(Note to readers: The original incoming letter appears below.  I have chosen to keep the author's identity confidential but if anyone wishes to respond to him, I will forward your comments -- rdh)

February 7th, 2004

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your interesting letter.  No nuclear power plant has been designed to withstand a 9-11 style attack, especially if done with a 747, which carries more fuel than all four planes used on 9-11.  Your information is erroneous on that issue.  The late Dr. Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb and a strong advocate of nuclear power, was quite adamant in the beginning that NPPs should all be situated underground.  I believe that the danger from air strikes was one of the reasons he felt that way.  Economics won out over protecting the public, of course.  It always does.

Furthermore, I'd just attack the spent fuel pool or better yet, the dry storage casks if they have them.

No containment system has been proven effective against a full-scale meltdown, and decades-old studies have indicated that the system will not work as planned.  Besides, contaminated water would have to be run through the plant for centuries even if the dome stayed intact.  And what about Monticello, for instance, where the primary coolant system was inoperative for 30 years but nobody noticed?

You can't tell me these places are properly regulated, because they aren't.  And you should read my series on legal loopholes they operate under -- OSHA and state OSHAs have no authority, for instance.  Crane inspections are never done, for example.  The pipe, pumps, valves and vessels that make up the plant's innards are all corroded and embrittled.  My local plant sprung a leak recently but we were assured nothing got out to the public, but that assurance is a undoubtedly a lie.  What got out was below regulatory concern, that's all.  If you dilute it enough, everything is below regulatory concern.  And then they call it nothing at all.

NPPs are not protected against a squadron of hang-gliding suicidal terrorists.  They are barely required to be able to stop lightly-armed attackers in groups of three or less.  You could drop a radio-controlled Depleted-Uranium flechette (spear) from a balloon and it would go all the way through the containment dome AND the RPV.  That would cause a meltdown for sure!  A few hand-grenades in the control-room would also work to cause a meltdown with a probable major release of radiation.  Crashing a bulldozer into the dry cask storage system or into the spent fuel pool would be enough to cause widespread cancers in the local population, trillions of dollars lost to the economy, and a general panic (an entirely appropriate reaction).

It's funny that your industry claims to be so careful about every little radioactive atom, but will NEVER tell how much radiation is actually being released in an accident or "incident".   Truth is not something that gets past the perimeter fence, although everything else does.  (For example, it's common knowledge that all NPPs release radiation constantly, out the cooling towers or into the sea, but at a rate below regulatory concern.  Yet every NPP's spokesperson (paid or unpaid volunteers) will claim that there are ZERO releases from a normally-operating plant.  It's just not true.)

I have a letter I received from the NRC in 2002 which states, in response to my complaint that the local NPP's spokesperson lies, that: "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 is a license to lie (since no one BUT the NRC could possibly investigate such things), which all spokes persons for all NPPs use regularly, which is why I call them spokesliars.

I have written an essay called, approximately, "25 simple ways a group of 25 suicidal terrorists could cause a meltdown in 25 minutes or less, with 25 days of training, using 25 household implements and less than 25 dollars in supplies".  An industry person tried to respond, but the response was mostly "well, yeah, we could protect against that" or "that's not our responsibility".  I believe you can find a copy of it on the Internet, although I removed it from my own web site because people told me some of the ideas are just too darned creative and maybe-just maybe-some terrorist out there hasn't thought of them yet.  But you can be sure they are thinking about it right now, as we debate the horrors of bird-strikes against windmills.

There is no defense for the nuclear industry.  It is morally and financially bankrupt, requiring billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies to keep operating.

Thank you again for writing.


Russell Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA


At 08:11 AM 2/6/2004 , b...@...a.com wrote:

Good morning, Mr. Hoffman.  My name is Bill N...nd I just stumbled across your site while searching for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's site.  I linked within your site to "11-11" and feel compelled to comment, you'll forgive me.
I work in a commercial nuclear plant and only care about the income which it provides, I'm too indifferent to defend nuclear power as a means of producing electricity.
The only point that I'd like to make is that, had the attacks of 9-11 been aimed at the nations nuclear plants, there wouldn't have been any deaths except to the passengers on-board the planes.  The nuclear side of the plant is designed to withstand such strikes, they're a part of the design basis accident postulation that is incorporated into the plant's design.
A stike to a nuclear plant's turbine generator might cripple the plant's owner but there wouldn't be any release of radioactivity (this is true of PWRs, less true for BWRs).

I'm employed as a radiation protection technician and, if I had any other skills, I'd work in an industry other than nuclear.  We, you and I, have some interesting and diametrically opposing views on the issue of nuclear power.  I think that we're in agreement as to our loathing of the industry but our reasons are different.  I see the industry as too heavily regulated by the NRC and your view seems to be that the fox is guarding the henhouse.
Here's a "for instance" (and the reason that I was looking for the NRC's site, today).  Our plant uses smoke detectors and, due to the size of the plant, there are many, many of them.  How would you dispose of your home's broken smoke detector?  You'd throw it out with the trash, right?  Not so at a nuclear plant.  We're responsible for every radioactive atom, even naturally occurring ones and low- level-purchased-at-Wal Mart atoms.  How do we dispose of smoke detectors?  We send them to a burial facility where we pay $400.00 per cubic foot for their burial.
Are you familiar with Radon gas?  It was a big issue several years ago but seems to have since died-down.  Anyway, radon issues forth from the ground at a constant rate but, during high pressure fronts, is held low-to-the-ground due to the barometric pressure.  When this happens, the radon accumulates rather than dissipate.
Because we have radiation monitors at the boundary of our radiologically controlled area, personnel who attempt to exit the "RCA" during a "temperature inversion" (shorthand for a high pressure system) appear to be radioactively contaminated.  They are!!
They must remain within the RCA until they have decayed.
Okay, those were two examples of lunacy.  I hate the industry because common sense is outlawed within it.
It's not my purpose to lecture, you're a wise man and didn't ask for my input.  Want to dialogue about the industry, I know a little bit about it.

Bill N...