“Carbon-Free/Nuclear-Free by 2040!” – or, we’re toast. On a cold, wet, windy Saturday in April, 17 NEIS supporters marched in the People’s Climate March in Chicago to convey a simple message: “You Can’t ‘Nuke’ Global Warming!” What started out as a 40⁰ drizzly gray day turned into a colder, windier incessant downpour by the time … Continue reading …AND NEIS WAS THERE – PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH, CHICAGO …read moreRead More


Despite protests around the world, the Cassini space probe—containing more deadly plutonium than had ever been used on a space device—was launched 20 years ago. And this past weekend—on Earth Day—the probe and its plutonium were sent crashing into Saturn.

The $3.27 billion mission constituted a huge risk. Cassini with its 72.3 pounds of Plutonium-238 fuel was launched on a Titan IV rocket on October 17, 1997 despite several Titan IV rockets having earlier blown up on launch.

At a demonstration two weeks before in front of the fence surrounding the pad at Cape Canaveral from which Cassini was to be launched, Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, warned of widespread regional damage if this Titan IV lofting Cassini exploded on launch. Winds could carry the plutonium “into Disney World, University City, into the citrus industry and destroy the economy of central Florida,” he declared.

Four months before, at an earlier demonstration at the same site, Allan Kohn, a NASA career official from 1964 to 1994 who had been the emergency preparedness officer at the Kennedy Space Center, noted that “we were told by NASA that the odds against the Cassini blowing up and releasing radiation [are] 1,500 to one. These are pretty poor odds. You bet the lottery and the odds against you are one in 14 million.” As to NASA’s claim that the plutonium system was “indestructible,” he said it is “indestructible just like the Titanic was unsinkable….It’s time to put a stop to their freedom to threaten the lives of people here on Earth.”

And, indeed, on an Earth “flyby” by Cassini , done on August 18, 1999, it wouldn’t have been a regional disaster but a global catastrophe if an accident happened.

Cassini didn’t have the propulsion power to get directly from Earth to its final destination of Saturn, so NASA figured on having it hurtle back to Earth in a “sling shot maneuver” or “flyby”—to use Earth’s gravity to increase its velocity so it could reach Saturn. The plutonium was only used to generate electricity—745 watts—to run the probe’s instruments. It had nothing to do with propulsion.

So NASA had Cassini come hurtling back at Earth at 42,300 miles per hour and skim over the Earth’s atmosphere at 727 miles high. If there were a rocket misfire or miscalculation and the probe made what NASA in its “Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission” called an “inadvertent reentry,” it could have fallen into Earth’s atmosphere, disintegrating, and releasing plutonium. Then, said NASA in its statement, “Approximately 7 to 8 billion world population at a time … could receive 99 percent or more of the radiation exposure.”

The worst accident involving space nuclear power occurred in 1964 when a satellite powered by a SNAP-9A plutonium system failed to achieve orbit and fell to Earth, breaking apart and releasing its 2.1 pounds of Plutonium-238 fuel, which dispersed all over the planet. According to the late Dr. John Gofman, professor of medical physics at the …read moreRead More


Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the recent developments at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors as well as the possible restart of more atomic reactors in Japan were the topics of discussion when Nuclear Free Future host Margaret Harrington invited Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen and Program Researcher Ben Shulman-Reed to join her on the CCTV program. Margaret Harrington, Ben, and Arnie also discussed the significant discrepancies between government sources for data and independent scientific research regarding all three nuclear meltdowns. Watch the full interview here.

…read moreRead More


Today’s Chicagoland press accounts of the arrest of two alleged ISIS supporters — Yusuf Abdulhaqq and Schimento – aka Abdul Wali – show the pair holding the ISIS flag while standing in front of the “Welcome” sign for Illinois Beach State Park in Zion. What is perhaps most disturbing is what is NOT being … Continue reading PRESS STATEMENT Alleged Zion-ISIS Terrorists a Nuclear Wake Up Call — We Hope …read moreRead More


Arnie Gundersen appeared on a NIRS Tele-briefing to discuss the disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Daiichi, as well as the the myths of atomic energy, his own personal experiences with each disaster, and answers questions from members of the public in this enlightening segment.

Listen:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/317364935" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&wmode=opaque" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Transcript:

English

TJ: Okay, welcome everyone. Thank you for joining us for this national telebriefing: Season of Nuclear Disaster: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima – with Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education. I am Tim Judson, the Executive Director of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service and I’ll be your host tonight. This briefing was supposed to be hosted by my colleague, Mary Olsen, who is the southeast office Director, who had the benefit of spending a month last year touring Fukushima with Arnie and meeting with victims, residents and refugees. Unfortunately, Mary is under the weather tonight and was not able to make it. So you got the short end of the stick with me. But we are pleased that so many of you could be here tonight. This is our fourth year of providing these national and international quarterly briefings to provide people in the U.S. and around with the world with in-depth information on urgent issues relating to nuclear power, sustainable energy, radioactive waste and the public health risks of radiation. NIRS’s quarterly briefings are all open to the public for anyone to attend, and while we primarily invite people to attend these briefings through our email list of supporters and our followers on social media, we encourage you to spread the word to anyone you think would be interested in the topics that we cover. For those of you not familiar with NIRS, we’re the primary national information and resource center for the anti-nuclear and safe energy movement in the U.S. since 1978. For 38 years – 39 years, we have worked to end the use of nuclear power in the United States and for technically sound, environmentally just and publically acceptable solutions for radioactive waste. We provide support to grass roots activists and local campaigns and we serve as a watchdog in Washington, D.C., leading campaigns on national policy issues such as the Chernobyl Bill and taxpayer subsidies to build new nuclear reactors. But to be successful, we need your support, both in taking action and on the issues and just as importantly, in whatever financial support you can provide to our work. And you can make a donation to NIRS on our website at www.NIRS.org or through the mail or any other means that you’re comfortable with. If you feel NIRS’ work is important, please consider making a contribution. So on to our program. We decided to call this program The Season of Disaster both because of the almost eerie coincidence that the three most well-known nuclear disasters of our time – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, occurred around the …read moreRead More