Nuclear Propulsion Neg

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Accidents !

A nuclear propulsion accident would spread radiation across the entire planet
Grossman 10 (Karl, prof of journalism at the State U of New York, Jun 25, [] AD: 7-7-11, jam)

Plutonium-238 has been used to generate electricity on space probes and rovers and also satellites. But in 1964 a satellite with a plutonium-fueled generator, after failing to achieve orbit, fell to Earth, breaking up as it hit the atmosphere and dispersing 2.1 pounds of Pu-238 from its SNAP -- (for Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power) 9A system. A study by a group of European health and radiation protection agencies reported that "a worldwide soil sampling program in 1970 showed SNAP-9A debris present at all continents and at all latitudes." Dr. John Gofman, professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley, long linked that fall-out to an increase of lung cancer on Earth. The accident caused NASA to pioneer the use of solar panels on satellites. NASA still used Pu-238 for space probes claiming there was no alternative -- even when there was. For example, NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) insisted, including in court testimony, that there was no choice but plutonium power on the Galileo mission to Jupiter launched in 1989. Subsequently, through the Freedom of Information Act, I obtained a study done by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory finding that solar panels could have worked. Currently, NASA is preparing to send its Juno space probe to Jupiter next year -- and it's to get all its on board electricity from solar panels. Rovers have also used solar panels. Still, in a report titled "Start-up Plan for Plutonium-238 Production for Radioisotope Power Systems" just sent to Congress, the DOE, noting it was acting "consistent with the President's request," is calling for a return of Pu-238 production by the U.S. Nine space missions which DOE says need Pu-238-generated electricity are listed. This includes the Mars Science Laboratory, the name given to a rover to be launched in November, and other missions to the Moon, Mars and other planets through 2030. The report proposes that Pu-238 be produced at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory. "DOE's preliminary cost range estimate to implement this Pu-238 production scheme is $75-90 million," it says. The total for the fiscal year 2011 is $30 million. Facilities in the U.S. for making plutonium-238 have been closed and the nation since 1992 has been purchasing it from Russia. The processing of plutonium-238, an especially hot variant of plutonium, itself the most toxic radioactive substance known, led to worker contamination and environmental pollution here.
The plan causes nuclear accidents to be inevitable – isn’t necessary and kills thousands

Grossman 97 (Karl, Journalism prof @ the State U of NY and author of "Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed To Know About Nuclear Power”, 2/3/97, JPG

While getting into position to make a low-level (186-mile high), high-speed (33,000 miles an hour) "flyby" of the Earth, the Galileo plutonium-fueled space probe has gone out of whack. The probe, which is supposed to send us information about Jupiter and its moons, unexpectedly shut down all but in essential functions in late March. It took the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 13 days to fix that. Then NASA ordered the probe to unfurl its main communications antenna. But the antenna wouldn't unfurl. Next, on May 2, all but essential functions were lost again. NASA blames the March and May malfunctions on a "stray electronic signal." It still can't figure out why the antenna isn't working. Galileo, with its 50 pounds of plutonium aboard - theoretically enough to give a lethal dose of lung cancer to everyone on Earth - will be buzzing our planet in December, 1992. This "slingshot maneuver" is designed to use the Earth's gravity to give Galileo the velocity to get to Jupiter. It is to be hoped that there will be no foul-ups in Galileo'a functioning then, causing it to make what is called an "Earth-impacting trajectory." With the probe just above the Earth's atmosphere on the flyby, it would take only a small malfunction to cause it to drop and disintegrate, showering plutonium down on Earth. The United States is proceeding rapidly with the nuclearization of space, and the threat we face from Galileo is the kind of danger we will be undergoing constantly if we allow the government to continue to send nuclear hardware into space. If we tolerate Chernobyls in the sky, deadly accidents will be inevitable. Yet this risk is unnecessary. The potential catastrophes are avoidable. After Galileo was launched in 1989, I received, under the Freedom of Information Act, NASA-funded studies declaring that nuclear power was not necessary to generate electricity on the Galileo mission; solar energy would do. The plutonium on board Galileo is being used not for propulsion but as fuel in generators providing a mere 560 watts of electricity for the probe's instruments - electricity that could be produced instead by solar energy. A decade ago NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory concluded: "A Galileo Jupiter-orbiting mission could be performed with a concentrated photovoltaic solar array [panels converting sunlight to electricity] power source without changing the mission sequence or impacting science objectives." Five years ago, another JPL study said that it would take only two to three years to build the alternative solar-power source. Still another JPL report stressed that using the sun for power would cost less than using plutonium. It is humanity's destiny to explore the heavens, but what a folly it will be if in doing this, we needlessly cause the deaths of tens of thousands of people and contaminate the Earth with deadly plutonium.

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