Subject: MELTDOWN ON FX -- SEE IT (AGAIN) THIS THURSDAY (JUNE 10TH, 2004) (check local listings)

June 9th, 2004

Dear Readers,

Having watched MELTDOWN a couple of times now, I am just astounded by it.  It reflects a lot of the things many people have been saying could happen.  Indeed, things that WILL happen, if we don't do something to prevent them.

There are some technical items one could quibble about, but why bother?  This made-for-tv movie is more accurate than just about any movie I've ever seen on the subject of the potential dangers of nuclear power.

Sure, there are factual discrepancies -- the postulated accidents in MELTDOWN could be far WORSE than Chernobyl.  Also, in the movie, Chernobyl's exclusion zone is about the size of "Kentucky".  The actual radius is about 18 miles.  But on the other hand, it probably SHOULD be about the size of Kentucky -- I kid you not! -- so why quibble with that?

If the weaknesses of nuclear power are so obvious (that television producer can create such a plausible movie about them), why doesn't your local reporter seem to know about them?  Why isn't your local conservative paper, or liberal rag, or nightly news show, demanding an immediate switch to renewables?

Besides terrorists with hang gliders, there could be armored bulldozers, or "inside jobs", or just sleepy operators or operators who are inadequately trained, overworked, angry about something, whatever.  Perhaps the operators are on Beta Blockers (a heart medication that can cause hallucinations as a side effect).  Asteroids could strike.  Tsunamis from earth slides -- these can be literally thousands of feet tall, from local underwater mountains.  Asteroids can also cause overwhelmingly large waves -- and many nuke plants are right on the coast!  California has four coastal nukes, for instance, all near earthquake faults and steep, unstable underwater mountains which have NOT been researched properly for stability, direction of wave if/WHEN they finally do fall, etc. etc..

Claiming that the plant, the spent fuel pools, and the dry storage casks are built to withstand a "7.0" earthquake is not enough (that's the actual figure for California's nukes).  Would 9.0 be enough?  Actually the question is moot because they won't build nuclear power plants to withstand a 9.0 earthquake, because they cannot do so economically!  Also, there's no reason to believe the structures would survive even the earthquake forces which the operators and regulators claim they can survive.  Most plants' designs haven't been studied in years or even decades, not since the Northridge, San Francisco, San Jose, Kobe, Bam and other recent quakes.  We've learned a lot since then, but none of it has been applied to looking at our nuke plants.

Nuclear power plants are the stupidest way to generate electricity we could possibly use, and yet we use them!

Perhaps it is because nuclear power's proponents are so good at deception.

But the truth is, we CAN break our dependence on foreign oil, and on domestic oil too, and on domestic coal and -- FIRST -- on nuclear power!  The technology exists for clean, abundant renewable energy, which needs only to be built and installed, having already been designed and tested.  Much of it has actually existed for decades; the rest exists NOW!  Claims to the contrary are made in ignorance, or are purposely meant to confuse you.  For example, despite anything you might have heard, wind power produces cheap, reliable energy in many places, with little or no damage to "raptors".  Wind turbines are not ugly signs of overpopulation, greed, and urban decay.  They are beautiful.  Besides, wind turbine manufacturers are working on the raptor problem, such as it is.

Generally, in the case of a full-scale real-life meltdown, things would actually be even worse than FX's MELTDOWN suggests.  And, most small-scale LOCAs (Loss of Coolant Accidents) -- and certainly all large-scale LOCAs -- would probably lead to a core melt.

It has only been by the most phenomenal of luck that we have not had a real meltdown yet -- anywhere.

Chernobyl, with its tens of thousands, or perhaps more likely hundreds of thousands of dead, was not anywhere near "as bad as it gets" as meltdowns go.  This is a very important technical point every user of nuclear electricity should understand!  Three Mile Island could have been a million times worse than it turned out to be (which is not to say no one died from Three Mile Island.  I don't believe that for a minute).

When are we going to throw in the towel and reject this insane energy choice?  The NRC should regulate itself out of existence.  How can they possibly continue to analyze the situation -- whether on the back of a napkin over dinner and a movie (the movie being called MELTDOWN and showing on FX), or on a super-computer inputting all the scientifically credible data they can find -- and still support this folly?  Are the folks at the NRC really human, or are they all like that Mr. Smith guy in the Matrix series of movies?  Unapproachable, self-assured to the bitter end.  Are they really so afraid to try to find work in the "real" world?  To try to understand what the real world thinks?  Are they so afraid to talk about the potential dangers?  Are they so afraid to let the truth out?  Are they all just automatons, incapable of independent thought and reason?  If that sounds harsh, it is the result of going face-to-face with them, year after year.  They even all wear the dark Matrix suits!  You can't tell them apart except for the name tags, and the flown-in experts won't give you their email address or get back to you with answers to your questions.  I've asked at least thirty questions that are raised in MELTDOWN over the past decade alone (and earlier) -- where are the answers?

The NRC will not even attempt to give us formal, informative, respectful answers.  It's surely in part because they have no answers.  But it's also in part because they arrogantly flaunt their civic duty, shielded by special laws relating to nuclear issues, laws which keep their jobs perfectly safe IF they lie to us, and get them fired if they don't.

It's time to admit that the public -- and the terrorists -- all know a whole lot of ways to destroy a nuclear power plant.  Many members of the public know the consequences of a meltdown could far outweigh 9-11 or Chernobyl (which was probably between 10 and 100 times worse than 9-11, just in terms of the dead from it, with vastly more injuries, too).  It seems that only the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry do not know these things.  And our politicians.

