. Hoffman
U.S. Citizen
Carlsbad, California

Attachments (3):
*** (1) Email from Jack Shannon to Arthur Starling
*** (2) A recent article by Karl Grossman about nuclear subs
*** (3) Our previous correspondence to date, with contact information

*** (1) Email from Jack Shannon to Arthur Starling:


Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2000 11:08:58 EDT
Subject: KAPL
To: (Arthur J. Starling III),

Mr. Starling:

Mr. Hoffman sent me your comments to him as well as his response to you.

He has given you several pages of my web site for you to review.

I have hundreds of more pages to add when I decide to upgrade my site again.

Just for the sake of discussion let me throw out a few more issues:

a) Misuse of the United States Security System

b) Violation of the privacy act

c) Violation of the civil rights act of 1964

d) burying thousands of drums of radioactive material/hazardous material in the unmarked KAPL landfill. I have the documents

e) Lying to federal investigators [violation of 10 USC 1001]

f) Lack of a bioassay program for all sailors and other trainees at KSO.

g) Lack of a bioassay program for all uranium workers at KAPL

h) Cover-up of the use of beryllium at KAPL [maybe KSO] and lying to the employees about such use [the damn stuff is still in the duct work]

i) Lying to the public at a Town Board meeting concerning a Water Brake explosion on the S8G plant at the KSO, which did in fact release radiation to the environment.

j) Sailors cheating on qualification exams [I have Instructors on tape -- with their knowledge -- concerning this issue]

k) Refusing to modify the reactor operator training program to include the correct use and understanding of reactor kinetics.

I could keep going on and on, but I think you get the picture.

You should understand that when Mr. [Hoffman] and I tell the truth about the Nuclear Navy we are not, in any way, undermining your dedication to serving your Country or your personal courage. We are merely exposing those things that the Navy has refused to do, and is required to do by virtue of an Officers oath, and what the Civilian members at NR have been covering up for fifty years or more.

I sat in a Sailors home in Saratoga Springs four years ago and heard horror stories from Enlisted Sailors, concerning the conduct of Senior Enlisted Members and Officers, that astounded even me.

I enlisted in the Marines during the Korean War and I was terrified of my Drill Instructors, but never an Officer.

All of us are intended to serve in the Military with honor and hopefully courage if and when the need arises. We should never be ashamed of or afraid of what a Senior enlisted member [E-8 and above] or Officer will do to us in the conduct of our duties. The Nuclear Navy seems to be an exception to this rule, I don't think it carry's over to the rest of the Navy. I served as a Naval Academy recruiter for many years and therefore have many friends who are high ranking Naval Officers and they all appear to be gentlemen. I don't remember meeting a Nuclear Navy Officer in all of the years I served in the recruiting capacity.

I decided to stay in the Reserves after getting my BS, on the Korean War GI bill, and was eventually commissioned. I retired as a Major.

I decided to stay in the reserves because I believed that I owed my Country more than I could ever pay back for giving me a successful life [both of my parents were dirt poor immigrants from Ireland] unheard of in any other Country. Such success, however does not give me license to throw away my honor. Something I refused to do at KAPL. As a result of holding onto my honor I gave up my career, and I would do it again.

Apparently many Naval Reactors Officers are more interested in becoming Captains and Admirals than they are in maintaining their honor. Honor stands above all else, especially for a professional military person. It has been my experience that bravery and honor usually supplement each other, but of the two honor is way ahead of bravery. One need only give up his/her life to be brave, honor requires one to stand up against all kinds of self centered individuals who have no honor --- a difficult task indeed.

John P. Shannon

Nuclear Physicist/Nuclear Engineer
and former Manager at KAPL


*************************************************** ***
(2) A recent article by Karl Grossman about nuclear subs:


By Karl Grossman

The tragedy involving the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, following other instances of nuclear-powered U.S. and Russian ships sinking, their leaking reactors now causing significant pollution, raises the question of whether nuclear power is right for ships.

