John Gofman Quotes

*** scroll down on this page to find yet TONS more nuke-related quotations...

John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D., that is.

** fascinating article about him here

** these quotes will be of interest to those who have an interest in nuclear issues. (You will find a great many more nuke-related quotes by scrolling down. Really a lot of great ones!)

** btw, Gofman is FUNNY as well as brilliant & scathing – & his book "Irrevy" is full of hilarious cartoons about nuclear energy (he dedicated “Irrevy” to the cartoonists).

“There has not existed the slightest shred of meaningful evidence that the entire intervention process in nuclear energy is anything more than the most callous of charades and frauds.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg 125> 

“My particular combination of scientific credentials is very handy in the nuclear controversies, but advanced degrees confer no special expertise in either common sense or morality. That’s why many laymen are better qualified to judge nuclear power than the so-called experts.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power (from the cover of the book, which was published in 1979 by the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility)

“The pay [for the professional apologists] has to be relatively high, because the job commonly requires the sacrifice of intellectual honesty.” John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. (1918-2007) in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 55>

“In 1979 the NRC admits the Rasmussen Report ‘greatly understated’ the range of chances for a nuclear accident. The proper translation is what nuclear critics have been saying all along, before and after the Rasmussen Report: no one has the foggiest notion what the probability is of major nuclear power accidents.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 59>

 “This episode taught me never to trust people simply because they should not act against their apparent self-interest. The vastly overwhelming self-interest is the current job, with all its perquisites and privileges. Death of their children from cancer or leukemia is quite effectively rationalized away.” John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. (1918-2007) in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 63>

“The casual dumping of persistent pollutants into the biosphere by the “advanced” nations may already have cursed our descendants worldwide with a miserable load of genetic degradation. So it is almost impossible to be polite when people try to justify nuclear power by bleating forth pure fantasy about cures for whatever will ail us.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 64>

“So it is that an insane technology, from your point of view or mine, is the darling choice of the privilege elite. That the Congress & the Executive Branch of government lend their full support to this insanity is not at all surprising, once one is clear in his head that these branches of government have nothing to do with serving the best interests of the larger public. They never have had, and they don’t now.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 73>

“Perhaps you have noticed that every time a radioactive release is known to have occurred, officials announce, ‘but the amount released poses no danger to public health.’ There must, by now, be 100,000 such announcements. How many ‘small’ releases can we have and still have the total ‘small?’” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 101>

 “But I can generalize. The straightforward answer is that neither the nuclear industry nor the governmental regulatory agencies have the foggiest notion of how well or how poorly they are doing at their containment task.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 103>

 “If the laws don’t seem to be achieving the goals dreamed of by the screwees, they can turn Tweedle-dum out of office and elect Tweedle-dee. When Tweedle-dee turns out to be a carbon copy of Tweedle-dum, then there is always the privilege of electing Tweedle-dum’s cloned brother.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg.114 – see full, long item about screwers & screwees below>

“Nuclear reactors are NOT a good way to cope with our energy needs, but that fact is highly secondary and even irrelevant, because they keep the bureaucracies in business (including the regulatory bureaucracies), and they are expected to make profits for the corporations which mine and mill uranium, and which construct and operate the plants associated with the whole enterprise.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg.120>

 “The only trouble with these agencies is that they have lied so frequently and covered up so often, that they can’t even begin to keep track of their lies. There may be, somewhere in the hinterlands, some gullible souls who still believe what these agencies tell them, but certainly there is no rational reason to believe anything they say. I’ve often wondered why these agencies did not heed Gina Lollabrigida’s credo, when she said she never lies simply because it’s just too damn hard to keep track of the lies.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg.120-121>

“I have examined the arguments of the promoters of nuclear energy, and they always boil down to the same absurdity: If everything goes perfectly, then everything will go perfectly.”  Or, “Trust us! Even though we have come close, we still have our first major city to knock over.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg 122>

 “We are treated to a remarkable spectacle. If we don’t like what is being done in our name and with our dollars, we can change things through law, by electing Tweedle-dee instead of Tweedle-dum. If we object to the activities of the Atomic Energy Commission or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, we have the fabulous privilege of “intervening” in license-hearings. Citizens are expected somehow to hire lawyers in such processes, while their tax dollars go to support an army of lawyers at the beck and call of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There has not existed the slightest shred of meaningful evidence that the entire intervention process in nuclear energy is anything more than the most callous of charades and frauds. Short of direct proof that a nuclear reactor is sitting on Mount Vesuvius at the height of its eruption, there is little doubt that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will approve the site. Probably some of the Commissioners would suggest coming back next week … maybe the volcano will quiet down.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg 125>

“Control is the main attraction making nuclear power so popular with the power-privilege class of both the Soviet Union and the Western democracies. Every aspect of society is arranged, if possible, to centralize control, to guarantee the exacting of tribute from the peons of society. The control of energy supplies is just one of the manifestations of control in general. That is why decentralized solar power gets only lip-service from our rulers. One very successful way to control peons is economic blackmail. Do as we want, or you will lose your job. In general, it is not presented as bald-faced blackmail, but rather as the dictate of an impersonal economy. It is a most effective ruse, for a normal survival instinct is present in people at all levels. And not too many people out of the total are more than a few paychecks away from the breadline. There is no other way except economic blackmail to account for the scientists, the engineers, and the physicians, who know about the real hazards of nuclear power, for example, but do not speak out. Or, if they do speak out, they repeat such rubbish as, “A solution for managing radioactive poisons will be found,” or another variant like, “A cure for cancer will be found.” The panic of coping with their immediate survival requirement, which is the secure income, is so great that they construct a wall of rationalizations which prevents them from clear thinking about their own long-term welfare or that of their children, and their children.” – John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. (1918-2007) in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg 189-90>

