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<v Woman 1>[KCET theme playing] Plutonium? I don't even know what plutonium is. <v Woman 1>Really. <v Man 1>[speaking Japanese] <v Woman 2>I'm ?not very? interested in that. <v Woman 3>Not really [laughs]. <v Woman 4>No, I've not heard of ?inaudible?. <v Jack Lemmon>Do you know what plutonium is? <v Girls>[in unison] No. <v Jack Lemmon>What do you think it is? <v Girls>It's a rock [giggling]. It's a rock! <v Jack Lemmon>A rock. Well, I suppose that's as good an answer as most of us could manage. <v Jack Lemmon>Yet an adviser to President Carter recently said that plutonium and <v Jack Lemmon>what we do with it is one of the two or three great issues facing civilization. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, for the record, plutonium is a hellishly toxic, highly radioactive <v Jack Lemmon>element with two main uses. It could serve as fuel for nuclear power plants <v Jack Lemmon>or as the fission core of an atomic bomb. <v Jack Lemmon>And that dual capability has plunged the world into one of the savage debates in history.
<v Jack Lemmon>There had been massive and sometimes bloody demonstrations this year already in several <v Jack Lemmon>countries. The point of contention, either plutonium is the answer to the energy <v Jack Lemmon>crisis or is the final step towards global nuclear terror. <v Jack Lemmon>And yet, if they asked a question about plutonium on a quiz show, most of us probably <v Jack Lemmon>wouldn't even come away with a Tootsie Roll. And that's not only embarrassing, it's <v Jack Lemmon>scary. <v Jack Lemmon>And that's why we sent an investigative documentary team around the world, 40,000 miles <v Jack Lemmon>through 7 nations. In the next hour you will see and you'll hear what we uncovered. <v Jack Lemmon>May curl your hair, it may make you want to yank it out by the roots, but you'll be <v Jack Lemmon>informed and that's important. <v Jack Lemmon>The world is gonna make a decision on plutonium in the coming months, whether we get our <v Jack Lemmon>two cents in a lot. And that decision is going to go a long way towards determining our <v Jack Lemmon>future, whether we even have one. <v Jack Lemmon>[ominous music]
<v Jack Lemmon>You know, I think many of us are ignorant about plutonium because we think the subject <v Jack Lemmon>is way over our heads and you've got to be Einstein or Oppenheimer or somebody like that <v Jack Lemmon>to figure it out. But that's not true. <v Jack Lemmon>The essentials are really very simple. For instance, if I burn this stick, I'm gonna <v Jack Lemmon>get more than fire. I'll get charcoal or soot, right. <v Jack Lemmon>Well, atomic reactors, they burn uranium in bundles of long <v Jack Lemmon>skinny rods. And when that uranium is burned up, you get another product. <v Jack Lemmon>Plutonium. OK. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, of course, at this point that plutonium is nothing more than nuclear waste. <v Jack Lemmon>But if you bring those rods to a special reprocessing plant, then the <v Jack Lemmon>plutonium can be removed and now you've got a substance that's infinitely more valuable <v Jack Lemmon>than gold. And why? Because it's ready to be fabricated as fuel for <v Jack Lemmon>nuclear power plants or into the core of nuclear bombs. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, the nuclear industry is promoting big breeder reactors, which do <v Jack Lemmon>exactly what the name implies. They breed more plutonium than they use.
<v Jack Lemmon>And since they can use that access to feed other breeders, then we're faced <v Jack Lemmon>with practically a limitless supply of electrical energy. <v Jack Lemmon>And plutonium has other worthwhile uses, such as aiding in the mining of low grade ores <v Jack Lemmon>and as the long lived power for ?heart pacers?. <v Jack Lemmon>But riding sidecar with these enormous benefits are equally enormous <v Jack Lemmon>risks. You know, plutonium is named after Pluto, the Lord of Hell. <v Jack Lemmon>And that was not by accident. It's a carcinogenic second to none. <v Jack Lemmon>This much plutonium contains millions of lung <v Jack Lemmon>cancer doses. Millions. <v Jack Lemmon>You wanna talk about longevity? <v Jack Lemmon>If man had just sprinkled some plutonium into the atmosphere a quarter <v Jack Lemmon>of a million years before the Stone Age, some of it would still be lethal. <v Jack Lemmon>And of course, there's a bomb problem. 15 to 20 pounds of that terrible stuff would make <v Jack Lemmon>a bomb that's capable of practically obliterating New York City. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, all of these things must have been on the president's mind last April when he called
<v Jack Lemmon>a halt to the further construction of breeder reactors and to the production and <v Jack Lemmon>processing of plutonium. <v Jack Lemmon>And because it is so poisonous and terrorists would dearly love to get their hands <v Jack Lemmon>on a bomb quantity of it, plutonium has to be guarded like it was King Kong. <v Jack Lemmon>So how well have we handled it? <v Jack Lemmon>Well, all things considered, not very well. <v Jack Lemmon>It was here on a remote tract of wasteland near Hanford, Washington, that we produced the <v Jack Lemmon>first big batch back during World War 2. <v Jack Lemmon>That plutonium formed the core of the first atomic bomb. <v Jack Lemmon>Plutonium is a manmade element. <v Jack Lemmon>If you look for it in nature, you'll find only the faintest trace in pitch blend. <v Jack Lemmon>You know, there is some parts of this plutonium story that nobody wants to remember. <v Jack Lemmon>This report from the Energy Research and Development Administration, that's called IRDA, <v Jack Lemmon>it helps shine some light into one of those dark corners.
<v Jack Lemmon>It tells how from 1945 to 1947, 18 patients were <v Jack Lemmon>injected with soluble plutonium 239 13 male, <v Jack Lemmon>five female, 15 white, three black. <v Jack Lemmon>All of them were presumed to be terminal patients, although they misdiagnosed. <v Jack Lemmon>One is having stomach cancer and one was at four year old boy. <v Jack Lemmon>He got that stuff in the veins right along with the rest of them. <v Jack Lemmon>And according to this report, only one patient ever gave permission or knew the nature <v Jack Lemmon>of the injections. <v Jack Lemmon>And it's funny, there's nothing in here about whether the doctors and scientists injected <v Jack Lemmon>themselves. <v Jack Lemmon>At every location we checked where plutonium has been handled. <v Jack Lemmon>It has been mishandled. <v Jack Lemmon>If you live in Boulder, Colorado, you live with plutonium. <v Jack Lemmon>It's in the top soil, courtesy of a blunder at the Rocky Flats plant a few miles away. <v Jack Lemmon>Plutonium is processed here and back in the 60s, hundreds of barrels of plutonium <v Jack Lemmon>contaminated oil were stored outdoors.
<v Jack Lemmon>The barrels rusted oil leaked out and so did plutonium, which blew into <v Jack Lemmon>the countryside and blow. <v Jack Lemmon>It does here sometimes at 100 miles an hour. <v Jack Lemmon>The fact that plutonium had gotten beyond the fence at Rocky Flats was discovered not by <v Jack Lemmon>the government and not by the plant personnel. <v Jack Lemmon>It was detected by Dr. Edward Martel, one of the world's foremost authorities in <v Jack Lemmon>plutonium and alpha radiation producer Don Weidner. <v Jack Lemmon>I spoke to him at Boulder, where Dr. Martel works with the National Center for <v Jack Lemmon>Atmospheric Research. <v Dr. Edward Martel>The full impact of the offsite contamination, <v Dr. Edward Martel>plutonium contamination on public health is not yet <v Dr. Edward Martel>understood. I think we're in for some more surprises in this area. <v Jack Lemmon>One of the latest surprises was turned up by Dr. Carl Johnson, the head of the Jefferson <v Jack Lemmon>County Health Department with a broom and a dustpan. <v Jack Lemmon>Dr. Johnson has been taking surface dust samples and finding plutonium levels <v Jack Lemmon>several hundred times higher than samples taken by Rocky Flats.
