Irrevy: Gofman Quotes

Yesterday’s post was about “screwers & screwees,” with lengthy explanation from the brilliant John W. Gofman book “Irrevy” - An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power (published in 1979 by the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility) as to how things really function on our planet.

As I said, it ain’t a pretty picture – but it’s ... bracing! (Elizabeth Cady Stanton said “Truth is the only safe ground to stand on,” & I’m kinda with her on that.)

A few more gems from the book:

“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.” <page 125>

(I can say with confidence that this is equally true of nuclear hearings here in Canada, btw. Brilliant & determined activists (some of them scientists themselves) spend many hours doing research & writing wildly intelligent “interventions” for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Almost 80 such submissions were made last Fall in Ottawa on the issue of the preposterous Bruce Power proposal to ship radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes & Atlantic Ocean & Baltic & North Seas to Sweden for “recycling” – yet the CNSC in its infinite wisdom simply ignored all this well-informed testimony & gave its OK to the shipment! (Lots of postings about this issue here on this blog.) Darlington hearings no different (postings here). You can beat your head bloody trying to defeat nuclear proposals, but almost invariably, no one in a position of power is really listening).

More Gofman:

On air shipments of plutonium-oxide into New York City (yikes!?) & how a health physicist for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) argued that the odds were good that a crash would not kill everyone in NYC (good of him, wasn’t it??). Congress wound up stopping the practice (this was back when Gerald Ford was President). Gofman comment: “Occasionally, even Congress comes to life if the idiocy of a situation is sufficient.” <page 46> Ahem.

On nukes, asbestos & lead: “I mentioned earlier that the nuclear power advocates often ask why they are singled out and not allowed to help destroy the planet, since others are permitted to do so. They could point out that lead and asbestos can also irreversibly poison the surface of the planet where life is sustained. In this, they would be correct, for these substances are not bio-degradable, and their half-lives are infinite. Are asbestos and lead indispensable for the good life? I have the distinct impression that we may be able to do without them too.” <pages 172-3>

I could add tons of pithy (& funny!) Gofman gems, but hey! It’s time for a walk – & as my sister says, “If I’m sane at all, it’s because I walk.”


p.s. you can find some more great Gofman quotes in the Nuke Quotes section.