The conventional wisdom since Admiral Hyman Rickover promoted a nuclear-powered U.S. navy in the early 1950s and other nations followed in kind has been that nuclear-powered ships make sense.

But is this long-held analysis correct? The General Accounting Office (GAO), an independent arm of the U.S. Congress, in 1998 did an exhaustive analysis of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

The conclusions were surprising. As to cost, the GAO found that nuclear-powered aircraft carriers were significantly more expensive to operate than conventional carriers. “Nuclear-powered carriers cost more than conventionally powered carriers to acquire, operate and support, and inactivate,” noted the GAO. It estimated “that over a 50-year life, the costs of a nuclear-powered carrier is about $8.1 billion, or about 58 percent more than a conventionally powered carrier.”

Still, if the additional money came with an advantage, that might balance the high cost out. But, as for “overseas presence” and “crisis response,” the GAO noted that “conventionally powered carriers spend less time in extended maintenance, and as a result they can provide more forward presence coverage.”

“Conventionally powered carriers can be available sooner for large scale crises because it is easier to accelerate or compress their maintenance,” it found.

And, as for “war-fighting,” the GAO determined: “there was little difference in the operational effectiveness of nuclear and conventional carriers in the Persian Gulf War.”

There is another issue, however, with nuclear-powered submarines. Working on nuclear power means they have the freedom to not have to regularly come to the surface to obtain air for diesel engines a problem for conventional submarines. They can stay below the surface for extensive periods of time.

But here, the potential costs to public health and that of the natural environment -- caused by the loss of nuclear submarines should be factored in.

According to Greenpeace, 10 nuclear reactors from Russia and U.S. nuclear submarines now lie at the bottom of oceans. Some are in highly sensitive marine environments. The Kursk, for example, “is positioned,” according to Thomas Nilsen, a researcher with the Bellona Foundation, a Norwegian-Russian watchdog agency, in “the most productive part” for fish of the Barents Sea.

If the two reactors aboard the Kursk end up left on the sea bottom like the other 10 nuclear power plants and eventually leaking, the radioactive material in them will end up in the oceanic food chain.

In the end, Admiral Rickover regretted what he wrought and the world emulated. In a farewell speech given before a Congressional committee when he retired from the Navy in 1982, Rickover said of nuclear power: “I’ll be philosophical. Until about two billion years ago, it was impossible to have any life on earth; that is, there was so much radiation on earth you couldn’t have any life, fish or anything. Gradually, about two billion years ago, the amount of radiation on this planet…reduced and made it possible for some form of life to begin.”

“Now,” he went on, “when we go back to using nuclear power, we are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible…every time you produce radiation” a “horrible force” is unleashed “and I think there the human race is going to wreck itself.” Rickover asked the congresspeople that “we first outlaw nuclear weapons to start with and then we outlaw nuclear reactors, too.”

“You might ask me why do I have nuclear-powered ships?” he also said. They might be considered “a necessary evil” but “I would sink them all. I’m not proud of the part I’ve played,” stated Admiral Rickover.

It is not too late to rectify an increasingly costly mistake.


Karl Grossman is professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. Books he has authored on nuclear technology include Cover Up: What You ARE NOT Supposed To Know About Nuclear Power.


I suppose Admiral Rickover didn't understand the dangers of simply sinking these nuclear monstrosities. For more information about the GAO report Grossman refers to, please see my own Stop Cassini newsletter #73, September 8th, 1998:

-- rdh

*********************************************************************** *** (3) Our previous correspondence to date, with contact information: ***********************************************************************


To: Arthur J. Starling III
From: Russell D. Hoffman
cc: President Clinton, others
re: Your email to me (shown below) regarding the US Nuclear Navy Date: September 24th, 2000


Regarding your hot-headed and rude email (shown below), it sounds like you've read about one article of mine, and it's giving you fits to learn that the American public knows the truth about the mess the United States Nuclear Navy has gotten us into as a nation.

Well, the truth is that those of us who have studied the matter are pretty upset about what you've done. And the fact is, you (that is, the navy) have tried to hide the truth from the American public for decades. Now you accuse me of high crimes for exposing that truth! Shame on you!