<v Jack Lemmon>He believes the windblown surface dust is hazardous. <v Jack Lemmon>We asked him what he could do to people inhaling it. <v Dr. Carl Johnson>Well, it can cause an increased incidence and various types of cancer, <v Dr. Carl Johnson>especially cancer. The lung cancer, the bone leukemia. <v Dr. Carl Johnson>In addition, there's an increased risk of birth defects and <v Dr. Carl Johnson>there's something that there'll also be a significant increase in incidence of ill health <v Dr. Carl Johnson>due to chromosome related illnesses. <v Jack Lemmon>Johnson has been criticized for his methods of sampling, but Dr. Martel believes <v Jack Lemmon>he's right. <v Dr. Edward Martel>I think Carl's doing it the right way. <v Dr. Edward Martel>You have to look at the concentration of plutonium in a thin surface layer <v Dr. Edward Martel>of soil does, because this is the this is the dust kicked up. <v Dr. Edward Martel>This is material that people inhale. <v Dr. Edward Martel>And we can only estimate the lung cancer risk from inhaled plutonium <v Dr. Edward Martel>using Karl Karl Johnson's method of estimating the amount that's there. <v Interviewer>Do you still believe that the people in this area around Rocky Flats
<v Interviewer>are taking a risk living here? <v Dr. Edward Martel>Yes. The magnitude of the risk, however, is uncertain. <v Dr. Edward Martel>We're going to have to find out what the chronic health effects of plutonium really are <v Dr. Edward Martel>before we can really assess the risk. <v Dr. Edward Martel>Cancer is something that is slow to develop. <v Dr. Edward Martel>And so the full impact of cancer incidence in workers at Rocky <v Dr. Edward Martel>Flats and in people who live offsite will only unfold <v Dr. Edward Martel>itself in the next several decades. <v Interviewer>What are your findings since those days in 1969? <v Dr. Edward Martel>Well, I'm not working directly on the plutonium problem. <v Dr. Edward Martel>I'm working instead on the role of alpha emitting particles <v Dr. Edward Martel>as agents of cancer. <v Dr. Edward Martel>And we're finding that the very small amount of alpha activity in cigaret smoke <v Dr. Edward Martel>particles is the likely agent of cancer in smokers. <v Dr. Edward Martel>The amount of alpha activity in smoker's lung. <v Dr. Edward Martel>That may give rise to their cancer is 1 10000 or less than 1 10000
<v Dr. Edward Martel>of the agency's permissible level of alpha activity <v Dr. Edward Martel>in the lung. Now, if that possibility is confirmed, it bodes <v Dr. Edward Martel>great difficulties for nuclear technology, nuclear energy. <v Dr. Edward Martel>I don't think they could live with it. <v Jack Lemmon>The barrel boondoggle happened when Rocky Flats was run by Dow Chemical. <v Jack Lemmon>Rockwell International now operates the facility, but plutonium still ends up <v Jack Lemmon>in curious places. <v Robert Yoder>We use a number of radioactive sources around the plant site for the calibration of <v Robert Yoder>instruments that are used with our processes. <v Robert Yoder>What are these sources inadvertently stored in a filing <v Robert Yoder>cabinet? And it wasn't really a procedural violation <v Robert Yoder>for that to have occurred. <v Robert Yoder>Yet it did occur. And then removing the <v Robert Yoder>source, removing some materials in the filing cabinet, the source <v Robert Yoder>inadvertently fell out on the floor and cracked, releasing a very,
<v Robert Yoder>very small amount of material. <v Robert Yoder>There were no inhalation exposures from that source, although <v Robert Yoder>there were some cleanup required in the immediate area. <v Jack Lemmon>It has been the custom of the nuclear agency used to airship plutonium around the <v Jack Lemmon>country. This was done in great secrecy in hopes of foiling <v Jack Lemmon>hijackers and also for those regulations requiring that airports be notified <v Jack Lemmon>of hazardous cargoes. <v Jack Lemmon>For the past six years, plutonium has been flown in and out of Rocky Flats through nearby <v Jack Lemmon>Jeffco Airport. <v Jack Lemmon>This spring, airport manager David Gordon noticed a plane surrounded by armed guards. <v Jack Lemmon>His efforts to find out what was going on were rebuffed and he closed the airport <v Jack Lemmon>to the flights. We asked Gordon whether he'd ever been notified that plutonium <v Jack Lemmon>was passing through his field. <v David Gordon>No, they didn't say they were going to be hauling plutonium into or out of the field. <v David Gordon>They did come to me about a year and a half ago and said they wish to use
<v David Gordon>this deal. But at that point, they said it wouldn't be any. <v Roy Lounsbury>As this type of materials happening at Rocky Flats over <v Roy Lounsbury>a period of time with respect to plutonium flying in and out of that area was known <v Roy Lounsbury>to the authorities in Colorado, within the Denver area, <v Roy Lounsbury>and quite probably personnel and authority at the airport. <v Interviewer>In the event of a crash or a fire with radiation exposure, was your <v Interviewer>field equipped to do any kind of rescue work in that case? <v David Gordon>Well, we had minor crash or a rescue in on the field, but it <v David Gordon>it could fight a fire and aircraft fire. <v David Gordon>But not knowing that radioactivity was going to be on board, <v David Gordon>I felt it was very dangerous situation for my people. <v Interviewer>Airport manager says that it would have been a disaster if it happened. <v Interviewer>His crew had nothing. They did not know that their plutonium <v Interviewer>was being carried out. So they were not equipped at all to handle any kind of radiation <v Interviewer>problem. So it would have sort of condemned them to radiation.
<v Roy Lounsbury>You're assuming, first of all, that there would be a leakage, which is not at all <v Roy Lounsbury>necessarily the case. The second thing is I do not like to get in any discussion about <v Roy Lounsbury>what the airport manager has said, because I have not talked to him personally. <v Roy Lounsbury>I have had differing reports as to what knowledge he had and what knowledge <v Roy Lounsbury>he would have been expected to have. Based on what we had informed the state of Colorado <v Roy Lounsbury>and also other authorities within that area. <v Interviewer>Have they done anything in the way of informing your people in the past ever that <v Interviewer>they were going to fly plutonium in or out of here? <v Thomas Collins>Not to my knowledge. Have your crew wasn't trained or equipped to handle any kind of a <v Thomas Collins>crash? Not at all. <v Roy Lounsbury>First off, I don't think it's fair to say that a crew would be at the scene of the <v Roy Lounsbury>accident as airport employees or in some capacity there would <v Roy Lounsbury>be unaware that hazardous material was being carried on board. <v Roy Lounsbury>It's necessary for the aircraft to advise the field before landing <v Roy Lounsbury>or prior to take off that they are carrying hazardous material. <v Interviewer>Have you ever been notified that a plane with the radioactive cargo
<v Interviewer>was either flying in here or leaving from this area? <v David Poling>No, we were not. Never. <v David Poling>Never. How long have you been here? <v David Poling>I've been here for eight years as a tower chief at this facility. <v Jack Lemmon>Defiles at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and at IRDA. <v Jack Lemmon>They are jammed with cases of negligence and mishandling of plutonium and other nuclear <v Jack Lemmon>substances. Now, for instance, there's a well known spill. <v Jack Lemmon>Edwards, Nevada test site add tens of square miles have been dusted <v Jack Lemmon>with plutonium. And years ago, on purpose, you know why scientists wondered <v Jack Lemmon>what would happen if a plane crashed that was carrying nuclear weapons. <v Jack Lemmon>So they cracked open bombs right there. <v Jack Lemmon>And guess what they found? <v Jack Lemmon>Plutonium spills. <v Jack Lemmon>And despite repeated rumors that that spillage has now gone beyond <v Jack Lemmon>the confines of the original test site, they deny it. <v Jack Lemmon>And the problem is you can't get the facts because the amount that was dumped originally <v Jack Lemmon>and the amount that is still there. Those figures are still kept secret.
