Risking the World: Nuclear Proliferation in Space

by Karl Grossman

Karl Grossman, Professor of American Studies at the State Universitv of New York has written extensively on nuclear issues. He is the author of "Power Crazy" (New York: Grove Press, 1986) and "Cover Up: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power" (Sag Harbor, N.Y.: Permanent Press, 1980). He wrote and narrated the 1995 TV documentary: "Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens".

Despite enormous danger, huge expense, and a clear alternative--solar power--the US government is pushing ahead with the deployment of nuclear technology in space. In October 1997, NASA plans to launch the Cassini probe to Saturn. Carrying 72.3 pounds of plutonium-238 fuel--the largest amount of plutonium ever used in space, the probe will sit atop a Lockheed Martin-built Titan IV rocket. This same kind of rocket has undergone a series of mishaps including a 1993 explosion in California soon after take-off which destroyed a $1 billion spy satellite system and sent its fragments falling into the Pacific Ocean.

Space News, the space industry trade newspaper, reported that "the high risk and cost of the Cassini mission to Saturn troubled NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin so much that he would cancel the program if it were not so important to planetary science. (1)

But it is not science alone that is driving the project or causing scientists, politicians, and the military to discount the risks. NASA Chief Scientist Frances Cordova acknowledges that the Titan IV "does not have a 100 per cent success rate" and admits that using it for Cassini "is truly putting all your eggs in one basket--your 18 instruments on one firecracker." She says, "We can't fail with that mission. It would be very, very, damaging for the agency." (2)

To say nothing of the Earth and the life on it if something goes wrong. Plutonium has long been described by scientists as the most toxic substance known. It is "so toxic," says Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, "that less than one millionth of a gram is a carcinogenic dose. One pound, if uniformly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung cancer in every person on Earth." (3)

In addition to the specter of radioactivity spread by an accident on launch, another, potentially more lethal, scenario is causing concern. Because Cassini does not have the propulsion power to get directly from Earth to Saturn, NASA plans a "slingshot maneuver" in which the probe will circle Venus twice and hurtle back at Earth. It will then buzz the Earth in August 1999 at 42,300 miles per hour just 312 miles above the surface. After whipping around Earth and using its gravity, Cassini would then have the velocity, says NASA, to reach Saturn. But during that Earth fly-by, if Cassini comes in too close, it could burn up in the 75 mile-high atmosphere and disperse plutonium across the planet.

Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of nuclear physics at the City University of New York, explains the catastrophic consequence of such a fly-by accident:

"[If] there is a small misfire [of Cassini's] rocket system, it will mean that [it] will penetrate into the Earth's atmosphere and the sheer friction will begin to wipe out the heat shield and it will, like a meteor, flame into the Earth's atmosphere ... This thing, coming into the Earth's atmosphere will vaporize, release the payload and then particles of plutonium dioxide will begin to rain down on populated areas, if that is where the system is going to be hitting. [Pulverized plutonium dust] will rain down on people's hair, people's clothing, get into people's bodies. And because it is not water soluble, there is a very good chance that it could be inhaled and stay within the body causing cancer over a number of decades." (4)

Indeed, NASA says in its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission, that if an "inadvertent reentry occurred" during the fly-by, approximately five billion of the seven to eight billion people on Earth, "could receive 99 percent or more of the radiation exposure." (5) As for the death toll, which NASA labels "health effects," the agency says that only 2,300 deaths "could occur over a 50-year period to this exposed population" and these "latent cancer fatalities" would likely be "statistically indistinguishable from normally occurring cancer fatalities among the world population." (6)

However, after reviewing the data in the NASA report, Dr. Ernest Sternglass, professor emeritus of radiological physics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, concluded that NASA "underestimate[s] the cancer alone by about 2,000 to 4,000 times. Which means that not counting all the other causes of death--infant mortality, heart disease, immune deficiency diseases and all that--we're talking in the order of ten to twenty million extra deaths." The actual death toll, then, the physicist warned, may be as high as 30 to 40 million people. (7)

Dr. Horst Poehler, for 22 years a scientist for NASA contractors at the Kennedy Space Center, commented on the Cassini mission: "Remember the old Hollywood movies when a mad scientist would risk the world to carry out his particular project? Well, those mad scientists have moved to NASA." (8)

