Ace Hoffman Is Tilting at 'Nofre

The anti-nuke activist has spent years fighting the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Now, the impossible is on his horizon: its permanent shutdown

Ace Hoffman Is Tilting at 'Nofre

"Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, [those] hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them . . .for this is a righteous war, and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."

"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants, but windmills."

Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1605

* * *

The Pacific Ocean gleams like liquid diamonds as I steer my Toyota up the 5 freeway at sunset under a clear, silvery, gloaming sky.

I'm headed home to San Clemente to meet with a modern-day Man of La Mancha (or, in this case, of nearby Carlsbad)—Ace Hoffman [1], a guy in the know about nuclear power, a defender of human life and the environment, a true grand tilter at mighty nuke atom-splitters. Ace's life mission: generally, to end mankind's use of nuclear power, which he equates to the 14th-century Black Plague in its destructive impact on human bodies and society.

"Males in the northern hemisphere are said to piss out about a million atoms of plutonium every DAY of their lives," Hoffman wrote for a Counterpunch article in 2007. "Just from one 1963 NASA space-probe accident."

More specifically, though, Ace wants to permanently close Southern California's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)—or "Nuclear WASTE Generating Station," as he terms it.

"What," asks this contempo Don Quixote, "will we do with thousands of tons of lethal spent fuel sitting on that site for at least 300 more years, threatening our lives and livelihoods?"

Opposing Ace is SONGS' owner and operator, Southern California Edison (SCE), a Fortune 500 power goliath ($12.3 billion annual revenues, 20,000 employees) and state-protected energy behemoth. SCE is headquartered in Rosemead, east of downtown Los Angeles, a comfortable 62 miles from SONGS and a good 10 miles outside SCE's self-designated 50-mile "Ingestion Pathway Zone" (IPZ) specified for SONGS emergencies—in other words, Ground Zero. In 1996, SCE made itself the largest subsidiary of a holding company it calls Edison International. Slogan: "Life. Powered by Edison."

Reality: SCE failed early in the fission fest, way back in the mid-1950s. The company built the ill-fated Santa Susana Sodium Reactor Experimental (SRE) nuclear power plant near Moorpark in Ventura County. Owner Atomics International even fabricated plutonium fuel there. In 1959, the plant's reactors partially melted down, a California first. Fifty-four years later, the Old Susana site remains contaminated.

Edison moved on to build SONGS. In 1968, Unit 1, a Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR) began operations. SCE built Units 2 and 3 in the 1970s (and in a portent of troubles to come, Bechtel Corporation, the nation's largest construction-and-engineering company, installed a 420-ton nuclear-reactor vessel backward). Unit 2 went online on Aug. 8, 1983, with Unit 3 following on April 1, 1984. They've been offline since Jan. 31, 2012, when a "leaking incident" damaged equipment and led to a release of radioactive steam into the environment.

Radiation entered the air, soil, beach, plants and water surrounding SONGS, just 8 goddamn miles from my fucking front door.

My family numbers among the 7.4 million people who live within that 50-mile SONGS IPZ. Welcome to the SoCal glow club, Long Beach, LA, Riverside and San Diego! Eat, drink and be wary.

But don't worry, advises SCE, which claims our biggest power facility has operated peacefully and "cleanly" ever since first fission, providing ratepayers with nearly 20 percent of SoCal's electricity while sparing everyone the deleterious effects of burning coal: tons of smog-producing pollutants and greenhouse-gas carbon emissions. SCE's unstated SONGS business-value proposition: nuclear pollution isn't nearly as bad as coal pollution and global warming.

Ace Hoffman perceives a more sinister scenario about his adversaries, who include SCE, which owns 78.2 percent of SONGS; Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which owns 20 percent; and the city of Riverside, which owns 1.8 percent. "San Onofre is owned and operated by belligerent liars," Ace e-ranted to me. "They lie to each other, they lie to the media, they lie to the public, they lie to the NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission], and they lie to themselves, thinking 'a little radiation is safe' or even 'a little radiation is good for you.'"

Senator Barbara Boxer also doubts SCE management's veracity. The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has called for a new investigation of SCE and a shutdown of SONGS based on information in a document from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the plan's faulty replacement steam generators, installed in 2010. According to Boxer, the document indicates that Edison and Mitsubishi were aware in advance of potential safety problems with the generators.

But SONGS survives in its South County haunt due entirely to SCE's political prowess and the Big Nuke propaganda machine. The heavily subsidized $33 billion nuclear-power industry is small but powerful because it's really just a money-losing beard for the military-industrial-congressional complex and its $56 billion-per-year U.S. nuclear-weapons programs. The commercial nuclear-power market was invented in the 1950s by the U.S. government to provide plutonium for nuclear warheads. Making electricity for consumers was just an (insane) excuse.

U.S. taxpayers mostly support the nuclear-power industry. In fact, Michele Boyd, legislative director of the nonprofit consumer-rights group Public Citizen's energy program, has called nuclear power a massive swindle of the American public put together by the federal government in collusion with ostensibly "for-profit" nuclear-plant operators. The heart of this fraud is the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, which artificially limits the amount of primary insurance that nuclear operators must carry—an uncalculated, indirect subsidy in terms of insurance premiums they don't have to pay.

Small wonder that SCE writes on its website, "Nuclear energy continues to play an important role in providing low-cost, clean energy."

True, if by "low-cost," it means extraordinarily expensive, and by "clean," it means a highly contaminated fuel that can go kablooey at any moment.

* * *

The prospect of potential disaster at my own uranium-drenched, neighborhood, nuke plant roils my mind about SONGS—and Chernobyl and Fukushima and Three Mile Island—as I head north through the gathering darkness for my meeting with Hoffman.

I began corresponding with him following my 1999 Weekly article "The Death Ray," about the dynamic area at the San Diego-Orange County border and its secretive military-industrial complex industry in the badlands east of San Clemente. I mentioned San Onofre as a freakish element of what I call "The Valley of the Weird." As I take a closer look at SONGS, there's no better plant tour guide than Hoffman.

