Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Interview with Richard Lawrence Garwin, July 21, 2004


Download nts_000077.pdf (application/pdf; 207.99 KB)





Narrator affiliation: Physicist, IBM; Consultant, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Digital ID


Physical Identifier



Garwin, Richard L. Interview, 2004 July 21. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

Original archival records created digitally

Date Digitized



42 pages





Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Richard Garwin July 21, 2004 La Jolla, California Interview Conducted By Mary Palevsky © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/ researcher with an interviewee/ narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/ his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154- 5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U. S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52- 03NV99203 and the U. S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants— oral history interviewees and/ or oral history interviewers— and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U. S. Department of Energy or the U. S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Richard Garwin July 21, 2004 Conducted by Mary Palevsky Table of Contents Introduction: Work with Enrico Fermi on nuclear weapons at Los Alamos National Laboratory ( LANL) 1 Defines boosted fission bomb used in Item and 3 Discusses work in diagnostics, battlefield weapon deployment, and measurements in Pacific tests 4 Involvement in design of full- scale hydrogen bomb at LANL, tested in Mike 7 Compares fallout from fission and thermonuclear devices 9 Discusses Downwinders, his views of the uncertainty of danger from fallout, relationship of radiation and DNA damage to cancers, and cancer clusters 10 Talks about role of the Atomic Energy Commission ( AEC) in studying radiation effects and fallout 16 Comments on work of physician John Gofman on effects of low- level radiation 18 Defines prompt radiation and compares it to fallout radiation 20 Comments on involvement in design of hydrogen bomb at LANL 21 Discusses work with International Business Machines ( IBM) solid- state physics laboratory at Columbia University, including Project Lamp Light 25 Talks about intelligence activities of Technological Capabilities Panel, development of high- resolution photography, origin of U- 2 and other supersonic spy planes, and Corona Project 28 Work with Spurgeon Keeny and Jerome Wiesner to develop permissive action links for nuclear weapons deployed in Europe 30 Discusses work in Europe on technical issues concerning test verification 31 Acts as consultant to President’s Science Advisory Committee during Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations 32 Reflects on logic and purposes of test ban treaties 32 Defines big hole decoupling approach and relationship to test ban 34 Discusses arms control and nonproliferation treaties, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty ( CTBT) and UN Committee on Disarmament, maintenance of nuclear stockpile 36 Conclusion: reflection on lessons to be learned from a terrorist attack 39 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Richard Garwin July 21, 2004 in La Jolla, California Conducted by Mary Palevsky [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 2, Disc 1. Richard Garwin: I didn’t have anything to do with establishing it in Nevada, so my relation is somewhat limited, but maybe there are some things I can tell you. Mary Palevsky: Well, I noticed you said that— I think the way I thought about talking to you today, there were several issues that you raised in your articles that I think are important to understand generally about the whole nuclear weapons situation. But you did say that you were going to Los Alamos during the decade of the fifties, I guess, and I was just wondering if there was any weapons work that you did on there that was actually related to the test site. Oh, well, yes, I began my work at Los Alamos in the summer of 1950, after receiving my Ph. D. in late 1949. And I spent, as I recall, three months there the first year and four months in ’ 51 and five months in ’ 52 and probably three months the other summers until ’ 59, when we went for a shorter time, if at all, because we spent the next year in Geneva. I was a visiting scholar at CERN [ Conseil Europeén pour la Recherche Nucleaire]. And then during the 1960s, I was there [ at Los Alamos] probably half the summers, more or less. From the very beginning, I worked on nuclear weapons. I had been a graduate student of Enrico Fermi’s, and he was my thesis sponsor. So the first summer I was there, Fermi and I shared an office, which was very interesting because he had been there during the war, from 1944 until the end of 1945, and had played a very important role in the nuclear weapons program, first with his reactor in Chicago, and then they stayed there after Los Alamos was opened. He came only the summer of 1944, instead of March ’ 43. He had been helping to design the Hanford reactors that would actually make the plutonium that would UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 be used in the bomb. But he had gone back every summer as a consultant