Ignored Options

Madder yet is that the deadly plutonium on Cassini is unnecessary. It will be used not for propulsion--that will be done by a chemically-fueled rocket--but to power three radioisotope thermal generators (RTGs) to generate a modest 745 watts of electricity to run instruments--a task that could be accomplished with solar energy. In 1994, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced a "technology milestone"--development of new high performance silicon solar cells with 25 percent efficiency. According to ESA, the cells have "the highest efficiency ever reached worldwide, ... [and] could profitably be used in deep space missions." (9) "If given the money to do the work, within five years [ESA] could have solar cells ready to power a space mission to Saturn," said ESA physicist Carla Signorini. (10)

But NASA, the Department of Energy's (DoE) national nuclear laboratories, and the corporations that have been involved in producing nuclear hardware for space mission insist on sticking with nuclear on Cassini.

Russian Roulette

While refusing to embrace European technology for Cassini, with the end of the Cold War, the US chose Russian-made reactors for other space activities. (11) The Air Force is currently ground-testing six Russian Topaz II nuclear reactors--originally purchased for use in the Strategic Defense Initiative or Star Wars--at its Phillips Laboratory in New Mexico. A flight test scheduled for December 1990 was postponed after complaints from US astronomers.

The members of the governing council of the American Astronomical Society "emphasized they were not opposing the mission or the use of nuclear reactors in space.... Instead, they wanted to put pressure on" the government to use a "more powerful rocket" that would put the reactor into a higher orbit to avoid any interference with current or planned astronomy missions." (12) Astronomical interference could occur because Topaz II "would leave a trail of nuclear particles." (13)

In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing ...

In fact, the Topaz II reactor could leave more than that. According to a Sandia National Laboratories' safety report, if an accident occurs on launch and the reactor falls into the water, it could undergo a runaway nuclear reaction; if it falls from orbit it "may break up on reentry." (14) Physicist Ned S. Rasor, who has worked on US space reactor development, argues that because Topaz II "will go critical--meaning an uncontrolled nuclear reaction--if immersed in water; [it] is therefore unsafe for launch according to both US and Russian safety standards." Also, he points out that "no Topaz II system has been operated in space." (15)

While the lack of actual experience in space worries Rasor, those interested in the military potential of space are eager to start testing in the field. Proponents of orbiting battle platforms for Star Wars look to reactors like Topaz II as a future power source for hypervelocity guns, particle beams, and laser weapons on battle platforms. (16) As Lt. Gen. James Abrahamson, head of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, warned the Fifth Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion in 1988, "Without reactors in orbit [there is] going to be a long, long light cord that goes down to the surface of the Earth" bringing up power. Abrahamson said: "Failure to develop nuclear power in space could cripple efforts to deploy anti-missile sensors and weapons in orbit.'' (17)

Indeed, Star Wars as conceived by the US national nuclear laboratories and military has had a large nuclear component. Work proceeded secretly through the 1980s, at a cost of $800 million, on development of rockets propelled by nuclear power to loft "giant weapons and other military payloads into space." (18) From the start, scientists calculated the risk in lives and took the gamble. A flight-test of a nuclear rocket, code-named Timberwind, was planned, mostly across Antarctica to avoid areas of human population, but the route also took the rocket over New Zealand. Sandia National Laboratories projected the likelihood of the atomic rocket crashing there at 1 in 2,325. (19)

Clinton Carries On

Despite some expectations that the Clinton administration would put an end to the Reagan/Bush administrations' vision of Star Wars, it has continued to budget $3 billion annually for the endeavor. And a 1993 White House policy statement asserted that "space nuclear power and propulsion systems can contribute to scientific, commercial and national security space missions." (20)

Later that year, the Department of Energy placed a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it sought to "fund research and development studies directed at ... identifying innovative approaches using nuclear reactor power and propulsion systems for potential future NASA, DoD, and commercial space activities.'' (21) Not to be outdone, the Republican congressional majority under Newt Gingrich has been seeking a major Star Wars revival as promised in its "Contract With America." And former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is demanding a revived "missile defense." In fact, since the end of the Cold War, the biggest change in the program has been in name: from the Strategic Defense Initiative to Ballistic Missile Defense.

