24 November 2007

More speedlinking ..


Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: A review from an epidemiological perspective

Depleted Uranium for Dummies, (Pay attention White Raven)

Epidemiological Study of Basra.



A great comment found on DIGG on DU

The alpha radiation of DU, which is depleted by the roughly 5% of U235 removed for fuel, (if you didn't know that you have no place commenting frankly it is the most basic fact) and no more, is predominantly giving off Alpha radiation. This is not normally a danger because Alpha radiation will not penetrate a piece of paper let alone the skin. It has a short range of mere millimetres. The problems arise from the following.

A large percentage of the DU is aerosolised, especially when pyrolised; into particles of 10 microns or less. These are easily breathed into the lungs where they cross the Alveoli and enter the bloodstream and lymphatic system easily. The particles which are actually a Ceramic Uranium Oxide, have a natural chemical affinity for DNA, and can in fact pass through the cell walls and enter the Nucleus. From here the very low level radiation acts directly upon the RNA as the cells divide, which is why the worst effects are to the Gametes. This RADIATION is enough to alter the DNA seriously and yet not strong enough to kill the cell. This is the worst possible scenario for causing cancers and deformities.

A particularly troublesome aspect which is touched upon in the article is that the stuff in such small particle sizes just keeps on recycling within the body, not being excreted but passing from cell to cell. This is why a mere few particles can cause serious harm. Also why those exposed are still testing positive many years later.

It is most assuredly the radiation component which is the most serious. The fact that the stuff is also poisonous as a heavy metal is actually no where near it's most hideous aspect though it is no laughing matter either.

I think you should be a little more careful when you spout off. I have been thoroughly immersed in the DU issues for many years now and personally know Leuren Moret and Douge Rokke. There are several epidemiological studies and now laboratory studies as well which confirm the dangers and most certainly those of the Alpha radiation. There is also some Beta I believe but not much I can say on that. The much more obviously dangerous Gamma radiation is the primary type given off by the U235, component which is as I said removed. BUT it is not even all the Gamma radiation then, there is till some of it behind too. It is the Gamma radiation which is about 60% of the natural product, but even that is misleading. In nature Uranium occurs as an ore and is no where near as dangerous. What you really mean is that DU has about 60% of the Gamma radiation of refined pure Uranium. The gamma radiation is not the real issue though and it is used by Pentagon Shills to try and create a strawman argument, or introduce a Red Herring. Say Hi to Lt Col Roger Helbig for me, assuming you are not him. 

[hey, you know I haven't heard from "Helbig" in a few weeks!]

Case for a global pact against uranium weapons

Depleted uranium -- a way out?

[Please write the French Government -- TODAY]

TEHRAN, Nov. 19 (MNA) -- The term Persian Gulf War Syndrome is now known worldwide -- but -- after the 1991 Iraq war, as formerly A1 fit soldiers fell ill with debilitating symptoms in their thousands, the cause was, for two years, a “mystery”.

It was in 1993, when a group of twenty-four affected soldiers approached Professor Asaf Durakovic, one of the world’s leading experts on the effects of radiation, that a cause came to light.

They had many times the “safe” level of chemically toxic and radioactive depleted uranium (DU) in their bodies. Durakovic, although a senior officer in the U.S. Army during the first Persian Gulf War, had been unaware that the weapons used had contained depleted uranium.

“I was horrified,” he said. “I was a soldier, but above all I am a doctor.” By 1997, it was estimated that ninety thousand U.S. veterans were suffering from Persian Gulf War Syndrome.

Durakovic, who is also medical consultant for the Children of Chernobyl project at Hadassah University, Jerusalem, lost his job as Chief of Nuclear Medicine at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Facility at Wilmington, Delaware as a direct result of his work with Persian Gulf War veterans contaminated with radiation, he states.

Two other physicians, Dr. Burroughs and Dr. Slingerland of the Boston VA, also lost their jobs when they asked for more sensitive equipment to better diagnose the soldiers referred to them by Professor Durakovic.

Oddly, all the records pertaining to the sick soldiers at the Delaware VA went missing, a syndrome of another kind which has become familiar on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two years before Durakovic’s discovery, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) “self initiated” a report warning the government that if fifty tons of the residual dust from the explosions of the weapons on impact was left “in the region”, they estimated it would generate “half a million” extra cancer deaths by the end of the century (2000.)

Iraq’s cancers and birth deformities have become an anomaly, compared to those in the Pacific Islands and amongst British troops after the nuclear testing in the 1950s.

Further, “depleted” is a misnomer. These weapons are made from waste from the nuclear fuel cycle and thus contain the whole lethal nuclear cocktail. DU weapons (sold to seventeen countries that are known and possibly others -- why let poisoning the planet and its population get in the way of numerous millions of quick bucks) are equivalent to spreading the contents of a nuclear reactor around the globe.

And far from fifty tons and that chilling warning, in Iraq several thousand tons now cover this ancient Biblical land, and with the bombs raining daily, the audit rises nearly hour by hour. The U.S. is currently by far the largest user of DU weapons. Over the past decade, they have bought more than sixteen million DU shells and bullets from Alliant Tech Systems alone. (Source: Janes.)

Strangely, this time, there have been few reports of soldiers with the terrible effects of 1991, where they were only in the region for a few weeks. Although troops now remain for months or a year, Persian Gulf War Syndrome mark 2 seems not an issue. Perhaps it is because, reportedly, doctors treating returning troops have been threatened with jail and or hefty fines if they say anything regarding DU-related symptoms.

The implication regarding compensation to countries affected by this poisoned legacy (DU’s lethality lasts for four and a half billion years) and troops is financially stratospheric. Since the 2003 invasion, U.S. troops have denied entry to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and all other radiation experts seeking to test ground and air levels.

In Bosnia and the other parts of the former Yugoslavia where DU weapons were used (with missiles also dropped accidentally in neighboring countries, by the U.S., to whom all the world’s lives are seemingly cheap) the “Iraq Syndrome” quickly became apparent.

Even European peacekeepers on relatively short tours of duty became ill and developed leukemia and other cancers, and a number died. A five man film crew from BBC Scotland all tested DU positive after filming for less than a week there.

Afghanistan too was “liberated” in 2001, by uranium weapons, which continue to be routinely used, condemning generations yet to be born to deformities and the living -- the newborn and under fives the most susceptible -- to cancers and other horrific DU-related conditions.

Durakovic also found high levels of uranium in hospital patients there, as there will undoubtedly be in the occupying forces. He also found identical conditions to Iraq amongst the young:

“Children born with no limbs, no eyes, or with tumors protruding from their mouths and eyes.”

