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MIR Earth Tumble & Space Nuclear Power

Wednesday, 14 March 2001, 5:44 pm




Contact: Dr. Michio Kaku (
Professor Karl Grossman (631) 725-2858

Two leading experts on the space program are warning that the impending Russian MIR space station reentry to Earth orbit should cause global concern about launching nuclear power into space.

Dr. Michio Kaku (Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Graduate Center, CUNY) and Karl Grossman (Professor of Journalism, SUNY) both have years of experience monitoring and writing about the space program and working to stop the use of nuclear power in space. Both Kaku and Grossman serve on the Board of Directors of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

According to Dr. Kaku, "No one knows precisely where the MIR space station, like a fiery meteorite, will crash into the earth around March 20, shattering into 1,500 fragments. Forty tons of debris will survive re-entry but no one knows where it will land."

"This is a grim reminder that we are playing Russian roulette with the cities of the Earth. Back in 1978 the Russian Cosmos 954 nuclear-powered satellite also plunged to Earth, releasing 100 pounds of highly enriched uranium. If Cosmos 954 had sprayed debris over populated land, it would have created a catastrophe of nightmarish proportions. Fortunately, it landed in the tundra of northwest Canada."

Said Karl Grossman, "Isaac Newton remains correct: what goes up, usually comes down. We can't continue to willy-nilly send space nuclear devices up, and then cross-our-fingers and hope they don't land on a population center."

Since the creation of the space age the U.S. and Russia have launched 68 known nuclear devices. To date nine have fallen back to Earth. Thirty-four of these nuclear reactor cores are still orbiting Earth and are expected to eventually fall back, burning up on reentry.

Grossman reminds us that, "In 1996 the Russian Mars space probe, with plutonium onboard, fell to Earth. First the U.S. Space Command said it would fall on Australia. Finally, the probe broke apart over the Chile - Bolivia border."

NASA and the Department of Energy (DoE) are now embarking on an expansion of plutonium production for space nuclear power. DoE recently announced that they will build new space plutonium production facilities at Oak Ridge labs (Tennessee) and INEL (Idaho) to meet the "growing demand for space nuclear power."

NASA plans call for nuclear powered rovers on Mars, nuclear powered mining colonies on the Moon and Mars, and nuclear powered rockets to Mars. The Air Force is considering the use of nuclear power for the space-based laser, now under development as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program. The next NASA nuclear mission is set for 2003.

Grossman and Kaku call for a global ban on launching nuclear power into space. The MIR space station reentry, they remind us, is a warning that nuclear powered space accidents will happen and that they will spread deadly radioactive poisons globally and could create hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Grossman and Kaku will be featured speakers at the Global Network's National Space Organizing Conference in Huntsville, Alabama on March 16-18. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is now developing the nuclear rocket.

Grossman is author of "The Wrong Stuff" and Kaku wrote the best selling "Hyperspace" and "Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century."

Check the Global Network website for more information:

- END -

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space PO Box 90083 Gainesville, FL. 32607 (352) 337-9274

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