The commitment to nuclearize space continues. Last year, Terry Lash, director of the Energy Department's Office of Nuclear Energy, told the subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations that the "purpose" of his agency's "Space and Defense Power Systems program is to produce radioisotope power systems for US civilian space missions and national security terrestrial missions. Radioisotope power systems have been used for three decades and are proven, reliable, and maintenance-free power supplies that are capable of producing up to several kilowatts of electricity for tens of years.... Radioisotope power systems are the cornerstone of the Nation's space nuclear energy program.... In addition, the program provides support for terrestrial Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator applications for national security missions." (22)

Nuclear technology is being incorporated into a wide variety of scientific and military space projects. Among them:

- Sandia National Laboratories is embarking on a project to develop nuclear-powered satellites to transmit "high-definition, multichannel television" signals. It is intended to be a pathway to make the US a global telecommunications superpower, and would pair controversial space nuclear power with entertainment and communications on demand. Sandia's Roger X. Leonard, who unveiled the project at the 11th Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion in Albuquerque in 1994, said a "constellation of five such satellites, powered by high-energy reactors and strategically located in orbit around the Earth" could be in place by 2000. He dismissed concerns about using nuclear technology in space, exclaiming: "Look, space already is highly radioactive." (23)

- NASA is planning to launch a pair of plutonium-fueled space probes for a mission to Pluto in 1999.

- NASA intends to have a plutonium-powered heating system on board the Mars Pathfinder which is scheduled for launch this December.

- The US Air Force has been studying the use of nuclear reactors to "provide power and propulsion for military satellites." The "bi-modal" nuclear spacecraft would serve both as a "propulsion system and for electric power." (24)

- What Space News described as "an aerospace industry alliance" of seven companies, including Lockheed Martin and a Russian firm, has come up with a scheme to build a "high powered" nuclear communications satellite. (25)

Meanwhile, NASA is moving ahead with plans for a nuclear-powered colony on the moon.

Not Over My Planet

As the number and variety of programs increases, so does the potential for disaster. A worldwide coalition is challenging the use of nuclear power in space: The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space was formed et a meeting in Washington, D.C., in 1992. Bruce Gagnon, one of the coalition's co-coordinators, declared:

Our concern is that the United States military and major weapons corporations view space as a new market, ultimately to profit from. They are using taxpayers' dollars to put a new round of the arms race in space. At the same time the nuclear power industry views space as its new market, a place where they can put plutonium and other radioactive sources, whether it's military missions or civilian inter-planetary missions.... What is needed now is for the American public to speak out (26).

Local groups around the world have. On the island of Kauai in Hawaii, for example, a series of test launches--now dubbed "Stars" launches--has been met with protests that have included civil disobedience resulting in arrests. Polaris missiles are being fired along a range that ends at the Kwajalein Atoll 2,200 miles to the west. Ancient Hawaiian burial grounds and important natural habitats on the island are in the "evacuation zone" set up by the military m case launches go bad. Suzanne Marinelli of the Sierra Club of Hawaii, one of those arrested in the protests, warns that an accident on launch could be "catastrophic, raining burning debris and hazardous waste." (27) "We are enslaving our own people for the empowerment of particular individuals and programs, and it's a sin." (28)

Meanwhile, the Global Network and others are digging in and insisting that the policy-making process be "opened up" to re-examine basic fundamental assumptions," declared Network coordinator Bill Sulzman. One of those core assumptions--that the development of US nuclear superiority in technology and weaponry is essential to national security--began with the Manhattan Project. That crash program to build the atomic bombs dropped on Japan also created the base for spreading nuclear power to space. But, declared Sulzman, "The Manhattan Project needed to end [with] World War II. We don't need it still alive and controlling our national security apparatus." (29)

Instead, with an impressive half-life of its own, the nuclear establishment easily survived the end of the war. The military men and scientists, the government officials and corporate contractors of the Manhattan Project sought to do more with nuclear technology in order to perpetuate the vast enterprise that had been created--to hold their jobs and contracts. More nuclear weapons could be built, and tens of thousands were. But what else could be done to keep the new nuclear establishment going?

