From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Re: C.E.C. Docket No. 04-IEP-1J: "If only I had known."


To: California Energy Commission Dockets Unit;
      Attn: Docket No. 04-IEP-1J
      1516 Ninth Street, MS-4
      Sacramento, CA 95814-5512

Re: Energy Report: Nuclear Power, 2005 Workshops

Date: August 13th, 2005

From: Russell D. Hoffman, Concerned Citizen, Carlsbad, CA

To The Commission,

Attached is a brief statement summarizing some of the many arguments against continuing to use nuclear power to produce energy.

A copy of this letter will be provided in written form to the Commission as part of a complete statement for Docket No. 04-IEP-1J.


Russell Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA


"If only I had known" by Russell D. Hoffman

August 13th, 2005

If I told you that most nuclear power plants are probably a hundred times more dangerous than government and industry "experts" assume, would it worry you?  After studying the industry for over 30 years, I'd say things are AT LEAST that bad.  Before the Challenger disaster, NASA estimated that the chance of a shuttle accident were less than one in 100,000.  We've had two shuttle disasters; NASA was wrong by much more than a factor of one hundred (two orders of magnitude).  The nuclear industry, bull-headed and arrogant, will not even TRY to calculate the odds of a terrorist action against a nuclear power plant.  SO when they tell you things are safe, they don't really have any idea.

And if I told you that many of the horrific medical consequences of The Bomb became widely known in Japan and around the world after WWII, but U.S. military censors suppressed the truth so that the American people wouldn't know about the terrible lingering effects of radiation, would you feel offended?  Such censorship has put democracy on hold for 60 years now.

And if I told you that any competent industrial nation that operates a nuclear power plant just needs a series of centrifuges and a couple of months to have The Bomb, would you feel vulnerable?  You should -- and there are other ways besides "gaseous diffusion" to separate U-235 from U-238, or Pu-239 from everything else.

And if I told you that Iran, with oil reserves, solar power, geothermal heat (#1 in the Middle East), and wind energy to supply all their electricity needs, is building nuclear reactors and uranium processing facilities -- obviously, just so they can get The Bomb -- and if I told you that North Korea probably already has The Bomb, would you feel threatened?  You ARE being threatened, no matter who you are; no matter where you live.  Fallout from a nuclear attack spreads globally.

Nuclear weapons are transportable anywhere by commercial shipping container (less than 1% are inspected at all).  The smallest nuclear bomb America ever tested was called Davy Crockett and could fit in a suitcase.  "Davy" weighed just over 50 pounds and had an explosive yield of .01 Kilotons -- the equivalent of 10 tons of dynamite (+ radiation) -- more than enough to severely damage or destroy a nuclear power plant, nuclear processing facility, nuclear waste storage area, or industrial chemical complex.  Do you feel insecure and unsafe?  Who can blame you if you do?

And if I told you that there is still no biological, chemical, or physical solution to the problem of nuclear waste -- no microbes can neutralize it by eating it, no combination of heat, cold, pressure, or vacuum renders it harmless, no chemical bonding makes it safe -- the radiation remains, and destroys (irradiates) everything near it, including its containment -- would you feel stumped?  Join the club -- it's stumped everyone else so far.

And if I told you that after 60 years, the greatest scientific and humanitarian minds in the world STILL do not endorse nuclear power, would you feel troubled?  Would you feel that perhaps society has taken a wrong turn?  Oh brother, has it ever.

And if I told you that nuclear power does not provide cost-effective electricity -- supposedly its "real" purpose -- would you feel robbed?  You have been -- your pocket has been picked and your future has been stolen.

There is no safe radiation dose.  There are no "sunshine vitamins" made out of radioactive isotopes.  There is no net physiological benefit from so-called "low-level" radiation (a theory promoted by the nuclear industry and known as "Hormesis").   Do you feel poisoned?  You have been.

Tritium releases from nuclear power plants, which occur constantly, have amounted to millions of Curies and have undoubtedly killed many, many people.  And tritium is just one of a rainbow of radioactive materials nuclear power plants constantly release.  Infants are perhaps a hundred times more susceptible to radiation's effects than adults.  Fetuses are even more at risk. Exact numbers of deaths are impossible to estimate accurately.  The nuclear industry claims that NONE of the millions of premature deaths that occur around the globe each year are their fault, because no SPECIFIC death can be unequivocally linked to any particular radiation release.  Do you think you are being cheated?  You are.

So-called "background radiation levels" have risen from under 100 milli-Rem (mRem) per year prior to the nuclear age, to about 350 mRem in most places in the U.S.A., and over 400 mRem in some areas.  This appalling increase is due to nuclear weapons testing, nuclear power plants, lost space-bound radioactive payloads, nuclear radiation used in medicine and in laboratory research (and then poured down the drain), nuclear munitions used in war, nearly a dozen lost nuclear submarines, lost "secret" plutonium-powered listening devices, purposeful radiation releases into the environment, and the INEVITABLE losses of nuclear materials during:

Mining / transporting / milling / transporting / processing & separating / transporting / forging / transporting / machining / transporting / using / transporting / storing / transporting / reprocessing & re-separating / transporting / waste storage / transporting / reusing / transporting / re-reprocessing / transporting / re-reusing / transporting / waste storage / etc..

At each step, an "inconsequential" (so they say) loss occurs, which ends up in our air and water, and then in our lungs and in our guts and brains.  You are a filter for your environment.  If your environment is polluted, YOU will be polluted.  Do you feel clean?  You aren't.

Your body is already poisoned with billions of radioactive atoms, courtesy of a corrupt and arrogant government and industry.  Each individual atomic decay event is unpredictable, unstoppable, and approximately 20,000 to a million times stronger than your own body's chemical and molecular bonds.  Each radioactive decay can lead to cancer, leukemia, heart disease, deformities in your children, and a thousand other ailments.  Do you feel victimized, or has the odorless, colorless, tasteless, microscopic (and, often, delayed) nature of the assault fooled you?  If so, you are not alone.

Are all your trillions of DNA molecules ready to face another day of random assault by nuclear poisons?  Are your eggs or sperm defect-free, or are you already "damaged goods," another victim of the nuclear age, incapable of producing healthy offspring?  Do you feel abused?  You should -- because you ARE being abused by the Nuclear Mafia.

The next accident to befall the nuclear industry -- the next Chernobyl -- could happen near YOU.  In the past few years, it almost happened in Ohio, California, New York and elsewhere.  It could have happened in Minnesota, where for 30 years the "Emergency Core Cooling System" (ECCS) at the Monticello nuclear power plant was unavailable due to improper installation.  (Obviously, it was never tested.)  Do you feel lucky?  You have been -- so far.

We need to switch completely away from nuclear power and start utilizing renewable energy solutions, which means a COMBINATION of wind, wave, tide, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro, space-based mirrors, etc. etc. etc..  There are many clean options -- and we need to choose ALL of them.  Do you think we can wait forever?  Guess again.

Russell D. Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA

The author has studied nuclear power for more than 30 years.  His essays have been published around the world.

Please visit these web pages.

POISON FIRE USA:  An animated history of major nuclear activities in the continental United States:

How does a nuclear power plant work?  Animations of PWRs and BWRs:

Internet Glossary of Nuclear Terminology / "The Demon Hot Atom":

List of every nuclear power plant in America, with history, activist orgs,
specs, etc.:


STOP CASSINI web site:

or try:

List of ~300 books and videos about nuclear issues in my collection
(donations welcome!):

Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here (written with Pamela Blockey-O'Brien):