to Los Alamos, and so he continued to be involved. And he was highly regarded. In Rome, he was called “ the Pope.” And in Los Alamos, of course, this is not a Catholic country, I don’t think they called him “ the Pope.” But he was a major resource for building the bomb, and he was an excellent physicist with a very good grasp of experimental things as well as theoretical things. So when people needed a solution to anything, they would, as a last resort, go to Fermi and he would tell them how to solve their problems. So it was very interesting, and when I first went to the classified report library, I read all of the weekly progress reports from the various groups during the war, and then I knew everything there was to know about nuclear weapons, so I had some of my own ideas and he initially helped me work them out. And when did the Nevada Test Site open? Fifty- one. Fifty- one. Yes. So, this was in 1950. And in— you’re sure it was in ’ 51? Yes. [ Truman accepted AEC recommendation re establishing Nevada Test Site on 12/ 18/ 1950; Early January 1951, the decision was made public; first test in Ranger series, 1/ 27/ 1951] So I, of course, read all about the tests in the Pacific and the plans for the test series in 1951 in the Pacific, where various major things were tested by the [ Operation] Greenhouse series, like Greenhouse George, which was the first demonstration of burning of thermonuclear fuel, and Greenhouse Item, which was the first boosted fission bomb. And, let’s see, King, which was the largest fission bomb ever tested, at 500 kilotons. Now, were you there for those tests? No, I never saw a nuclear explosion. I went in 1951, probably, to Hawaii for a couple of days to talk with people who came back from the test site. They were having some problems. But I UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 didn’t want to take the time to go out because I had a wife and a young child and we were there in Los Alamos only for the summer, and so it didn’t seem worthwhile for me to do that. Can you explain to me— you talk about it in one of your articles— what it means, what you just said, “ boosted”? What does that mean, actually, in layperson’s terms? [ 00: 05: 00] Oh, yes. A fission bomb assembles a supercritical mass of material, so you start with two or more subcritical masses, and in the Hiroshima bomb, these were solid uranium- 235 pieces, so gunpowder, not explosives, gunpowder is used to propel one of them down a gun barrel, right up against the other. And when they’re in close contact, then a neutron source, an initiator, gives neutrons, and so if you start with a hundred neutrons, then within a few billionths of a second, those neutrons have caused fission and you get two hundred neutrons, four hundred, eight hundred, sixteen hundred, and so on. And after many doublings or fifty generations— factors of e— you have a good fraction of the nuclei are fissioned, a couple of percent in the Hiroshima bomb and 30 percent in the Nagasaki bomb, and that’s terminated because the energy released provides pressure that blows things apart. And since the multiplication is every hundredth of a microsecond or so, then you need a lot of pressure, a lot of speed, to move the heavy masses apart in a hundredth of a microsecond, which is what’s required. So that’s the normal course of a fission bomb. But with the booster, after the fissioning has been going on for some hundredths of a microsecond, and maybe a few percent of the yield has been produced, it’s sufficiently hot inside the bomb to cause thermonuclear reactions between the deuterium and tritium, and that gives a very short pulse of neutrons. Doesn’t produce much energy, but it may multiply the number of neutrons present by a factor of X. And so the energy is being produced at a rate, and then suddenly it’s being produced at X times that rate, so a boost in the level of the UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 fission activity. And that means that you need more pressure in order to disassemble the bomb, to stop the fission reaction, and so it increases the yield, by a considerable factor. And of course, it makes it a lot safer to get a given yield because you need less fissile material. It’s less critical when you start. So anyhow, all of our nuclear weapon primaries of all nuclear weapons in the U. S. stockpile are boosted fission weapons. Now, that was the first test. I didn’t have anything to do with the design of it, but I did have to do with the diagnostics on these things, and especially in the 1951 series, which was the first I could affect because it takes time to affect these things. And I don’t remember whether there was a 1950 series. Because these were big operations in the Pacific and they tended to mount them every two years. So in thinking about these things— no? ’ 48 and then ’ 51.[ In Pacific: Operation Crossroads, 1946; Operation Sandstone, 1948; Operation Greenhouse, 1951; Operation Castle, 1954] . Yes. In thinking about these things, I invented a new technique for finding out exactly what was happening at various places within the bomb, and that was to put there relatively rare materials. The first we used, or I proposed, were nickel and arsenic, but they use all kinds of rare earths or whatever. And after the nuclear explosion and the tremendous fireball and everything is all mixed together, they would go out with airplanes and filters and get radioactive samples from which they would determine the yield, from the amount of fission products compared with the amount of plutonium or uranium remaining. And also the neutrons in the nuclear reaction would activate, convert the stable isotopes into very particular radioactive materials, and that would tell you how much neutron exposure they had had. And so you can look inside a nuclear weapon at the time of exploding, just a few centimeters apart, and this was much more important later when [ 00: 10: 00] we had the thermonuclear weapons and we really had uncertainties and needed to UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 diagnose what was happening in the thermonuclear fuel here, there, and separate the energy of the primary from the energy of the secondary. So that was one of the first things I did. And the second was to look at how nuclear weapons would actually be employed on the battlefield. People were talking about getting lots more nuclear weapons, and so battlefield commanders would use them. And I asked myself, how long after a nuclear explosion could you use another nuclear weapon and not have it affected by the first? So it turns out that there are two things involved. One is the time and the other is the distance. And the time is determined locally by the continuing release of “ delayed” neutrons from the fissions. It’s important for the control of reactors but has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. But almost 1 percent of the neutrons in the fission product process come a second or ten seconds or a minute after the radioactive materials are created, whereas the fission process itself is a fraction of a trillionth of a second. It’s very short. And the time between fission generations is a few billionths of a second. So there are these things that happen. And that’s important for the control of reactors. But after a nuclear explosion, you have an enormous number of neutrons, and they continue to dribble out. And since gun- type weapons are very vulnerable to having their yield almost eliminated by premature neutrons, they are very sensitive detectors of what has gone on. And even though the cloud has mostly gone elsewhere, together with the debris, there’s still some delayed neutrons. So I looked at that. The neutrons have great difficulty getting through the atmosphere, and so at a great distance, the effect is dominated by high- energy gamma rays. So you have to think of a lot of separate things. Those gamma rays come from the capture of the neutrons in the nitrogen of the atmosphere. So you have an explosion and for every nucleus fissioned, a neutron gets out and gets caught in the nitrogen. One percent of those give rise to an eleven- million- volt gamma ray, which is very high energy UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 compared with most gamma rays, which are a couple MeV [ one million, or 106 electron volts]. And that gamma ray is a high enough energy that it can cause fission itself. Gamma rays go much farther in the atmosphere than do neutrons. And so miles away, you have photo fission, that is, nuclear weapons will have fission induced in their cores. And then those fissions— so that’s all prompt processes— and then those fissions in their cores, which are too weak to heat up the weapon or injure it in any way, give you a continuing dribble of neutrons right inside the nuclear weapon, which would pre- initiate it. So anyhow, the relevance to the test site is that it had just been opened and they were having nuclear explosions there, above ground, and Jane Hall who was, I guess— I don’t remember whether she was deputy director at Los Alamos at the time, and her husband Dave picked up on this idea and went out and deployed at the test site a hemisphere of uranium and had some neutron detectors under it to see what the time course of behavior was. They validated this theory, which was important because otherwise if nuclear weapons had ever been used in warfare, they would not have been effective, the later ones. And I later learned that, in fact, people had proposed a missile defense system that would use this technique to extend the [ 00: 15: 00] range of nuclear- armed interceptors against incoming Russian missiles or airborne nuclear weapons. It turns out that later developments in nuclear weaponry went away from the gun- type weapon used and the implosion- type weapons, because they’re built to function despite the much larger neutron background in plutonium. So they’re not so vulnerable, and our current nuclear weapons aren’t vulnerable at all to this kind of effect because it has been revealed by the government that they are not subject to pre- initiation of this type. So that’s the sort of thing I was doing. And then it was also, the first year, decided that the information that people had, the reaction rates between deuterium and tritium, and deuterium UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 and deuterium, went back to pre- war experiments and they weren’t very accurate. So I began an experiment to measure these things again. When I left in the fall, I