News Highlights


1. Nonviolence Film Series, (Wed.-Shelburne Falls; Thurs.-Deerfield)
2. Scott Ritter in Amherst, reservations recommended, Fri., 10/14
3. An 18-second Margin to Meltdown?
Address for 2 men on the Vermont Public Service Board
4. Traprock II, downtown?
5. “College not Combat” Berkeley Conference, 10/21-23
6. Bring Them Home Now Tour – Press Conference Audio
7. Ernest Sternglass, on “The Present Danger” (downwind, downriver)

————————Explore Nonviolence

1. Film Series, 10/13 Shelburne Falls / Deerfield 10/14
“The Unknown History of Active Nonviolence”

Western Mass neighbors are watching an important film series at 7 pm,
Wednesday nights at the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls. Each film and the
discussion that follows will illustrate ‘Unarmed People Power’ used in
countries around the world to topple tyrants, resist oppression, and move
toward freedom and justice.
On Wednesday Oct. 12 See “A Force More Powerful: Part Two on
Danish resistance to Nazi occupation, the overthrow of communist rule in
Poland, and the ousting of Pinochet’s military dictatorship in Chile–90
minutes. For more information call 413 624-8858 or 413 625-9708.
On Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 at Traprock see “A Force More
Powerful: Part One” on the US Civil Rights movement, India’s independence
struggle and how community organizing and boycotts overcame physical,
psychological and economic oppression in South Africa. What a film!

——————————End War

2. Scott Ritter, “War against IRAN,” Amherst, Friday, 10/14

Scott Ritter, former U.N. Weapons Inspector & US Marine, will
address, “War Against Iran” downstairs at the Jones Library, at 7PM, Friday
October 14. Ritter has just returned from speaking on this topic in Europe.
Following questions from the media, we ask for your participation in a
citizens’ think tank, for consideration of sustainable, effective and
creative steps to help prevent a full scale invasion of Iran. All rights

Reservations recommended. 100 seats are available. Contributions of
$10 or more will reserve a seat. Please mail a donation or make yours on
line ($10-$1000 help grow the movement. Contributions of potatoes, carrots,
greens or winter squash also accepted, but not online.) Traprock, 103A
Keets Road, Deerfield.

Reservations for dinner with Scott in Amherst at 5 pm, can be made
for $25, $50 or more. If this is your first gift this year, please
consider that $50 adds up to less than the cost of ONE CUP of coffee per
week. Please invite veterans you know to join us, as we build of bridges,
and celebrate Traprock’s 26th anniversary. Please forward and announce.

————————-Environmental Justice

3. Help prevent an 18-second Margin to Meltdown

An account of the Vermont Public Service Board meeting on Sept.
20 may provide insight into how you might help prevent a proposed 18-second
Margin to Meltdown. PSB member David Coen said it is important for people
to write letters and get their neighbors to write letters so the Board (two
lawyers who really are, absurdly, the Court of last Resort) may hear
directly from the public and know their concerns. Please contact them and
let them know you are aware of the implications for generations. Address
follows. For a report on the hearing …

Vermont Public Service Board
112 State Street, Drawer 20
Montpelier, VT 05620-2701
Please do it. Thanks, Sally!!!

————————-Foster Community

4. Many years ago the Core Group here considered whether to open a downtown
office in Greenfield. If you would like to be on a committee to explore an
opportunity for Traprock II, downtown? Please call us, 413 773-7427.
We expect to meet next week.

——————————End War

5. ‘College Not Combat – Relief Not War,’ Berkeley Conf, Oct. 21-23

On The Frontlines – a national counter-recruitment conference co-sponsored
by the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN) and Military Out of Our Schools – Bay
Area (MOOS) at University of California, Berkeley
Military recruiters out of our schools,
U.S. troops out of Iraq!