<v Jack Lemmon>So who knows? <v Jack Lemmon>Oh, by the way, those repeated rumors come from IRDA science team, <v Jack Lemmon>which is rather interesting. <v Jack Lemmon>Now this this building, which is located at <v Jack Lemmon>8 0 1 North Lake Street in beautiful downtown Burbank, California, it <v Jack Lemmon>looked like this up until a couple of years ago. <v Jack Lemmon>Vacant, unguarded and contaminated with plutonium. <v Jack Lemmon>The accident happened in 1968. <v Jack Lemmon>Another case of regulations ignored and plutonium mishandled. <v Jack Lemmon>Workmen cut through a plutonium beryllium source with a hacksaw because <v Jack Lemmon>a sealed glove box similar to this was out of commission. <v Jack Lemmon>They operated in an open machine shop. <v Jack Lemmon>Plutonium, of course, spilled out, was picked up by exhaust fans and spread <v Jack Lemmon>to the street. Outside, the workmen inhaled plutonium. <v Jack Lemmon>They took it home on their clothes and in their cars. <v Jack Lemmon>The Atomic Energy Commission found out about the incident.
<v Jack Lemmon>Days later, through an anonymous tip. <v Jack Lemmon>The company's license was not renewed, but it was permitted to walk away after cleaning <v Jack Lemmon>up only gross contamination. <v Jack Lemmon>The building stood abandoned, but still radioactive for eight years. <v Jack Lemmon>We don't know what happened to the workers who inhaled the plutonium because their names <v Jack Lemmon>have been censored out of the Irda records. <v Jack Lemmon>Next, the worst business deal since we wrote the Indians out of Manhattan <v Jack Lemmon>for 24 bucks and beads can be found in the hills of that same state. <v Jack Lemmon>New York, this is nuclear fuel services, a plutonium reprocessing <v Jack Lemmon>plant. That was to be the start of something big. <v Jack Lemmon>It had Governor Rockefeller euphoric in 1962 when he proclaimed that the atomic <v Jack Lemmon>age, rich in challenge and opportunity stretches limitlessly into our future <v Jack Lemmon>innocence. He was right. Some things stretch endlessly into the future here. <v Jack Lemmon>Radioactive waste, hazards and costs. <v Jack Lemmon>They cranked NTFS up in 1966 and they shut it down in 1972.
<v Jack Lemmon>Nobody expects it will ever operate again. <v Jack Lemmon>There are six hundred and twelve thousand gallons of tanks stored, high level radioactive <v Jack Lemmon>liquid waste squirreled away here. <v Jack Lemmon>The throat culture is that the tank design is a trifle shy of current earthquake <v Jack Lemmon>standards is a fault. <v Jack Lemmon>Twenty three miles away, we can't show you any tanks. <v Jack Lemmon>We can't show you the million plus cubic feet of solid waste that are buried here. <v Jack Lemmon>Company officials refused interviews and wouldn't let us film inside the fence. <v Jack Lemmon>Cleanup of the liquid waste may be impossible because of tank design, obstructions and <v Jack Lemmon>the formation of a hot sludge of unknown character. <v Jack Lemmon>It costs 32 million dollars to build an office, 10 from the state, <v Jack Lemmon>the rest from W.R. Grace Company, which later sold out to the current operator. <v Jack Lemmon>Getty Oil to clean up just the liquid waste it figures they cost <v Jack Lemmon>about six hundred million dollars. <v Jack Lemmon>Now Getty is not obligated to clean it up.
<v Jack Lemmon>New York can't afford two maps and a bottle of Mr. Clean. <v Jack Lemmon>Chances are you've already guessed who is going to pick up that tab for West Valley's <v Jack Lemmon>problems. <v Jack Lemmon>Anyway, we asked Congressman Morris Udall, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and <v Jack Lemmon>Environment, what is to be done? <v Morris Udall>This is all things about nuclear. <v Morris Udall>You get your hands into the molasses and you find you can't get them out because you <v Morris Udall>never dreamed about. And I suppose rather than let it sit there and <v Morris Udall>pose these dangers to future generations of Americans, the federal government going to <v Morris Udall>have to go back in there and find some kind of a system to make it reasonably <v Morris Udall>safe here at Hanford. <v Jack Lemmon>Millions of gallons of radioactive waste are buried in the immense steel tanks nestled <v Jack Lemmon>in saucers to catch leaks. <v Jack Lemmon>And leaks have been large, small and numerous. <v Jack Lemmon>And this atomic cemetery, the waste is gradually being exhumed and solidified <v Jack Lemmon>for safer entombment, clearly.
<v Jack Lemmon>Tanks are not the answer for waste that's so hot it boils on its own for years <v Jack Lemmon>and can outlast the pyramids. <v Jack Lemmon>Still, more tanks are under construction, this time with double walls. <v Jack Lemmon>Hanford is also located in an earthquake fault region. <v Jack Lemmon>Not all nuclear critics are that happy with the president's stand on plutonium and the <v Jack Lemmon>breeders. I think that maybe it's some kind of a clever political ploy <v Jack Lemmon>in which he get the favor of both sides by supporting a cause that certain to lose. <v Jack Lemmon>In other words, the pro-nuclear forces won't take him seriously and his advocates will <v Jack Lemmon>feel that he made a valiant fight and he lost heroically. <v Jack Lemmon>Anyway, we wanted to speak to the president about a but his public relations man said <v Jack Lemmon>that the president couldn't give one on one interview. <v Jack Lemmon>So anyway, we spoke to one of his advisers, Dr. Jessica Tuckman of the National Security <v Jack Lemmon>Council. <v Interviewer>Dr. Tuckman, President Carter's tossed the anchor out on breeder reactors <v Interviewer>and on the processing of plutonium. <v Interviewer>That's a very gutsy political move. Is he serious?
