Pickering Hearing - Gofman Tribute

p.s. on Aug.6/13: Listen here to Fairewinds Associates Arnie Gundersen share his remarks at the Pickering relicencing hearing. Theme? 40 years & 1 bad day. *******

Still "down the rabbit hole" at the Pickering relicensing hearing (thank goodness it's the final day!?).

I'm hearing nonsense about "safety" being bandied about by the industry. Nuclear energy safe in any possible respect?? Give me strength (it's not about safety, & never has been -- it's all-all-all about centralized control & money money money. The industry makes HUGE profits every day of the week, & it bribes its bigshot employees with astronomical salaries. Don't trust me on that; check out the Sunshine List!)

Got remembering all the awesome quotations of Dr. John Gofman - a brilliant, dedicated long-time foe of nuclear power (who began his career as part of it, btw -- his story is a very interesting one!)

So. Enjoy these brilliant quotations lifted from Gofman's book Irrevy (there is a blog page of these quotations 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, 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 oftheir 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.  inIrrevy” – 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>

(This long item about screwers & screwees is also posted on my blog here )

“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>