Activists from around the country — students, educators, veterans and more
–will participate in and present workshops ranging from
*first-person stories from Iraq,
*practical discussions on starting an antiwar chapter at your school
*and debates on what rights military recruiters have if they are
discriminating against people according to sexual orientation.
Democratic student organizing sessions can build a dynamic,
grassroots, national force to stop military recruitment and the war. For
more information on the ON THE FRONTLINES conference, or to register
Campus Antiwar Network:

——————————End War

6. Bring Them Home Now Tour – Voices

Many student reporters participated in a press conference
hearing the urgent concerns and perspectives of survivors, veterans and
military families. If your neighbors, or family members missed the bus tour
on its way from Camp Casey in Crawford to Washington, DC, they can hear
these important voices:

Elliot Adams, Veterans for Peace
Stacy Bannerman, Military Families Speak Out advisory board
Michael Hoffman, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Carlos Arredondo, Gold Star Families
Cody Camacho, Iraq Veterans Against the War

Hear the MP3 – 55:05 minutes at

Here is an excerpt from “Secret Fallout,” by Ernest Sternglass
A portion of Chapter 19, “The Present Danger”

(Request: Let’s encourage neighbors to use the term reactors, rather than

… Strangely enough, it was through my concern about the possible effect
of the October 1976 Chinese fallout discovered in southeastern Pennsylvania
by the operators of a nuclear plant on the Susquehanna River not far from
Three Mile Island that I first learned of the high releases from the
Millstone reactor.

Apparently, as in the case of the Albany-Troy episode back in 1953, a heavy
rainstorm brought down very large amounts of fallout from a nuclear cloud,
setting off radiation alarms at the Peach Bottom Nuclear Power station near
the Maryland border. That rainout had caused the evacuation of many of the
workers from the plant. The EPA had failed to warn either the public, state
health authorities, or the reactor’s health physicists of the potentially
high local fallout, hoping that it might not happen. Only when the plant
supervisor got in touch with Thomas Gerusky at the Pennsylvania State Bureau
of Radiation Control and checks were made at other locations such as the
Three Mile Island plant did it become clear that the high iodine 131 levels
were due to fallout, and not an accident at Peach Bottom.

When the iodine levels in the milk started to climb to a few hundred
picocuries and no one had warned the public that pregnant women should not
drink the milk, a colleague of mine at the University of Pittsburgh and I
decided to hold a news conference to issue such a warning.

As it turned out, Gerusky decided not to order the cows to be placed on
stored hay, even though some areas in Pennsylvania reached levels close to
500 picocuries per liter. Only in Massachusetts and briefly in Connecticut
and New York did the health departments order dairy cattle to be switched to
uncontaminated feed, and only in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which
obtained most of its milk from Massachusetts, did infant mortality continue
its sharp decline in the following few months among all the New England

When a news story with my findings on the rises in infant mortality
following this episode was published by the Washington Post-Los Angeles
Times News Service in the summer of 1977, I received a phone call from a
newspaper reporter in Connecticut, who asked me whether I had examined the
possible effect of the Millstone plant releases on the pattern of infant
mortality changes in New England. Someone had given him a copy of a recent
annual environmental report for this plant, and he wondered whether I might
be willing to look at it for him since he was unable to interpret its

When the report arrived a few days later, I turned to the pages dealing with
milk measurements. I could hardly believe my eyes. The control farms located
in a direction where the wind rarely carried the gases from the stack showed
levels of strontium 90 of only 5 to 7 picocuries per liter, similar to the
rest of the East Coast. The concentrations in other nearby farms, however,
reached values as high as 27 of these units, higher than those typical for
Connecticut during the height of nuclear-bomb testing back in the early
1960s and similar to the highest concentrations measured by N.U.S. at
Shippingport. For the people living within 10 to 20 miles of the plant,
nuclear-bomb testing might just as well have never ended.

And when I looked at infant mortality in New England in preparation for a
lecture at the University of Rhode Island, the familiar pattern I had seen
at Dresden, Indian Point, and Shippingport once again confirmed the
seriousness of these levels of fallout in the milk. While throughout the
1950s and 1960s all the New England states had shown the same infant
mortality rate, following the onset of releases from Millstone in 1970,
Rhode Island, directly downwind, suddenly stopped declining as rapidly as
all the other states. By early 1976, before the October fallout arrived from
China, Rhode Island had nearly twice the infant mortality rate of New

Shortly after I presented these findings at the University of Rhode Island,
I received a telephone call from State Representative John Anderson of the
Connecticut legislature, asking me whether I would be willing to undertake a
more detailed study of the possible health effects of Millstone and the
nearby Connecticut Yankee Reactor at Haddam Neck for the people of
Connecticut. I agreed on the condition that he would send me the full
environmental reports for the two plants for every year of their operation,
together with the detailed annual vital statistics reports of the State of

A few weeks later a large box arrived containing the reports. The story they
revealed was a repetition of what had taken place at Shippingport, except
that this time the environmental and health data were much more detailed and
extended over many years before and after the start of operation. Again, the
strontium 90 levels in the soil and milk increased as one approached each of
the two plants. The levels were a few times higher near the Millstone Plant,
with its boiling-water reactor (BWR), than near the Haddam Neck plant, with
its pressurized-water reactor (PWR), which was similar to Shippingport and
Three Mile Island.

