Nuclear Industry Takes Control of NASA

ENERGY, 5 Feb 2024

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space – TRANSCEND Media Service

30 Jan 2024 – There has long been an attempt by the nuclear industry to move their deadly toxic project into space. The industry drools when it considers the profits by linking the atomic age with the space race.

Early on the Pentagon developed nuclear devices to power military satellites. Accidents happened during those days.

Then in the 1980-1990’s NASA put deadly plutonium-238 on interplanetary space missions to provide on-board power sources. The Galileo, Ulysses and Cassini missions were loaded with pu-238. The Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice and the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space organized international campaigns and lawsuits in federal courts to challenge those missions.

Before the Cassini launch from the space center in Florida in 1997 more than 1,000 people joined a protest there to oppose the launch. Even CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ news show covered our resistance to the launch.

The NASA rovers currently driving around Mars taking soil samples for future mining operations are powered by plutonium-238.

In addition the mission is about developing space nuclear power for weapons.

A 1989 Congressional study (endorsed by the likes of former Sen. John Glenn and current NASA administrator Bill Nelson) entitled Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years concluded that

“Nuclear reactors thus remain the only known long-lived, compact source able to supply military space forces with electric power…. Larger versions could meet multi-megawatt needs of space-based lasers, neutral particle beams, mass drivers, and railguns. Nuclear reactors must support major bases on the moon until better options, yet identified, become available.

“Safety factors, rather than technological feasibility, will remain the principal impediment to nuclear power in space, unless officials convince influential critics that risks are acceptably low.”

Past Space Nuke Accidents

The United States has launched 22 missions with nuclear power sources. Three accidents have occurred, one resulting in release of radioactive materials.

SNAP 9-A, April 1964: Launched aboard a Department of Defense weather satellite that failed to reach orbit. Reactor, as designed, released radioactive contents in upper atmosphere during reentry and then burned. Remnants struck the Indian Ocean. Total of 2.1 pounds of plutonium-238 vaporized in atmosphere and spread worldwide. Studies revealed that many cancers on the planet in years that followed resulted from that accident.

SNAP 19, May 1968: Meteorological satellite. Nuclear fuel, 4.2 pounds of uranium-238, stayed intact and was recovered off Southern California coast and reused.

Apollo 13, 1970: Nuclear material, 8.3 pounds of plutonium-238, inside lunar module when it was jettisoned before return to Earth. Now at bottom of South Pacific Ocean near New Zealand.

See more accident info here

Current Space Nuke Dangers

NASA wishes to cut in half the amount of time it takes to get to Mars due to space travel impacts on astronaut bodies from space radiation.

Thus they have decided that nuclear reactors should be used as propulsion for these coming missions.

First these reactors must be tested but environmental law in the US does not allow land-based testing. So NASA has decided to test just over our heads in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO).

The dangers are many as rockets blow up from time to time when taking off.

But even the processing of the nuclear payloads at Department of Energy (DoE) labs is prolematic.

In 1997, just before the launch of Cassini with 72 pounds of deadly plutonium-238 on board, a newspaper in New Mexico reported that while fabricating the generators for that mission at Los Alamos Labs there were 244 reported cases of worker contamination.

DoE has a long sordid history of air, water and worker contamination from their nuclear operations.

The entire cycle of nuclear space – from mining, fabrication, to launch are all dangers to life on our planet.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 Feb 2024.

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