“Nuclear power is simply incompatible with human health. That became obvious to me as a chemist and as a physician.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg 203>

“I mentioned above that nuclear power starts to commit murder even before the plant goes into operation. It does so by guaranteeing that people are going to be poisoned for hundreds of thousands of years by radon and its daughter products brought to the surface of the earth in the course of mining the uranium needed to operate the nuclear plants. Had these substances remained in the bowels of the Earth, they would have done no harm.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 224>

“There is no way I can justify my failure to help sound an alarm over these activities many years sooner than I did” & added that he feels many scientists are “candidates for Nuremberg-type trials for crimes against humanity.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg 227-8>

“Protest is always justified when it is the only means to make a deaf government listen.” – Dr. John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. (quoted on pg. 160 in Full Body Burden – Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, by Kristen Iversen)

“If you pollute when you DO NOT KNOW if there is any safe dose (threshold), you are performing improper experimentation on people without their informed consent.  If you pollute when you DO KNOW there is NO safe dose with respect to causing extra cases of deadly cancers or heritable effects, you are committing premeditated random murder.” John W. Gofman, Ph.D., M.D. (1918-2007), associate director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 1963-1969) — Comments on a Petition for Rulemaking to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, May 21, 1994.

“This is a recommendation for a moratorium on the construction & licensing of any new nuclear power plants, breeder and non-breeder, plus a termination of licensing of all nuclear power plants now in operation.

Obviously, those environmentalists who have worked toward making nuclear power “safe” may, at first, consider this extreme. Quite the contrary. I would suggest that continued operation of existing plants & the licensing of any new ones represents reckless extremism coupled with an abdication of man’s moral obligations, to this & future generations. I know of no valid evidence to suggest that nuclear fission power can be made acceptable or that we shall ever need nuclear fission as an energy source. And the essence of the problem at hand is moral, not technical.” – John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. (1918-2007),’Reacting to Reactors – The “peaceful atom”: Time for a moratorium’ <Nov. 25/72>

“There are two fundamental groups in society, the screwers and the screwees. The screwers have all the apparatus of power, the sycophantic henchmen who do their bidding, and they have unflinching devotion to the preservation of their privileges at the expense of the screwees. Further, the screwers have enormous difficulty understanding why the screwees should ever raise any questions about the super-wonderful system which they have in place.

Generally speaking, screwees have never particularly enjoyed being overtly known as such. Therefore, a subterfuge is essential. The subterfuge which has emerged is the myth that the screwees are the ones who are really running the show, and that they do so through a democratic government. The ostensible purpose of government is to protect the rights and security of its citizens. This is done through a system of laws, drafted by hordes of those individuals we call lawyers, such laws being written as to defy comprehension by virtually anyone, but never written so as to be neutral in any conflict between the screwers and the screwees.

There is not necessarily any desire to be evil on the part of the screwers. All they want is an absolute guarantee that they can preserve and extend their privilege at the expense of the screwees. Stated otherwise, they wish to acquire an ever-increasing share of all the means of production and resources of the Earth, so that they can still further increase that share. And to these ends, we have the so-called “economy,” which through ceaseless churning, steadily allows those with power and privilege to increase both. Thus the top 19% of families owns about 76% of all the privately held wealth in the USA, while the bottom 25% has no assets at all (Dr. L.C. Thurow, M.I.T. Department of Economics). The concentration of wealth and power is such that recent estimates are that the top 5% of the American population owns more assets than does the bottom 81% combined (also Thurow).

What is manufactured in this “economy” is really quite irrelevant to the screwer-class. The only criterion is that what is manufactured be saleable at a profit. Hula hoops, arms, oil, cars, cigarettes, nuclear power plants, food, all are viewed through only one lens – can they be sold at a profit. Better still are those products which, through built-in obsolescence, can insure that the purchaser becomes locked into the system of dependence. Best of all are those products which become absolute necessities in the contemporary way of life, and which cannot possibly be made by the screwee himself. Thus, for example, nuclear power plants to create electricity are lovely, whereas small solar systems are a disaster – from the point of view of the screwers.” – John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D, (1918-2007), in Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg. 113-115>


** Remember!  Simply TONs more nuke quotes on this blog by scrolling down on this page


(Then, there is this great Gofman quote about lead: “The inordinately stupid & irresponsible handling of lead by our society is undoubtedly one of the worst of societal crimes, with the greatest injury & hence injustice concentrating in the ghetto, on the poor.” – Dr. John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D., in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power)

Nuke Quotes

** Note: On this new site, "internal" links no longer work (i.e., links to material on the original janetsplanet site). Dang!!  However, links to EXternal sites still do ... so yay for that! You CAN use the Search bar (down below) to find things. Sincere apologies for the dog’s breakfast nature of this collection; it's not sorted in any coherent way, there is no kind of order or rhyme or reason to it. I’d need a staff person to help me with that, but alas, no support staff...   For sure, there are some real doozies here!!