This time, however, data was available for every year of operation on a
month-by-month basis, and it was possible to see how in the first few years
of operation, the strontium 90 levels were no different near the plants from
those in the rest of New England. But gradually, as the fallout from bomb
testing was washed into the rivers and the ocean by the rains, the soil and
milk levels declined all over New England, while they stayed high or even
rose for the farms within a 10- to 15-mile radius of the plants.

On a number of occasions, when there was a particularly heavy fallout from a
Chinese nuclear test, as in October of 1976, the records of the milk
measurements showed the arrival of the fallout very clearly as a peak,
particularly for the short-lived iodine 131 and strontium 89, and to a
lesser degree for the long-lived cesium 137 and strontium 90. But what was
even more disturbing were the even larger peaks of strontium 90 and cesium
137 in July and August of 1976, months before the bomb was detonated, not
only in the local farms but as far downwind as Providence, Rhode Island.

Yet the summary in the front of the utility’s environmental report for 1976
maintained, as it had every year, that the strontium 90 and cesium 137 in
the milk was attributable to fallout from nuclear testing. It was sad to see
that the once so hopeful nuclear industry now needed the continuation of
nuclear-bomb tests to stay in operation.

To calculate the radiation doses to the bones of children, I used the high
local excess values of strontium 90 in the milk along with the NRC’s own
calculational model given in NUREG 1.109. The results were of the order of a
few hundred millirems per year, many hundreds of times the value of less
than 1 millirad arrived at by the utility when the strontium 90 was left out
of the calculations, and far above the maximum of 25 millirems per year that
was proposed by the EPA as the maximum permissible value from the nuclear
fuel cycle.

Thus it was no surprise that the EPA as well as the NRC issued statements
after my reports had been sent to State Representative Anderson and
Congressman Christopher Dodd, in whose district the Millstone Plant was
located, which claimed that the high strontium 90 and cesium 137 levels in
the milk near this plant were due to fallout and could not be attributed to
releases from the plant. The EPA and NRC never even attempted to explain why
the levels of these radioactive substances should increase as one approached
the stack from every direction.

Instead, these government agencies, on whom the public depended for the
protection of its health and safety, tried to mislead the public. They
claimed that there was little strontium 89 present along with the strontium
90, as is always the case when fresh fission products escape into the
environment, and that therefore the strontium 90 could not be due to plant

But what the nonspecialist could not have known is that strontium 89 has a
very short half-life of only 50 days compared with 30 years for strontium
90. While the long-lived strontium 90 continues to build up in the soil
around the plant, the strontium 89 rapidly decays away. Thus, when the cows
return to pasture in the spring and summer, the milk shows predominantly the
accumulated strontium 90, and very little of the short-lived strontium 89.

… A portion of Chapter 19, “The Present Danger”
from “Secret Fallout,” by Ernest Sternglass
Free access on line for the entire book.

Though he investigates the disease rated downwind of
reactors, and nuclear bomb tests, Sternglass is an optimist. An Audio
Interview with this brilliant contemporary of Einstein will be posted later
this week.

Also, please watch for the Montague Reporter this week covering
Sternglass at All Souls Church on October 6, with notes on excess breast
cancer mortality in Franklin County, noted in the book, “The Enemy Within.”
(Internal radiation sources are much more damaging than external sources,
because the effect is localized.)

Best regards,
Sunny Miller, Executive Director, 413-773-7427
Charlie Jenks, Web Site Manager
Peter Letson, President

Last week the web site had 3000 visits daily.
What’s your favorite resources there?
Wish Charlie a happy birthday in October?
Make his a late-night work feel much appreciated?
Underlying other news of the day this question remains:
What wouldn’t you do to prevent a melt-down?