In 1946, the Manhattan Project became the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) which "hastened to build a number of new atomic toys," according to Nukespeak. "The commission had an early interest in nuclear powered planes, and the Nuclear Energy Propulsion for Aircraft project was begun in 1948. Atomic-powered airplanes would make long-distance bombing easier, since the planes were expected to be able to circle the globe without refueling." More than $1 billion (in 1950s dollars) was spent on this scheme before it was canceled by the Kennedy administration in 1961. Washington was concerned about an atomic plane crashing and--as then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara told Congress--because nuclear aircraft would "expel some small fraction of radioactive fission products into the atmosphere, creating an important public relations problem if not an actual physical hazard." (30)

Snap, Crackle, Boom

An early program to develop nuclear rockets began in the 1950s at Los Alamos, Nukespeak relates, "with the development of the Kiwi reactors, inauspiciously named after the flightless New Zealand bird." In fact, even after the expenditure of $2 billion for such programs as NERVA, and Projects Pluto, Rover, and Poodle, no nuclear rocket ever got off the ground. There were government concerns about a nuclear rocket crashing. And there were no military orders then for nuclear rockets.

A 1961 editorial in a special edition of the trade magazine Nucleonics heralded "The Nuclear Space Age--the joining in inevitable matrimony of two of contemporary man's most exciting frontiers, nuclear energy and outer space." The nuclear rocket, it continued, "gives this country its only chance to catch up with--indeed to surpass--the USSR." However, neither the Air Force nor Navy had requested nuclear rockets, a situation which Nucleonics deplored because there would be an "easier flow of development dollars" if there was "a clear-cut military requirement." (31)

Meanwhile, starting in 1961, General Electric's RTGs were put into use for space satellites--until a 1964 accident in which a SNAP-9A (Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power) fell to earth burning up in the atmosphere. According to a 1989 report by European nuclear agencies, the satellite's 2.1 pounds of plutonium-238 "vaporized" and "dispersed widely." After conducting a worldwide sampling, scientists found "SNAP-9A debris to be present at all continents and all latitudes." (32) Dr. John Gofman, professor emeritus of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley, an M.D. and Ph.D. and a codiscoverer of isotopes of plutonium and uranium as a member of the Manhattan Project, has long attributed an increased rate of lung cancer to the SNAP-9A incident. (33)

Although the SNAP-9A accident spurred NASA to develop and use solar photovolteic technology for the satellites, the agency continued to employ nuclear power for space probes and also as a power source on the Apollo moon missions. Indeed, noticeably absent from the blockbuster 1995 movie Apollo 13 was mention of a nuclear device aboard the mission--a SNAP-27 carrying 8.3 pounds of plutonium.

While omitted from the film, concern over the SNAP-27 breaking up and spreading plutonium as it came down along with the astronauts took up three pages in the book on which Apollo 13 was based. In "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13", mission commander Jim Lovell and his co-author write: "On the surface of the moon, the tiny generator posed no danger to anybody. But what, some people worried ... would happen if the little rod of nuclear fuel never made it to the moon? ... Now [SNAP-27] was on its way home, heading for just the fiery reentry the doomsayers had feared." (34)

As Apollo 13 struggled to regain control, NASA jettisoned the plutonium-laden reactor. According to a 1980 NASA document, SNAP-27 "was successfully targeted to deposit intact in the Ibnga Trench in the South Pacific [off New Zealand], where it is effectively isolated from man's environment." (35)

Risky Business

There have been three accidents out of the 24 known US space missions involving nuclear power. The Soviet failure rate is even higher: six of their 39 nuclear missions failed. In 1978, a Cosmos 954 satellite disintegrated as it crashed to Earth over northwest Canada leaving a 124,000-square kilometer swath of nuclear debris.