** a much better-organized collection here

“They can buy & sell politicians with our money, because we give them billions of dollars in subsidies. And with that billions of dollars in subsidies, they can make Congress get down on its knees & eat out of a dog food bowl.” – Greg Palast, author & investigator, quoted in “Knocking on the Devil’s Door - Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy”

“The problem of nuclear power is it’s not built on concrete, it’s built on lies.” – Greg Palast, author & investigator

“Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation.” – day labourer in Japan who is working on clean-up in village 20 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Source: here

“Transportation is the Achilles’ heel of nuclear security and everyone knows that,” said Bruce Blair, a retired Air Force missile officer, Princeton University researcher and founder of Global Zero, a nonprofit group that seeks elimination of nuclear weapons.
The danger is not a traffic accident — even a fiery crash is not supposed to explode a warhead — but a heist.
“In an age of terrorism, you’re taking a big risk any time you decide to move nuclear material into the public space over long distances via ground transport,” Blair said. “Bad things happen.”
From this March 2017 article 'This troubled, covert agency is responsible for trucking nuclear bombs across America each day'

“How do tritium spills happen in a CANDU nuclear station? It’s not rocket science; it’s plumbing. It’s pipes, & they leak.”Jeff Brackett, Tritium Awareness Peterborough [lots of info on tritium here, including more quotes]

“The first priority at Hanford is to clean up the mess that Hanford made back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. In fact, that’s the only priority at Hanford. This is all Hanford does. Hanford cleans up Hanford. And we’re going to spend more on the cleanup than we spent on creating all of the original plutonium, uranium and thorium that was going to be used for weapons production.”– Dr. Marco Kaltofen discussing Hanford’s nuclear mess in Fairewinds video ‘America’s Nuclear Legacy – More than 6,000 Nuclear Dumps…and Counting

“Uranium is the mineral of the apocalypse.” – Donald Weber
‘Into the Half-Life’ exhibit at the Camera Atomica show at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Ontario, Canada).                          **now isn’t that a dandy?

“The wind will blow the fire of pain across everyone in time.” – Stanley Burton Lawson, Halifax. Halifax Infirmary 1978.  Photographer: Robert Frank. From Camera Atomica show

“Here’s an industry with the capacity for global devastation, with no permanent plan for their garbage, the most dangerous stuff on Earth, and they’re allowed to keep producing it indefinitely.” – Tony McQuail, who farms near Lucknow, Ontario, near the Bruce Nuclear Station.

“I have believed for a long time that official secrecy and deceptions about our nuclear weapons posture and policies and their possible consequences have threatened the survival of the human species. To understand the urgency of radical changes in our nuclear policies that may truly move the world toward abolition of nuclear weapons, we need a new understanding of the real history of the nuclear age.” – Daniel Ellsberg in amazing 2009 article ‘Hiroshima Day: America Has Been Asleep at the Wheel for 64 Years.’

“THE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI of March 11, 2011 were natural disasters of a magnitude that shocked the entire world. Although triggered by these cataclysmic events, the subsequent accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cannot be regarded as a natural disaster. It was a profoundly manmade disaster – that could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response.” – Kiyoshi Kurokawa,  Chairman of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (National Diet of Japan). Report here. (pg. 9)

We want to end the use of nuclear energy and reach the age of renewable energy as fast as possible. It’s over. Fukushima has forever changed the way we define risk in Germany.” – Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

“This “out of sight, out of mind” mentality must end. We can’t continue to dump garbage into the oceans, waterways and air or bury it in the ground and hope it will disappear. If we can’t find better ways to use or at least reduce waste products, we must stop producing them. In the meantime, this project must be halted. The Great Lakes are already threatened by pollution, agricultural runoff, invasive species, climate change and more. We can’t afford to add the risk of radioactive contamination to one of the world’s largest sources of fresh water.” – David Suzuki on DGR project in July 2014. [DGR postings here]

“Personally, I think that we can’t say with any certainty what the future will look like. We’re pretty damned poor at predicting the future.” — U.S. NRC Chair Allison M. Macfarlane quoted in New York Times article entitled ‘Nuclear Waste Is Allowed Above Ground Indefinitely.’  (for those who may not be familar with the nuke industry & nukespeak, this is a remarkably modest comment for a nuclear bigshot to make. I think we need to quote her on this remark often!!)

“If everything worked perfectly as far as they are concerned, if every one of their ideas were correct, and we were able to proceed on a timely basis, waste disposal will not be demonstrated … until sometime around 1987. We, however, have a more fundamental problem. We think it probable that it will never be demonstrated. Excessive optimism about the potential for safe disposal of nuclear wastes has caused backers of nuclear power to ignore scientific evidence pointing to its pitfalls. That’s the real crux of what we found – that you have to weigh scientific evidence against essentially engineering euphoria.” – Commissioner Emilio Varanini, Chairman of the California Energy Commission. Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Thursday, January 12, 1978. My source: Dr. Gordon Edwards document

“You might remember the brouhaha about 16 large nuclear steam generators that Bruce Power wanted to ship down through the Great Lakes a few years ago to Sweden,” said Edwards. “They did get approval to do it, but they never have done it because of the voices of people speaking out make it clear to them that this was not a smart thing to do. The same thing goes for this nuclear waste dump. Like any company, they don’t want to poison their public relations. We are the people who can stop this.” – Dr. Gordon Edwards in an interview here, discussing the nuke industry plan to bury nuke waste right beside Lake Huron

“The nuclear industry has what I call the reverse Midas touch. Everything it touches turns to nuclear waste. It keeps growing after it’s been produced. If you had a barrel and put nuclear waste into it for a period of time and then emptied the barrel, the barrel becomes radioactive waste. So the very containers used to contain radioactive waste become radioactive waste. If it leaks into the repository, the repository walls become nuclear waste.” – Dr. Gordon Edwards in an interview here, discussing the nuke industry plan to bury nuke waste right beside Lake Huron

“The lesson of TMI (and Chernobyl, and Fukushima)? Shut ‘em down before they melt down!” – Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear

“…What part of Fukushima don’t you understand? If you don’t make the modifications [re: safety & emergency planning] you run the risk of destroying the fabric of a country. It happened at Chernobyl, and it’s happening right now in Japan…” – Arnie Gundersen in an interview with Al Jazeera on March 27/14.