The latest country to fall victim to uranium weapons is Lebanon -- but with a difference; it transpires. Dr. Chris Busby*, founder of the Low Level Radiation Campaign and Green Audit, is Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk and also sits on the (UK) Ministry of Defence Uranium Oversight Board.

Israel is one of the countries that possess uranium weapons. “The first evidence that the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) were using them (in the July-August 2006 Israeli bombardment) was a Getty Picture Library image of an Israeli soldier carrying a DU anti-tank shell,” says Busby.

He then noted a report in Lebanon’s Daily Star saying that Dr. Khobeisi, a scientist, had measured gamma radiation in a bomb crater at Khiam in the south of the country, at ten to twenty times higher (samples taken from different locations in the crater) than naturally occurring background radiation.

The following month, independent researcher Dai Williams** went to Lebanon on behalf of Green Audit to investigate and bring back samples to the UK for testing. He also brought back an air filter from an ambulance. Tested at the Harwell UKAEA laboratory:

“The results were astonishing.”

Both soil and filter contained enriched uranium with the soil sample containing uranium about nine times higher than the natural background. (Remember how threatening the West has become towards Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium?)

The soil sample was also sent to the School of Ocean Sciences in North Wales for a second test by a different method for certainty. The results were the same.

Busby asks,

“Why use enriched uranium? It is a bit like shooting your enemy with diamonds.” He contends it is possible that it is a smoke screen for the wider use of depleted uranium, as the final contamination “when all gets mixed up after the war has a natural isotopic signature” (i.e.: can be read as uranium which occurs naturally in nature).

There are two other chilling possibilities says Busby: a fusion bomb or a thermobaric bomb, both of which would need enriched uranium. Certainly, doctors were reporting bodies in conditions they could find in no medical manuals, as in the attack on Falluja, Iraq.

Lebanese authorities denied the presence of enriched uranium; Israel denied using it. The bombardment had ended on the agreement that UN peacekeepers went in. Given their debilitation and mortality rate in the Balkans, this lethal presence might well have deterred them. To be certain, the incident was not isolated. Williams returned to Lebanon and brought back soil and water samples from Khiam and other sites. Enriched uranium was found in water samples from two separate craters in Khiam and in one of the soil samples. Then the money ran out.

The samples tested had already cost £2,000. Donations from an Arab friend and Swiss supporters totaled £850 -- and Dai Williams had paid the rest out of his own money. More work is needed, but it is now known that the IDF used enriched uranium in Lebanon.

“Since it is in the ambulance air filter, it is also in the lungs of the inhabitants… the Lebanese people have been sacrificed to cancers, leukemia, birth defects, like the people of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq,” says Busby, adding, “and it may be worse: since we still do not know what the weapon was.”

And have these weapons been used on the people of Gaza and the West Bank? Furthermore, Israel is not only decimating those she perceives as her enemies, but her own people, neighboring countries, and even those further afield.

In context, Green Audit studied airborne uranium at sites in the UK between 1998 and 2004. There was only one period in which uranium in the air “significantly” exceeded the naturally occurring background presence: during the bombing of Iraq, in March and April 2003.

As with the radionuclides from Chernobyl, which affected Europe and the globe and still contaminate agricultural land, the potentially deadly wave of invisible particles traveled on the wind from Iraq. “We are all (Persian) Gulf War victims now,” commented Busby’s colleague Richard Bramhill.

Can anything be done to halt the use of these genocidal weapons? Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois and author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, thinks so. He has launched a campaign for a global pact against uranium weapons.

Boyle points out that the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits “the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices.” Clearly, he says, DU is “analogous” to poison gas.

The government of France is the official depository for the 1925 Geneva Protocol. Boyle contends that rather than aiming for an international treaty prohibiting the use of DU, which would probably take years, pressure should be put on every state to submit a letter to the French government to enforce a ban.

“All that needs to be done is for anti-DU citizens, activists and NGOs in every country to pressure their foreign minister to write to their French counterpart, drawing attention to the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare of 17th June 1925, prohibiting uses as above.”

The letter should add that this Protocol is believed to “already prohibit the use in war of depleted uranium ammunition, uranium armor plate and all other uranium weapons.” A request should be made that the letter be circulated to all other High Contracting Parties to the 1925 Protocol and addressed to:

His Excellency,

The Foreign Minister,

Republic of France,

37, Quai d’Orsay,

75351 Paris, France.

Or Fax: 33-1-43-17-4275.

Professor Boyle points out,

“As the Land Mines Treaty demonstrates, it is possible for a coalition of determined activists and NGOs, acting in concert with at least one sympathetic state, to bring into being an international treaty to address humanitarian concerns.”

Such a sympathetic state exists. Belgium outlawed uranium weapons earlier this year. If the rest of the world does not follow, what will happen is what Richard Bramhill calls “a DU-locaust” -- of the children of the countries where these weapons have been used, of soldiers, of the uranium miners, and of the munitions workers, as the living, dead, and deformed prove.

* Author of Wings of Death and of Wolves of Water (2007) essential reading on radiation’s horrors, published by Green Audit (admin@greenaudit.org). Busby is also involved in Radioactive Times, the journal of the Low Level Radiation Campaign, a detailed quarterly update on nuclear industry shenanigans (http://www.llrc.org).

** See http://www.eoslifework.co.uk for a wealth of DU related material.

(Nov. 20 Tehran Times Opinion Column, by Felicity Arbuthnot)

overview of depleted uranium by Sherwood Ross, November 2007

By firing radioactive ammunition, the U.S., U.K., and Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that, over time, will prove deadlier than the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan.

So much ammunition containing depleted uranium(DU) has been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret,

"The genetic future of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed."

"More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991,"
Moret writes, including radioactive ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine.

Moret is an independent U.S. scientist formerly employed for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.

Adds Arthur Bernklau, of Veterans For Constitutional Law, "

The long- term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence. Iraq is a toxic wasteland. Anyone who is there stands a good chance of coming down with cancer and leukemia. In Iraq, the birth rate of mutations is totally out of control."

Moret, a Berkeley, Calif., Environmental Commissioner and past president of the Association for Women Geoscientists, says, "For every genetic defect that we can see now, in future generations there are thousands more that will be expressed."

She adds,

"the (Iraq) environment now is completely radioactive."

Dr. Helen Caldicott, the prominent anti-nuclear crusader, has written:

"Much of the DU is in cities such as Baghdad, where half the population of 5 million people are children who played in the burned- out tanks and on the sandy, dusty ground."

