Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2007 15:39:16 -0700

From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: Follow-up to popular 16-question nuke Q&A: Suggestions for

July 2nd, 2007

Dear Readers,

My previous newsletter, a 16-question "Q&A," was published by CounterPunch on June 27th, 2007 with the title "Nukes Kill; Here's How: 16 Dirty Secrets About Nuclear Power." Here's the URL:

Counterpunch also published the newsletter preceding that one ("Meltdowns vs. Solar: Take your pick") and several other items in the past few months.

The Q&A was also published in NucNews, and a number of activists also passed it around.  One person is going to try to get a shortened version published in a newspaper in Australia, where there is a plan now to build as many as eight nuclear power plants.

In response to various comments, I've modified the answer to question 2 a little -- mainly by dropping the discussion about nuclear submarines sometimes running on batteries.  Although nuclear submarines could in theory run on their emergency backup batteries for up to about 12 hours, and can maneuver on them, and although it would, indeed, be quieter than when the reactors are running, I'm assured it's seldom, if ever, actually done that way.  Of course, the Navy defines "emergency" pretty loosely, as in: "This is an emergency so dump those pollutants into the sea!"  And if by an "emergency" they mean needing to cool the reactors on backup power, well, I'd guess that's a bad time to be using those batteries for any maneuvering, except to a better possible grave site.  The author apologizes for the confusion secrecy brings.

Another "small" change: I had used the word "size" when I should have said "mass" when comparing an electron to protons and neutrons.  (There will be a lot more on THAT subject in a soon-to-be-completed newsletter.)

The "new and improved" version of the Q&A appeared in OpEd News on June 29th.  Here's the URL:

The still-wider audience drew additional -- mostly favorable -- responses.  One person posted four comments at the OpEd News site.  Those comments are presented, and answered, below.  Another person made a more rambling attack, trying to claim I'm "anti-technology."  My answer to that also appears below.  The ridiculous statement I'm answering can be found at the OpEd News web site given above.

If you missed the original Q&A, I will be expanding it and (hopefully) printing it, in order to make it available to more people, and so it can be used as a quick-reference when attending a nuke-related public meeting.

In the meantime, I'd like to suggestion going to your Congressperson's web site and "cut-and-paste" the original newsletter, or perhaps the URLs of the CounterPunch or OpEd News versions, or some portion of the newsletter, into their comment form.  Even if only a few people do this, who knows? It MIGHT make a difference.

Cheney's secret energy policy continues to be exposed, bit by bit, for the pro-nuke garbage it is.  Congress is on vacation this week, of course.  Let's give them something to think about when they get back.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Answers to OpEdNews posts about my Q&A

July 1st, 2007

In response to the first two posted comments, which contained four claims from a pro-nuker:

The four claims are:

1) "Solar cells require ten times more energy to create than they will ever produce."

2) "Wind will require a massive windmill in every yard to replace the power used by the related household."

3) "Reactor pools of spent rods are not cooled."

4) "I would gladly accept a spent fuel rod, to be placed in my yard, for a small yearly stipend. And so would anyone else who knows and cares."


1) "Solar cells require ten times more energy to create than they will ever produce."

This is a classic nuke-generated lie based -- at best -- on 40-year-old data from the first laboratory samples of solar panels -- if there's any reality to the oft-repeated (by pro-nukers) comment at all. A modern solar panel is a wonder of recyclable engineering, and includes high-tech components such as microscopic prisms, electronic diodes and software-actuated switches. Some modern solar panels have expected 100+ year life spans, with a 3- to 5-year payback. People who put solar panels on their homes in the 1980s are still using them, and the panels paid for themselves years ago. That's a more accurate description of what solar cell technology has already achieved, even without a fair regulatory playing field to encourage consumer investment.

2) "Wind will require a massive windmill in every yard to replace the power used by the related household."

An even worse lie. A typical wind turbine can generate 3 to 5 megawatts whenever the wind is blowing sufficiently. In the U.S.A., you'll find, on average, enough wind to generate electricity at least 7% of the time. In many places there's enough wind 30% or more of the time. America is considered "the Saudi Arabia of wind" because we have so much potential wind power. But it's not really a good comparison, since Saudi Arabia's oil WILL run out.

5 megawatts is enough juice for 5,000 homes according to my local nuclear power plant, although it probably could serve 50,000 energy-efficient homes utilizing passive measures such as solar panel roofs, L.E.D. lighting, proper insulation, geothermal heat exchangers, and energy-efficient appliances.

Even if the wind blows only 7% of the time, 7% of 5,000 homes is 350, so ONE wind turbine actually would create ALL the juice needed for about 350 homes. And 10-megawatt wind turbines are coming. In fact, MUCH BIGGER DESIGNS are possible! Wind turbines are beautiful -- don't let anybody fool you! They replace nukes, but they can also replace coal and oil-burning solutions. And wind technology is still in its infancy! Wind energy, like solar energy and many other renewable energy solutions, only needs a major manufacturing push, which will come from a properly regulated market.

Long-distance transmission lines are one way to solve the problem of wind power not being available locally all the time. Since the wind IS always blowing SOMEWHERE, you just capture THAT energy, and distribute it to where it is needed. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983) proposed the Global Energy Grid for just such a purpose.

Local storage of wind-generated power (by, for example, pumping water into a reservoir) also solves the problem of having the energy available when you need it.

Nuclear reactors are old, dirty, dangerous, foolish, and faulty. And their frequent and unexpected outages are very difficult for power grids to handle. And, it's not uncommon to have 100-megawatt power fluctuations as nuclear power plants come on line, along with sudden losses of 1,000-megawatt power sources, often just when you need them most (as happened in California in 2003, when three of four nuclear power plants dropped out of the power grid).