You paint a mighty clean picture of a very dirty business. Next you'll be telling me you've cleaned Bikini, too, and Hanford as well, and Los Alamos and Oak Ridge, and not to mention KAPL.

You forgot to mention the Sea Wolf, dumped unceremoniously into the ocean by you -- our nuclear navy. And you've forgotten who you worked for -- and the ideals you worked for, too. Calling me "fear-mongering" -- ha! On what grounds? Alerting the public to the facts is not fear-mongering.

Have you visited the Scorpion or the Thresher lately? What's your definition of "no release" anyway? What about all those millions of gallons of waste you (the navy) let contractors haul out to sea and dump in thin steel 55-gallon barrels, or dumped yourselves, or that you sent to Beatty, Nevada or some other nuclear waste dump to wash your hands of the matter, where it is being slowly (or not so slowly, as the case may be) leaked, leached, and let into the environment a drip or a drop or a carcinogenic bucketful at a time?

If the Scorpion and the Thresher haven't yet leaked their primary coolant, when do you expect them to do so? When are you going to retrieve them in order to bury them properly (as if there's even a way to do that!)?

I am curious as to just which items of mine you claim to have read. Not many, I presume.

And are you one of those retired seamen who also support (to our inquiring newspapers, for instance, last month) the Russian Nuclear Navy, and their Kursk crewmen, saying they are a great and honorable foe, doing all the right things, or do you admit they are fools who don't know how to handle something that's more dangerous than they care to admit? The Thresher was the pride of our fleet when she went down, just like the Kursk was the pride of theirs. The Russians are human (it's been proven time and again).

You deny culpability for your actions, and claim you are spreading truth. In fact what you have spread is called nuclear waste, and it's as close to pure evil as anything humans have ever come up with.

I am a free American, and your harassment is uncalled for and unAmerican. I have a right to say what I want without witless automatons (such as you appear to be) accusing me of doing something as horrible as lying to the people -- unless you can back it up, which you can't do.

Some suggested items are linked to below where you can learn more if you want to come out and debate these issues like a citizen, arguing your case fairly, on the merits of the matter only, and not accusing others of lying or fear-mongering without having clear and obvious proof of your position, which you most certainly DO NOT HAVE.

I warn of clear and present dangers to the American way. I have not only a perfect right to do it, but indeed, I have a citizen's duty to do so, and in the loudest way possible.

You Sir, need to step aside, apologize, and come clean about what exactly you know, about what your rank was, your training, and what experience led you to make the accusations against a good and honest American citizen which you've made. And tell me also, just exactly where your "knowledge" about the available alternative energy sources really comes from -- it sounds like it came from a standard DoE brochure on the subject, or some other biased source.

I'm pretty tired of people like you, frankly. Are you one of those "hit and run" letter-writers, who can't follow up an initial broadside with carefully crafted rebuttal? We'll see. Surely you can lie without blinking. That's navy tradition. But you can't lie without people knowing it -- that's impossible if the truth is known -- and it is known. The dangers from your nuclear games is now quite well known, and people are sick of it. I'm sick of it. My family is sick of it. My friends are sick of it. The whole world is sick of it.

I am determined to save the United States Navy from itself, and to save us ("us" as in, U.S. and world citizens) from the Navy at the same time.

America will have a non-nuclear Navy again some day, and Americans will rue the time it took to achieve that goal.


Russell D. Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, California

Attachments (5):
* Note to "cc'd" readers
* Letter from Arthur J. Starling III
* Statement regarding Adm. Rickover
* URL's from Jack Shannon's KAPL-related web site * Hoffman's contact info and additional links

Note to those being "cc'd" this email: Please send all comments to the President of the United States: . Please also send copies to the author of the above letter (Russell D. Hoffman): . Thank you in advance.