<v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>Oh, yes. I mean, it's it's a gutsy political move. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>But we feel it's entirely can be entirely justified on totally <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>sound economic grounds. And so in that regard, once we so <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>make the case, I think it will begin to sell itself <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>at this point in time. <v Interviewer>It doesn't look like he's gotten much help. Is the only man on the street. <v Interviewer>Reagan is leaving. The nations are against him. He's going to catch heat from the nuclear <v Interviewer>industry here. You think he'll stand fast? <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>Yes. And I think it's too early to make the point to reach the conclusion <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>that he's the only guy on the street. Because what you've seen so far is <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>it's very heavily the backlash of the industry, which rightly feels threatened <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>because he's saying, look, we've made a mistake, let's look again. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>And government positions haven't really shaken down. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>And it's going to be another six months or so before they even get their own act together <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>on what they think about this. <v Jack Lemmon>The president's decision to make it without plutonium means that we're going to have to
<v Jack Lemmon>depend in part at least on ordinary nuclear plants that use uranium <v Jack Lemmon>at ABC for years had been pushing for breeders' and plutonium because there is a shortage <v Jack Lemmon>of uranium. So we asked Dr. Tuckman, where is the uranium? <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>You've put your finger right on the key issue, which is there has got to be enough <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>uranium to satisfy world needs to at least here 2000 without <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>resorting to plutonium. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>One of the places he's found it is in reduced expectations <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>of nuclear demand. Throughout the last 20 years, we've lived with <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>continuing to continually falling estimations of what we're going to need. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>And it's quite clear that there's going to be less nuclear power around the world than <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>the industry has led us to believe. So that's one way. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>The other ways is simply that we we know that there's more in the ground than we've <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>looked for. And we can make projections based on scientific theory <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>about how much is there, how much we already know. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>And if you combine increased projections of resource availability
<v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>with decreased projections of demand, you get figures that are that work. <v Dr. Jessica Tuckman>And that's where it comes from. <v Jack Lemmon>There's thinly veiled delight in Europe over the news that the United States may be <v Jack Lemmon>backing off from the nuclear game. <v Jack Lemmon>German officials have the cramped look of those trying not to smile at the funeral of an <v Jack Lemmon>unloved but affluent relative. <v Jack Lemmon>They smell big dollars here. Tens of billions. <v Jack Lemmon>But there's more to overcome than Carter's anti-proliferation stance. <v Jack Lemmon>In Germany and other parts of Europe, anti-nuclear protests are becoming larger and more <v Jack Lemmon>violent in the long run. <v Jack Lemmon>Germany may find them tougher than the Russian winters, but the government <v Jack Lemmon>is not unprepared.
<v Jack Lemmon>Meanwhile, it's on with the business at hand, making a buck with the atom. <v Jack Lemmon>And toward that end, the head man for the German Atomic Energy Agency is not a physicist. <v Jack Lemmon>He's an economist. Former Panzer sergeant Hans Matthofer. <v Hans Matthofer>We see President Carter's problem and we <v Hans Matthofer>appreciate the seriousness of the problem. <v Hans Matthofer>And I think we are going to cooperate with him well in cooperating <v Hans Matthofer>Germany. <v Interviewer>To some critics, seems not to be cooperating because she has signed the biggest nuclear <v Interviewer>deal in history. Something on the order of $8 billion to provide reactors, uranium <v Interviewer>enrichment and plutonium reprocessing for Brazil was <v Interviewer>long before President Carter's time. <v Hans Matthofer>And in having a trilateral agreement with the International <v Hans Matthofer>Atomic Energy Organization, the American and the Soviet <v Hans Matthofer>governor approved of the treaty. <v Hans Matthofer>If there is a new awareness of the plutonium problem in all <v Hans Matthofer>of the world, we should actively cooperate.
<v Hans Matthofer>And I mean actively in reaching an agreement <v Hans Matthofer>to have a better control of the problems arising. <v Hans Matthofer>Always, of course, taking into consideration our interest and <v Hans Matthofer>take care that we are not discriminated against. <v Interviewer>The French have a deal with Pakistan, which they're going to build a reprocessing <v Interviewer>plant in the event that France pulled out from Pakistan. <v Interviewer>Wouldn't Germany go for that business as well? <v Interviewer>We would not. Would Germany go for any business in addition to <v Interviewer>the Brazilian deal? <v Hans Matthofer>I don't see any such deal in <v Hans Matthofer>the world. As far as I can see, we <v Hans Matthofer>should. We will not repeat the Brazilian deal. <v Interviewer>We could supply uranium to Germany, which he forego plutonium. <v Hans Matthofer>We would consider it. <v Hans Matthofer>To what conclusion? We would arrive after the process of <v Hans Matthofer>consideration. I could not say now.
<v Jack Lemmon>Following the interview, Mr. Matthofer they said that Germany has little choice but to <v Jack Lemmon>proceed with the Brazilian deal. He said this was because Germany has never broken <v Jack Lemmon>a treaty. <v Jack Lemmon>In Paris, just a taxi ride from Vici, we met with French officials to <v Jack Lemmon>discuss the big push in France towards breeder reactors and plutonium. <v Jack Lemmon>France has emerged as the world leader in nuclear technology. <v Jack Lemmon>But while the French lead in some areas, they lag in others, notably when it comes to <v Jack Lemmon>waste storage. There is nothing, for instance, to match the Germans elaborate plans to <v Jack Lemmon>bury their atomic leftovers in salt caves in France, as in <v Jack Lemmon>Germany. There is the galloping growth of public resistance to nuclear expansion. <v Jack Lemmon>The latest and the largest demonstration was held this summer at the site of Super <v Jack Lemmon>Phenix, a huge new breeder reactor being built at mÃthavya.
<v Jack Lemmon>Thirty thousand protested. <v Jack Lemmon>One was killed. <v Jack Lemmon>Significantly, the demonstrators came from throughout Europe. <v Jack Lemmon>We asked France's top nuclear official, Andre jeho, about France's plans. <v Speaker>Our government shares completely the objectives of President Carter <v Speaker>about nonproliferation. <v Speaker>We think that the peace of world in the future <v Speaker>relates with a sufficient supply of energy. <v Speaker>That means the development of nuclear energy for many countries. <v Speaker>But at the same time, we think that the development of nuclear energy must be performed <v Speaker>in such a way that the proliferation of <v Speaker>nuclear weapons is avoided. <v Interviewer>France has made a deal, signed an agreement to provide facilities for <v Interviewer>Pakistan. Pakistan is a poverty stricken nation and as
<v Interviewer>per capita income, something on the order of one hundred and twenty dollars per year. <v Interviewer>Does it really make any sense for Pakistan to build a reprocessing plant? <v Interviewer>Well, it could very well economically reprocess its rods in France. <v Speaker>This is a question that you should ask to the Pakistani's government. <v Speaker>As far as France is concerned, these Pakistanis deal has been <v Speaker>discussed for, I think, more than twelve years. <v Speaker>And I think that when a big country like France <v Speaker>signed to contract, it just <v Speaker>executes the contract. <v Speaker>You exudes confidence. But there may be a touch of bravado behind that smile, because not <v Speaker>all of France's scientists are in his camp last May. <v Speaker>Five hundred and four others send an open letter to President Bush saying demanding that <v Speaker>he suspend operations on super phoenicks. <v Speaker>Nuclear power is attractive to many countries with meager fossil resources.
<v Speaker>They say, let's go nuclear. Or not at all. <v Jack Lemmon>And nowhere is the situation more acute than here in Japan. <v Jack Lemmon>One hundred ten million people are crowded into an area the size of Montana. <v Jack Lemmon>With few resources, it is still one of the most industrialized countries on the globe. <v Jack Lemmon>The nuclear program is thriving, but opposition is strong and increasing. <v Jack Lemmon>Japan's energy chief, Akira Oyama, says plutonium is vital for <v Jack Lemmon>his country. <v Akira Oyama>In view of the growing energy needs all over the world, <v Akira Oyama>we cannot remain optimistic for the future supply of uranium <v Akira Oyama>ores to ?depend?. <v Akira Oyama>We hope to reduce uranium consumption by plutonium ?mitigation?. <v Jack Lemmon>How much uh energy is provided by nuclear power at this <v Jack Lemmon>time? <v Akira Oyama>Uh 70 percent in our electrical power. <v Jack Lemmon>And uh in the future. <v Jack Lemmon>What uh percentage do you think-. <v Akira Oyama>Um, I, I suppose uh 40 percent in turn of century.
