Government Spends Tens of Trillions On Unnecessary, Harmful Projects … But Won’t Spend $100 Million to Prevent the Greatest Threat
The government has thrown tens of trillions of dollars at the big banks, even though bailing out the big banks hurts – rather than helps – the American economy. See this, this and this. (And it doesn’t take a PhD economist to guess that using bailout funds to buy gold toilet seats and prostitutesis probably not the best way to stimulate the economy as a whole)..
Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz says that the $3-5 trillion spent on the Iraq war alone has been very bad for the American economy. See this, this and this. Security experts – including both hawks and doves – agree that waging war against Iraq and in other Middle Eastern countries weakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
The government has thrown money at all sorts of other useless projects.
And yet Congress refuses to spend a mere $100 million to prevent Armageddon.
Specifically, well-known physicist Michio Kaku and other members of the American Physical Society asked Congress to appropriate $100 million to harden the country’s electrical grid against solar flares.
Not only could such a flare bring on multiple Fukushima type accidents, but it could well cause food riots nationwide.
Kaku explainsthat relief came in for people hit by disasters like Katrina or Sandy from the “outside”. But a large solar flare could knock out a lot of the power nationwide. So – as people’s food spoils due to lack of refrigeration – emergency workers from other areas would be too preoccupied with their own local crisis to help. There would, in short, be no “cavalry” to the rescue in much of the country.
Such an event would be the most likely Armageddon-type event to hit us (from a secular source, anyway … remember, the Mayans aren’t predictingthe end of the world this year.)
In addition, we’ve spent tens of trillions on the “war on terror”, but have failed to take steps to protect against the largest terrorist threat of all: an attack on the power supplies to nuclear power plants. As discussed in more detail below, an electromagnetic pulse (emp) which took out the power supply to a nuclear power plant would cause a Fukushima-style meltdown, and spent fuel pools are extremely vulnerableto terrorism.
We’ve sounded the alarm for years about the failure to harden our electrical system against electromagnetic storms from our sun.
For example, we noted last year that the extreme vulnerability of nuclear power plants to solar flares is a very real threat which we must address:
Large hole in magnetic field that protects Earth from sun’s rays … Recent satellite observations have revealed the largest breach yet seen in the magnetic field that protects Earth from most of the sun’s violent blasts.
I’m not predicting some 2012 Mayan catastrophe. [Indeed, I think the whole Mayan 2012 thing is fake.] I am simply warning that a large solar storm – as Nasa is predicting – could knock out power throughout much of the world, especially if the earth’s magnetic field happens to be weak at the time.
What would happen to nuclear power plants world wide if their power – and most of the surrounding modern infrastructure – is knocked out?
Nuclear power companies are notoriously cheap in trying to cut costs. If they are failing to harden their electrical components to protect against the predicted solar storm, they are asking for trouble… perhaps on a scale that dwarfs Fukushima. Because while Fukushima is the first nuclear accident to involve multiple reactors within the same complex, a large solar storm could cause accidents at multiple complexes in numerous countries.
If the nuclear power companies and governments continue to cut costs and take large gambles, the next nuclear accident could make Fukushima look tame.
I’m not saying this will happen in 2012, or 2013 (although Nasa appears to be hinting at this). But a large solar storm which knocks out electrical grids over wide portions of the planet will happen at some point in the future.
Don’t pretend it is unforeseeable. The nuclear power industry is on notice that it must spend the relatively small amounts of moneynecessary to prevent a widespread meltdown from the loss of power due to a solar storm.
Most current reactors are of a similarly outdated design as the Fukushima reactors, where the cooling systems require electricity to operate, and huge amounts of spent radioactive fuel are housed on-site, requiring continuous cooling to prevent radioactive release. [Designs which would automatically shut down - and cool down - in the event of an accident are ignored for political reasons.]
The conservative G2 Bulletin reported earlier this year:
As scientists warn of an impending solar storm between now and 2014 that could collapse the national power grid, thrusting millions into darkness instantly, a debate has flared up between utilities and the federal government on the severity of such an event.
NASA and the National Academy of Sciences previously confirmed to G2Bulletin that an electromagnetic pulse event from an intense solar storm could occur any time between now and 2014.
They say it could have the effect of frying electronics and knocking out transformers in the national electric grid system.
Already, there are separate published reports of massive solar storms of plasma – some as large as the Earth itself – flaring off of the sun’s surface and shooting out into space, with some recently having come close enough to Earth to affect worldwide communications and alter the flights of commercial aircraft near the North Pole.
But in February, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which represents the power industry, issued a stunning report asserting that a worst-case geomagnetic “super storm” like the 1859 Carrington Event likely wouldn’t damage most power grid transformers. Instead, it would cause voltage instability and possibly result in blackouts lasting only a few hours or days, but not months and years.
NERC’s assertion, however, is at serious variance with the 2008 congressional EMP Commission, the 2008 National Academy of Sciences report; a 2010 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report; the 2012 report by the Defense Committee of the British Parliament, and others.
Even the British scientists who contributed to the parliament report came to their own independent assessment that a great geomagnetic storm would cause widespread damage to power grid transformers and result in a protracted blackout lasting months, or even years, with catastrophic consequences for society.
[The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or "FERC"], which regulates interstate electricity and other energy sales but has no authority now over local utilities to harden their grid sites, says that as many as 130 million Americans could have problems for years.
U.S. transformers on the average are more than 30 years old and are susceptible to internal heating, according to FERC experts.
There is ample evidence in the possession of the FERC revealing the damage to transformers from previous geomagnetic storms. For example, there was serious transformer damage to the Salem nuclear power plant in New Jersey in the aftermath of the same geomagnetic storm that caused the March 1989 Hydro-Quebec blackout.