- Dr. Karl Grossman is full professor of
Journalism at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.
He is the author of "The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's Nuclear
Threat To Our Planet," and producer of television programs on the
issue of arming space.
- Grossman's award-winning investigative
reporting has uncovered the fact that there has been a 12% accident rate
involving both the U.S. (now 27 accidents) and Soviet/Russian (now 42 accidents)
for their space nuclear shots. Additionally, he has exposed that the Cassini
probe contains the most plutonium -- 72.3 pounds -- ever used in any space
- Grossman's reporting has uncovered the
fact that the use of plutonium is merely as a heat source to make electricity.
It is not a propulsion fuel, and not fuel for the type of kind of nuclear
fission reaction we normally associate with a nuclear power plant. The
plutonium simply decomposes and makes enough heat to provide the necessary
wattage for the electrical equipment on board. NASA opted out of using
solar power as an alternative for a variety of reasons, mostly involving
its contractors and its desire to develop nuclear energy as a power source
rather than solar energy.
- He adds, "NASA is now planning up
to 13 additional nuclear space shots in coming years, so disaster is inevitable.
Moreover, and this is extremely important, the U.S. military is seeking
to deploy high-powered weaponry in space -- lasers especially -- which
need enormous amounts of power and the Pentagon sees nuclear power in space
as what these new weapons will need as a power source."
- Transcript Of Dr. Grossman's Statement
At The United Nations, June 24,1998
- By Dr. Karl Grossman
- U.S. nuclear-powered activities in space
are illegal under the international Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The U.S.
has been covering its nuclear space flights since 1991 by the Price-Anderson
Act, a U.S. law which the U.S. contends would limit liability in the event
of an accident-involving Cassini or any another nuclear-fueled space device
-- to $8.9 billion for U.S. domestic damage and just $100 million for damage
to all foreign nations. This is in violation of the treaty's provision
that nations "shall be liable" for damage caused by their space
- As for consequences of the planned 1998
Cassini Earth "flyby," in the event of what NASA calls an "inadvertent
reentry" -- a crash of the space probe fueled with 72.3 pounds of
plutonium dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere -- NASA says in its "Final
Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission" that "approximately
5 billion of the estimated 7 to 8 billion world population at the timeÉcould
receive 99 percent or more of the radiation exposure." NASA in the
report projects 2,300 fatal cancers in the event of such an accident. The
report also speaks of plans to -- if plutonium rains down on urban areas,
for example -- "demolish some or all structures," [and] "relocate
affected population permanently."
- The U.S. government's Interagency Nuclear
Safety Review Panel "Safety Evaluation Report" on the Cassini
mission, which I have obtained from Dr. Earl Budin, associate clinical
professor of radiology at the UCLA, speaks of the possibility of "several
tens of thousands" of cancer deaths. It notes that in an Earth "flyby"
accident, because the plutonium canisters "have not been designed
for the high speed reentryÉmuch of the plutonium is vaporized"
and provides "a collective dose to the world's population." NASA,
not in its publicity statements but in the Final Environmental Impact Report,
also concedes a release of much of the plutonium -- and as respirable [breathable]
- Meanwhile, the U.S. is moving to deploy
weapons in space and to exercise what it terms "space control."
This is closely linked with space nuclear power. As the 1996 U.S. Air Force
report "New World Vistas" states: "In the next two decades,
new technologies will allow the fielding of space-based weapons of devastating
effectiveness to be used to deliver energy and mass as force projection
in tactical and strategic conflictÉThese advances will enable lasers
with reasonable mass and cost to effect very many kills."
- But, the report notes, "power limitations
impose restrictions" on such laser-based weapons systems making them
"relatively unfeasibleÉ.A natural technology to enable high
power is nuclear power in space."
- In April of this year, the government
left [sic] contracts for the development of this space-borne laser-non-nuclear
powered but a first step. Meanwhile, the Outer Space Treaty bans deployment
in space by any nations of "weapons of mass destruction." The
treaty also states that nations should "avoid " activities that
stand to produce "harmful contamination" of "space and celestial
bodies" as well as "adverse changes in the environment of the
- As General Joseph Ashy, commander-in-chief
of the U.S. Space Command has stated: "It's politically sensitive,
but it's going to happenÉSome people don't want to hear this, and
it sure isn't in vogue, but -- absolutely -- we're going to fight in space.
We're going to fight from space and we're going to fight into spaceÉThat's
why the U.S. has development programs in directed energy and hit-to-kill
- The U.S. space military approach is detailed
in this book, "The Future of War: Power, Technology & American
World Dominance in the 2lst Century," in which George and Meredith
Friedman state that through the domination of space with weaponry the U.S.
will dominate the planet below and "just as Europe shaped the world
for a half a millennium" by the Britain, France and Spain dominating
the oceans with their fleets, "so too the United States will shape
the world for at least that length of time." They boost the use of
nuclear power as an energy source in this regard.
- As to future U.S. plutonium-fueled space
shots, the U.S. General Accounting Office has just issued a report describing
eight of them in coming years. A NASA statement speaks of up to 13. With
a 12% failure rate already in both the U.S. and Soviet/Russian space nuclear
programs, accidents -- and disaster -- are inevitable.
- The National Space Symposium at which
the new space-borne laser contract was announced was, said the advertisements
of the United States Space Foundation for it, to, "Explore the Global
Relevance of Space and the interdependence of Civil and Commercial and
Military space efforts. It is clear that 'space is open for business'."
I say space must not be declared "open" for the colosally dangerous,
wasteful and illegal nuclear and military "business." Space,
as the Outer Space Treaty states, should be used "for peaceful purposesÉ
The exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial
bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all