posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 08:50 AM
Fukushima was a perfect storm of bad circumstances and poor design.
However, let's leave design and backup systems out of the equation. Let's also leave a global catastrophe out of it as well. Let's say 100 Nuclear
Reactors all lose cooling at once due to some previously unknown hack, and it is completely unrecoverable. Many Reactors are built near rivers or on
coastlines. When the fuel melts through the containment vessel (Which it most certainly will without any cooling), the first and most immediate effect
will be massive oceanic and groundwater contamination.
Hydrogen explosions at older reactors will happen, scattering nuclear material across the local landscape, and prevailing winds will carry radiation
pretty far. I'd say if you live within about 100 miles of a Reactor, you'll likely get SOME increased dose of radiation from the air alone, and may
become lethally irradiated depending on where you live in relation to the reactor. If you live downstream from a Reactor that sits on a river, you'll
probably suffer some pretty serious radioactive contamination.
However, very few people will actually die from acute radiation syndrome. It takes MASSIVE doses of radiation to die from ARS. Life will go on very
much as normal (Aside from massive swaths of land being without power) for most people. The big killer will be cancers from the low to mid-level
radiation exposure, many of them occurring within 5 to 10 years of exposure if the dose is high enough, or if a low level dose is maintained (such as
living near a destroyed plant).
Birth defects will begin to present themselves in the offspring of both humans and animals. Many children born after the great disaster will be
deformed in one way or another, and already have a near certain chance of developing cancer in their adolescence. Essentially, the generation
following the disaster will be deformed and have much shorter life spans. If the destruction is limited to one continent like North America, the birth
defects and cancers will be mostly contained within that landmass. However if the 100 reactors are spread more across the globe, it could seriously
affect global population numbers as the birth defects and cancers cause reproduction rates to plummet while lifespans are greatly shortened in exposed
adults as well.
I would estimate a 40% drop in total population over about three generations.