<v Jack Lemmon>Real concern for keeping plutonium out of the hands of terrorists has caused Japan to <v Jack Lemmon>set up a safeguards division this year. <v Jack Lemmon>For the most part, international hopes for safeguards have been vested in the <v Jack Lemmon>International Atomic Energy Agency that's headquartered in Vienna. <v Jack Lemmon>IAEA is an atomic auditor. <v Jack Lemmon>It was founded in 1957 and is now a key element in making the nonproliferation <v Jack Lemmon>treaty work. Inspectors check nuclear facilities in various nations to <v Jack Lemmon>assure that plutonium is not being diverted for military purposes. <v Jack Lemmon>It does a good job, but in a hopeless situation, as Don Widener found when he talked <v Jack Lemmon>with the agency deputy director for safeguards, Rudolf Ramadge. <v Rudolf Ramadge>From all the nuclear weapons states, uh only two have made an offer <v Rudolf Ramadge>to put their civil nuclear power under our safeguards. <v Rudolf Ramadge>The others are outside. <v Rudolf Ramadge>And then there are a few who have only part of their nuclear activities
<v Rudolf Ramadge>under other safeguards agreements. <v Jack Lemmon>Brazil has not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty. <v Rudolf Ramadge>No. <v Jack Lemmon>But it will allow your men to inspect. <v Rudolf Ramadge>Oh, we have already concluded a so-called trilateral agreement where the <v Rudolf Ramadge>Federal Republic of Germany, Brazil and our agency are the three <v Rudolf Ramadge>partners. <v Interviewer>Supposing a nation wish to destroy that, it could simply tear it up, nationalize <v Interviewer>the industry and tell you to get out and go ahead and make its bombs. <v Interviewer>Is that not correct? <v Rudolf Ramadge>That has always been like that with all kinds of treaties. <v Interviewer>You have no enforcement capability, is that right? <v Rudolf Ramadge>Our mandate is to detect diversion and to make the necessary alarm. <v Interviewer>But there is nothing you can do beyond that. <v Rudolf Ramadge>No, we have no army. We are we are an international organization <v Rudolf Ramadge>sponsored by the governments and the interest of those governments. <v Rudolf Ramadge>We do that work and inform the governments, Security Council, our <v Rudolf Ramadge>member states as rapidly as possible so that they who have the power <v Rudolf Ramadge>can take the necessary measures.
<v Interviewer>You're unable to inspect the weapons, making facilities <v Interviewer>completely unable. <v Rudolf Ramadge>Yes. <v Interviewer>Well, doesn't that mean you're guarding three sides of the fort and the entire back door <v Interviewer>is open? <v Rudolf Ramadge>Well, if you call that the back door, then it's open. <v Jack Lemmon>Few events in history have been able to ruffle the traditional composure of the British, <v Jack Lemmon>but nothing has come as close in years as what the British press is calling the most <v Jack Lemmon>important social and industrial debate of the century. <v Jack Lemmon>The plan to construct a billion dollar plutonium reprocessing plant at wind scale <v Jack Lemmon>on the Irish Sea. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, this despite having a surplus of energy production capacity, not to mention <v Jack Lemmon>big new North Sea oil, finds a high court judge.
<v Jack Lemmon>Mr Justice Parker has been appointed chairman for an unparalleled public hearing <v Jack Lemmon>on the matter. Justice Parker has said the decision may affect not only <v Jack Lemmon>those alive and residing in the neighborhood, but also those who live far away <v Jack Lemmon>and those who will not be born for many, many years ahead. <v Jack Lemmon>It's an unlikely setting for such doings. <v Jack Lemmon>Folks haven't seen the leg of this since John Paul Jones pulled off a one day raid here <v Jack Lemmon>at White Haven during the revolution. <v Jack Lemmon>Behind this bucolic tapestry is tension. <v Jack Lemmon>The people around here remember that there's already been trouble at wind scale, an <v Jack Lemmon>accident and fire. Years ago, they contaminated hundreds of square miles with radiation. <v Jack Lemmon>Crops and milk had to be condemned and destroyed for months.
<v Jack Lemmon>Such goings on are not taken lightly. <v Jack Lemmon>This is the renowned Lake District, a favorite holiday site and the location of the much <v Jack Lemmon>loved Cockermouth Castle, Britishers flock here to relax <v Jack Lemmon>and visit the castle, just as Mary Queen of Scots did in 15 68. <v Jack Lemmon>Nobody here is without an opinion, including the Cockermouth Castle Keeper, Mr. R.E. <v Jack Lemmon>Burden, after a pint of old peculiar beer. <v Jack Lemmon>He spoke his mind. <v R.E. Burden>Well, it didn't really affect me, really, because, sir, if you numbers <v R.E. Burden>up, you're number's up, I mean, you go to work in a coal mine and you'll get silicosis. <v R.E. Burden>We'll get you over there. <v R.E. Burden>We're going to tend to fucking get blown up tomorrow. <v R.E. Burden>So the daily and it doesn't worry me. <v R.E. Burden>Some people do worry. They said they wouldn't eat the fish out there, saying there was a <v R.E. Burden>fall out of the habit. We have no proof of that. <v R.E. Burden>I would go get a job. That's a model because it's hard to take all the precautions again.
<v R.E. Burden>And then it's a depressed area. So we want work, don't we? <v R.E. Burden>And there's no way at all times are the people you got left. <v R.E. Burden>So it really. So I suppose I'm Friday. <v R.E. Burden>It really brings work into the area. <v Jack Lemmon>Other Cockermouthians are split on the issue. <v Jack Lemmon>I'm not particularly worried. <v Woman on Street>I know I should be, but I'm not. I feel that we have to have in this country something <v Woman on Street>like we scanned and it's got to be quick some way. <v Woman on Street>It might not be put in this part of the country as anywhere else. <v Woman on Street>It's dangerous enough as it is. <v Man on Street>Well, I think would be too big already. No big deal. <v Man on Street>Anything goes wrong. <v Man on Street 2>If it goes wrong on Cumberland and that's it. <v Man on Street 2>We've all gone. Not some of us. <v Man on Street 2>All of us. We should be well out of it. <v Man on Street 2>You know, miles and miles away, the farther the better.
<v Jack Lemmon>Sweden is one of the most advanced nations, and here the decision on nuclear <v Jack Lemmon>power, including breeders' and plutonium, has been made. <v Jack Lemmon>It's no thanks. <v Jack Lemmon>A new non-socialist government was swept into power recently, largely <v Jack Lemmon>on the issue of nuclear power. <v Carl Bilot>There was a reaction in the early 1970s in Sweden against a lot of things <v Carl Bilot>large breeches, computers, nuclear power. <v Carl Bilot>We've talked about the green wave, go back to the countryside, to the nice <v Carl Bilot>old times. <v Carl Bilot>Then, of course, that resulted in a major debate on nuclear power. <v Carl Bilot>And then it was the dangers of not the economics <v Carl Bilot>of it. Because I think that in a country like Sweden, most people agree that
<v Carl Bilot>nuclear power is very economic. <v Carl Bilot>We have no domestic energy resources longer that we could that <v Carl Bilot>we could take use of in the future. If the energy commission, a large commission, <v Carl Bilot>is going to recommend that we gradually <v Carl Bilot>abandon nuclear power. It will take a long time. <v Carl Bilot>But the important thing then will not be the final date that the shift of <v Carl Bilot>direction, I believe. <v Carl Bilot>But it remains to be seen. <v Carl Bilot>I think we will be dependent on nuclear power to a certain extent or at least the next <v Carl Bilot>10, 15 years. <v Jack Lemmon>Despite their high living standards, the Swedes are rejecting the products of super <v Jack Lemmon>technology. <v Jack Lemmon>With all the benefits, divorce and suicide rates are soaring. <v Jack Lemmon>People are looking to the countryside, their roots, the nice old <v Jack Lemmon>times. <v Jack Lemmon>Perhaps like Gandhi, they decided there's more to life than increasing its speed. <v Jack Lemmon>It's a marathon. Oh, there is support for the atom.