3) "Reactor pools of spent rods are not cooled."

Reactor pool water must be circulated constantly, to cool the fuel rods. Depending on the age of the fuel, it can be shut off for a while, but whatever you do, don't accidentally drain the pool, don't drop a flaming airplane into it, don't wash a tsunami over it and fill it with cars and trucks from the nearby highway, or push a bunch of fresh-from-the-reactor "hot" fuel rods together to achieve a criticality event, etc. etc. etc..

It's only after about 3 to 5 years (at the earliest) that the spent fuel rods can be removed from the deep pools, and even then it's dangerous and probably shouldn't be done for at least 50 or 100 years, if ever. All nuclear power plants should be stopped forever, immediately! A spent reactor fuel fire is virtually impossible to quench (I'm not even sure why I bothered to say "virtually" since any actual fire WILL burn itself out, since no one will be able to get close to it to pour INERT GASSES on it to quench the flames).

When the Department of Energy or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission talk about possible accident scenarios involving the transportation of nuclear waste, they NEVER refer to ANY accident which could release more than a tiny, tiny fraction (say, 0.00001%) of the total in that particular SINGLE CONTAINER shipment! Larger accidents are considered statistically unlikely and their consequences are completely ignored. So, thousands of realistic accident scenarios are ignored, and you can bet a 9-11 style attack was NEVER considered in their calculations prior to 9-11, and STILL isn't. The actual tests they run are contrived and unrealistic. And there's no place to SHIP the fuel to anyway, so it stays near the reactors. Spent reactor fuel fires are the most likely thing to bankrupt America unless we stop putting fresh fuel in the reactors and spend a lot more money protecting the fuel storage systems from terrorists, evil geniuses, stupid humans, and normal humans who make mistakes.

4) "I would gladly accept a spent fuel rod, to be placed in my yard, for a small yearly stipend. And so would anyone else who knows and cares."

You want a nuclear waste dump in every yard, but one windmill for every 350 homes is out of the question? And you want someone to pay you for storing the waste you, yourself, generate? That's absurd! And anyway, please define "small" as in "small yearly stipend" so we can calculate it out for hundreds of thousands of years, which we would need to do to cover the time the fuel rods are actually dangerous. Your children, and their children for 10,000 generations or so, will be required to keep your spent fuel rods (in addition to their own spent fuel rods) for THEIR ENTIRE LIVES -- but there is no plan to give THEM a stipend (and they might not agree with your stipulated rate). The money is NOT charged to the people who created the fuel rods (YOU). So WHO is going to come up with the money?

And then there's the constant LEAKAGE from the fuel rod. First of all, you'll need one of those "dry casks" which, even for ONE fuel rod (or ONE pellet of fuel (several hundred pellets per fuel rod), for that matter) would need to be several inches of steel, lead, etc., and then a few feet (like, 10 or 12 or so) of CONCRETE. And that's just to get it to a point that only nuke workers are allowed near, because of the intense radioactive "shine" being released from the spent fuel pellet.

And in 40 or 60 years -- maybe 100, but I sincerely doubt it -- that whole containment will have to be removed (and treated as extremely hazardous rad waste) and a NEW ONE put around the fuel, and so on every 50 or 100 years for hundreds of thousands of years. And all day and night, every day and night, someone will be using electricity, and if they choose your system, that electricity will cause ANOTHER FUEL ROD to be created, and another and another and another. WHO will pay the stipend for someone to take care of THOSE fuel rods?


These four points only make the folly of using nuclear power more obvious -- so thanks for writing.

It's time to stop this evil. Nuclear power has met its match: Sanity.

"Not Very Scientific:"

The last OpEd News comment posted above this one (titled "not very scientific") -- claiming I'm "anti-technology" -- is at least as flawed as the two posts discussed here, and the answers are already in the document, which the antagonist ignored or twisted. To respond briefly: There is NO immunity buildup from radiation, space missions (including missions with nuclear materials) HAVE an extraordinarily high failure rate, and MANY of the "early nuclear physicists" never made it to old age because they died of cancer. Madam Curie (1867 - 1934), who died of leukemia in her 60s, is the most famous example. There were thousands of scientists, so of course some have reached the ripe old age of 90, as the writer mentions. I work with some very old "opposition scientists" myself, so I'm well aware that radiation doesn't kill everyone. That, perhaps, is why it's so exquisite at killing us silently, but in droves.

Knee-jerk pro-nukers always claim I'm anti-technology. Such a claim is impossible to sustain, as any look at my "Best Buy" receipts would prove -- let alone the fact that one of the software programs I co-authored is for sale there as part of an educational suite of products, and another one of my products won Adobe's "Site of the Day" award on November 7, 2006.

Additionally, here are a few relevant URLs, all created by this author, a computer programmer. Does this really look like the work of someone who is "anti-technology" to you? Or is it the work of someone who has lost friends and family, and who has become FED UP with being lied to, and wants to help other people learn the truth as quickly as possible?

The public has to get a good grasp on ALL these issues, because the pro-nukers will kill you if you let them. And you're letting them.

Suggested URLS (all created by Russell "Ace" Hoffman):

POISON FIRE USA: An animated history of major nuclear activities in the continental United States, including over 1500 data points, accurately placed in time and space:

How does a nuclear power plant work (animations of the two typical U.S. reactor designs):

Depleted Uranium: The Malignant Bullet:

Animated Periodic Table of the Elements (Adobe "Site of the Day" November 7th, 2006) (Any login ID will work with the password: ZINC):

by AceHoffman (5 articles, 1 comments) on Sunday, July 1, 2007 at 1:31:55 PM

Contact information for "Ace:"