turned over the design of the experiment to colleagues. And the laboratory formed a group. Fermi was instrumental in bringing James Tuck, a physicist who had been with the British group at Los Alamos during the war, back from England to lead this group to measure the cross- sections. I was also interested in other diagnostics for the 1951 tests, and that’s when I first met Herb York from [ University of California at] Berkeley, and Ernest Krause from the Naval Research Laboratory, and Montgomery Johnson and others who were involved in building big equipment, diagnostic equipment. Kind of pinhole cameras, because you don’t have lenses that focus neutrons or gamma rays, to look at the details of the behavior of this Greenhouse George burning activity, or some of the others. So I contributed a good deal in that. And, of course, I got to know a lot of these people at the time. And I was in favor of having a continental test site. Just technically, it was a big pain to have to wait two years or three years to explode nuclear weapons out in the Pacific. It would be much easier if you didn��t have to have a whole expedition, but you could do it within weeks or months. If you could do it safely, of course. And I devised some other things. And then that was 1950, pretty much. I was busy. Then in 1951, when I got to Los Alamos, [ Edward] Teller, whom I knew from 1950 and also because we were on the faculty at the University of Chicago together, in physics, so I saw him every day or every couple of days there, he told me that he and Stan Ulam had had the idea of radiation implosion— that figures in their still- secret March 9, 1951 paper in Los Alamos— and that he would like me to devise an experiment to show this worked. And as he says, in about a week I came back with a design, not of the experiment but of the full- scale hydrogen bomb. It UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 seemed to me that when you have an experiment, there will always be some dispute. First, you have to make the experiment. You have to show that it’s relevant, that it really proves the principle, and then you have to take the next step. So it seemed to me if you could do the whole thing— it was easier to demonstrate in large size than small size— then that would solve the problem. So that’s what we did. And in a fantastically short time people actually did the engineering and design and building. So in sixteen months, from May 1, 1951 to the Mike explosion, November 1, 1952, the laboratory did all of this work. And the AEC [ Atomic Energy Commission] mounted the usual joint task force, this time, only the next year, 1952, for these thermonuclear tests. So that’s what I did in 1951. And I contributed also to the radiochemistry group that did [ 00: 20: 00] these analyses. I would talk to all kinds of people. I had a couple of questions. You said about being in favor of the continental test site. Do you have any particular insight into [ Norris] Bradbury’s views on the test site? I read some things that John Hopkins, at Los Alamos, is writing a history of the test site, and he refers to some memos that I don’t think I can see, even now. Bradbury’s concerned about safety, et cetera, et cetera, and my interpretation was only under sort of extreme national security kinds of needs should we even be thinking about a continental test site. Do you remember anything about that discussion? No, I was not involved in those discussion and, of course, you really need to look at all kinds of safety considerations: earthquake, ground shock, and, of course, as Las Vegas has been built up, it gets more and more important— but we have had a moratorium since 1992— but mostly fallout, that is, radioactivity. And there, the information that we have is really not all that great. I know a lot more about this now than I knew then. And as a result of Linus Pauling and other people’s UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 pressures, people looked at the influence of radiation, especially the induction of cancer by radiation. And in my books— I don’t know whether you’ve seen my book Megawatts and Megatons. I haven’t. I saw a reference to it in your paper. OK. Well, it’s available in paperback, the University of Chicago Press [ Megawatts and Megatons: The Future of Nuclear Weapons, 2002]. I’ll get it. And so we estimate there that the nuclear testing that has been carried out in the atmosphere, and I think it’s 370 megatons of fission, which is a tremendous lot. Mike was ten megatons itself, not all of which was fission, and so 370 megatons of fission is like forty Mike shots. And of course, some of this was from the Russians, as well. Russians and Americans contributed most of it. Most of their biggest shot, which was fifty or sixty megatons, was thermonuclear energy and didn’t contribute to this 370 megatons. So it’s really the thousands of other tests that were done. So the fission tests, that’s when we’re talking about the kind of fallout that’s dangerous, is that what I’m understanding? Yes. Thermonuclear tests, it doesn’t result in the same? No, that’s right. It’s mostly the fission products. But thermonuclear tests are typically half fission. It’s a rule of thumb that a thermonuclear weapon really is half fission because that’s the most convenient way to make it. Now, we have had some Plowshare experiments, that is, with quite clean nuclear explosions, and the Russians, they have in their museum a 120 kiloton explosive for underground rock crushing, and of this 120 kilotons, I think only 0.7 kilotons is fission yield. And so that’s very clean, and it would take an enormous lot of those to get even a UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 megaton. It would take fourteen hundred of them to get even one megaton of fission yield into the atmosphere. So it makes a big difference. But anyhow, I think we figure in our book that three hundred thousand people worldwide is the best estimate of the number who have died from cancer from the atmospheric testing. And that’s a lot of people, by one measure, but if atmospheric testing prevented nuclear war, then a lot more people would’ve died in nuclear war, so you have to ask, what is your judgment on that? And we figure, incidentally, that twenty- four thousand people, more or less, will have died from the fallout from Chernobyl, from that one reactor accident. Because a reactor has a lot more long- life fission products in it than does even a very big bomb, because a reactor fissions a ton of [ 00: 25: 00] fuel a year, and typically the fuel has an age of two years in a reactor, and so there are a couple of tons, and it’s seventeen kilotons of fission yield per kilogram, so seventeen megatons per ton, so about thirty megatons. And that agrees, because I said three hundred megatons will have killed three hundred thousand people. Thirty megatons will kill twenty- four thousand people. One- tenth as many, approximately. So anyhow, that’s most of my involvement with the test site. But I have a question here, and I wasn’t anticipating asking you this, but one of the things that is becoming so clear, from my ten months in Nevada, is there’s huge argument about just what you’re talking about. People who consider themselves Downwinders, sort of awful, unseen- before cancers in themselves or their children. And then people in the test site organization and either the AEC or the DOE [ Department of Energy] or one of the labs, will say, Look, the evidence just is not there for these kinds of illnesses. And one of the things I’m just struggling with myself— I don’t have to answer that question per se— is to really understand how these narratives could be so diametrically opposed. And then there are people out there now UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 with Indian tribes and with long- term studies and their compensation programs. What would you say the state of the science is on this, from a medical standpoint, at this point in time? Because it’s really sort of baffling to see the various viewpoints, sometimes very passionately held, of these various groups. Well, it would be easier if there weren’t money or politics in it. But first of all, I doubt that there are cancers caused by radiation that differ in any significant way from the naturally occurring cancers. And so people who say that there are these strange cancers, I think, are just wrong. Mostly, if people are ill, there’s just no benefit and a good deal, somehow, of primitive shame associated with revealing your illness. So if you have a disfiguring illness, you don’t go around showing it to people. So people are pretty unfamiliar with the terrible things that cancer does. And here, there’s a benefit. Either it’s a political benefit or a monetary benefit, helped by lawyers whose job it is to make themselves rich, like Mr. Edwards [ then ( 2004) Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards], by using the legal system. And then there are people who are either against the government or they want their own goals. Some of it is personal advancement. Some of it is retribution of some kind or other. But there are real uncertainties in the effects of low- level radiation, and respectable people who maintain that there are— it’s a lot more complicated than was thought in the 1950s, especially to physicists, because there it was thought that you had an electron or some other ionizing particle would pass through the body. It would occasionally disrupt a cell in some way and lead to cancer. Now, of course, since DNA was discovered in the 1950s and the mechanism of heredity and cell reproduction, we know a tremendous lot more. We know that it’s damage to the DNA, for the most part, and since DNA was not known, you couldn’t ascribe the target for the radiation damage. So it’s damage to the DNA. And so pretty early on in the fifties and UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 sixties, it was recognized that there was also an active repair mechanism operating. Because there are very many spontaneous damages in each cell. Every second each cell in the body [ 00: 30: 00] suffers an insult simply because it has these three billion base pairs of DNA in its nucleus and there are things going on, chemistry, that’s always damaging the DNA. So totally unsuspected by physicists or maybe others, these cells are little factories with their own inspectors inspecting always the DNA and fixing it, because it’s double- stranded, so if you damage one strand, the other one’s there as a template to tell