“It’s impossible to totally prevent any kind of accident or disaster happening at the nuclear power plants.  And so, the one wayto prevent this from happening, to prevent the risk of having to evacuate such huge amounts of people, 50 million people, and for the purpose, for the benefit of the lives of our people, and even the economy of Japan, I came to change the position, that the only way to do this was to totally get rid of the nuclear power plants.” – former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

Toshimitsu Homma of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency stated recently [April 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada] at an international conference on Emergency Management that the most important lesson of Fukushima was that before the accident, “There was an implicit assumption that such a severe accident could not happen and thus insufficient attention was paid to such an accident by authorities.”

“To call nuclear “clean” because it doesn’t produce CO2 is as absurd as calling coal clean because it doesn’t produce plutonium. Nuclear power is not clean. It produces the most toxic waste byproducts of any industry on earth.” ~ Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

“The age of nuclear power is winding down, but the age of nuclear waste is just beginning.

The wrong people are in charge of what to do with nuclear waste. Nuclear engineers, nuclear physicists, nuclear chemists, nuclear operators, nuclear regulators – these are not the people to be trusted to put the health and safety of people and the environment first.

These men (they are mostly men) and these women are overwhelmingly committed to ensuring that nuclear power survives as a politically acceptable energy option; all other considerations take a back seat to that.” – Dr. Gordon Edwards – opening lines to an essay called ‘The Age of Nuclear Waste is Upon Us.’

“Nuclear energy is unnecessary, uninsurable, uneconomic, and most importantly, unsafe. The fact that it continues to exist at all is a result of a ferocious lobby, enlisting the autocratic power of government, that will not admit that its product is unfit for use in the modern world. Let us not allow the lessons of Fukushima to be ignored.” ~ Ralph Nader

[Regarding OPG’s proposal for the DGR to bury waste on Lake Huron] “Now of course, we have the threat of nuclear waste… and this comes straight to the shores of our Great Lakes. I don’t know how to say this other than… this is an act of insanity, this would be a crime against future generations, this is a crime against nature.” – Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians

“I would no more operate Gentilly-2 beyond 210,000 hours than I would climb onto an airplane that does not have its permits and that does not meet the standards. So, it is out of question to put anyone, i.e. us, the workers, the public, and the company, in a situation of risk in the nuclear realm.” – Thierry Vandal, head of Hydro Québec

“Governments and agencies responsible for sanctioning nuclear operations have made a rather odious gamble with human life – potentially resulting in millions of cancer deaths and similar nonfatal afflictions to innocent bystanders, many of whom have not even been born. This is discounting the value of untold number of human lives. Future generations will be forced to take man-made risks that have nothing to do with their well-being.” – Benjamin Goldman, economist

“Chernobyl is a word we would all like to erase from our memory. But more than seven million of our fellow human beings do not have the luxury of forgetting. They are still suffering, every day, as a result of what happened…The exact number of victims can never be known.” – former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

‎”All nuclear power plant systems, structures, components and personnel are potential sources of failures and malfunctions. Problems can arise from defects in design, manufacturing, installation and construction; from testings, operational, and maintenance errors; from explosions and fires; from excessive corrosion, vibration, stress, heating, cooling, radiation damage, and other physical phenomena; from deterioration due to component aging, and from externally-initiated events such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and sabotage.” – Daniel F. Ford (from a Stop Plant Vogtle brochure)

“The road to the bomb is the nuclear power plant.” “We have to kill them [nuclear plants] before they kill us.” — David Freeman, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority — you can watch Freeman in this video. [I heard Freeman say both these things at the March 11/12/2013  NYC Symposium on medical/ecological consequences of Fukushima. Webcast here  More quotes from the Symposium here]

“Child-bearing women (or women intending to have children) shouldn’t live within 5 kilometres of nuclear reactors. Woman and nuclear facilities don’t really mix.” – Dr. Ian Fairlie, radiation biologist

” …the fears and dangers of radioactive fallout… Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard—and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby—who may be born long after we are gone—should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent.” — John F. Kennedy, July 26, 1963

“Plutonium was supposed to be a savior, to save us from the enemy. It wasn’t supposed to leak and burn and blow away, seep down into the water table and fly up into the sky. It was supposed to pay attention to borders and fences and property lines. It was supposed to know the good guys from the bad guys.” – from Full Body Burden – Growing up in the nuclear shadow of Rocky Flats, by Kristen Iversen (2012).

“Nuclear power is an idea whose time has never come, except at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. It almost came at Fermi 1. It’s up to us that it never happens at Fermi 2 or 3, and that we get to Solartopia–a green-powered Earth–before it’s too late.” — Harvey Wasserman (note: scroll down on this page to find some more info about accidents)

“If you pollute when you DO NOT KNOW if there is any safe dose (threshold), you are performing improper experimentation on people without their informed consent.  If you pollute when you DO KNOWthere is NO safe dose with respect to causing extra cases of deadly cancers or heritable effects, you are committingpremeditated random murder.” John W. Gofman, PhD, MD (1918-2007), associate director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 1963-1969) — Comments on a Petition for Rulemaking to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, May 21, 1994  [postings about Gofman on this blog here & here. Many more Gofman quotes here]

“My particular combination of scientific credentials is very handy in the nuclear controversies, but advanced degrees confer no special expertise in either common sense or morality. That’s why many laymen are better qualified to judge nuclear power than the so-called experts.” – Dr. John Gofman, PhD, MD (1918-2007), associate director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 1963-1969)  [postings about Gofman on this blog here & here. Many more Gofman quotes here]

“So, organize.  Teach the young.  Teach the not so young.  Recognize that this is a political problem and that problem lies in the law of the United States.  It’s time to end the nuclear age, not to continue and expand it.  I’m counting on all of you.  Thanks.” – from a really good speech by Dr. Judith Johnsrud, radiation & nuclear power specialist & long-time activist.