The nuclear industry will stop at nothing you or I can do alone, or even in small groups.  Activism means nothing to them.  They are not the least bit afraid of us -- of citizens who are aware of the problems.  It's clear that no picture of impending doom, no matter how clearly painted, matters to anyone making their livelihood from nuclear energy.  They will keep on piling up the waste until there is a horrific accident, and then it will be too late, and millions will die and millions more will suffer.  That will bankrupt America, it will bankrupt our health care system, our energy companies, our farmers, or export market, our trust -- everything.  Just as Chernobyl bankrupted the people of the Soviet Union, both morally and financially, so too will a meltdown here bankrupt our nation.

There are plenty of better ways to make electricity.  If we don't choose these alternatives, we have chosen death for ourselves and our nation.

The FX TV movie MELTDOWN was brilliantly conceived, well-acted, gripping, exciting, and, as Hollywood must always make it and real life seldom does, it all works out more or less okay in the end.  How nice.

If you possibly can, try to watch MELTDOWN.  It's powerful, right from the opening images on through.

I know some people have important NRC hearings to go to this Thursday -- at Diablo Canyon, for instance.  If you can get a friend to record MELTDOWN for you, try to, or better yet, contact the FX network and ask them to keep showing MELTDOWN over and over and over.

Even people with no prior interest in nuclear power will probably find this story gripping, and it might just wake them up.


Russell Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Visit the FX web site:

Other related links:

Here's an interesting page full of links about earthquakes:

Here's one specifically about SoCal:

Next is a clip about SoCal earthquakes from a USGS web site.  The area referred to is only about 50 miles away from San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station (SONWGS, but at the plant itself, they refer to it as SONGS, because they ignore the waste):

What exactly is the prediction?
The prediction is for a magnitude 6.4 or greater earthquake to occur between January 5 and September 5, 2004, within a 12,440 sq. miles area of southern California that includes portions of the eastern Mojave Desert, Coachella Valley, Imperial Valley (San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties) and eastern San Diego County. [Map URL given below -- rdh]

Is the prediction true? Are we going to have a large earthquake?
We don't know. The Keilis-Borork team has just begun the test of this prediction technique and has not yet issued enough predictions to evaluate whether or not the approach is successful. Its notable because of the groups apparent success in predicting the magnitude 8.1 earthquake in Hokkaido, Japan in September 2003 and last Decembers magnitude 6.5 San Simeon quake. However, those predictions also covered very large areas so there was some chance the earthquakes would have happened anyway. Many more predictions will be needed to determine if this technique is providing a more accurate prediction than we can get anyway from our past history. Moreover, the current prediction region encloses many hazardous faults including portions of the San Andreas, San Jacinto, Imperial and Elsinore, plus the desert region that hosted the Landers and Hector Mines earthquakes, and thus has a 10-15% chance of a M 6.4 earthquake in _any_ 9 month period. An earthquake on any one of these faults would count as a success, so even if the prediction is correct, you cannot know if your community will be affected.


Jack Shannon is making no headway against related monstrosities, either:

From: "Jack Shannon" <>
Subject: letter to all Senators
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2004 12:20:19 -0400

Sent the following, by snail mail, to all fifty Senators. Did not receive a response from a single Senator. Not a peep not a sound. Total silence.
I think that's a little strange. Maybe if your distributions sent the letter to their distributions we might get some kind of response.
Jack Shannon

                                                                                                                                              12 Cleveland Ave.

                                                                                                                                              Saratoga Springs, NY



Dear Senator:

September 11, 2001 brought death to 3,000 Americans because our systems of political protection failed and the amateur politicians failed to serve the Nation and the President well because the amateur "leaders" of the various bureaucracies would not speak the truth for fear of losing their political appointments. Everyone knew what the President wanted to hear and no one would cross the line leading to the truth. Mr. Clarke is now being shredded by some politicians because he believes that the truth must now be told. Bravo for Mr. Clarke. Even now many politicians are saying that Mr. Clarke " . . . stabbed the President in the back . . . " The fact is that 3,000 innocent victims died because of the "need" for political [expediency].

Fifty years ago Admiral Rickover made a monumental error by building Navy Nuclear Reactors ten miles west of Saratoga Springs, New York. These Reactors still lack the benefit of Emergency Core Cooling Systems, Containment Vessels or Separate Operating Rooms for the reactor operators. The reasoning was simple. The "Admiral" wanted the Navy prototypes to be exactly like the nuclear submarines and most of the nuclear-powered surface ships at sea. Under the best of conditions these plants have always been a menace to the Navy trainees and workers on site and a huge civilian population within a baseball throw of the plants.

Now, in this day of the terrorists the plants are the most vulnerable nuclear power plants in the Nation, and no one in Government seems to care about the danger. No one in a position of power wants to tell Congress that in order to make these plants safe it will cost billions of dollars, and even then the facility will require major military protection until the plants are closed.

It is again a case of the amateur politician not wanting to tell the President or Congress what they dont want to hear. It is clear that if the terrorists can destroy a totally vulnerable and basically undefended facility like the Kesselring Site Operation thousands of people will be killed and hundreds of square miles of land will be made forever uninhabitable.

The opinion expressed here is the opinion of most of the Nuclear Engineers and Nuclear Physicists who have every been employed at this facility. None have every stepped forward because of fear of losing their jobs and being blackballed within the nuclear community forever. We have both been attendees at meetings in which these subjects have been discussed at length. We know of the penalties because it has happened to both of the undersigned Nuclear Engineers/Nuclear Physicists.

Respectfully Submitted,

John P. Shannon                                                                              Robert G. Stater LP Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear Physicist/Nuclear Engineer                                         Nuclear Physicist/Nuclear Navy Instructor

Jack Shannon