The most recent US missions involving RTGs lofted many times the plutonium of the earlier flights. The Galileo, launched in 1989, carried 49.25 pounds of plutonium fuel on a mission to Jupiter; the 7390 Ulysses took 25 pounds on its orbit around the sun. Those missions had been postponed after the January 28, 1986 Challenger explosion. The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice and other parties brought lawsuits to block the nuclear launches and organized protests at the Kennedy Space Center. Even so, "[the] American people don't realize that on the very next mission after the Challenger accident, the Ulysses spacecraft, was supposed to be sent into outer space with 25 pounds of plutonium," notes Dr. Raku. "Now imagine that very same Challenger with the Ulysses spacecraft exploding on our television screens." (36) Had that rocket blown up instead of the Challenger, far more people than seven astronauts could have perished.

Despite the enormous danger, NASA is committed to nuclear technology in space. And despite advances in solar power, it continues to insist--in fact, its witnesses swore in court--that Galileo could only be completed with plutonium RTGs. Yet, two weeks after the 1989 launch, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request I had filed two years earlier with NASA and DoE, I received reports from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory acknowledging that solar energy could substitute for nuclear power. "Based on the current study, it appears that a Galileo Jupiter orbiting mission could be performed with a concentrated photovoltaic solar array power source without changing the mission sequence or impacting science objectives," one report began. (37) A year later when Ulysses was launched, NASA actually admitted in its pre-launch Final Environmental Impact Statement that solar could substitute for nuclear power but would require a "redesign." (38)

Nuclear Madness

Driving this seemingly mad policy is a combination of corporate, bureaucratic, and military interests. By the early 1980s, with the advent of the Reagan Star Wars program, the military- was no longer resisting ordering nuclear rockets, as Nucleonics had complained about two decades earlier. And NASA, with the end of its Apollo man-on-the moon flights and fearful of decreased funding, jumped into bed with the Pentagon: The shuttle was developed in large part to fulfill military missions. NASA, DoD and DoE in 1991 set up a joint Office for Nuclear Propulsion.

Also, NASA and DoE moved to limit the US government's financial exposure in the event of the inevitable: further accidents involving nuclear space hardware. In 1991, the agencies signed a "Space Nuclear Power Agreement" restricting death or damage benefits from an accident caused by a US space nuclear device to the limits of the Price-Anderson Act. That law, passed in 1957, supposedly on a temporary basis, now caps US payouts at $7.3 billion and as signed a mere $100 million for all damage to other countries and their people. (39) "Nuclear energy in outer space," says Dr. Kaku, is the linchpin of the US space program and the key to the militarization of space. "We have nuclear weapons on the land. We have nuclear weapons in the ocean. We have nuclear weapons in the air." And now, Kaku warns:

"What we are headed for is a nuclear-propelled rocket with nuclear-propelled lasers in outer space. That's what the military and that's what NASA would really like to do. With a Timberwind rocket, a booster rocket to hoist large payloads in outer space, we are talking about the ultimate goal of all of this madness. First, we have small little reactors called the SNAP reactors. Then, we have the RTGs and Galileo and Cassini. Then we have the big Timberwind projects. And ultimately what they would like to do is have nuclear-powered battle stations in outer space. That's what all of this is leading up to."

Kaku went on to say that it is up to environmentalists, activists, and concerned citizens, "to stop this now before it reaches the point of militarization of outer space."

"We have to stop these Cassinis. We have to stop these Ulysses now before we have full-blown Timberwinds, before we have Alpha lasers, before we have genuine nuclear booster rockets and nuclear power plants in outer space. That's why we have to send a signal to Congress. We have to send a signal to NASA, and a signal to the United States Pentagon that we're not going to tolerate the nuclearization of outer space, and it stops now." (40)

The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space intends through a variety of planned actions--from organizing protests to circulating petitions to political activities--to press on sending that signal, to "continue the resistance," says Gagnon, "to this sheer and utter madness.'' (41)


1. Liz Tuzzi, "Goldin Subjects Cassini To Cost, Risk Reductions," Space News, Mar. 14, 1994, pp. 1, 21.

2. Ibid.

3. Helen Caldicott, Nuclear Madness (New York: Norton, 1994), p. 81.

4. Interview in Nukes In Space, 1995. EnviroVideo, Box 311, Ft. Tilden, N.Y. 11695, 1-800-ECO-TV46.

5.Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission, Solar system Exploration Division, Office of Space Science, NASA, June 1995, pp. 4-76.