<v Jack Lemmon>But it's lonely. <v Protestors>[speaking in Swedish] <v Jack Lemmon>And despised. <v Jack Lemmon>[protestors on street, shouting in Swedish] Sweden's new course was outlined for us <v Jack Lemmon>by minister of Energy. Olaf Johanssen. <v Olaf Johanssen>I think it's very important to countries like the states, Sweden, which have a very <v Olaf Johanssen>high level of energy use, really put their resources <v Olaf Johanssen>in technological field and in the resources <v Olaf Johanssen>of capital to make it possible to to <v Olaf Johanssen>to have a real conservation of energy. <v Olaf Johanssen>I mean, we couldn't use energy as we use <v Olaf Johanssen>water. And because we have certain restrictions <v Olaf Johanssen>all over the world, the world is full of restrictions, but we haven't <v Olaf Johanssen>looked at them first until now.
<v Olaf Johanssen>I think the restrictions must be guiding us when we <v Olaf Johanssen>judge the possibilities to produce energy, not the opposite way, <v Olaf Johanssen>not how much we could produce, but to see how much energy <v Olaf Johanssen>do we really use the use need. <v Olaf Johanssen>And then we have certain limits of security and of environment <v Olaf Johanssen>possibilities of development <v Olaf Johanssen>and research in the long run. <v Olaf Johanssen>We have the means we are prepared to use <v Olaf Johanssen>to have the energy policy <v Olaf Johanssen>going that the way we we we want and we <v Olaf Johanssen>have the possibilities of conservation. <v Olaf Johanssen>And we must try all these for the <v Olaf Johanssen>means to come right. <v Olaf Johanssen>When we decide to level, we really need
<v Olaf Johanssen>to use of energy. And that must be also a <v Olaf Johanssen>thing for democratic democratic <v Olaf Johanssen>process in the countries that people must accept. <v Olaf Johanssen>What we do in this field and I think they <v Olaf Johanssen>are ready to take an increasing part of the responsibility. <v Olaf Johanssen>It's not only a thing for technicians or politicians. <v Jack Lemmon>It sounds like a cliche, but sometimes great issues are decided <v Jack Lemmon>by the actions of one man and it just may be so in the case of a staff analyst <v Jack Lemmon>for the safeguards division of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. <v Jack Lemmon>James Conrad was assigned duties dealing with MOF material <v Jack Lemmon>unaccounted for. That's nuclear material, plutonium, uranium <v Jack Lemmon>that is missing from the inventories. <v Jack Lemmon>And he was part of a group that was investigating the feasibility of the CFE, <v Jack Lemmon>a clandestine fission explosion.
<v Jack Lemmon>That means could somebody steal plutonium and make a bomb? <v Jack Lemmon>And the information or the lack of it worried him and he wasn't satisfied <v Jack Lemmon>with the actions and answers from his superiors. <v Jack Lemmon>So he sat down and he wrote an open letter to President Carter. <v Jack Lemmon>We talked to him. We asked Conrad and what prompted him to do this. <v James Conran>Nearly always, either the very existence of the information <v James Conran>would be denied or any knowledge of the existence of the information would be denied <v James Conran>very frequently. Misleading information would <v James Conran>be given to me. The control of information has been exercised in a fashion <v James Conran>that it has acted as a common mode failure mechanism <v James Conran>for all of the checks and balances in the system. <v James Conran>I think it's also possible that there is an advocacy <v James Conran>role, the flavor of antiwar advocacy on the part of the agencies and <v James Conran>in suppressing information that is potentially embarrassing or
<v James Conran>something that. <v Interviewer>You mean they advocate nuclear power and anything that embarrasses that they try to <v Interviewer>suppress? Is that what you're saying? <v James Conran>That's that's generally the idea. <v James Conran>Yes. <v Jack Lemmon>For the other side of the story, we talked to Harvey Lyon at IRDA. <v Jack Lemmon>It's learned how much plutonium is unaccounted for in this country. <v Harvey Lyon>There is no evidence that any plutonium is unaccounted for in this country. <v Harvey Lyon>All the evidence that is been collected through our safeguards, records, <v Harvey Lyon>analyzed and verified would indicate that we know where the <v Harvey Lyon>material is if it ever existed. <v Interviewer>How good is the existence of these materials? <v James Conran>Well, it's it's it's sufficiently <v James Conran>poor that to this day, in the instance <v James Conran>of excessive months, it's still not possible to say anything <v James Conran>other than it could be an error in the <v James Conran>accounting system. It could be in pipes or ducts.
<v James Conran>It could be in effluence which go into the river, <v James Conran>but it could be stolen. It also could be stolen. <v James Conran>Yes. And because of weaknesses in our <v James Conran>physical protection and control and containment measures employed <v James Conran>at these facilities, that explanation is at least as credible <v James Conran>as the other ones, malevolent ones. <v Harvey Lyon>There is no evidence that any significant amount of plutonium has ever been stolen in <v Harvey Lyon>this country. In fact, there is no evidence that anyone ever attempted to <v Harvey Lyon>steal plutonium in this country. <v James Conran>The fact that there exists intelligence information indicating <v James Conran>which belies the agency's public position, that there <v James Conran>is no evidence or indication whatsoever that any material has ever been stolen, <v James Conran>I think should be known publicly.
<v Jack Lemmon>One of Conran's concerns has the look of a developing scandal. <v Jack Lemmon>What happened to 200 pounds of nuclear bomb material that vanished from this facility <v Jack Lemmon>in the mid 60s? <v Jack Lemmon>The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, gnomic and Apollo, Pennsylvania, <v Jack Lemmon>now operated by Babcock and Wilcox, was a privately owned processing <v Jack Lemmon>plant. It handled S and M special nuclear materials, <v Jack Lemmon>meaning weapons grade plutonium and uranium. <v Jack Lemmon>In this case, it was enriched uranium that came up missing enough for several atom <v Jack Lemmon>bombs. A worried 80C investigate. <v Jack Lemmon>The FBI refused to. <v Jack Lemmon>It's all very cloak and dagger, although IRDA insists nothing has been stolen. <v Jack Lemmon>Something is being hidden from you. <v Jack Lemmon>The task force report on Conrads allegations about Apollo mentions information <v Jack Lemmon>that is, quote, extremely sensitive, unquote. <v Jack Lemmon>It's so sensitive. The task force didn't even bother to ask what it is.
