Protest of NEW HORIZONS Plutonium Launch at CAPE CANAVERAL

January 7, 2006

Contact: Bruce Gagnon (207) 729-0517
Maria Telesca (Florida)
(321) 632-5977


The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has announced a demonstration at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 7 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  The protest will highlight opposition to NASA’s planned New Horizons launch that will carry 24 pounds of radioactive plutonium on board.


NASA acknowledges in their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the New Horizons mission that there is a 1 in 300 chance of an accident resulting in release of the plutonium.  In the event of such an accident the EIS states that the deadly plutonium could be carried by winds for a 60-mile radius throughout Central Florida.  Clean-up costs for a plutonium accident would range from $241 million to $1.3 billion per square mile. 


NASA has big plans to expand the numbers of nuclear launches in the coming years.  The DoE is now planning a $300 million expansion of their laboratory in Idaho just to make more plutonium for space missions.


According to Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon, “As people in the U.S. and around the world learn about NASA's plan to launch plutonium into space they become angry with the space agency.  People say we don't want our tax dollars used to launch nuclear power into space.  The public understands the threat to the planet and to our children's future.  NASA is destroying their credibility with the very people who pay for these missions.  We might have escaped Cassini, we might escape New Horizons, but with plans to put nuclear reactors on the moon to power bases there in the coming years NASA will be launching a host of these missions.  One thing we have learned is that sooner or later, space technology can fail.”    


The protest is being co-sponsored by the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.

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