you how to fix it. Now, people differ, and they differ from person to person. They differ from time to time, I’m convinced. Sometimes the repair mechanism is going better than others. And so the question of cancer incidents from radiation, in the presence of this enormous background of spontaneous mutation, and especially single- strand mutations, but also double- strand mutations, is very problematical. So in our book, I spend a good deal of time on this question. And we believe, still as physicists but with more knowledge, that if you have a tiny increment to the background radiation, and this is a very small addition to the spontaneous damage rate to DNA, that there must be, for tiny amounts of radiation, there must be a linear effect. And so people who say, If the radiation is spread around so a million people get it instead of one, then there will be no damage, they’re wrong, and there will be at least as much damage as if it were concentrated on one person. But it’s very much more difficult to determine what it is because people have a 20 percent probability of dying of cancer anyhow, even in the absence of radiation. And that number varies from sub- population to sub- population. So that’s my view. Now, it might even be that this linear relationship, it just says that the damage is proportional to the amount of radiation and it doesn’t matter how it’s spread around. But the theorem doesn’t distinguish between a positive coefficient or a negative coefficient, so UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 maybe in this very low level of range, the radiation could even be good for you, slightly good for you. We don’t believe that, but it’s possible. What we do know is that it has to be linear. OK, so there are people who are absolutely dedicated— one of the strongest motivators in human behavior seems to be to attack your enemies. So if there are people who make the mistake or, for that matter, who argue that tiny amounts of radiation are extremely bad and the smaller the amount of radiation, the worse it is per unit dose, that so incenses these other people that they take firmly the position that a tiny bit of radiation does absolutely no damage, or that it is definitely good for you. Radiation “ hormesis.” So you should be aware of this controversy, and the whole chapter in our book, Chapter 4, which discusses this. And it’s very important. But as I say, even granting the International Commission on Radiation Protection, the ICRP, coefficient of one radiation death per twenty- five sieverts [ Sv], which is the current measure of radiation dose, and the sievert is 100 Rem [ Roentgen Equivalent Man]. So at one per twenty- five hundred Rem, and the average exposure of the American people is about 0.2 Rems per year, and so your probability of ultimately dying from cancer by exposure to background radiation in one year is about 1 in 12,500. And if you’re exposed for [ 00: 35: 00] forty years and then the cancer takes ten or twenty years to develop, then your probability is about 1 in 300. So of the 20 percent normal death rate from cancer, about 1 in 60 of those people presumably die from the effects of background radiation, which is half natural and half diagnostic, medical, and dental. So if you’re really interested in reducing deaths from radiation, what you ought to do is to reduce the controllable part of that, and that’s, what did I say, that would be about a sixth of a percent. If you have in the United States, say, two million people dying a year altogether, then 1 percent of that is twenty thousand. So about three thousand people a year die from the effects of medical and dental X- rays, diagnostic X- rays. There’s more UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 from therapeutic, but that’s a different question. And worldwide, this three hundred thousand who died from nuclear testing are worldwide, and so worldwide there are twenty times as many people as in the United States, so we have sixty thousand a year dying from excess medical and dental x- radiation, and other countries have more exposure than we do because we have better rules. So there are all kinds of things that ought to be done if you have fear of radiation. Fallout, to my mind, is in no way more effective than these other kinds of radiation in causing cancer. I think it’s ridiculous for people to be able to prove in court that their cancer was due to this exposure to fuel particles or whatever. You have a public health problem and you have rules and, of course, if people don’t follow the rules, then there is a public interest in judging them and assessing penalties. It shouldn’t go necessarily to the person who happens to have a cancer that might, with some stretch of the imagination, come from this activity of somebody else. Some of what I’ve read, because it’s of political interest and social interest, let’s say, in Nevada— and thank you for that. That’s really helpful to me because I’m trying to understand as best I can what some of the elements in this argument are. But they say we have to look at it epidemiologically and you can’t say “ this particular cancer,” but you start seeing clusters in certain areas— Yes, but clusters really tell you nothing. And I’ve been involved on National Academy [