<v Jack Lemmon>CIA told us it knew nothing of the affair. <v Jack Lemmon>Two weeks later, we turned up the existence of a top secret CIA memo about Apollo <v Jack Lemmon>in the Irda files. <v Jack Lemmon>The hottest scenario has the uranium being stolen and shipped to Israel. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, this story has some credence because. No. <v Jack Lemmon>He's known to have had dealings with Israel, a joint venture for the irradiation of <v Jack Lemmon>fruits and vegetables. Details of the vegetable program were handled through the Israeli <v Jack Lemmon>Defense Ministry in New York. <v Jack Lemmon>Another rumor says the uranium was secretly swapped with Israel for a shuttle bomber <v Jack Lemmon>basis. <v Jack Lemmon>If the material was stolen or diverted, as our government has want to say, then <v Jack Lemmon>it would have to be without the knowledge of Congress and it would be a capital offense. <v Jack Lemmon>We asked Mr. Lyons about the intelligence report. <v Interviewer>Isn't it the fact that at least one intelligence agency filed a report <v Interviewer>stating that they felt that it had been stolen and that they knew who did it? <v Harvey Lyon>Not to my knowledge. That may be a fact, but investigations were conducted
<v Harvey Lyon>in everything that I've seen would indicate that it had been stolen. <v Harvey Lyon>But they paid eight hundred thousand dollars for something that was missing. <v Harvey Lyon>They would have had to sell it. And it's still missing. <v Harvey Lyon>They would have had to pay for that. <v Harvey Lyon>Under the terms of the contract. So it's still missing. <v Harvey Lyon>Yes, but that's. But that's not unusual in a plant <v Harvey Lyon>of this type of operation. It would go into discharges into a <v Harvey Lyon>tank. It's not economical to recover it. <v Harvey Lyon>It costs more to recover it than it does to to <v Harvey Lyon>leave it there. <v Interviewer>Have you seen yourself in intelligence report covering <v Interviewer>this? I do not claim to have ever seen. <v Interviewer>You seem to infer that this was investigated by some intelligence agencies. <v James Conran>Yes. <v Jack Lemmon>The big question. Was it stolen? <v Jack Lemmon>Conrad believes it's the logical answer. <v James Conran>If you if you think about things the way I do, it strikes me that
<v James Conran>the more sinister explanation is the one that is logically <v James Conran>consistent with all of the information. <v James Conran>It was apparent that it would be relatively easy to steal <v James Conran>significant quantities of enriched uranium or plutonium <v James Conran>from existing licensed facilities, either <v James Conran>from the outside overt attacks or <v James Conran>surreptitiously from the inside. <v James Conran>The information provided in the reports of the study of <v James Conran>the clandestine decision explosives study had produced <v James Conran>results that indicated that <v James Conran>the design and fabrication of a workable fusion explosive should be considered <v James Conran>relatively easy and likely to succeed.
<v Jack Lemmon>Mr. Conrad was transferred to a non-sensitive position. <v Jack Lemmon>Would it be all that simple for someone to make an atomic bomb? <v Jack Lemmon>No. But it ain't all that hard either. <v Jack Lemmon>I got here a recipe for a bomb, and I'm not kidding. <v Jack Lemmon>Anybody can get this. This is a sworn affidavit from a court records state of New York. <v Jack Lemmon>It tells you how to whip up a plutonium weapon right in your own kitchen. <v Jack Lemmon>I'll show you. Let's go. <v Jack Lemmon>There's a couple of chemical conversions and these instructions that I'm going to skip <v Jack Lemmon>over for the obvious reasons, but these are the basic ingredients. <v Jack Lemmon>First, the of plutonium, the size of this melon or a grapefruit could weigh up to about <v Jack Lemmon>18 or 20 pounds. Those couple of steel mixing bowl, some <v Jack Lemmon>wax, very important. <v Jack Lemmon>And next, some C-4 plastic explosive. <v Jack Lemmon>I'm using dope and got a detonator, which you can make yourself or <v Jack Lemmon>you can buy at a store. Unfortunately, a Geiger counter <v Jack Lemmon>and a scattering iron and that's it.
<v Jack Lemmon>Now, first step, we're gonna melt this wax and make a three inch thickness <v Jack Lemmon>in each bowl and cover the inside of each bowl. <v Jack Lemmon>I'm not gonna take the time to do that now. So we will assume that we have now made a <v Jack Lemmon>three inch thickness of wax in each bowl. <v Jack Lemmon>The wax acts as a neutron reflector. <v Jack Lemmon>Then all you do is you plug in the plutonium in one half <v Jack Lemmon>and now we are merely gonna sodder the two hands together. <v Jack Lemmon>But while we are scattering that, we are going to place this Geiger counter very <v Jack Lemmon>close to the bomb, because if it starts yammering at you, it's trying to tell you two <v Jack Lemmon>things. Number one, you probably made a mistake in your calculation somewhere <v Jack Lemmon>and you better start dismantling this right away because the second thing is trying to <v Jack Lemmon>tell you it's gonna blow up. All right. <v Jack Lemmon>We will assume that it doesn't Yamma we then Sadr it together. <v Jack Lemmon>Now we're going to take the plastic explosive. <v Jack Lemmon>And this isn't going to work, obviously, but you would spread it evenly around the bomb <v Jack Lemmon>and then all you would do is take the detonator and you plug it in there
<v Jack Lemmon>and voila. Simple as it seems. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, one more step. We take a look outside. <v Jack Lemmon>Neighborhoods still here. Must've done something right. <v Jack Lemmon>I guess some of you might have thought that was a rather inane little routine. <v Jack Lemmon>I went through there. There was a very good reason for doing it. <v Jack Lemmon>I don't think that most people have any conception of how frighteningly simple <v Jack Lemmon>it is to put together atomic bomb crude <v Jack Lemmon>but workable. If you had the plutonium, that is the key. <v Jack Lemmon>You don't have to be some kind of a scientist, not or a terrorist were able to get a hold <v Jack Lemmon>of enough plutonium. If he was smart enough to get it, he's gonna be smart enough to put <v Jack Lemmon>it together. <v Jack Lemmon>If he doesn't blow himself up when he is making it look out. <v Jack Lemmon>Chances are it's going to work. <v Jack Lemmon>The whole thing is having the plutonium. <v Jack Lemmon>That is the key. What would the millions of pounds of plutonium that are gonna be
<v Jack Lemmon>circulating this earth if we're not careful in the future? <v Jack Lemmon>How good are our safeguards? That's the important thing. <v Jack Lemmon>So far, they're not very good. <v Jack Lemmon>The government has voluminous reports on the problems. <v Jack Lemmon>An example, a small a security guard was hired despite the fact that he had <v Jack Lemmon>a lengthy criminal record, including a 20 year stretch for bank robbery. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, this is a security guard at a nuclear materials company that was government <v Jack Lemmon>licensed. <v Jack Lemmon>Well, what if what if a terrorist got sick of hijacking those little <v Jack Lemmon>747s and he got his hands somehow a rather odd enough plutonium <v Jack Lemmon>to fill a few of those little mixing bowls? <v Jack Lemmon>What if and then what if the president got a really <v Jack Lemmon>weird phone call. <v Jack Lemmon>Would the president be ready to trade whatever for three cities in 24 <v Jack Lemmon>hours. It's not such a crazy thought. <v Jack Lemmon>We asked Dr. Arthur Tamplin, a staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense <v Jack Lemmon>Council, what the president's options be. <v Arthur Tamplin>The only options that are left for him would be to sacrifice cities.
<v Arthur Tamplin>This is the terrible thing about the potential for nuclear blackmail, <v Arthur Tamplin>is that your options are narrowed down to the point where you simply can't tolerate <v Arthur Tamplin>the existence of a nuclear bomb as a consequence. <v Arthur Tamplin>If we move into the point here at a time when we have lots <v Arthur Tamplin>of plutonium in the civilian sectors of society, our options will be very narrow. <v Arthur Tamplin>And in order to prevent nuclear blackmail, we will simply have to become <v Arthur Tamplin>police state. <v Arthur Tamplin>Our civil liberties will just disappear because there is no way that a society <v Arthur Tamplin>can exist under the pressure of nuclear blackmail. <v Morris Udall>Well, I just hope that they'll never come. And I think there's a tendency on the part of <v Morris Udall>all of us all over the world to put that out of her mind. <v Morris Udall>But it's very real. I have no doubt that Hitler, who was within 24 <v Morris Udall>months probably developing his own bomb. <v Morris Udall>He used it in precisely that fashion. <v Morris Udall>Idi Amin, Uganda, Uganda's got a few bombs.
