Mr. Mark Dahl,
Office of Space Science
United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, D.C. 20546
10 March 1999
Dear Mr. Dahl:
Please send me the environmental assessment and safety analysis for the Cassini mission that was sent to the United Nations on 2 June 1997. I believe this information might not have contained the results of the Nuclear Safety Review Panel appointed to study the safety of Cassini. The panel comprised representatives from the U.S. EPA, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Defense, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and NASA. In its July 1997 Safety Evaluation Report (SER), the panel noted at least three major discrepancies with what NASA has been claiming all along to this day!
(1) The most astounding error is that NASA claimed the Plutonium containers were "designed to withstand re-entry" into our atmosphere. In fact, the SER noted, these holders were NOT designed to withstand the heat of an accidental re-entry at the planned speed of 42,300 mph (64,000 km).
(2) NASA claimed that almost none of the Plutonium could become airborne in any accident. In contrast, the SER noted that nine kilograms could become airborne in respirable form, the only hazardous state.
(3) NASA estimated that in the event of an accident the Plutonium could cause 120 fatal cancers. The SER estimates that "tens of thousands" such deaths could result from a major accident.
This information is referred to in the enclosure, "The Cassini Gamble." I have also enclosed an Emergency Resolution that concerned citizens of the world are presenting to nations to stop a tremendous danger to us all, and if Cassini flies by without a mishap, then we are concerned with future launches planned containing dangerous amounts of plutonium for RTGs and weapons of mass destruction. It make sense to stop the arms race before we destroy the well being of the human species. Then you would find myself and many others supporting the projects of NASA with pride and appreciation.