As a massive cloud of radioactive particles makes its way across the Pacific to the California shore, it continues to defy logic that seemingly the universal conservative position is that nuclear reactors are not only safe and secure, but that we must focus on nuclear power as the pre-imminent source of power in the future.
If you care to venture forth into the world of conservative blogging, be prepared to be scared to death, not by the threat of radiation run wild, but by the insanity and ignorance of the purveyors of this nonsense.
As those of us who know anything about prevailing weather patterns, not to mention history*, it was only a question of how many days it would take until the fallout from Japan’s nuclear tragedy would reach California. Maps published in the past day from the Los Angeles Times and other sources confirm the path of the fallout and its impending destination.
In 1959, there was a now long-forgotten nuclear meltdown at the Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the Southern California community of what is now Simi Valley. Residents of that area are still working, decades later, for adequate cleanup of the resultant toxic contamination and radiation.
Clear-thinkers such as Senators Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders continue to warn of the inherent dangers of nuclear reactors, primarily to deaf ears. In light of the US government proclamation that there should be an evacuation of everyone within 50 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Sen. Boxer told the world about San Onofre, CA. The San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern Californa, located about 100 miles from where I sit typing, lies five short miles from a geological fault. Within a 50 mile radius of San Onofre, reside 7.5 million people. Were one to enlarge that radius to 100 miles, the population included would total about 20 million people.
Is this unusual? How many nuclear power plants, most with multiple reactors, could there be near faults, near heavily populated areas, can there be in the US? Well, take a look at this map:
That is 104 nuclear reactors, spread all across the US, exactly 1/2 of which are a least 30 years old. (Isn’t one of those we-NEED-nuclear-power-right-wing arguments that we shouldn’t worry, because the Japanese reactors are so OLD compared to ours?)
But what is the likelihood of a massive earthquake actually affecting a US nuclear power plant? Well as Sen. Boxer discussed at this week’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee briefing, a 2008 California Energy Commission report found that the plant could experience frequent earthquakes larger than the maximum 7.0 magnitude earthquake predicted when the plant was designed. That sounds a lot like what was said bout the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, doesn’t it?
So, what about alternatives?
Well, in my frequent travels up and down the diverse state of California over the past several decades, I have seen, in addition to nuclear power plants, numerous wind farms, with thousands of turbines, spinning, spinning, and spinning, creating energy. There are plenty more windy areas where significant numbers of energy-producing Don Quixote-esque windmills could rise to service the needs of future generations of power-craving consumers.
And what about solar power? Well, a recent UCLA study has shown that 1.5 Million Los Angeles County homes could accommodate solar panels. How much energy would that produce? How dangerous would it be – except for DIYers, falling off of their own roofs?
Now to get ready for tomorrow morning’s cloud of radiation. Glenfarclas or Mortlach?
*Nuclear fallout from Chernobyl circled the Northern Hemisphere.