A plethora of Orange County and San Diego groups has sprung up to fight SONGS over the years—the most active include Don Leichtling's Decommission San Onofre, Gary and Laurie Headrick's San Clemente Green, Gene Stone's Residents for a Safe Environment (ROSE), Donna Gilmore's San Onofre Safety, and Ray Lutz's Citizens Oversight Projects (COPs). But it's Hoffman who has captured the public's imagination. NASA's 1997 launch to Saturn of its Cassini-Huygens robotic orbiter powered by 72 pounds of plutonium-238 motivated him to graduate from mere letter-writing to local San Diego-area newspapers to loud activism. And then in 2001, on the same day that SCE told the media that activists such as Hoffman "don't understand the laws of physics," workers at the SONGS plant, in an apparent failure to comprehend the laws of gravity, dropped an 80,000-pound crane.

"The comment and the crane were the downfall of SanO, which became my sole focus," recalls Hoffman. "Having fought a planetary attack by NASA, I decided to follow the 'think global, act local' creed and concentrate my activities on shutting down the plant. That was more than a million pounds of nuke waste ago."

In 2008, Hoffman was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Because he never smoked, he suspected radiation as the cause. He decided to make a contribution of the knowledge about fighting nuclear power he had accumulated during 40 years of anti-nuke research, publishing what many in the movement rank among the most important and accessible textbooks of the Nuclear Age, The Code Killers: Why DNA and ionizing radiation are a dangerous mix . . . An expose of the nuclear industry. You can buy it from his frequently updated blog, Ace Hoffman's Nuclear Failures Report (acehoffman.blogspot.com).

Hoffman's thesis: nuclear-power plants produce immensely damaging ionizing radiation (from gamma rays and the alpha or beta particles emitted by decaying radioactive elements), which emits enough energy to break countless chemical bonds in the human body's 50 trillion to 100 trillion cells. Exposure to ionizing radiation can alter cell DNA, which expresses as birth defects and cancer. According to Hoffman, ubiquitous nuke plants and their radioactive output—the byproducts of uranium atomic fission—wreak havoc on bodies, destroying our tissues, organs and bones, sickening and killing us.

He's no desk-bound academic. His book is a polemic to employ as a weapon in the battle against nuclear power. As such, it places the author squarely in the middle of an ever-expanding, national, anti-nuke movement, one in which he's become a sort of Cassandra: Last year, SONGS was shut down due to "the leaking incident." For Hoffman, what began with writing letters to the editor and providing the lone voice of opposition at regulatory meetings has become a "storm of activism," as increasing numbers people seek him out to learn about the dangers of nuclear power, in general, and, in particular, the truth about San Onofre.

* * *

The junior Einsteins who run dumps such as SONGS are brilliant at controlling nuclear fission and making water really, REALLY HOT, enough to spin wheels and make electricity. From there, though, even they will admit to utter cluelessness.

"Radioactive decay is not triggered . . . and therefore, science does not know how to control it," explains Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR). "We have no mechanism for speeding up, slowing down, starting or stopping radioactive decay. That's why radioactive wastes are such an enormous problem. If radioactive particles escape into the environment and enter the human body, they destroy cells. It's like throwing a grenade into a computer."

According to Physicians for Social Responsibility, nuclear fuel is "dirty," dangerous and deadly throughout its life cycle—mining, refining, purifying, using and burying. The core of a nuclear reactor contains both water and assemblies of fuel rods clad in zirconium and containing ceramic pellets of uranium-235-enriched nuclear fuel. This fuel is bombarded with neutrons to set off controlled nuclear reactions. These reactions super-heat the water, creating 550-degree Fahrenheit steam, which powers a turbine, generating electricity.

Unfortunately for all life on Earth, this process also creates poisons—uranium's hellish bastard "daughters." The approximate half-lives of some of the isotopes in spent nuclear fuel: strontium-90, 28 years; cesium-137, 30 years; plutonium-239, 24,000 years; cesium-135, 2.3 million years; iodine-129, 15.7 million years. The spent fuel rods from a nuclear reactor are the most radioactive of all nuclear wastes, giving off 99 percent of the total radiation. This waste requires isolation from our ecosystem for 10,000 to 100,000 years before it sufficiently deteriorates due to natural radioactivity.

Spent fuel rods are removed from reactors and placed in crowded (with other rods), 35-foot deep pools of water and allowed to cool down for five to 10 years before being moved into "dry cask" storage. These casks—SONGS hosts about four dozen—are 20 feet tall, 10 feet wide and weigh 100 tons, 15 tons of which is used reactor core assemblies.

Then the casks . . . sit, biding their smoldering time, of which they have plenty. SONGS has accumulated 2,000 tons to 4,000 tons of the vile stuff, and if it ever catches fire, it can explode and shoot potentially fatal debris into our air and water. SCE's take?

"The NRC has determined this storage technology is safe for at least 100 years. The best location for a central, U.S. nuclear-waste depository is a matter of continuing political debate. But there is settled science supporting the long-term safety of deep, geologic disposal."

Note how SCE has made SONGS' spent fuel a 2113 problem. And "settled" by whom? We've only been burying this junk since 1942, when the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction took place. Moreover, no permanent storage site exists for spent nuclear fuel. The feds reneged on promises to haul it away. And the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report in August 2012 that declared, "Spent nuclear fuel . . . is one of the most hazardous substances created by humans."

The U.S. can't dispose of the nearly 70,000 metric tons of spent fuel currently stored in 33 states from 104 reactors at 64 plants. It was supposed to go to a repository located deep under Nevada's Yucca Mountain ($10 billion down that hole to date), but Nevadans refuse to risk turning their state into a radioactive, nuclear cauldron. The GAO found that new facilities would take up to 40 years before they could accept spent fuel. Meanwhile, spent fuel stored onsite at commercial nuclear plants increases by about 2,000 metric tons annually.

For something with such a monumentally negative impact, uranium-pellet-filled fuel rods don't deliver much value—each produces energy for only six years, and according to SCE, nuclear plants use only 5 percent of the fuel's energy. It's not low-cost, clean energy—but it is wildly inefficient.

* * *

I speed through the winding emptiness of the 200-square-mile Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, which owns the tract of land SONGS occupies. Oh, those jarheads . . .