<v Morris Udall>There are going to be leaders that the rest of this century there are going to be leaders <v Morris Udall>like Hitler Lady or me and subnational groups as well who probably have <v Morris Udall>the capacity to put it together. <v Morris Udall>And it would be the most anguishing kind of time for any leader to <v Morris Udall>be put in a position to demand your billion dollars and release all the <v Morris Udall>prisoners in the jail. I guess the temptation to give me a billion dollars and release <v Morris Udall>all the murderers in the jail would have to be have to be done. <v Morris Udall>But I don't know, it's it's a problem I hope we never have to face <v Morris Udall>if God willing, this problem never arises. <v Jack Lemmon>There's something else and it hasn't even better chance of victory with so much <v Jack Lemmon>of our future dependent upon nuclear energy. <v Jack Lemmon>What's going to happen if there's an accident involving loss of life? <v Morris Udall>I think it would depend on the circumstance of the accident. <v Morris Udall>An unusual thing, a meteorite or an airplane crashes into a planet. <v Morris Udall>It's a one time thing that doesn't go to the basic safety of the planet. <v Morris Udall>Probably not too much would happen. On the other hand, if you ever have an accident in <v Morris Udall>which substantial numbers of people are hurt under situations, it suggests that
<v Morris Udall>all of our assumptions about the safety of nuclear power generation are wrong. <v Morris Udall>Then bar the door and probably have incredible <v Morris Udall>results. <v Morris Udall>Just economically, a recession rivaling that of the 1930s. <v Morris Udall>If you suddenly shut down 10 or 15 or 20 percent of the <v Morris Udall>electrical power production in this country, you'd get a real emergency. <v Morris Udall>And it would really test us as a people how we'd react to that kind of an event. <v Morris Udall>But I think it would depend on the circumstances of the event. <v Arthur Tamplin>The general consensus there among both anti-nuclear people and nuclear <v Arthur Tamplin>proponents is that a major accident in a nuclear power plant would shut <v Arthur Tamplin>the industry down. <v Arthur Tamplin>And this is one of the real problems with the way nuclear <v Arthur Tamplin>reactors had been built. <v Arthur Tamplin>If we would reach the point where, say, nuclear was supplying half of our electricity <v Arthur Tamplin>to shut them down would would be a tremendous problem for <v Arthur Tamplin>the country. But we would have to.
<v Arthur Tamplin>So it makes you know, from that standpoint alone, it makes poor economic sense <v Arthur Tamplin>to put so many in the nuclear basket. <v Jack Lemmon>Those are the opinions of a nuclear critic and politician. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, what would a nuclear proponent believe? <v Jack Lemmon>We asked Japan's Akira oyama. <v Interviewer>In the event of such an accident, what effect do you think it would have that. <v Akira Oyama>Big effect. <v Interviewer>Do you think that would be the end of nuclear power? <v Akira Oyama>Yes. <v Jack Lemmon>I was reading an article in my newspaper the other day, it told about a guy who was <v Jack Lemmon>promoting worms for food and he eats them all. <v Jack Lemmon>He says they're terrific and they're filled with protein. <v Jack Lemmon>And you French fry them and they're delicious. <v Jack Lemmon>Well, I don't that maybe he's right, but I don't think he's going to make a nickel. <v Jack Lemmon>I wouldn't eat a worm if you put a bazooka to my head. <v Jack Lemmon>But I was wondering if the nuclear industry <v Jack Lemmon>would ever pay attention to a crazy thing like that because they could learn a lesson. <v Jack Lemmon>I think more people are realizing that not everything new is better
<v Jack Lemmon>and they're bulking in Sweden. <v Jack Lemmon>That turning away is known as the green wave. <v Jack Lemmon>Now, we don't have a name for it yet in this country, but it is here and it is growing. <v Jack Lemmon>How we all want progress when progress means quadraphonic <v Jack Lemmon>sound or painless dentist drills. <v Jack Lemmon>But does it have to mean ever that you can see water with lumps <v Jack Lemmon>in it or bombs that can zap people and still leave the house standing, <v Jack Lemmon>which means the mortgage company is still free and clear? <v Jack Lemmon>Good lord, you can't put your finger exactly on it, this mood <v Jack Lemmon>of the people. But I do know this. It knocked out the S S T and it winged the Concorde <v Jack Lemmon>and it has nothin' to do with logic. The Swedes turned their back on nuclear power and <v Jack Lemmon>design, they cannot afford to. The country's in economic trouble, right? <v Jack Lemmon>It makes total sense for them to use nuclear power, <v Jack Lemmon>but that doesn't make any difference. They said no. <v Jack Lemmon>You see, they're going back to the nice old times, the simpler days.
<v Jack Lemmon>If they have to rub a couple of sticks together and take up bundling, okay, that is <v Jack Lemmon>it. <v Jack Lemmon>I think it boils down to this. <v Jack Lemmon>The nuclear promoters see a future filled with plutonium. <v Jack Lemmon>The environmentalists see a future filled with disaster. <v Jack Lemmon>We can only hope they're not both right. <v Jack Lemmon>That would make today the nice old times. <v Man 2>The source inadvertently fell out on the floor and cracked. <v Man 3>I think we're in for some more surprises in this area. <v Man 4>Always, of course, taking into consideration our interest. <v Man 5>When a big country like France signs a contract, <v Man 5>it just uh executes the contract. <v Man 6>There is no evidence that any significant amount of plutonium has ever been stolen in <v Man 6>this country. <v Man 7>Well, if you call that the back door, then it's open. <v Man 7>Yes [chuckles] <v Woman 5>You've put your finger right on the key issue.
Plutonium: Element of Risk
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KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"'Plutonium: Element of Risk' is an hour-long documentary produced and written by filmmaker Don Widener on the potential dangers of using plutonium for nuclear power. Widener and his film crew traveled to Great Britain, France, West Germany, Austria, Sweden, Japan and six states in the U.S. to produce the film for KCET, which was producing it for PBS under a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant. Actor Jack Lemmon narrated. The documentary examines the highly complex question of whether it is wise to go ahead with plutonium production at a time when the supply of uranium seems to be diminishing. While plutonium is hailed by some as a virtually inexhaustible supply, others contend the element is too toxic, radioactive and carcinogenic to be safe. Lemmon, in Widener's script, tries to [take] the issues to understandable levels for the layman. "After interviews with a number of officials and authorities and citing of cases in which plutonium has been mishandled, Lemmon shows how a plutonium bomb could be made by terrorists. PBS ultimately refused to grant a national air date to the program on grounds it might be misleading. KCET objected, saying it shows 'in an uncompromising manner the serious elements of risk involved in plutonium proliferation.' (See press clippings for further details.) To date, a dozen public stations have carried, or plan to carry, the film. KCET received more than 600 letters form viewers from its local airing. Eighty-five percent were favorable."--1977 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Director: Quine, Richard
Executive Producer: d'Usseau, Loring
Narrator: Lemmon, Jack
Producer: Widener, Don
Producing Organization: KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
Speaker: Widener, Don
Writer: Widener, Don
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-2fa211210ee (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 01:00:00
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Chicago: “Plutonium: Element of Risk,” 1977-11, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Plutonium: Element of Risk.” 1977-11. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Plutonium: Element of Risk. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from