“Fukushima happened in a country which is probably the most rigorous, in terms of technology, in terms of scientific care, in terms of an accountability system. And if it can happen in Japan, Fukushima’s can happen anywhere. The point about nuclear is that accidents don’t happen in any nuclear power plant because of the calculation about your fission material. They happen because a generator stops. They happen because a cooling tower stops. They happen because of small mechanical failures which you can’t predict. But in the case of nuclear, which is a stupid technology because all you’re doing is creating fissionable material, creating radioactive material, using radioactive material, to boil water. The power doesn’t come from nuclear, the power comes from the water. Now, there are safer ways to boil water.” – Vandana Shiva, Ph. D., philosopher, world-renowned environmental thinker, activist, physicist, feminist, philosopher of science, writer & science policy advocate. Source of quote

“Electricity is but the fleeting byproduct of nuclear power. The actual product is forever deadly nuclear waste.” – Michael Keegan, long-time activist with Don’t Waste Michigan

“30 years after passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, 37 years after the repository search began, 55 years into commercial nuclear power, and 70 years after Fermi first split the atom during the Manhattan Project,the U.S. still has no safe, sound, permanent storage plan for high-level nuclear wastes.” – Kevin Kamps from Beyond Nuclear

“It’s delicate confronting these priests of the golden bull
They preach from the pulpit of the bottom line
Their minds rustle with million dollar bills
You say Silver burns a hole in your pocket
And Gold burns a hole in your soul
Well, uranium burns a hole in forever
It just gets out of control…” Song lyrics from Buffy Sainte Marie’s ‘The Priests of the Golden Bull

“Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations. To do otherwise is simply an immoral act, and that is my belief, both as a scientist and as a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.” – Dr Shoji Sawada

From May 2012 S. Club conf. in Washington, D.C.: David Freeman (former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority):

  • “Anyone who would substitute plutonium for carbon is an idiot.”

  • “We have to focus on the existing nuclear plants & kill them before they kill us.”

  • Regarding nuclear waste: “The trash man hasn’t come.”

  • “We ought to be alarmists because there is something to be alarmed about.”

  • “The NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] is giving out 20-year [nuclear plant license] extensions like they’re Valentines.”

  • On the NRC: “1 regulator & 4 industry stooges.”

  • Invites anti-nuclear activists to “Become rabble-rousers again!”

  • “We need the music of people being afraid of this.” (referring to nuclear energy)

  • “We can win this fight if we make it a fight!”

  • “We’re not talking enough about our successes.” (e.g., Texas, of all places, is doing hugely well with wind power. Why don’t we all know this??)

  • EON 23-minute YouTube interview w. Freeman: his “conversion” came after visiting Chernobyl in 1991. (includes his explanation of how nuclear energy is a “religion” to those in the industry + how it began as a guilt trip. Fascinating! Engineers: they have “a belief that is religious in nature in their technology…” Freeman btw is himself a civil engineer.)


Arnie Gundersen (From May 2012 S. Club conf. in Washington, D.C.)

  • “Engineers create one problem to solve another.”

  • “Eat your salmon now.” [because the radiation being poured into the ocean from the Fukushima site, which another speaker referred to as Chernobyl to the ocean, is going right into the aquatic food chain.]

  • “The people that are saying we need nuclear power & we have the technology to safely store nuclear waste for 250,000 years are the same ones who claim that we can’t use solar because we have no way to store the electricity overnight! If we have the technology to do one, we ought to be able to figure out the other.” Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Associates [I didn’t hear him say this at the conference, but it’s quoted on the Beyond Nuclear site today, the date I am recording the conf. quotes]


Also from that conference:


“Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation.”  day labourer in Japan who is working on clean-up in village 20 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

“Today no task is more pressing and noble, not only for a scientist, but also for any sober-minded individual, than to prevent nuclear insanity.” – Valery Legasov, head of the former Soviet delegation to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). He was upset over both the Chernobyl disaster & its handling at the IAEA & UN, & later took his life over it.

“The taxpayers of Canada should not bear the brunt of nuclear clean-up.”  John Morand, Port Hope citizen/lawyer

“We suspect we’re going to see more cancers, decreased fetal viability, decreased fertility, increased metabolic defects – and we expect them to be generational.” Dr. Dale Dewar, ED of Canadian ENGO Physicians for Global Survival, speaking about the effects of radiation on sea life as a result of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

“It’s hard to be delicate when you realize your friends and families are being sacrificed to allow the nuclear industry to prosper.” – Pat McNamara in Nuclear Genocide in Canada

“The profound and deliberate falsification of nuclear hazards began at the top.” – Robert Bothwell in his book Eldorado

“Unlike Ottawa, the U.S. recently declassified 250,000 documents on its atomic weapons and energy program, which reveal that government officials and scientists in both countries actively discussed uranium’s hazards in secret, yet publicly, they remained mute.” – Andrew Nikiforuk in his article ‘Uranium haunts a northern aboriginal village,’ Calgary Herald, March 14, 1998.