6. Ibid.

7. Interview in Nukes In Space, op. cit.

8. Marilyn Meyer, "Risks of plutonium launch debate, scientists again line up to oppose 1997 blastoff, Florida Today, May 21, 1995, p. 17A.

9. New solar cells with record efficiency," Press Information Note No. 07-94, European Space Agency, Paris, Apr. 29, 1994.

10. Meyer, op. cit.

11. For an explanation of the issue see Karl Grossman, "Nukes for Sale," The Nation, Mar. 2, 1992.

12. John Noble Wilford, "Reactor Test in Orbit Is Opposed", New York Times, Jan. 13, 1993, p. C7.

13. Vincent Kiernan, "Topaz Reactor Test May Foul Up Gamma Ray Observatory Work," Space News, Sept. 7-13, 1992, p. 9.

14. Albert Marshall, "Status of the Nuclear Safety Assessment for the NEPSTEP (Topaz 11) Space Reactor Program," Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, 1993. The report's acknowledgments note that it was funded by the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and, in addition to Marshall, contributors include seven other scientists from Sandia; six from Los Alamos National Laboratory; three from Advanced Sciences, Inc., and two from the University of New Mexico.

15. Ned S. Rasor, "Topaz, More Topaz," Space News, letter, Apr. 4~10, 1994, pp. 18-19.

16. Initially, the US intended to use the SP-100 Space Nuclear Power Plant designed by the aerospace division of General Electric Co. (GE also developed the RTGs. In 1992, that division merged with Martin Marietta and is now part of Lockheed Martin.).

17. Byron Spice, "SDI Looks to Nuclear Power", Albuquerque Journal, Jan. 12, 1988, p. 1.

18. William J. Broad, "Rocket Run by Nuclear Power Being Developed for 'Star Wars,' Secret Pentagon Program Revealed in Documents," New York Times, Apr. 3, 1991, pp. Al, B6.

19. Ibid.

20. Statement issued by the White House, "National Policy on Space Power and Propulsion," Aug. 17, 1993.

21. "Invitation for Proposals Designed To Support Federal Agencies and Commercial Interests in Meeting Special Power and Propulsion Needs for Future Space Missions," Department of Energy, Federal Register, v. 58, n. 231, Dec. 3, 1993, p. 63931.

22. "Statement of Dr. Terry Lash, director, Office of Nuclear Energy before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy And Water Development,' Mar. 14, 1995, pp. 13-14.

23. Lawrence Spohn, "Sandia studies nuke-powered TV satellites, the project has the potential to dominate the entire communications industry one scientist says," AIbuquerque Tribune, Jan. 15, 1994, pp. Al-2. Spohn spoke at the 11th Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion in Albuquerque.

24. Theresa Foley, "Air Force Launches $2 Million Study of Space Reactor Needs," Space News, Feb. 6, 1994, p. 12.

25. Theresa Foley, "Firms Consider Nuclear Power Plant In Communications Satellite Concept," Space News, Jan. 10, 1994, p. l.

26. Interview in "Nukes In Space", op. cit.

27. Gar Stoller, "Star Wars in Paradise, Hawaiian missile firings raise safety concern,' CondeNast Traveler July 1994, p. 46.

28. Interview in Nukes In Space, op. cit.

29. Ibid.

30. Stephen Hilgartner, Richard C. Bell, and Rory O'Connor, Nukespeak, The Selling of Nuclear Technology In America (New York: Penguin Books, 1983) pp. 41-49.

31. Ibid.

32.Emergency Preparedness For Nuclear-Powered Satellites, Report of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency and Swedish National Institute of Radiation Protection, Stockholm, Apr. 24~28, 1989, p. 21.

33. Interview Aug. 1988.

34. Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, "Lost Moon, The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13" (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994), pp. 294-96.

35. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Ulysses Mission (Tier 2), Office of Space and Applications, Solar Systems Exploration Division, NASA, June 1990, p. 205.

36. Interview in Nukes in Space, op. cit.

37. "Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Concerning Radioisotope Power Systems for Space Missions," signed July 26,1991, by NASA Administrator Richard H. Trily and DoE Secretary James D. Watkins.

38. Interview in Nukes In Space, op. cit.

39. Ibid.

40. Ibid.

41. Ibid.