Web Letters | The Nation

Nuclear Hubris: Could Japan's Disaster Happen Here?

Another nuclear plant issue in this country

Thank you for this article. Living in Vermont within fifty miles of Vermont Yankee, it is of great concern that it is the same design as the Japanese reactor that is in trouble. One thing that no one seems to be considering is the NASA and National Academy of Sciences report on severe solar storms about the potential disaster and long-term loss of electricity from a major solar storm which could occur as we approach the next solar max in a couple of years. It doesn't take an earthquake or a tsunami to create a nuclear disaster with this design. How long would the diesel backup generators pumping water to cool the fuel rods work if you are no longer able to pump diesel fuel for the generators because of widespread power outages from fried transformers? On top of the crisis of no power you could have nuclear accidents.

From NASA's website (“As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather”):

The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled "Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts." It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

The NAS report: “Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts.”

This article from New Scientist analyzes the consequences of the report: “Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe,” March 23, 2009, by Michael Brooks.


Lynette Carsten

Springfield, VT

Mar 17 2011 - 11:10am

Nuclear Hubris: Could Japan's Disaster Happen Here?

Seems inevitable

Between private enterprise cutting corners on maintenance and the lack of government inspections, nuclear power plants are an accident waiting to happen! I have solar panels on my roof, and I know they work! Combine them with wind energy on a large scale, and you could eliminate nuclear power plants. Because they are so common, they are more of a threat than nuclear weapons. I don't like anything nuclear!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Mar 14 2011 - 1:34pm