Camp Pendleton emerged in 1942 when the U.S. government—reeling in panic from Pearl Harbor—essentially confiscated 122,798 acres of Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores from its owners and created the country's largest Marine Corps base. In May 1964, the Department of the Navy granted SCE a 60-year easement for use of the site to build and operate SONGS.

Construction of Units 2 and 3 spanned a decade, going beyond the budget by billions of dollars because of earthquake-related design revisions and regulatory delays. The final price at startup for the two reactors totaled $4.5 billion, according to the California Council on Science and Technology. The pricey corpses of both units' cores will fester onsite forever. After operating Unit 1 for 24 years, SCE decommissioned and dismantled it in 1992 because it didn't want to spend $125 million in required modifications. The old reactor remains onsite, cocooned in concrete and still as radioactive as hell.

When I phoned the Marines to ask about protecting the base's daytime population of 70,000, I was told to call SCE. Later, I did find a brochure on the base website explaining evacuation procedures should SONGS experience an emergency.

I zip through the unmanned California Highway Patrol-U.S. Border Patrol San Onofre traffic checkpoint, come up over a rise, and there it is: SONGS. It looms on my left, next to the Pacific Ocean, which backdrops the plant's familiar, 160-foot, twin, hemispherical, concrete containment towers. (Yeah, I know: They look like Hollywood bolt-on breast implants, but I'm not playin'.) The place is squat, gray and homely in a haute gauche, bleak-noir, industro-power-plant style, 45 years ancient and well past its "close by" date. In 2000, Edison wrangled license extensions to 2020. The containment structures for both units are made of 4.5-foot-thick reinforced concrete. Inside each structure is an 8-inch-thick steel reactor vessel that houses the reactor.

The incongruity of seeing this woeful monstrosity on that magnificent shore always stuns. An aged, "embrittled," crumbling relic of the U.S. government's 1950s and 1960s nuclear-power-plant-building mania, SONGS hunkers forlorn and ugly in a seismic fault zone near San Clemente's south end on 84 acres of beautiful beachfront . . . now irredeemably lost.

'Nofre's a defiled dragon's lair of nuclear detritus—the flow of the global-nuclear-waste stream dead-ended here, never to go away. But now it's lit up to make the domes, outbuildings, poles, pipes, wires, cyclone fence, brick security wall, et al., look bright and beguiling at dusk. Here's a house that knows how to pay a light bill.

Increasingly, though, there are fewer and fewer folks home, as the place empties out. In August 2012, SCE cut 730 employees, taking the plant workforce down to 1,500—job-loss hits to the local economy that will only continue.

Along with the domes, I can see turbines, outflow/intake pipes, a too-low sea wall, control-room areas, a switchyard, an emergency diesel generator room (all bunched up), water-storage tanks for the emergency cooling systems and, the BIG trouble here, spent-fuel pool areas and dry-storage casks. Trestles surfers and San Onofre State Beach campers see this gruesome sight every day, with little comprehension of its magnitude as an economic, ecological disaster.

SONGS squanders heat on an unimaginable scale, dissipating enough into the sky above the plant each day to warm a city for a year. A 1994 Friends of the Earth study showed that a nuke plant must operate for 18 years before realizing 1 net calorie of energy. The nuke never pays off.

'Nofre lays its worst punishments on the ocean. To cool the reactors, it sucks in 2 million gallons of ocean water every minute, 1.6 billion gallons each day—an intake equal to a lake-sized square mile of ocean 12 feet deep. This prodigious misuse of water devastates local sea life. The Sierra Club calls SONGS and its sister California nuke plant Diablo Canyon "Giant Fish Blenders." At San Onofre each year, 121 tons of midwater fish are entrained (sucked into the cooling system itself). Unit 3 alone annually entrains an average of more than 3.1 billion individual aquatic organisms.

SONGS is a major polluter. "The Radioactive Effluent and Environmental Reports for San Onofre Units 2 and 3, 2005-2011" reveals in-depth details about the plant's impact on the environment. It has state and federal permission to release its "radwaste" into the air and water. In 2010, Edison piped highly diluted radwaste into the ocean for 550 hours (while releasing numerous low-level radionuclides into the air for a total of 44 hours). Edison's documents provided to the NRC reveal that SONGS released 34 different radionuclides, including plutonium, strontium-90 and cesium-137, all extremely injurious to living tissue.

Then there are "accidents." In 2006, tritium reportedly leaked into the groundwater beneath San Onofre, prompting the temporary closure of one area drinking-water well.

And SONGS isn't such a great place to work. On March 2, 2010, the NRC sent SONGS managers a letter describing a "chilling effect" among plant employees who feared retaliation from management if they reported safety concerns.

San Onofre has a filthy physical environment, "full of dirt, trash, clutter, cigarette butts and unidentified tripping hazards," according to Bethann Chambers, wife of SONGS whistleblower James Chambers, who worked at Units 2 and 3. "The (work) culture at SONGS is sick," she wrote on Dec. 9, 2010, in a long online post titled "The Truth About San Onofre From the Wife of a Licensed Nuclear Reactor Operator."

"This is the best word to describe the toxic work environment at the plant," added Chambers, who characterized the SONGS workforce as "three-tiered"—a management "Good Old Boys Club" (because it includes very few women) at the top, a second tier of "Company Stooges" and a bottom tier of "Worker Bees."

The result, according to Chambers: "If the workers at the nuclear-power plant are afraid to raise concerns, then the health and safety of the public is in jeopardy."

In addition to the shutdown, 2012 brought SONGS more drama than a Kardashian-Olsen twins cage match. In January, an outside contractor who was leaning over to retrieve a flashlight while working near Unit 2's reactor pool lost his balance and fell in. He survived. In May, Edison revealed a case of flawed safety equipment and lax oversight regarding the reactors' emergency-backup generators. The next month, a routine NRC inspection of SONGS found "security deficiencies." In December, fearing possible "employee-related sabotage," SONGS officials began investigating why they found coolant mixed with oil in their safety equipment.

Imagine a delinquent 8-year-old behind the wheel of the 700 mph turbojet-propelled Fossett LSR hypercar packed tight with nuclear explosives, trying to set a world land-speed record, 24/7 for eternity. That's SONGS.

