Did Titan Missile Destruction
Spew 20 Pounds Of
Plutonium Over US?
From Russell D. Hoffman
** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #69, August 20th, 1998 ** Incoming Email To The Stop Cassini Newsletter From Karl Grossman < Subject: Titan 4 Launch Explosion
The following message was left on the answering machine of the Durham, North Carolina-based group Waste Awareness and Reduction Network on the afternoon of August 17, 1998.
The transcript was made by Jim Warren, the executive director of the group, who said that the "person sounds credible." I listened to the tape and, indeed, he sure does.
There must be an effort to see if this information can be corroborated -- but, considering that a secret military project was involved, I think it will be very, very difficult.
The E-mail of WARN is and its telephone number is (919) 490-0747 if you would like more information from Warren.
Here is the transcript of the phone message:
I'm calling in regards to the accident on Wednesday involving the Vortex classified satellite being launched by the Titan.
I'll make this very brief.
I'm a project engineer and I think the public needs to know that was an RTG power device. When the Air Force issued the destruct command after the initial explosion, they did so to reduce the possibility of the public determining that there was, indeed, a plutonium fuel cell.
They reduced everything to particulate matter when they issued the destruct sequence. Which means the twenty pounds of plutonium went airborne at 20,000 feet off the coast of Florida on Wednesday during a failed Titan launch of the Vortex.
That plutonium has now passed over the majority of the East Coast.
This is the single largest nuclear accident in the history of the United States.
Its risks for public safety are unprecedented.
And major media sources are not reporting this. They are reporting the accident but they are not including the critical piece of information that the public needs to be aware of -- And that is an RTG power device and the Air Force chose to detonate it after the initial explosion, and thus ensuring the plutonium went to particulate and was dispersed atmospherically across the East Coast.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, like I say, I am a project engineer.
We have all been affected by this.
And I hope that you or somebody in your organization can help get the word out.
Please get on the Internet, contact foreign newspapers, contact everybody you can because this has to get out.
There are three more Vortex launches scheduled.
Thank you very much.
-End Of Message-
Comments By Russell D. Hoffman <]
There are a number of oddities here that make this call suspect. But there are many oddities that make the official explanation suspect as well. Something definitely does not smell good here, and it's leaving a bad taste in my mouth. (Vaporized plutonium is of course odorless, tasteless and microscopic even in fatal quantities.)
If the military was using an RTG, it seems to me that they would have at least built them the way NASA builds them, with GISs and GPHSs (inside the RTGs) to protect the plutonium (somewhat) in the event of an accident. Indeed the military works closely with NASA on NASA's RTGs (as does DOE).
The caller is clearly stating that the RTG he says was on this rocket did NOT have any of these protective systems. Otherwise only a tiny fraction (still possibly a tragedy) would be the most anyone would really expect to be released. NOT the whole amount. It is hard to believe that there would be no protective casings, since NASA was so adamant that their entire safety system was based on these layers of protection. Would the military not use them at all? If so, then the RTG would be very different from the NASA style. Quite possible, actually, since just before Cassini flew last year, NASA (to deflect political heat they were feeling at the time) announced that the next generation of RTGs would be five times more efficient than the RTGs on Cassini, thus assuring the semi-comatose American public that they had things under control. So major changes were occurring to the system anyway. Maybe NASA's new system works by eliminating the casings, too! And I have never been given any reason, despite several requests for information, to think the Russian system does not work that way (no casings).
Another problem with this message someone left on WARN's answering machine is that if an RTG was lost as described, with its 20 pounds or so of Plutonium 238 (mostly), it is likely the radiation would be easily detectable, even if it was released and vaporized at 20,000 feet. That's just an awful lot of plutonium! Of course, if the Air Force could be sure it would all blow out to sea first, with most heavy particles landing in the ocean, and then scatter widely as it came back over land, they'd be okay (free of culpability: No *discernable* deaths), providing no cruise ships, pleasure boats, or rainbow warriors with geiger counters happen to pass beneath the plume. And that, they might have been able to ensure with a large enough safety range.
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