- New U.S. devices will better detect nuclear tests
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998
Subject: The Rest of The Story!
This article is choice, and one I cannot help but respond to. It is too good an example of so many things, issues, and history, yet will receive so little attention.
First off is the obvious. How can these devices work at all since the AEC/ERDA/DOE/etc have always told us underground tests don't leak radioactivity? So how can there be any to measure? Or is it just "those peoples" tests that leak, never ours? Humorous, but revealing.
Next comes the real darkside of all this. These new devices are not new. They are only the current incarnation of a government AEC/USAF/CIA program dating back to the earliest days of the atmoic age and a program that directly affected hundred of thousands of people adversely from exposures to massive releases of I-131 and other short lived isotopes. Next to the bomb tests themselves, this program of detecting tell-tale gasses from nuclear exposions and from the production of plutonium for their construction, ranks next in line for the source of radiation exposure to people and all life everywhere on Earth. !
The health of hundreds of thousands were put on the sacrifical alter for these devices and their descendants! And it is still eaiser to get the facts about the bomb test fallout than it is to get the facts on the radiation releases involved with the detection program.
Let's take a little historical stroll down memory lane on this one and see where it leads. Let's start with the second largest incident (The Nevada Test Site being number 1) of radiation exposure to American citizens from Cold War nuclear activities -- Hanford's infamous "green runs". From Hanford over 750,000 curries of Iodine 131 were released into the atmosphere exposing hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens in three states -- Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Why? Because of some type of carelessness or accident? No. Simply to see if high flying U.S. spy aircraft could detect the radiation released at ground level so they could get a figure on how much plutonium the Russians were producing in THEIR facilities similar to Hanford. No other reason!
The Soviets were playing hurry-up and catch-up with us in the just-begun arms race. One way they were trying to catch-up was taking the irriadated fuel of their plutonium production reactors directly from the reactor to their reprocessing plants to extract the plutonium, instead of first letting them set in holding pools until the highly radioactive short half-life isotopes decayed. They were extracting plutonium from "green" fuel. It was dangerous and it was dirty. And it released loads of radioactive materials into the surrounding environment.
So the thinking went that if we could detect the very small traces of those radioactive isotopes present at the super-high altitudes with our spy planes (like the U-2 then under development), and had sufficent reliable data to compare it with, we could figure out how much plutonium the Soviets were producing and how many warheads they were producing. Trouble was we needed that reliable data, which could only come from conducting "green runs" of our own, and sampling the radioactivity released from it at spy plane allitudes and correlate it with how much actual plutonium we recoved from our "green runs".
There was only one little obstacle to consider in doing this and that was the people living downwind. But it was decided to simply not consider it. In essence, screw the downwinders as getting the green run data was all the people in charge truly cared about.
Hence, Hanford Downwinders are downwinders simply because the AEC/CIA/USAF needed data! Data to make the first generation of sniffing devices work! Nothing more!
The next big source of radiation releases was INEEL. There too the bulk of the Iodine 131 off-site releases, as well as those of other similar short term isotopes, came about for the purpose of making better sniffers and better refining the technology for our U-2s to spy on the Soviets.
And this is why to this day, we can eaisly find out more about off-site radiation releases from the Nevada Bomb Tests than we can from Hanford and especially INEEL. Those remain classified national security and require a "Q" clearence to read. Because of the off-site radiation doses the public received? No, because nobody wants to allow the public to learn the full truth of those spy programs the releases provided the data for!
And when you get into those spy programs you have truly reached Pandora's Box and see both why they continue to hide behind national security and classification of anything that might expose the truth to the light of day. And you also can see why that truth must come out. Further, the exposures are behind the whole question of what we found over Russia, the hiding from the American public of the 1957 Kyskum waste explosion, the fact that there was no missile gap, and then an even worse stench. The stench of the May 1, 1960 shooting down of Francis Gary Powers's U-2 and the wrecking of Eisenhower's Crusade for Peace summit meeting days later that would have produced a Test-ban. And with that we arrive at the specter of such as Lee Harvey Oswald, the whole Cuba mess, E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, James McCord and shades of their involvement in the darkest moments of our post-WWII history.
So now we have a new high-flying spy plane sniffer. How many Americans has it killed or doomed to death? And perhaps since they have a new sniffer, shouldn't we at least do, and demand, some new sniffing of our own? Like sniffing out the whole lethal and stinking truth behind this program and all that has gone on, and all that has rained down with it and from it?
J Truman Downwinders