But none of the above forced the current shutdown. Dumb, doomed, double-domed SONGS has been closed for a year thanks to that " leaking incident," which involved heat-transfer tubes in the plant's Unit 3 nuclear-reactor steam generators. These convert heat from the reactor cores into steam to drive turbines and generate electricity. Tubes in a year-old, poorly designed, 65-foot tall, 640-ton steam generator ruptured.

SCE downplayed the shutdown "incident" in a June 7 press release last year. "Both SONGS units are currently safely shut down for inspections, analysis and testing. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam-generator tube."

What actually took place was that several heat-transfer tubes, severely damaged by extended heavy vibration and denting, burst and vented hundreds of gallons of super-heated, highly pressurized, radioactive steam. Alarms sounded, and operators scrambled far into the next day before finally doing a "cold" shutdown of the entire system. They had to evacuate the turbine plant and surrounding areas and declare an "Alert" ("an event that could decrease the plant's level of safety," in SONGSspeak).

"Edison played fast and loose by making radical design changes and ducking the rules," said Kendra Ulrich, nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth. "The result was the most rapid breakdown of such replacement steam generators in the history of the U.S. nuclear industry. If Edison had followed the rules, an NRC license review would have found these glaring defects, and the lives of millions of people would not have been put at risk, nor would hundreds of millions of dollars have been squandered."

Edison sees things differently. In June 2012, SCE executives claimed that the cause of what they call the "unexpected" tube-to-tube wear was "fluid elastic instability" or excessive tube vibration. That's like saying a decked prizefighter got knocked out by the canvas when his head hit it.

* * *

I cross under SONGS' overhead power lines that trail off into the hills, and in a 65-mph instant, I'm happily past the gnarly old plant and rolling toward San Clemente, beauty to 'Nofre's beast. I park in an unremarkable parking lot and head into our meeting place. I inhale the aromas of warm, delicious Mexican food being enjoyed by a noisy dinner-hour crowd. It's early for our meeting, so I grab a table in the back of the restaurant and order coffee. The stack of materials in my folder has a slick, four-color brochure from SCE titled "Emergency Preparedness Information for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)."

SCE's emergency master plan? Listen for the sirens—a long, steady, continuous, oscillating, awful, blaring wail—sounding for two to five minutes each time, turn on the radio or TV (DO NOT call 911!), swallow potassium-iodide pills (which residents of San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano can get free of charge from those cities), and then head out into the monumental, immobile traffic jam that will be blocking the few roads out of town. Unwritten tips: abandon car, start walking, avoid airborne radioactive plume, head for desert as though the mad hermit namesake of 'Nofre, Onuphrius himself, don't return for 10,000 years.

I look over my notes on Hoffman: age 55, a Connecticut native, the son of professors, some college, an elopement with wife Sharon. He moved here in 1991, first setting eyes on San Onofre while driving south on the 5 freeway.

"I remember thinking, 'That's a nuclear reactor. What's it doing HERE?'" he wrote in an email.

He's still searching for the answer. For years, Hoffman has been studying California's energy issues. A computer programmer and software designer, he owns and operates the Animated Software Co., which specializes in educational software.

As he comes through the door, I recognize Hoffman from his online photo: a middle-aged engineer; 6 feet tall; 175 pounds; blue eyes; a days-old beard; short, brownish-blond hair sprinkled with gray and parted on the left. He's casually dressed in jeans and an open-collar cotton shirt. He arrives in the company of his petite, smiling wife and a man whom Hoffman introduces as Torgen Johnson of Solano Beach. The trio belongs to the DAB Safety Team, an anti-SONGS group that speaks out publicly against the plant.

"If you had to sum up your message to the people of Southern California, what would it be?" I ask.

"It's simple," Hoffman says, jabbing his fork above his plate for emphasis. "Nuclear power kills."

He looks around the room at the laughing, talking families eating their meals. "Thousands have already died from Chernobyl, and thousands will die from Fukushima, but their deaths are scattered in time and all over the planet, and so the 'health physicists' ignore those deaths, denying any connection to any nuclear accident," he continues. "But realistic data by highly qualified scientists, in study after study, proves the connection beyond doubt. So don't make San Onofre another Fukushima. San Onofre is shut down now. Let's keep it that way."

What's going on at SONGS?

"San Onofre is currently shut down because its steam generators are busted," Hoffman says. "But that's not all that's wrong." He begins ticking off some demerits: "Its fuel pools are full. It's in a tsunami inundation zone AND an earthquake zone. It's old and decrepit. Its employees are intimidated by management and falsify reports and are afraid to report safety problems. Management likewise has its back against the wall and is desperate to prove it can restart the reactors somehow, despite the engineering logic against it. Nobody wants to lose face or a job. Every state agency claims only the NRC can 'force' San Onofre to close, and the NRC has never met a nuclear power plant it didn't like."

What can ordinary people do about this?

"The citizens who don't want Fukushima USA to happen here are in a bind, that's for sure," he says. "But dry casks aren't the solution. Shutdown is the most important and only logical next step."

What compelling reasons does SCE have to keep the old place going?

"When San Onofre is operating, it's 'easy money' for SCE," Hoffman says. "The reactors, when operating, produce $1 million per day in revenue for their owners. That clouds their thinking. All for a bit of electricity, which is easily obtained in safer ways."

Security is always an issue at SONGS. The place sits right next to a major freeway. It's on the water. It's directly beneath the San Diego-LA airports' flight path. Two of the 9/11 al-Qaeda hijackers drove by on their way to the airport. I saw an ad for a security guard at the plant that required only a GED.

"Nuclear-power plants are likely to be targets of terrorist attacks in that they are considered a legitimate target of war as defined by the United States military," Hoffman adds. "We bombed power-generation systems in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Furthermore, we used nuclear weapons—depleted uranium—and caused widespread environmental damage. Lastly, every military scholar knows that the best way to cripple a force is to wound as many of the enemy as possible. Destroying San Onofre would do that. People would die, but slowly, and caregivers would be severely strained around the country from just one radiological catastrophe."

As I listen to Hoffman's surprisingly calm and measured responses, I keep waiting for the passionate flamethrower who sends those lit-up emails and posts those angry anti-nuker denunciations. But I'm not seeing or hearing any bold bitterness, harsh outbursts or rage against the nuke machine. Instead, here's a polite guy with a good sense of humor and an engineer's composed, analytical air. In conversation, Hoffman uses logic to examine a situation; he seems to appreciate and respect any displays of intelligence in his adversaries. He comes across as an ordinary man who just wants to help solve one of the planet's biggest problems.

Hoffman's demeanor is testing my Don Quixote comparison—no trace in this guy of the gaunt, slightly mad ascetic set on bringing order to a tumultuous world. I ask him what he thinks of the Don Quixote analogy.

He laughs. "Well, nuclear power plants aren't an imaginary enemy, but even so, the lance would be a laser and the horse a mountain bike. Other than that . . ." He trails off, smiling.

I pitched this story as an interview with Ace Hoffman, reigning champion of the fight against San Onofre, I tell him. Does he agree?

He laughs. "Reigning champion . . . champion of what? It's the team that is a hundred times more powerful than I ever was by myself, but besides that, we haven't actually won anything, so I'm the champion of nothing!"

I received no response from SCE's media department to my phone calls and email messages seeking comment about Hoffman and his SONGS-related activities. So I ask Hoffman instead: What do the folks at Edison think of you?

Another broad grin. "They say, 'We love you, Ace!'"

 

[1] Ace Hoffman changed his legal name several years ago, after the author already knew him. A correction was made to this story on Feb. 21, 2013.

Show Pages
 
My Voice Nation Help
64 comments
oflibertysons
oflibertysons

There is a LOT of money going into anti nuclear work. Who is paying this bill? 

People travel the US, lecturing against nuclear power. Who pays their expenses (most of their talks are free") 


A lot of questions need to be asked and answered about the mountain of anti-nuclear stuff our there, much of it backed by no studies or evidence. Nuclear power is the ONLY possible fuel that can scale up to provide energy to our energy-hungry modern world. Solar and wind, in the opinion of scientists like Hansen, Mann, Lovelock, and many others can never do that. So if Big Fossil fuel can knock out nuclear, they are home free. We are stuck with them and their deadly products that cause illnesses, death and Middle East wars without end. 


Could we smell a rat here? A big, nasty Fossil Fuel rat? The Koch brothers have been caught red handed trying to secretly fund political candidates, and propagandists for fossil fuel. There is just too much energy expended here that someone is doing it for free. 


Don't be brainwashed as we were by Big Tobacco for decades and decades. Studies have shown nuclear with all its hazards is by FAR the safest for humans compared to fossil fuel especially. ("How Deadly Is Your Kilowat? Forbes - 6/10/12) 

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

FWIW, I am using Chrome on a MacBook. When I run out of room, I place the cursor outside the comment box and scroll down. 

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

For those that think putting up some windmills will be a simple solution for green energy look at the following picture:

http://withouthotair.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/wind-farm-wakes.html

This picture clearly shows that windmills cannot be placed in close proximity to each other as they shield the wind from each other. More windmills diminishes the return from each added windmill.

The other factor to consider is that the renewables are on or off on nature's timetable. There is no efficient way to store electricity even if we had 5 times the required renewable generating capacity. Without are large source of stable power going into the grid, the grid becomes unstable. That power has to come from either coal, natural gas or nuclear. Even if you think renewables are the answer and nuclear is the devil incarnate, it would be extremely expensive if not physically impossible to build the coal or natural gas plants to replace nuclear in the remaining lifetime of California's nuclear plants. Germany has recognized this but has decided to rely on coal.

Somebody posted below that we made it through last summer without any problems. I'll bet he also didn't need the airbag in his car today either.

gcowan
gcowan

Our host seems to know DonQuixote's points are inconvenient, but uses Quixote's anonymity as a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Now, if Quixote is on a government payroll, anonymity is smart, possibly necessary, because when the use by nuclear power stations of dollar's worth of uranium is blocked in favour of natural gas, the gas costs $16 or more, and of this, more than $2 is royalties.

But it often happens that a face one's friends, family, and neighbours are quite familiar with is unknown to one's employer and workplace associates. If you use that as an avatar, your family can know what you're doing and provide moral support.

sk8nfool1
sk8nfool1

Who cares if Security Officers have a GED? Most have extensive military training and combat experience in their resume prior to getting an interview at SONGS. Give me these folks over degreed geeks any day. Degreed folks are better suited to write for The Weekly.

sk8nfool1
sk8nfool1

Security officers at SONGS are mostly combat vets. And they know their shit. I couldn'care less if they had a GED!

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Ummm ... I guess it takes real genius to hook up a 450 ton vessel backwards ... any more information on this?

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

Great article Ned. Just a couple of comments:

According to Wikipedia, SCE just built the electrical generation portion of the Santa Susana reactor, not the nuclear part.

Commercial reactors are not a good way to produce  weapons grade Plutonium. Which is why they haven't been used for this purpose. Relatively recently, civilian reactors (the US government's TVA plants) have been used to make tritium for existing warheads which were decaying (12 year half life). It's questionable whether we would have agreed to nuclear arms talks if we could not be sure of the efficacy of our weapons while the Russians had no doubts about theirs.

I checked out Ace's "Comic Book Guide to Nuclear Bad Things" and on page 6 he admits that the nuclear fuel cycle contributes 0.1% of the average person's radiation dose. So if nuclear power plants are "wreaking havoc on our bodies" shouldn't we all be dropping like flies from the OTHER sources of radiation?

Also on page 18 in Ace's book, a graph shows that Total Nuclear Waste Ingestion Toxicity falls below natural Uranium ore in 1000 years. Thats a far cry from the 10,000 to 100,000 years of isolation cited in your article. Check with Ace on this.

On one hand, nuclear power is a money loser yet San Onofre makes "easy money for SCE." Which is it?

It's asserted that a nuclear plant must operate for 18 years before producing a surplus of energy. The accepted metric for comparing energy sources is the Energy Returned On Energy Invested. Here, nuclear is slightly better than solar cells (10 vs. 7). And this is with using only "5% of the fuel." Sorry to say, fossil fuels are higher than either. Offshore wind and wave are higher than nuclear. Perhaps you can talk the California Coastal Commission and the surfer dudes at the Trestles to build an offshore wind/wave energy complex when you close San Onofre.

The commercial light water reactors don't heat water to any higher temperatures than a fossil fuel power plant. Superheating has a specific meaning in thermodynamics aside from your use as a boogyman.

It's interesting that Ace rails about subsidies to nuclear power yet lists acceptable alternatives on page 29 of his comic book such as solar, wind, biomass, space-based mirrors and, believe it or not, "clean coal!" Each of these will require massive subsidies and still not be able to produce the power that nuclear currently does. Biomass has an even lower EROEI than solar cells.

Anyways, that's all for now.

jrae500
jrae500

Thank you Ned Madden for your superb article featuring Ace Hoffman.  His consummate work has been a source of understanding the madness at SanO for a few years now.  The DAB safety team, blog site and his website provides many with the truth about Nuclear Energy. Much respect to you and Ace!

gcowan
gcowan

Neither does San Onofre, of course. If the Romans had had such a power station, and archeologists had dug up its spent fuel rods, these might now be displayed, unshielded or perhaps shielded only by glass cases, in museums.


They wouldn't be a very interesting exhibit, so the possibility of a museum-goer standing next to them, like a statue, for a whole year or more, and accumulating 4500000 microsieverts of radiation dose, would not concern the museum management.


And why would the management not worry about nuisance lawsuits? Well, if the Romans had had nuclear power, we'd still be using it, and the fossil fuel lobby would be long forgotten.


I'm not saying Hoffman is a member of that lobby, but with the big money he's helping, he's not nearly the maverick he may think he is.

eric.the.madman
eric.the.madman

Well written article!!  Good job Ace...your ole' bud the MadMan!

Bob Newman
Bob Newman

But I thought it was clean, safe, and too cheap to meter.

Steve Lanzi
Steve Lanzi

Concerns about nuclear energy? Perfectly valid. Intimidation, favoritism and other weird crap going on at Onofre? Not a surprise, and it wouldn't be the first reactor that was built so poorly it would probably be more useful as a pile of rubble. Major corruption and other problems at the NRC? No surprise there either, clean up that place pronto. But unfortunately this guy comes off to me like a crank. He claims nuclear weapons were being used in the Iraq/Afghanistan war? Really??? Folks don't think that would be AS BIG A STORY as 9/11 if it were true???

Nelson Mills
Nelson Mills

Great now the best source of mass amounts of reliable energy is gone

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ...I asked Ace to respond to your post.  Here you go:  Well, I could spend the time...1% is what it was before Fukushima.  How many cancers do 7 billion people get when their body burden is increased by .1%?  1,000 years is a pro-nuclear figure, but assuming it's basically true, it ignores bioaccumulation of the "ignoble seven" fission products, and the dangers THAT poses.   (Bioaccumulation can increase the risk by several orders of magnitude).  It ignores plutonium, of course.  It ignores the first 1,000 years entirely.  Everyone has cost figures, but nuclear has proven to be very expensive.  However, if the public pays most of that tab, the owner can still make money.  So, it can be expensive (for society) and profitable (for the operators) at the same time.  His fine line on SCE's role at Santa Susana shows he's just splittin' hairs, while the nuclear industry splits atoms.  He's a smooth talker and wants to look like he's done his research.  The "comic book" is full of facts he has not disputed, presumably because he has no argument for them.  I wonder what he meant by, "Great article, Ned."  I wonder what he liked about it?

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

C'mon, Don.  Who are you?  Do you work for SCE?  I bet you do.  Please tell us your real name...if you love the nuke, you should be proud to stand up and be counted.  Would you please share your obviously vast knowledge about nuke plants re the Santa Susana reactor?  Your referenced Wiki article on Susana states: "A local utility company, Southern California Edison, installed and operated a 6.5 MW electric-power generating system." Please, Mr. Quixote,  enlighten this publication's readers on how that power generating system was separate and distinct from "the nuclear part," as you describe it.  Also, who did build "the nuclear part?" These details will help fill out my Susana research and be much appreciated by, I'm sure, all Southern Californians interested in this subject.  I've learned that you can't know too much about a nuke plant.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@gcowan 

So, even though it's not easy to follow your train of thought in this post, I'm guessing that you're saying Ace Hoffman is fronting Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Natural Gas?  Am I correct?  And if I am, where is your evidence? 

gcowan
gcowan

@Bob Newman Two out of three ain't bad.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Steve Lanzi Wow, are you late to the party...

nedmadden
nedmadden

@Nelson Mills 

How can an energy source that is inefficient (5% from a fuel rod before it maxes out), expensive and lethal beyond measure for thousands of years be considered "reliable?"

gcowan
gcowan

@Nelson Mills Not if Californians stand up to the oil and gas lobby -- even *if* that lobby is discreet, and says "renewables and conservation". (Isn't it interesting how many more syllables euphemisms have than the things they euphemize.)

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote 

Did I touch a nerve, Ned? It doesn't matter WHO or WHAT I am. You have made several specific assertions that I say are either false, irrelevant or grossly misleading. You should be able to refute what I say and provide justification beyond a malcontent's comic book. By the way, why would ACE move into a location (in 1991, years after operation started at San Onofre) if he believes the radiation from said power station is lethal?

Ned, please answer the question: If an average person's radiation dose from the nuclear fuel cycle (this means mining, enrichment, operation and disposal as well as the "bioaccumulation" of their byproducts) is 0.1%, why are there not widespread nuclear related deaths, cancers and other illnesses from the OTHER 99.9% of radiation sources? If nuclear power plant radiation is such a hazard, shouldn't the workers at San Onofre or any other reactor be dying left and right?

If the 1000 years is a "pro-nuclear figure" why doesn't ACE cite a neutral or realistic figure?

Can you cite how much bioaccumulation  of the magnificent 7 fission products takes place and what our resulting dose is? And this time give a reference as you have no technical credibility. If radiation is as lethal as you postulate, wouldn't bioaccumulation be precluded by the pre-mature death of the organisms responsible for the bioaccumulation?

How much was spent on Solyndra? And how many megawatts of power were produced by their product?

That's all for now, Ned.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote The Santa Susana reactor was built by Rocketdyne an aerospace company. I explicitly says this in the Wikipedia article. Their interest was, I suppose, in finding applications for either space based power systems or nuclear propulsion. 

FRom your writing, not only can you "not know too much," you can not know anything and think you know everything.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden What connection is there between DU and San Onofre or any other nuclear plant? There is none mentioned in the article you cited. The Pentagon probably has tons of the stuff left over from its bomb making days.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden How can the idle windmills I see every time I drive past Palm Springs be considered "reliable?"

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote I thought we were talking about power reactors. But let's go with this. How many people were killed from the resulting meltdown? There MUST have been mass casualties, right?

Except there weren't. This was a research reactor that operates at low power for short periods of time. The kind that are used to make nuclear medicines or study materials. Bombing it fit the Bush Sr. script for destroying Iraq's "WMDs."

Bombing a reactor operating at a higher power level would not have been good PR. That's why Israel took out the Osirak reactor before it bagan operation.

As I said, Russia or China could conceivably attack our nuclear power stations. If the situation comes to that does it even matter? You can also argue that we shouldn't live in cities since large concentrations of people are inviting targets of warfare or terrorism. Perhaps we should prevent people from living within 10 miles of the coast since they are then vulnerable to tsunamis. After all far more died from the tsunami than even the highest estimates of Fukushima.

You wouldn't even have to attack nuclear power stations to wreak havoc. If the electrical grid goes down for more than a few days over a widespread area water treatment, food refrigeration, transport, life upport systems, communication return to 1900 levels. We are so dependent on a reliable, on demand electrical supply that nuclear meltdowns pale in significance.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote NOBODY disputes the fact that the waste is hazardous and needs to be isolated. The debate centers around the magnitude of the hazard and the technical feasibility of doing so. Did you know that in Africa there was a natural concentration of Uranium that was high enough to sustain a fission chain reaction for several thousand years? This was millions of years before humans appeared. By studying the crystal structure of the surrounding rocks, scientists deduced that the waste was immobilized without any engineered containment.

I don't want claims from the pro-industry side. I just want FACTS from someone more believable than Ace. 

All your opportunities for presenting the other side were of the nature of "Tell us, when did you stop beating your wife?"

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote RPHP studies have been discredited by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and others. Caldicott is a pediatrician with no background in epidemiology, radiation biology or statistics. We should accept the word of these groups because they are "outsiders"?

If living near a nuclear power station is responsible for all the deaths, cancers and deformities you  and Ace believe them to be, then shouldn't life insurance rates be higher for those in such danger? I would think it would be nearly impossible to get health or life insurance. Is there any evidence that this is the case? Note I am NOT talking about Price-Anderson which only takes effect in the event of an accident. I am talking about routine operation of a nuclear power station.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote So EVERYTHING Ace says is gospel truth? He has degrees in biology, nuclear physics, engineering? You are not a reporter, you are a stenographer.

And boy have you made a wrong assumption if you think I am a conservative. What I was getting at was that NONE of the mainstream media, the so-called "liberal media" challenged Bush on Iraq. They accepted everything Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rumsfeld said without question. Like I said - stenographers.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ writes: "WHY does it matter WHO or WHAT I am? Unless , of course, you plan on using personal attacks or intimidation rather than facts and logic."  Oh, I never threaten or intimidate.  Don't have to...you guys have brought all this on yourselves.  The greedheads at SCE knew better than to jam those replacement generators into those units, but they thought they could get away with it...and failed.  Ace admits that he didn't close the plant.  SCE did that itself.  The nuke industry ALWAYS blows itself up.  You don't have anything to fear from me.  It's the truth about your killer nuke that you're running from.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ-- You write: "Not once did you challenge anything Ace said. In fact, you still go back to him to get your story straight. What is the difference between what you have done and the way the mainstream media handled what Bush did in Iraq?  In both cases, scary stories are told to get a specific response."  Challenge Ace about what?  Argue that nuclear power is safe when all science shows that it is supremely deadly?  Mainstream media and Bush?  Now there's a clue as to where you're coming from.  I thought that "mainstream media" like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Brit Hume, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Peggy Noonan, Laura Ingraham, Goerge Will, Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, American Spectator, Weekly Standard, Matt Drudge, etc. positively gushed over W during his illegal invasion of Iraq.  They never bothered him about the fact that he lied regarding Saddam's non-existant weapons of mass destruction as a justification to invade Iraq.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ--There's too much evidence to contracdict your lies.  Joseph Mangano is directs the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), an independent group of scientists and health professionals dedicated to research and education of health hazards from nuclear reactors and weapons.  In his book "Mad Science,' Mangano strips away the near-smothering layers of distortions and outright lies that permeate the massive propaganda campaigns on behalf of nuclear energy. In her 2006 book "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer," Helen Caldicott goes into the particulars of which nuclides (fallout particles) cause what kinds of cancers and genetic deformities.  If anything, I went way too easy on you guys.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ--You claim: "You wrote a sensationalistic article that cited one side uncritically to reach a pre-ordained conclusion."  How many claims from the pro-nuclear power industry that nuclear power is "clean" and "safe" do I need to print to satisfy you?  I'm guessing there couldn't be enough.  But why would I repeat industry lies? They spend untold millions of dollars every year propagandizing on behalf of their murderous technology.  I gave SCE space to defend what it does. Sen. Boxer thinks they're liars, and I agree.  If nuke plants were safe, why would the federal government be trying to bury the dangerous and deadly waste from nuclear fission deep underground in remote parts of America?  You guys keep playing your big game of PRETEND, but the game is over. 

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ--For example, you deny that the U.S. ever bombed a nuclear reactor.  Read "Another First for the U.S.: The Bombed Nuclear Reactor in Iraq"  at http://tinyurl.com/aphukwl.  It states: "One fact of the Persian Gulf War seems to have been recorded in invisible ink: the United States is the first nation in history to have intentionally bombed an operating nuclear reactor. The reactor the U.S. destroyed at the Tuwaitha Nuclear research Center in Iraq, just ten kilometers southeast of Baghdad, was a small Russian-made research reactor typical of the kind found at Western univesities."  I know this doesn't make any difference to you...who cares about those people, right?

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ--Ace considers you a waste of time and isn't going to bother responding to you anymore.  I, on the other hand, consider you a perfect spokesman for the pro-nuke propaganda machine.  I have spent more than 15 years studying the history of nuclear power in general and San Onofre in particular, and all I can say is that I have encountered a ton of industry mouthpieces like you.  Too cowardly to reveal yourself, you hide behind anonymity to troll this site and make misleading statments.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote 

DQ, how do you pull off such long posts?  It cuts me off after a couple of paragraphs.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote How many accidents will it take for that 0.1% body burden to climb to a full1%? It depends on the accident and the design of the facility. For Fukushima, the estimates are 1000 fatalities from THREE core melts. About the number from a coal plant or a couple of natural gas explosions which are Japan's only realistic alternatives.

I am not "avoiding" fluid elastic instability or any of the other phenomena you mention. Nobody disputes that these are the reasons San Onofre is shut down. However unlike you (and ACE), I know the limitations of my knowledge. From what I read in the papers, the NRC has concluded that Edison's response has been prudent. However, the matter is still under investigation. 

I did not say that "every organism that bioaccumulates radioactive materials dies before you have a chance to eat it." What I did say is that there is a limit to how much bioaccumulation can take place and that the 0.1% body burden accounts for this.

If what you and Ace say about radiation exposure is correct, epidemiology studies should easily prove this. To date, they have not.

You claimed that the US bombed foreign reactors. I re-read YOUR article and find what YOU actually quoted Ace as saying that "power generation sites" were bombed. You are so sloppy that you can't even correctly cite your own writing! I suppose that Russia or China could target ICBMs against our nuclear power plants. But if things get to that level, thats the LEAST of our worries. Kind of like realizing that 20000 were killed from the tsunami in Japan. 

You wrote a sensationalistic article that cited one side uncritically to reach a pre-ordained conclusion. Not once did you challenge anything Ace said. In fact, you still go back to him to get your story straight. What is the difference between what you have done and the way the mainstream media handled what Bush did in Iraq?  In both cases, scary stories are told to get a specific response.

WHY does it matter WHO or WHAT I am? Unless , of course, you plan on using personal attacks or intimidation rather than facts and logic

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

Ace Hoffman: Why don't I move?  Aside from "where would we go, this is a global problem" and "this is OUR problem, to be solved, not run away from" and so on, I'm not the one saying a properly operating nuclear power plant is more dangerous than, say, smoking cigarettes for people in the nearby population.  Or even than second-hand cigarette smoke, especially for children.  Or even than a coal plant -- although as I understand it, a "clean coal" plant can be 20 times less polluting than a dirty one.  No, we fight SanO because we love California.

This guy hasn't got the moral fortitude -- or maybe just the guts -- to come out and debate, to stand by his words.  He won't want to do that, because he libels and he knows it, and he probably also knows he can't possibly win his claim that my book is inaccurate.  Giving him a forum for his wild assertions is as much a mistake as publishing some "inventor's" "scientific" treatise on his new perpetual motion machine would be.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

This site doesn't seem to permit long responses (though you seem to have figured out how to do it), so I'll have to break up Ace's response into sections.  Here's the first:

This is what happens when you give the floor to anonymous trolls and then favor them with a response. How many nuclear accidents will it take for that .1% body burden to climb to a full 1%? What's it at now, after Fukushima? Notice he's not talking about fluid elastic instability, void fractions, flow induced vibration, tube-to-tube wear, or like-for-like changes. He's avoiding what's really keeping SanO closed -- after all, it sure isn't me that's doing that. His claims are preposterous, that every organism which bioaccumulates radioactive poisons must therefore die before you have a chance to eat it. Absurd. Why publish such drivel, submitted anonymously so the writer doesn't have to stand by his words? You have to stand by yours, and can. And, they are not "The Magnificent Seven" though he must have thought long and hard to come up with that one. They are the ignoble seven.

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

Oh, DQ, I know what I don't know, and right now I don't know who you are.  You're so generous with sharing your knowledge.  Now's the time to share your real name.  Who are you?  Don't be afraid to tell us.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @gcowan I'm sure ACE considers himself to be an iconoclast and is not in the pay of "Big Oil". He does have a soft spot for "Clean Coal."

nedmadden
nedmadden

@gcowan

Again, what are you talking about.  Try clarity...it helps with communication.

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote Name ONE foreign nuclear reactor the US has actually bombed. And again I ask, what does depleted Uranium have to do with San Onofre or any other nuclear power plant?

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote

DQ...did you actually READ any of this?  I asked Hoffman about security at Nofre and he responded by saying that, in general, all nuke plants are legitimate targets of war and that the U.S. has indeed bombed them in foreign nations.  He then mentioned the use of depleted uranium in Iraq as an example of nuke warfare.  Next, I responded to Steve Lanzi's comments above with a link to an article titled "Depleted Uranium Radioactive Contamination In Iraq: An Overview."  Here's an excerpt: "During 2003, military operations conducted in Iraq by the invading forces used additional rounds of DU in heavily populated areas such as Baghdad, Samawa and other provinces."  Notice how the words "depleted uranium" appear in the text.  That is the clue that "depleted uranium" was mentioned.  BTW, the Pentagon is still heavily engaged in its "bomb making days."

DonQuixote
DonQuixote

@nedmadden @DonQuixote The day those windmills will be recycled is fast approaching now that their subsidies are gone. Wasn't the older reactor at San Onofre dismantled safely?

nedmadden
nedmadden

@DonQuixote 

Gee, DQ, I don't remember ever mentioning the windmills out near Palm Springs, idle or otherwise.  You must be referring to some other story NOT written by me, in which case, your post has no relevance to this discussion.  But since you bring up the subject, it's safe to say that those windmills will one day be dismantled and safely recycled.  Whereas the nuke plant leftovers will remain deadly forever.  Big difference, or don't you think so?

 
Loading...