"Children are 10 to 20 times more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults,"
Caldicott wrote.
"My pediatric colleagues in Basra, where this ordnance was used in 1991, report a sevenfold increase in childhood cancer and a sevenfold increase in gross congenital abnormalities," she wrote in her book, "Nuclear Power is not the Answer"(The New Press).

Caldicott goes on to say the two Gulf wars "

have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people---particularly children--- are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity."

Because of the extremely long half-life of uranium 238, one of the radioactive elements in the shells fired, "

the food, the air, and the water in the cradle of civilization have been forever contaminated,"
Caldicott explained.

Uranium is a heavy metal that enters the body via inhalation into the lung or via ingestion into the GI tract. It is excreted by the kidney, where, if the dose is high enough, it can induce renal failure or kidney cancer. It also lodges in the bones where it causes bone cancer and leukemia, and it is excreted in the semen, where it mutates genes in the sperm, leading to birth deformities.

Nuclear contamination is spreading around the world, Caldicott adds, with heaviest concentrations in regions within a 1,000-mile radius of Baghdad and Afghanistan.

These are, notably, northern India, southern Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tibet, Pakistan, Kuwait, the Gulf emirates, and Jordan.


Downwind from the radioactive devastation in Iraq, Israel is also suffering from large increases in breast cancer, leukemia and childhood diabetes,"
Moret asserts.

Doug Rokke, formerly the top U.S. Army DU clean-up officer and now anti-DU crusader, says Israeli tankers fired radioactive shells during the invasion of Lebanon last year. U.S. and NATO forces also used DU ammunition in Kosovo. Rokke says he is quite ill from the effects of DU and that members of his clean-up crew have died from it.

As a result of DU bombardments, Caldicott writes,

"Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time."

Like symptoms have been reported among infants born to U.S. service personnel that fought in the Gulf Wars. One survey of 251 returned Gulf War veterans from Mississippi made by the Veterans Administration found 67% of children born to them suffered from "severe illnesses and deformities."

Some were born without brains or vital organs or with no arms, hands, or arms, or with hands attached to their shoulders.

While U.S. officials deny DU ammunition is dangerous, it is a fact Gulf War veterans were the first Americans ever to fight on a radioactive battlefield, and their children apparently are the first known to display these ghastly deformities.

Soldiers who survived being hit by radioactive ammunition, as well as those who fired it, are falling ill, often showing signs of radiation sickness. Of the 700,000 U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War, more than 240,000 are on permanent medical disability and 11,000 are dead, published reports indicate.

This is an astonishing toll from such a short conflict in which fewer than 400 U.S. soldiers were killed on the battlefield.

Of course,

"depleted uranium munitions were and remain another causative factor behind Gulf War Syndrome(GWS),"
writes Francis Boyle, a leading American authority on international law in his book "Biowarfare and Terrorism," from Clarity Press Inc.

"The Pentagon continues to deny that there is such a medical phenomenon categorized as GWS---even beyond the point where everyone knows that denial is pure propaganda and disinformation,"
Boyle writes.

Boyle contends,

"The Pentagon will never own up to the legal, economic, tortious, political, and criminal consequences of admitting the existence of GWS. So U.S. and U.K. veterans of Gulf War I as well as their afterborn children will continue to suffer and die. The same will prove true for U.S. and U.S. veterans of Bush Jr.'s Gulf War II as well as their afterborn children."

Boyle said the use of DU is outlawed under the 1925 Geneva Convention prohibiting poison gas.

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, writes in his "The Sorrows of Empire"(Henry Holt and Co.) that, given the abnormal clusters of childhood cancers and deformities in Iraq as well as Kosovo, the evidence points "toward a significant role for DU."

By insisting on its use, Johnson adds,

"the military is deliberately flouting a 1996 United Nations resolution that classifies DU ammunition as an illegal weapon of mass destruction."

Moret calls DU "the Trojan Horse of nuclear war." She describes it as "the weapon that keeps killing." Indeed, the half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5-billion years, and as it decays it spawns other deadly radioactive by-products.

Radioactive fallout from DU apparently blew far and wide. Following the initial U.S. bombardment of Iraq in 2003, DU particles traveled 2,400 miles to Great Britain in about a week, where atmospheric radiation quadrupled.

But it is in the Middle East, predominantly Iraq, where the bulk of the radioactive waste has been dumped.

In the early Nineties, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority warned that 50 tons of dust from DU explosions could claim a half million lives from cancer by year 2000. Not 50 tons, but an estimated two thousand radioactive tons have been fired off in the Middle East, suggesting the possibility over time of an even higher death toll.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, a World Health Organization radiation advisor, informed the media, Iraq's arid climate would increase exposure from its tiny particles as they are blown about and inhaled by the civilian population for years to come.

The civilian death toll from the August, 1945, U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been put at 140,000 and 80,000, respectively. Over time, however, deaths from radiation sickness are thought to have claimed the lives of another 100,000 Japanese civilians.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based free-lance writer who covers military and political topics. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com. Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and several wire services and is a contributor to national magazines.

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Sherwood Ross

23 November 2007

NUKES SEVENTH DECADE reviewed by David Swanson

Nukes' Seventh Decade

Peace and War

By David Swanson

Jonathan Schell's latest book "The Seventh Decade" places our current situation in the context of the past 62 years of the nuclear age, or the past 68 years as Schell might prefer to date it. It was 68 years ago that scientists concluded a nuclear bomb was possible. Scientists and politicians immediately began trying to develop nukes out of fear that someone else would do so first. And as soon as nukes had been developed in one country, spies began passing the information to other countries out of fear that they would fail to develop their own nukes, thus leaving one nuclear nation unchecked.

We arrived 18 years ago in a situation in which the first nuclear nation is largely unchallenged. This has led to aggressive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but not the use of nukes. In fact, nuclear powers have time and again lost brutal wars to smaller states without making use of nuclear bombs. It is highly unlikely that a small state developing a nuclear bomb in a nuke-free world would be able to bend other states to its will. And nukes are no weapons at all against non-state terrorists with box cutters. So why don't the nuclear powers disarm?

New nations are rapidly pursuing membership in the ranks of nuclear states largely because there are nuclear states, and the proliferation of nuclear technology facilitates additional proliferation, fueling a vicious cycle that makes nuclear war ever more likely. Schell's book lays out an overwhelming case that we have two and only two choices before us:

"If a person gets lung cancer, a doctor may prescribe a harsh regimen of chemotherapy to prevent the disease's spread and save the patient's life. The patient may reject the recommendation, but then must expect metastasis and all its consequences. The diagnostician's advice regarding nuclear danger today must be of the same kind. Do you want to stop the spread of nuclear weapons? Then prepare yourself to get rid of your own. But perhaps you want to hold onto your bombs? All right, but then get ready for proliferation. Get ready for new cold wars - or hot. And get ready for nuclear explosions in your cities."

Schell recounts how tragically close Reagan and Gorbachev came to complete nuclear disarmament. The point at which the negotiations fell apart was Reagan's unwillingness to disarm without creating a missile defense system, and Gorbachev's refusal to believe that Reagan would share such a system with the Soviet Union. Had Gorbachev realized that such a system would fail, he might have conceded the meaningless bargaining chip and disarmed the two largest nuclear states.

Now the clear purpose of so-called "missile defense" systems is aggressive war from space. And the goal of non-proliferation rhetoric is to provide excuses for launching aggressive wars with conventional (or perhaps even nuclear) weapons. But the whole idea of using military force to block proliferation is very new. It may also be short-lived, having shown itself to be both fraudulent and a failure on its own terms.

Short-lived also was the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s. Schell points out that we now live in a time when excuses for nuclear arsenals must be even more strained and fantastical, but pressure to disarm has evaporated. Ridding the world of nukes now seems so 80s. Schell notes that none of what he calls "major" presidential candidates are talking about disarmament. But Schell must still be living in the media universe of the 1980s if he does not realize that talk of disarmament would be enough to immediately disqualify one as a "major" candidate.

Schell imagines a nuclear-free world, but cannot imagine influencing the national conversation by supporting a candidate, like Dennis Kucinich, who agrees with him.

Schell does place some hope, as do I, in the possibility that a movement to end global warming will grow to include a movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The two movements would seem to be perfect allies, as it would be quite a shame to save the world from one of the two dangers we face and lose it to the other.

More on B52 incident, more LINKS on it

The Mystery of Minot: Loose nukes and a cluster of dead airmen raise troubling questions

by Dave Lindorff Page 1 of 1 page(s)


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This article appeared initially in the Oct. 22, 2007 issue of American Conservative magazine.

By Dave Lindorff
The unauthorized Aug. 29 cross-country flight of a B-52H Stratofortress armed with six nuclear-tipped AGM-29 Advanced Cruise missiles, which saw these 150-kiloton warheads go missing for 36 hours, has all the elements of two Hollywood movies. One would be a thriller about the theft from an armed weapons bunker of six nukes for some dark and murky purpose. The lead might be played by Matt Damon. The other movie would be a slapstick comedy about a bunch of bozos who couldn’t tell the difference between a nuclear weapon and a pile of dummy warheads. The lead might be played by Adam Sandler, backed by the cast of “Police Academy III.”

So far, the Pentagon, which has launched two separate investigations into the incident, seems to be assuming that it is dealing with the comedy version, saying that some incredible “mistake” led to nuclear weapons being taken inadvertently from a weapons-storage bunker, loaded into launch position on a bomber, and flown from North Dakota to Louisiana.

For the rest of this story, please go to ThisCantBeHappening.net

Other storys about the Minot nuclear incident:

More Questions About the Minot Nukes

The Air Force Cover-Up of that Minot-Barksdale Nuke Missile Flight

Were Those Cruise Missiles Targeted? Did Anybody Check?

Nukes Over America: All a Mistake. Sure it Was

This Was No Accident: Nuclear Weapons are Different

Was That Nuclear-Armed B-52 Flight Bound for Iran?

21 November 2007

TOPOFF exercise checks for nuclear contaminants

Let's read the final report.

Radiological Response:
Assessing Environmental and Clinical Laboratory Capabilities
Staff Report to Chairman Bart Gordon and
Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller
By the Staff of the
Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight
House Science and Technology


To prepare the nation for potential catastrophic events, including terrorist attacks, the
White House’s Homeland Security Council has developed fifteen planning scenarios for
use by Federal, State, and local homeland security officials in order to help them prepare
for, respond to and effectively recover from these potential incidents.1 National Planning
Scenario #11, developed under this inter-agency process, envisions the detonation of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) or “dirty bomb” in a major downtown urban area. That scenario was just played out in a national counterterrorism exercise called TOPOFF, mandated by Congress and conducted every two years.

This year, TOPOFF IV (T4) took place from October 14-24, 2007. In the exercise,
involving thousands of federal, state and local officials and sponsored by the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS), terrorists detonated an RDD in Guam, Portland, Oregon
and Phoenix, Arizona. The exercise tested the handling and flow of operational and timecritical
intelligence between agencies and the existing procedures and policies for
domestic incident management of a major radiological event.

One of the key assumptions in National Planning Scenario #11 is that all potentially
exposed individuals (an estimated 100,000 people, including 20,000 victims with
detectible contamination) will be tested for radiological exposure and/or contamination
and that a valid method exists for testing these clinical specimens. Yet, today validated
methods to test clinical specimens in a radiological emergency exist for only six of the 13
highest priority radioisotopes most likely to be used in a terrorist scenario. For those
isotopes for which “validated” methods do exist screening 100,000 individual clinical
specimens in the wake of a radiological attack could take more than four years to
complete due to the current shortfall in radiochemistry laboratories, personnel and
equipment. Environmental sampling could take as long as six years to complete given
the current capacity and capabilities of the U.S. radiochemistry laboratory infrastructure.

1 See National Planning Scenarios, Version 20.1 DRAFT, Created for Use in National, Federal, State, and Local Homeland Security Preparedness Activities accessed here: http://media.washingtonpost.com/wpsrv/nation/nationalsecurity/earlywarning/National
The analytical requirements for responding to a potential radiological emergency are in
stark contrast to the nation’s existing capabilities. This drastic shortfall in current
radiochemistry laboratory capacity, capability and competency is magnified by
bureaucratic inertia in addressing this critical issue and the lack of clear lines of authority
and responsibility for responding to a radiological event. A 2005 Department of
Homeland Security report on radiological response needs highlighted the potential public
health implications of these weaknesses. “Individual dose assessment is essential for
predicting the clinical severity, treatment, and survivability of exposed individuals and
identifying those with minimal or no exposure,” it said.2 But, despite the best efforts of
many of the radiological experts in the trenches at agencies throughout the federal
government the overall government effort to close these gaps have been slow, meek and


Although not a focus of the TOPOFF IV exercise, in any real world event the critical lack
of a sufficient laboratory capacity will delay appropriate public health care actions and
plans, increase public panic, degrade public trust in government officials and increase the
economic losses due to delays in assessment and cleanup.3 The subcommittee hearing on
radiological response will review what steps are underway to address this critical need,
what technologies or resources would help tackle this capacity gap and what federal
agencies responsible for addressing this need have learned from actual radiological
emergencies, such as the recent Polonium-210 poisoning in London that killed former
Russian KGB agent Vladimir Litvinenko last November and the 1987 (accidental)
radiological release in Goiania, Brazil, that killed four people and injured hundreds. It
will also examine why this crucial public health ability has received limited attention and
what more needs to be done to improve the U.S. radiochemistry laboratory infrastructure.


A Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) releases radioactive material through the use of
a conventional explosive, but does not result in a nuclear explosion. Although an RDD
does not result in a mushroom cloud or the massive destruction of buildings it can release
considerable amounts of radioactive material contaminating large downtown urban areas,
for instance, resulting in major economic consequences for the city, state and nation.
Most experts agree that a radiological attack of this kind is not likely to cause massive
casualties or physical destruction. Few people are likely to die as a result. Yet, tens of

2 “Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures Program: Technology Assessment and Roadmap for the Emergency Radiation Dose Assessment Program (ERDAP),” Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology, June 2005, p.10.

3 “Creation of a National Radioanalytical Laboratory Response Network,” developed by the Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks’ (ICLN) Network Coordinating Group (NCG) Radiological Laboratory Workgroup, Presented by John Griggs, EPA and Robert Jones, CDC, August 16, 2006, p. 7.

thousands of individuals may be exposed to small traces of radioactive materials, more
than half of them may suffer from internal contamination requiring medical treatment and
all of those exposed may be at higher risk of developing cancers and may need to
undergo periodic medical monitoring for the rest of their lives.

While the human health consequences from an RDD attack are likely to be small, the
public outcry for detailed clinical health assessments confirming their lack of radiological
contamination is likely to be tremendous. The need to provide these individuals –
expected to number in the tens of thousands – with a clean bill of health will help to
reassure them psychologically and emotionally that they have not suffered harm and will
enhance their trust in the government’s ability to effectively recover from the incident.
In the event of a major radiological emergency, stationary, mobile and hand held
radiation detectors will help to identify the specific radioisotopes present and the amount
of material released. Sophisticated computer “plume models” can help ascertain the most
likely path of the radiation and possible “hot zones” that should be avoided by the public.
Handheld Geiger counters can begin to help sort those that have been “exposed” to
radiation from those that have not. Yet the only current method for determining internal
contamination is through laborious laboratory analysis, often involving a 24-hour urine
collection, days to process the results and still more time to interpret them accurately.
This will be necessary for the thousands of “exposed” individuals to determine whether
they suffer from internal contamination and to identify appropriate medical treatment.
Clinical analysis may also be demanded by those medically unaffected, but fearful of
contamination nonetheless.

The ability to conduct this analysis currently exists. But the time consuming nature of the
process to analyze samples and the limited number of laboratories available to conduct
this analysis will drastically hinder any response to a large scale radiological emergency
today. There are several research and development efforts that are attempting to create
“high-throughput” environmental and clinical radiochemistry devices that would be
capable of quickly and efficiently processing thousands of samples per day. The CDC
has been developing a Urine Radionuclide Screen that would permit them to take a “spot”
sample of urine, as opposed to a normal and tedious 24-hour urine collection, run the
analysis in hours not days and process up to two thousand samples per day screening for
13 of the highest priority radioisotopes simultaneously. But this effort and almost all
others are years away from being fully developed, vetted and fielded.

Still, National Preparedness Guidelines released last month by the Department of
Homeland Security call for the nation’s public health laboratory infrastructure to be able
to rapidly detect and accurately identify chemical, radiological and biological agents and
“produce timely and accurate data to support ongoing public health investigations and the
implementation of appropriate preventative or curative countermeasures.”4 In the event
of a radiological attack, timely, reliable and quantifiable clinical health data regarding the

4 “National Preparedness Guidelines,” Department of Homeland Security, September 2007,
p. 7. http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/National_Preparedness_Guidelines.pdf

degree of individual contamination will be critical for determining appropriate medical
interventions and response, as well as for identifying the “worried well” of individuals
who have not been exposed and do not require medical attention. Public policy decisions
regarding evacuation, resettlement and/or destruction of buildings and cleanup
recommendations will also be predicated upon the results of environmental samples from
the scene. Yet, today the ability of the U.S. to meet these challenges is negligible.

The potential adverse human health effects from radiation exposure are dependent upon
the length of time a person is exposed and the amount of radiation absorbed by the body.
There are also tremendous variables in responding to radiological or nuclear scenarios,
depending on the radioisotopes used, the amount of radioactivity dispersed, and where
and how the release occurs. An Improvised Nuclear Device (IND), essentially a “homemade”
nuclear weapon, for instance, would be magnitudes more devastating than the
detonation of a RDD and the laboratory analysis needed would be amplified significantly.
But, in virtually all potential major radiological emergency scenarios the nation’s current
capacity to respond effectively is extraordinarily limited. Under the National Response
Plan the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a lead role for collecting and
assessing environmental samples, decontaminating buildings, neighborhoods and other
areas impacted by a radiological event and determining when it is safe to return to the
area.5 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tasked with monitoring,
assessing and coordinating follow up medical monitoring on people’s health as a result of
exposure to or contamination with radiological materials in a national emergency.
Yet, at present neither agency has the capability to carry out these formidable tasks. The
CDC, for instance, currently has no capacity to analyze seven of thirteen of the most
likely radioisotopes that would be present in a radiological or nuclear incident, according
to information provided to the Subcommittee. For some of the most likely “dirty bomb”
or RDD scenarios the CDC is currently capable of processing only 65 human samples per
day. At that rate it would take more than four years to process 100,000 clinical samples
as called for in National Planning Scenario #11. A recent report prepared for the
Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate found that
responding to that scenario “dramatically demonstrates major shortfalls in environmental
and clinical laboratory radiological/nuclear capacity in the response to and mitigation of
such an event.”6

A primary reason for these shortfalls is the dwindling radiochemistry laboratory infrastructure
that has occurred over the past decade due to the drawdown in production of nuclear weapons
and the completion of many of the environmental cleanup projects throughout the nuclear
weapons complex. As a result, the need for radiation health physicists and the capacity and need
to monitor workers for radiation exposure has been greatly reduced. “In addition to capacity

5. National Response Plan, includes the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex, December 2004, p. NUC-28. http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/NRP_FullText.pdf

6 “Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN) Capability Assessment,” Final Report, 30 April 2007, Prepared for Dr. S. Randolph Long of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate by the Homeland Security Institute, p. 11.

gap,” noted an August 2006 joint CDC/EPA presentation, “competency gap at many
environmental radioanalytical laboratories due to loss of expertise, lack of training programs,
inadequate funding for many state laboratories elimination of federal environmental proficiency
testing (PT) programs, etc. will further hinder response efforts.”7

Polonium-210 Poisoning

The lack of domestic radiochemistry laboratory capabilities was driven home last
November when former Russian KGB agent Vladimir Litvinenko was poisoned with the
radioisotope Polonium-210 (Po-210) in London. The CDC identified 160 U.S. citizens
who were potentially exposed to the isotope while staying at the same hotel(s) or eating
in the same restaurant(s) as Litvinenko. In its search to find a lab that could determine if
these individuals had been exposed, the CDC found a single U.S.-based laboratory
capable and qualified to conduct a clinical analysis for potential exposure to Po-210.8 To
run the clinical analysis a 24-hour urine specimen must first be collected. The results of
the analysis are then normally processed within 30-days, but the commercial laboratory
expedited the testing and the results were available in 7-days. Only 31 of the 160 people
contacted by the CDC choose to participate in the test and none of them showed
exposures to Po-210 that was deemed a health risk, although two individuals showed
slight elevations of the isotope in their urine.

Although Polonium-210 is a unique isotope and is unlikely to be used or effective in a
Radiological Dispersal Device, the incident highlighted the extraordinarily weak U.S.
radiochemistry infrastructure. It also emphasized some problems regarding inter-agency
emergency response issues. Although the Department of Energy (DOE) has the ability to
conduct analysis of Po-210 and has done so on DOE workers, it is not CLIA (Clinical
Laboratory Improvement Amendments) certified. Congress passed CLIA in 1988
establishing quality standards for all clinical laboratory testing to ensure the accuracy,
reliability and timeliness of patient test results. But this does not apply to DOE, since the
testing they conduct is for “occupational” exposure. As a result, CDC officials were
reluctant to rely on DOE’s clinical analysis of the Po-210 specimens and turned down the
agency’s offer to conduct the analysis, instead turning to a private lab. It is unclear how
these issues would be resolved in a national radiological emergency even though the
Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex identifies DOE’s role responding to a radiological
event as providing consultation and support to other Federal agencies in the areas of
radiological assessments, population monitoring and medical expertise and advice.
The response to the Polonium incident may be emblematic of other interagency issues. A
recent interagency (draft) report on responding to a radiological attack found that the
specific roles and responsibilities of federal agencies tasked with responding to a

7 “Creation of a National Radioanalytical Laboratory Response Network,” developed by the Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks’ (ICLN) Network Coordinating Group (NCG) Radiological Laboratory Workgroup, Presented by John Griggs, EPA and Robert Jones, CDC, August 16, 2006, p. 7.

8 GEL Laboratories, LLC based in Charleston, South Carolina.

radiological event have not been clearly defined in the National Nuclear/Radiological
Incident Annex, upon which these agencies rely.9 “This is a weakness of the Rad Annex
as agencies are not given a specific scope or mandated to allocate specific resources and
funding to fulfill a need during preparedness or response to a radiological incident,” the
report noted. In addition, the report found that both standards for radiological emergency
response and “specific guidelines for performing both external and internal monitoring
and decontamination of potentially exposed members of the general public have not yet
been developed,” the report says. “Following a radiological disaster it is of extreme
importance to screen the public in as timely a fashion as possible. However, current
federal assets are ill-equipped to undertake such an endeavor,” the report concluded.
The U.S. ability to evaluate potential radiological contamination on the environmental
side also lacks the resources to effectively respond to a radiological emergency. White
House National Planning Scenario #11 demands that the EPA be capable of analyzing
more than 350,000 environmental samples in the 12 month period following a
radiological attack. Depending on the radioisotope used in the attack, however, it would
take two to six years to complete that task given the current available laboratory facilities
today, according to a March 2007 draft EPA report.10 “Currently, there is insufficient
capacity for radiochemical laboratories in the United States to process samples generated
as a result of an RDD event,” the report concluded. “There is some certainty that the
numbers of samples calculated in this report are really underestimates of the total
numbers that would be generated.” In addition, the numbers prepared in the report
looked at a single radiological event. However, the scenario exercised in TOPOFF IV
predicts three nearly simultaneous radiological attacks in three separate cities. According
to National Planning Scenario #11, that scenario could demand an analysis of more than
one million environmental samples in the first year and more than 300,000 human
clinical samples in the first few days of an actual radiological emergency.


During TOPOFF IV the CDC dispatched one of its aircraft to retrieve 100 urine samples
from Portland, Oregon and brought them back to the CDC radionuclide lab in Atlanta. The
samples were then “spiked” with actual radioisotopes in order to test the lab’s ability to
properly and swiftly analyze the samples. This is the type of testing that is critical to assess
and evaluate the U.S. radiochemistry laboratory infrastructure to identify gaps and needs.
But the exercise also confirmed that the current capacity of these labs would be incapable of
responding to the actual onslaught of samples they would be requested to process. In the
TOPOFF exercise the state of Oregon wanted to send the CDC 65,000 clinical samples.

9 “Mission Analysis – Volume One – Revision 1; Emergency (Early) Phase,” Federal Radiological
Monitoring and Assessment Center, An Interagency Document for Implementing the National Response Plan Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex, June 2007 – DRAFT, p. A-1.

10 “Assessment of National Environmental Radiological Laboratory Capacity Gap,” DRAFT report prepared for Dr. John Griggs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation, National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory, Montgomery, Alabama, March 2007. Prepared by Environmental Management Support, Inc., 8601 Georgia Ave., Suite 500, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Goiania, Brazil

The response capability demanded in a radiological attack in the U.S. is based on large
part on the response to a major accidental radiological release of cesium-137 in Goiania,
Brazil.11 In 1987 two individuals found and removed a shielded radioactive “source
assembly” from a teletherapy unit containing cesium-137 from an abandoned health
clinic in Goiania. The scavengers took the assembly home and attempted to dismantle it
rupturing the source which resulted in radiological contamination. They then sold the
assembly for scrap to a junkyard. Fascinated by the blue glow of the material several
individuals took small fragments of the assembly, the size of a grain of rice, home
spreading the radioactive contamination even further.

Eventually, four people died within four weeks of exposure, including a 6-year-old girl
who had rubbed the shiny blue material on her body. In the end, 28 people suffered
radiation burns, 20 people were hospitalized, 129 people had internal contamination and
were referred for medical care, 249 people suffered external contamination and 112,000
individuals were monitored for radiation exposure. Contamination was tracked over an
area equivalent to 40 city blocks. A total of 85 houses were found to have significant
contamination, some were demolished and contamination was removed from 45 different
public places, including pavements, squares, shops, bars and about 50 vehicles. The
Goiania incident resulted in the highest levels of cesium-137 clinical contamination ever
recorded. The consequences of an intentional radiological attack in a large downturn
urban arena in the U.S. are likely to be far worse.

In a positive step, the TOPOFF exercise will include a Long-Term Recovery Tabletop
Exercise in December that will examine some of the key issues impacting potential
recovery, including our current laboratory capacity. In addition, by the end of the year,
the EPA plans to issue two five-year grants to state radiochemistry laboratories worth a
total of $1.3 million that will include equipment and training to help respond to a
radiological or nuclear emergency. But considering the stated threat and known gaps in
the U.S. radiochemistry infrastructure these steps are helpful but not sufficient.
Despite the threat of a domestic radiological attack in the U.S. cited by government
officials since the 9/11 terrorist attacks attempts to close the gap in U.S. radiological
emergency response efforts have only just begun. Homeland Security Presidential
Directive/HSPD-18 was issued last January which addressed “Medical Countermeasures
against Weapons of Mass Destruction.” The Presidential Directive warned: “Threats
posed by fissile and other radiological material will persist,” and argued that “[o]ur
Nation must improve its biodosimetry capabilities.…” Just last week, another Homeland
Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-21) on “Public Health and Medical Preparedness”
was issued which addressed naturally occurring and intentional “catastrophic health”
events. The directive did not specifically address the laboratory capacity gap, but said
11 “The Radiological Accident in Goiania,” International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria,
September 1988. http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub815_web.pdf
“[i]t is the policy of the United States to plan and enable provision for the public health
and medical needs of the American people in the case of a catastrophic health event.”

Proficiency Testing

But the efforts to close the critical radiochemistry laboratory gap have – at times – taken
one step forward and two steps back. In 2005, for instance, at the same time the
Department of Homeland Security was initiating a new Integrated Consortium of
Laboratory Networks (ICLN) to help enhance the nation’s laboratory response
capabilities it was inexplicably dismantling the Quality Assessment Program (QAP), an
environmental performance evaluation program run by the Environmental Measurements
Laboratory (EML), a DHS lab based in Manhattan. The QAP had been in existence since
the 1970s and provided independent quality assurance testing to more than 150
environmental laboratories throughout the country. The program and the lab were the
subject of a hearing held by the Subcommittee last May.12 Today, the critical need for a
nearly identical program geared towards the emergency response community has been
cited as a clear need by EPA and a report by the Federal Radiological Monitoring and
Assessment Center, an interagency group run by DOE that includes DHS.13 The manager
of Oregon’s state radiation laboratory, which used to participate in the EML QAP
program, told Subcommittee staff that QAP was a critical program for his lab and that
proficiency testing program’s provide the public with confidence that the degree of
environmental contamination being reported by labs that participate are accurate.
A robust quality assurance program also helps re-assure government officials that the
data they receive in order to make critical public policy decisions regarding evacuation,
re-occupation or clean-up are based on solid scientific methods. In order to validate the
number of national labs capable of reliably conducting environmental analysis, for
instance, the draft March 2007 EPA report (cited above) on the national environmental
radiological laboratory capacity gap relied upon data generated by the EML QAP and a
similar program at the DOE’s Radiological and Environmental Services Laboratory
(RESL) in Idaho called the Mixed Analyte Performance Evaluation Program (MAPEP).
But DHS terminated the QAP program in 2005 and the Department of Energy is seeking
to make a decision regarding the privatization of the RESL laboratory in December.
Without the data provided by these programs administration officials and other
government decision makers will have no way to validate or quantify the performance
capabilities of environmental laboratories based on independent analysis. Contracting
out the MAPEP program at RESL has been described by some government officials as
short-sighted. They fear that the government will be inadvertently giving away a critical

12 See: “Transitioning the Environmental Measurements Laboratory at the Department of Homeland Security,” House Science and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, May 3, 2007 hearing. http://science.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1806

13 “Mission Analysis – Volume One – Revision 1; Emergency (Early) Phase,” Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center – An Interagency Document for Implementing the National Response Plan Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex, June 2007 – DRAFT, p. 45.

oversight function to ensure that the radiological data government officials receive is
accurate. If a radiological emergency erupts five years from now, for instance, policy
makers may be forced to utilize the services of labs without any valid means of knowing
whether or not the results of their tests can be or should be trusted.

In order to close the radiochemistry laboratory gap and ensure that the government is
capable of effectively responding to a potential radiological emergency, the EPA is
proposing a five-year $36.5 million plan to build a National Environmental
Radioanalytical Laboratory Response Network that would include creation of a national
proficiency testing and audit program. The EPA estimates that once fully established the
network would decrease the average capacity shortfall for environmental samples for the
RDD scenario envisioned in National Planning Scenario #11 by approximately 80%.
The CDC hopes to establish a Clinical (Bioassay) Radioanalytical Laboratory Response
Network as well. A fully functional CDC network would include five state
radioanalytical (bioassay) labs to augment the federal response and cost $20.6 million
over the next five years. If implemented, this network which would include equipment,
personnel, training and its own proficiency testing program, would reduce the time to
analyze the 100,000 clinical samples envisioned in the National Planning Scenario from
two years to less than three weeks.

Unfortunately, both networks exist only on paper today despite the fact that various
federal agencies have highlighted the need to establish these sorts of laboratory networks
for years. A June 2007 interagency (draft) document concludes that major gaps in the
radiochemistry laboratory infrastructure remain.14 This report listed many recommended
proposals that it believes need to be addressed quickly, including providing clarity to the
roles and responsibilities of federal agencies charged with responding to radiological
emergencies. “These proposals need to be quickly implemented and will have an
immediate impact on our ability to protect the health and safety of the American public in
the event of a nuclear/radiological disaster,” it warned. Until that is done, this mix of
problems may be a recipe for creating the ingredients for a radiological Katrina if the
U.S. government is forced to respond to a real-world radiological emergency today.

14 “Mission Analysis – Volume One – Revision 1; Emergency (Early) Phase,” Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center, An Interagency Document for Implementing the National Response Plan Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex, June 2007 – DRAFT, p. xvi.

# # #

20 November 2007


I was told my my exhusband, a Middle Eastern intelligence expert, in leading think tanks, that there is enough oil to last THOUSANDS of years.