“There’s been new research documenting cancer & other health maladies in people who live near nuclear plants. Nuclear plants need not undergo an accident to kill. They emit “routine releases” of radioactivepoisons including xenon, krypton & tritium because nuclear plants are not sealed. Once, nuclear scientists spoke of a “threshold dose” of radiation & maintained that below that there was no harm. Now it is acknowledged that any amount of radioactivity can lead to illness & death. The Radiation & Public Health Project has documented rates of cancer significantly higher fordistances of up to 40 miles around nuclear plants.” – Karl Grossman, in the Preface to his book Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power (available free on-line)

“Recent research is showing that prolonged exposure to low-level radiation is more harmful than one exposure to a large dose as was the case in Hiroshima.”  Pat McNamara, author of Port Hope – Canada’s Nuclear Wasteland (page 43, Chapter 6).

“Dilution has never been, and will never be the solution for pollution!”  Dr. Rosalie Bertell, in a submission entitled “Health Effects of Tritium” to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission about tritium-spewing in Pembroke, Ontario

“The only nuclear reactor we need is 93 million miles away.”  Source unknown

“How do tritium spills happen in a CANDU nuclear station? It’s not rocket science; it’s plumbing. It’s pipes, & they leak.” – Jeff Brackett, tritium activist

“Renewables are by definition inexhaustible, so do not lead to the piling up of debts. They are also evenly spread: the wind is blowing almost everywhere, the sun is shining almost everywhere. In the end renewables are the quintessential democratic energy source.” But he warned: “The world economy is still locked into the wrong paradigm.” Energy costs are cut today by bequeathing debts to future generations he said. “We are exploiting the future by using the atmosphere as a waste dump.” – Prof. John Schellnhuber, one of the world’s most influential climate scientists

“Reflecting on the Lucky Dragon crew members three years after their encounter with radioactive fallout [in 1954 during ‘Operation Castle], Lapp observed: ‘The true striking power of the atom was revealed on the decks of the Lucky Dragon. When men a hundred miles from an explosion can be killed by the silent touch of the bomb, the world suddenly becomes too small a sphere for men to clutch the atom.’” – quoted in Killing Our Own – The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation, by Harvey Wasserman & Norman Solomon (1982), page 78.

“What I find as a physician is that the nuclear industry – be they physicists, engineers or businessmen – have no idea about radiation – the biological effects of radiation or radiation biology, and so they either lie or they confuse the public with various facts that they’ve gleaned but are irrelevant – & they don’t explain to the public properly what inhaling or eating internal emitters in their food or their air can do to their bodies.”  Dr. Helen Caldicott in “Knocking on the Devil’s Door”

“They can buy & sell politicians with our money, because we give them billions of dollars in subsidies. And with that billions of dollars in subsidies, they can make Congress get down on its knees & eat out of a dog food bowl.”  Greg Palast, author & investigator, quoted in “Knocking on the Devil’s Door”

“The problem of nuclear power is it’s not built on concrete, it’s built on lies.” – Greg Palast, author & investigator

“Nuclear power is neither safe, clean, cheap nor low-carbon and it continues to cause problems and cost the taxpayer a hidden and open-ended fortune. Let’s learn from our past mistakes and consign it to a lead-lined dustbin.” – Friends of the Earth Scotland (in response to an admission by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency that it “has abandoned its aim to remove all traces of contamination from the north coast seabed” at the Dounreay nuclear facility (closed down in 1993).

“I deeply regret believing in the security myth of nuclear power.” – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the Hiroshima Day commemorations

“Sure, you can say nuclear power is somewhat less carbon-intensive than burning fossil fuels for energy; beating your children to death with a club will prevent them from getting hit by a car. Ravaging the Earth by one irreparable means is not a sensible way to prevent it from being destroyed by another. There are alternatives. We should choose them and use them.” – Rebecca Solnit

“Paul McKay’s Atomic Accomplice provides the history, science, and economic background of the purveyors of nuclear fuel and reactors, and outlines global future energy options to wean ourselves from non-renewable sources. In the end, he is correct in pointing out that only one nuclear furnace – our Sun – is an energy source that is effectively endless, and can promote both peace and prosperity.” – David Suzuki, scientist & broadcaster

“When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead & you argue about what to do with it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atom bomb.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer (“father of the atomic bomb”)

“These pipes have more leaks than the Vancouver Canucks goaltending.” – U.S.Congressmen Edward J. Markey, referring to a report that 75% of nuclear reactor sites have leaky pipes

“The unleashed atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.” – Albert Einstein

“The phrase ‘spent fuel’ is one of those misleading terms that the nuclear industry is so fond of.  The “spent fuel” is millions of times more radioactive than fresh fuel.  When first removed from the reactor, a single spent fuel assembly can deliver a lethal dose of radiation in just a few seconds to any unshielded person within a metre or two.  In addition,each spent fuel assembly contains hundreds of different radioactive poisons which do not exist in the fresh fuel, but were created as unwanted byproducts inside the nuclear reactor.” – Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

“Nuclear power has died of an incurable attack of market forces and is way beyond any hope of revival, because the competitors are several fold cheaper and are getting rapidly more so. The competitors I mean are not other central power stations (coal or gas-fired, or big hydro); rather, they’re micropower and efficiency—the big market winners, already bigger than nuclear power worldwide in both capacity and output.”  Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.”  Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president

“The absurd belief that no one will be harmed by Fukushima is perhaps the strongest evidence of the pattern of deception and denial by nuclear officials in industry and government.”  Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project

“We’ve known about radioactive isotopes for decades. I worked for the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s and we knew about the effects then. To ignore the biology is to our peril. This is not new science. Cesium-137 goes to soft tissue. Strontium-90 goes to the bones and teeth. Iodine-131 goes to the thyroid gland.” All have been released in large amounts in the Fukushima disaster since it began on March 11.” – Dr. Janette Sherman

“Tritium is no big deal. All it can do is destroy a DNA molecule.” – a health physicist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1977 (find info on tritium here here here & here ++ Tritium Resources page w. even more links & some quotes about tritium here)

“…as an isotope of hydrogen (the cell’s most ubiquitous element), tritium can be incorporated into essentially all portions of the living machinery; and it is not innocuous – deaths have occurred in industry from occupational overexposure.”–R. Lowry Dobson MD, PhD: The toxicity of tritium 1979

“Nobody Can Undo the Doo Doo from a Candu, let alone contain it. “Tritium, the radioactive sibling of hydrogen, is created by fissioning inside a CANDU reactor. They use heavy water. Heavy water then becomes radioactive water. Chemically there is no way to separate radioactive water from stable water. Because Lake Ontario water provides the coolant water, it becomes populated with radioactive water before it is released back into the Lake. Lake Ontario is now a tritium dump.” ~ Tim Seitz [note: lots of information about tritium at the Tritium Awareness Project Web site]

“Sooner or later, in any foolproof system, the fools will exceed the proofs.”  – Arnie Gundersen

“Usually one does not recognize historic moments if one is too close to them. It’s a label that should be used sparingly in any case. But this is one: An industrialized country now has a roadmap for switching to a sustainable energy supply, moving beyond dangerous and expensive nuclear power and dirty coal. That has never happened before. It is a step in the right direction — and the world is watching.” – In an editorial titled “A Moment Like the Fall of the Berlin Wall,” the left-leaning Die Tageszeitungwrites about Germany’s plan to shut down all their nuclear power plants by 2022

“Is the minor convenience of allowing the present generation the luxury of doubling its energy consumption every 10 years’ worth the major hazard of exposing the next 20,000 generations to this lethal waste?” – David Brower

“Europe is burning down financially from the outside in while the monster that was known as the global economy lies gasping on the rocky shore of Fukushima.” – James Howard Kunstler

“Nuclear power is safe only if no Act of God is permitted.” – Nobel-prize-winning physicist Hannes Alfven, 1972

“Fukushima has raised, once again, the perennial questions about human fallibility and human frailty, about human hubris and man’s arrogance in thinking he can control nature. The earthquakes, the tsunami, the meltdown at Japan’s nuclear power plant are nature’s reminders of her power… Alternatives to nuclear energy are thousand times more abundant and million times less risky. To push nuclear plants after Fukushima is pure insanity.”  – Vandana Shiva

“We know we face extinction if nuclear war ever begins. But we face the same extinction even if the bombs never fall.  The production alone of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons is initiating the death crisis of our species.” – Dr. Rosalie Bertell

“After last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico & now the Fukushima Daiichi ‘‘gempatsu shinsai,’’ people must realize that business as usual is not an option. To claim that nuclear energy has a future represents a colossal failure of our collective imagination—a failure to imagine the risks involved & a failure to imagine how we could do things differently. If future generations are to say that there was a silver lining to the cloud of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, it will be because human beings now looked beyond their recent history and chose to build a society that was not subject to catastrophic risks of human making.” – Philip White Tokyo-based Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center

“New nuclear build is uneconomic and unnecessary, so we need not debate whether it is also proliferative and dangerous. In a world of fallible and malicious people, it is actually both, but even after 60 years’ immense subsidies and devoted effort, nuclear power still cannot clear the first two hurdles—competitiveness and need. End of story.”– Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

“The risks of transporting deadly nuclear waste, the environmental justice impacts and the long-term health effects are untenable…We cannot afford to be silent on these important issues.” ~ James Cromwell

“Anyone who has one iota of a brain or humility could only conclude that nuclear power is insane!” – Anne Hansen

“Nuclear is on tax-subsidized life support in Canada: somebody needs to pull the plug and let nature run its course. Nuclear has had its turn, and we’re still paying for it. It’s time to get back to programs that work: that have fully disclosed costs with no hidden subsidies, and that are reasonable, that can be built in a reasonable time, maintained with finite costs that will end, and that don’t continue to cost us money after they’ve been decommissioned. We need much more conservation, and much more renewable energy.” – Derek Satnik, Mindscape Innovations

“Any technology needs to be evaluated in terms of long-term sustainability. Nuclear is the most totalitarian kind of energy because you are making decisions for people who have not been consulted – people who are not yet born.” – Alternative Nobel Prize winner Raul Montenegro

“No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows how to make “safe” and which remain an incalculable danger to the whole of creation for historical or even geological ages. To do such a thing is a transgression against life itself, a transgression infinitely more serious than any crime ever perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilisation could sustain itself on the basis of such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economic affairs of man as if people really did not matter at all.” – E.F. Schumacher, 1911-1977

“On top of the perennial challenges of global poverty and injustice, the two biggest threats facing human civilization in the 21st century are climate change and nuclear war. It would be absurd to respond to one by increasing the risks of the other.” – Dr Mark Diesendorf, author of Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy

“You can guarantee that mining uranium will lead to nuclear waste. You can’t guarantee that mining uranium will not lead to nuclear weapons.” – Anthony Albanese, Australian Labour Party, quoted in New York Times, Aug. 2, 2006

“Nuclear power results in up to 25 times more carbon emissions than wind energy, when reactor construction and uranium refining and transport are considered.” – Scientific American [note: had to go chasing the source of this quote. Best item I could find is here ]

“What we’re seeing is a well-orchestrated international public relations campaign by a very desperate nuclear industry… I think it is really important to realize that there is an element of stampeding the herd in the direction of nuclear power, when in fact it may be a cliff we are heading to, not a bridge to the future.” ~ Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

“Authorizing construction of new nuclear reactors without first constructing a radioactive waste disposal facility is like authorizing construction of a new Sears Tower without bathrooms.” ~ Dave Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service

“Uranium is the raw material of a power-elite who has taken Mother Earth’s every living creature hostage.” ~ The late Petra Kelly, German Green Party

“Independent researchers have calculated that, in terms of carbon emissions avoided per dollar spent, nuclear is among the most expensive options, taking lifetime costs into account, not the cheapest. And of course the nuclear waste issue has not yet been resolved.” ~ Trevor Findlay, author of “The Future of Nuclear Energy to 2030 and its Implications for Safety, Security and Non-Proliferation”

“Increasing the risk of nuclear war brings us back to climate change. Recent scientific research details the climatic impacts of nuclear warfare. The use of 100 weapons in nuclear warfare — just 0.03 per cent of the explosive power of the world’s nuclear arsenal — would result directly in catastrophic climate change with many millions of tonnes of black, sooty smoke lofted high into the stratosphere. Needless to say the social and environmental impacts would be horrendous.” – Scott Ludlam

“Whether we like it or not, we all live near nuclear power plants. The mining of uranium and its processing and usage raises the background levels of radioactivity and this causes genetic damage worldwide. The good news is that nuclear is too expensive and too slow and the P.R fiction of the so-called “nuclear renaissance” put out by the industry will never happen. Real clean renewable energy will bypass the reactors, Obama’s political decision notwithstanding.” ~ Wolfe Erlichman

“Nuclear power grew out of the nuclear weapons program, and the nuclear fuel cycle still produces the elements — uranium and plutonium — which can be used to make nuclear weapons or radioactive “dirty bombs.”The nuclear industry argues that any nation or terrorist does not need a nuclear power plant to make a bomb, they just need uranium enrichment.This is true.However, the only “legitimate” reason to enrich uranium is to use it in a nuclear power plant. The continued promotion and sale worldwide of “civilian” nuclear reactors thus gives nations the excuse to operate uranium enrichment programs, as we have seen in Iran.” ~ Craig Severance

“While most world leaders are seeking an exit strategy from the atomic arms race, Canada is underwriting an encore. It is still selling essentially unsafeguardable reactors, increasing global flows of uranium, and even undermining the Non-Proliferation Treaty by courting countries like India which flaunt non-proliferation efforts.” ~ Paul McKay, author of “Atomic Accomplice: How Canada Deals in Deadly Deceit.” Read Paul’s latest piece entitled “Nuclear Power: the Proliferation Problem,” published online here

“If a Secretary of Agriculture endorsed better meat inspection, you wouldn’t have a debate of near religious fervor about whether that person was pro- or anti-meat, whether he had sold out to the vegetarians. You’d debate whether the stricter regulations made sense. It’s somehow unique to nuclear power that, when one refuses to have nuclear power on the industry’s terms, one gets chucked into a bin labeled ‘anti-nuclear.’ ” ~ Peter A. Bradford, former Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. March 9, 1982

“Many believe that a responsible approach to sharply reducing global warming pollution would involve a significant increase in the use of nuclear power plants as a substitute for coal-fired generators. While I am not opposed to nuclear power and expect to see some modest increased use of nuclear reactors, I doubt that they will play a significant role in most countries as a new source of electricity. The main reason for my skepticism about nuclear power playing a much larger role in the world’s energy future is not the problem of waste disposal or the danger of reactor operator error, or the vulnerability to terrorist attack. Let’s assume for the moment that all three of these problems can be solved. That still leaves two serious issues that are more difficult constraints. The first is economics; the current generation of reactors is expensive, take a long time to build, and only come in one size – extra large. In a time of great uncertainty over energy prices, utilities must count on great uncertainty in electricity demand – and that uncertainty causes them to strongly prefer smaller incremental additions to their generating capacity that are each less expensive and quicker to build than are large 1000 megawatt light water reactors. Newer, more scalable and affordable reactor designs may eventually become available, but not soon. Secondly, if the world as a whole chose nuclear power as the option of choice to replace coal-fired generating plants, we would face a dramatic increase in the likelihood of nuclear weapons proliferation. During my 8 years in the White House, every nuclear weapons proliferation issue we dealt with was connected to a nuclear reactor program. Today, the dangerous weapons programs in both Iran and North Korea are linked to their civilian reactor programs. Moreover, proposals to separate the ownership of reactors from the ownership of the fuel supply process have met with stiff resistance from developing countries who want reactors. As a result of all these problems, I believe that nuclear reactors will only play a limited role.” – Al Gore, Sept. 19, 2006.

“The reason why the nuclear industry talks about a nuclear renaissance is because they’re still in the Dark Ages.” – Dr. Gordon Edwards

“Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water!” ~ Albert Einstein

“The NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the U.S.] is overly sympathetic to the commercial reactor operators. This is not surprising; government agencies are often advocates for certain commercial interests.” – David Michaels in his book Doubt is Their Product – How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” – Thomas Sowell

“It’s not really fair to ask for an objective opinion from anyone who has a vested interest in what they’re selling.” – Alan Cassels, pharmaceutical policy researcher, in an article in August 2014 Common Ground magazine  

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ‘til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” – Thomas Edison (1847–1931)

Government is the Entertainment Division of the military-industrial complex.” – Frank Zappa