Nuclear activists led by activist Bruce Gagnon picket the STAIF conference to raise awareness on the dangers of nuclear propulsion and the weaponization of space, which is rapidly becoming one of the new hot-button political issues of the 21st century.

Bruce Gagnon and a sizeable group of protestors stood-vigil on the sidewalk outside the Albuquerque Hilton for the 4-day duration of the STAIF 2006 Conference, holding a variety of protest signs that they claim raise public awareness of the inherent dangers of nuclear technology in space. Gagnon himself represents the activist organization “Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space”, located in Brunswick, Maine. Other activists protesting with him came from a variety of locations around the United States, including several from the local Albuquerque area.

The common theme raised by all of the protesters was a growing concern about the dangers of the nuclear materials used to power radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG’s) in satellites and robot probes, in addition to worries that the potential weaponization of space by the military might touch off a new cold-war arms race.

This fear was heightened by the view that emerging space-programs in foreign nations such as China might feel pressured to compete with any attempts by the United States to deploy weapons in space. Space-weaponization concepts have recently made headlines with recently proposed military initiatives such as the DoD’s “Joint Vision 2020” report that outlines a concept of “Full-Spectrum Dominance” that’s led to more recent proposals for the spacebound deployment for kinetic impact rods & satellite defense systems.

The activists cited STAIF as a preferred venue to protest at due to the traditional focus of the STAIF Conference on the implementation of nuclear technologies in space. The new Section-F group, dealing with Breakthrough Propulsion Physics concepts such as Warp-Drives and Zero-Point Energy extraction, was not a focus of the activist’s concerns.

In our exclusive interview with Gagnon and the protest-group, we not only outline the activist’s core concerns, but also explore potential avenues for reconcilitation through emerging BPP technologies such as those from the Section-F group that potentially displace more traditional nuclear RTG concepts for spacebound energy & propulsion. The group’s hope is to find a future venue within the STAIF Conference itself to open an honest dialogue about the moral, ethical, and environmental issues surrounding nuclear & emerging space technologies.