So when I encountered Royal Dutch Shell's advancement of the Peak Oil scenario, I was left somewhat aghast. Afterall, my ex-husband wrote papers on oil STOLEN by members of the Kuwaiti royal family to get PhDs in the United Kingdom. He knew what he was talking about, based on years and years of research and good sources of information.

Now that said, that oil (and natural gas) is stored in the earth but must be refined. And now you have the kicker. We rely on companies and national governments to get this out of the earth, and they have their very own CONtrol agendas. The higher the prices for oil and gas that they can get and the lower they can keep down their capital and running cost$, the more profit$ they make. And you can bet they DO. By keeping the cost per barrel of crude high, they can thus make the cost of upgrading equipment and refineries (and delivery, too) more in line with bigger profit$ as well. Building refineries, new oil platforms, paying people to go and scout for the stuff as well as to keep those greed$o happy at the top of these companie$ is an expen$ive bu$ine$$.

So for years we have seen very little refinery upgrading or building new ones very evident.

And we won't be seeing it anytime soon.

But they need to keep expanding the energy supply. And they want CONtrol and this has been a right headache for the transnational energy companies for quite a while.

While you and I have been thinking outside the "box" and come up with support for alternative fuels for well on fifty years, the bean counters and profit taker$ at the oil companie$ have been obsessed with their own concerns. They don't even seem to consider the effects all this will have on their children (who the guys at the top ship off to boarding schools anyway).

Solar, wind, water, and other technologies are not on their agenda and another time-consuming activity they've been involved with is creating propaganda against them. Even biofuels, which are enormously fossil fuel dependent aren't supported by the oil cartel's powers that be here in the belly of the Western beast. Maybe those western status cars (fetishism) has made them lamebrained ???

So we are seeing the first signs of coal and uranium being mined on a flat out basis just recently as they make this MAD SCRAMBLE to bail out the mess that they have made in their sloth.

And here is a nice little essay someone posted to me about the way they are thinking, which pretty much sums up in a not too complicated way what they are thinking.. It will furnish you with some Real Good Arguments to shove at people who think going nuclear is a Great Idea (are you listening, Mr. McGuinty, Sir and other Canadian officials living in lalaland??

I do hope that those in control of the public purse realize soon that using poisons to energize the planet is not a very good idea. Even the energy companies can see THAT, although they'll take dough off anyone to keep their profit$ up.

For those that don't know, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning in architecture and construction parlance.


[In accord with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this article is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in receiving such material for educational purposes. Any other use requires contacting the author.]

Insight from an Oil Company Insider

Originally posted to the LATOC Forum

So I got a chance to have a long sit down with my dad. He gave me some interesting inside perspectives on the situation.

He is the GM of one of Pennsylvania Power and Light's Oil and Natural gas pipelines. So he is privy to most of the business decisions that are going on. Basically behind closed doors, they are talking supply/demand fundamentals, and the rise of India/China. He never used the words peak oil, but it was like a broken record the stuff they have been talking about.

He described to me how in the early 90's, PP&L bought out a whole bunch of HVAC companies. The solution back then was natural gas. They were going to put a natural gas generator in every persons house and use the hvac companies to service it. The govt at the time was pushing all of the oil companies to install natural gas rig's in there stations. Here is the problem. That happened across the country, and in a matter of 3 years, demand went so high for the natural gas, it was now more expensive than oil. The entire project was scrapped.

He explained to me how they are going to build their first nuclear power plant, and that 10 years ago if the CEO had mentioned nuclear, they would have forced him to take a drug test. They are also planning on building 5 coal powered plants. Something they haven't done in 30 years.

Here is the catch, for everyone thinking nuclear will save our ass. He said it normally takes about 10 years to get a nuclear plant built. About 3 to go through all the red tape, and 7 to build one.

So I asked him, if the SHTF and they removed all the red tape, we would be looking about 7 years? He said, no... If the SHTF and the red tape is removed, we would be looking at around 15-20 years per plant. Apparently there are only a couple of companies in the US that can build these things. So you would have every utility across America competing for these two companies. You can't just expand operations like making cars, it takes years and years to train the engineers and the construction companies to build a nuke plant.

He also said something else that scared the frig out of me. He said that as prices go up more and more for oil, you will see a mass flux of companies moving over to coal. The only problem, is we have so far scaled back our coal production and rail transportation, the only way to get the coal to its destination is by truck. So the price of coal is affected by oil as well. But even further, it wont be a slight trickle for companies wanting coal plants, it will be a mass flux of companies, driving the price of coal through the roof with everyone competing over the coal. He said his company thinks the same thing will happen to coal prices that happened to natural gas prices.

So I asked him why they are even bothering building the coal plants. And he said,


He also discussed with me the means by which power plants are brought on or off line depending on the load.

He said the most efficient power plants always run, and then when demand gets high, they bring on line the less efficient plants, the last being the oil-fired plants. So as oil prices continue to go up, they expect demand to fall off a bit. Which will allow them to take the less efficient plants off line, and keep prices stable until a point. Once the prices get so high that the efficient plants no longer provide a cost buffer, that's when all hell will break loose. He described it like an avalanche of higher prices all of the sudden.

Something even more disturbing he was talking about is the deregulation. He was saying that PP&L has two sides to it, PP&L and PP&L utilities.

The utilities side is the one that brings the electricity to peoples' homes. The other side is the power generation side. Basically what happened was the power generation side had the utilities side sign a contract stating they had to provide electricity at a certain cost. Right now the utilities side is losing money. The contract expires at the start of next year. He was saying prices will go up for people 20-30 percent next year, and then another 40 percent the year after. And those prices had nothing to do with oil going from 50-90 a barrel. He said the current prices will make them go even higher.

He said this is indicative of the rest of the deregulated companies in America.

So after our four-hour talk, we both came to the conclusion that it will be a hard crash.

What we will likely see is a longer peak than a lot of us had thought. The peak should last another 1-3 years, oil prices will climb drastically, but home heating will not follow suit at least for a year or two.

Gas prices will climb, and force the economy into a deep recession.

Once all of the demand has been killed and the less efficient plants are taken off line, and oil prices rise to where the efficient plants no longer offer any benefit, that's when all hell will break loose.

We think 1-3 years, then a hard fast crash.

Better get your preps done quickly.

This is if there are no geopolitical events. If we attack Iran, he said he expects oil prices to double on the attack and cause a nice fast crash NOW.

Edmund Fitzgerald
PO Box 8040
Bigfork, MT 59911