At 05:20 PM 9/24/00 -0400, "Arthur J. Starling III" wrote:

You're nothing but a fear-monger and you need to get a grip on reality. I was in the nuclear navy. I am a proponent of nuclear power. I know that everything we do to generate electricity, with the exception of solar and hydro-electric (and even these, though to a much smaller extent), creates waste and pollution. You're comment about the navy and the assault of the San Diego bay obviously displays you're lack of unbiased research into the matter. To this day, the US navy has never caused a single uncontrolled release of fission products, and all disposal regulations are strictly adhered to. The designs are as close to flawless as is humanly possible. The operators are all top-notch and rigorously trained and tested and requalified on a continual basis.

And though I've not done thorough enough research to conclude that Admiral Rickover didn't say the things you say he did (which can never be proven due to absence of proof not being proof of absence), I have read enough about the man to infer that he would never say the navy had no use for nuclear power.

What are you going to do when the coal and other fossil fuel reserves start to dry up? Nuclear power is the cleanest, and least harmful to the environment, way of generating the lifeblood of our nation - electricity. And it is a virtually limitless supply, at least until a better alternative can be developed.

Take off the 1960's Anti-Nuke "blinders" and take a real close look. In all the decades of peaceful nuclear power applications, how many "accidents" (meaning meltdowns) have there been? The answer is two. Just two. And only one of those resulted in significant discharge of fission products to the population. In the fifty years of the nuclear navy's existence, the navy has lost control of only two of its nuclear reactors, namely the Scorpion and the Thresher, neither of which has resulted in the release of any contaminants. And the navy has never had any major incidents which even might have led to harmful release.

I don't know why you seem so hell bent on spreading fear. I think it is much more pleasant to spread the truth.

Arthur J. Starling III



Admiral Rickover's Statement

The following statement was signed by Jane Rickover, daughter-in-law of Admiral Hyman Rickover, "father" of the nuclear navy. It was notorized by William Lamson July 18, 1986. Jane Rickover has verified the authenticity of the document and the events described in it.

"In May, 1983, my father-in-law, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, told me that at the time of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident, a full report was commissioned by by President Jimmy Carter. He [my father-in-law] said that the report, if published in its entirety, would have destroyed the civilian nuclear power industry because the accident at Three Mile Island was infinitely more dangerous than was ever made public. he told me that he had used his enormous personal influence with President Carter to persuade him to publish the report only in a highly "diluted" form. The President himself had originally wished the full report to be made public.
In November, 1985, my father-in-law told me that he had come to deeply regret his action in persuading President Carter to suppress the most alarming aspects of that report.

[Signed] Jane Rickover

Jane Rickover appeared before me and swore as to the truth of the above statement.

Dated at Toronto this 18th day of July A.D. 1986 [Signed] William F. Lamson
William F. Lamson Q.C.
Notary Public for the Province of



The following statement describing Jack Shannon is from his web site:

"Nuclear Reactor Physicist responsible for the design of the D2G Nuclear Reactor. This Nuclear Reactor is the most widely used Nuclear Reactor in the Naval Fleet. It is used on all High Speed Nuclear Attack Submarines and on all Nuclear Cruisers... Shannon was fired after 30 years employment at KAPL for reporting deplorable and blatant safety problems at the Kesselring Site Operations, a subsidiary site of KAPL."

Unsafe reactors at Kesselring Site Operation (KSO), located about 5 miles from Ballston Spa, NY, and 8 miles from the resort area of Saratoga Springs, NY:

The outrageous track record of the Navy Reactor Program:

Presidential Executive Order #12344 gives exemption from oversight:

KAPL Misuse of National Security:

The above page links to an incredibly undemocratic "gag order":

Freedom of Information Act is NOT ENOUGH! (sample of deletions):

Want to join the U. S. Navy? This will make you think twice:

GE workers have been poisoned by radiation and asbestos at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (discussion of an award-winning documentary):

Jack Shannon's General Electric Exam:




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First placed online April, 2001.
Last modified July, 2001 (Arthur Starling's email address removed at his request. A request to remove his name was denied at the same time, in a pair of phone converations.)
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman