No, I am not trying to be dramatic,
Yes you are.
but this issue does need the attention of everyone.
No, it doesn't.
We have a loaded gun pointed to the head of humanity.
What you have done is take a novel risk - nuclear meltdown caused by massive flare - and have presented it devoid of all of the facts that blow it
apart and a rational analysis for such an event, in some sort of sick way to gain attention from people who don't know better. That's what you have
"People learn to live with risk and their perception of risk is inversely proportional to the novelty of the risk not the facts and not the
probability. Like in everything: familiarity breeds contempt." - DV82XL
I could come up with a scenario where a fire at a petrol station burns down an entire country. It's not hard but because I don't include the word
meltdown nobody will give a crap irregardless of the actual risk
that it poses.
The loaded gun is the over 400 nuclear power plants and 250 research reactors worldwide.
Many or even most of the research reactors are pool type which cannot melt-down if all power is lost indefinitely. Furthermore for all >400 nuclear
power reactors to be effected a solar flare would have to effect power grids all accross the planet which is even less likely, for example the
March 1989 geomagnetic storm
mainly only caused the collapse of the
Hydro-Québec's electricity transmission system. It did not cause disruption to Gentilly Nuclear Generating Station in Quebec. So not only would many
of the electric power grids have to be taken down (unlikely) it would have to be those with nuclear plants connected to them and with all diesel
generators unable to be refueled.
Now think of this: NASA has already warned us of what the sun WILL do. They've already told us that we are entering a period where the
likelihood of major regions will lose power and the grid will be inoperable for an indefinite period of time.
NASA has not said that such an event will
occur, and have suggested that
Carrington type events occur are once in about 500 years.
Once every 100 year events are considerably smaller and are far less likely to affect the entire planet.
That time period could go on for years.
Complete restoration could take months or years, however there is no reason to suggest the grid could not operate in a degraded state significantly
Now, what's going to happen when the inevitable CME hits Earth and knocks out some, or all, of the world's electrical power grid?
Even if the grids went out then the reactor would shut down automatically within seconds. ECCS in existing reactors is dependent on a power source,
the grid is one of several which can be used. Geomagnetically induced current tends to effect large electricity grids rather than relatively small
scale backup systems such as those employed at nuclear power plants, ECCS function would therefore be limited by fuel supplies, however given the fuel
supplies themselves would not be destroyed, there is no reason they could not be refueled. ECCS is only required for long enough to bring the reactor
to cold-shutdown state where-by defueling can commence. Completely refueling a reactor takes about 7-10 days from shutdown.
releasing incomprehensible amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.
Assumes that containment would be breached which is only highly likely with an old Boiling Water Reactor.
As you all know, the effects are not local for even one reactor -- such a meltdown would affect a large part of the world. Several reactors
melting down would spell near-extinction ---
We already have had several nuclear reactors melt down. Even though Chernobyl did
increase cancer rates, age standardized cancer rates in
Ukraine are still significantly lower than they are in for example, the United States. Cancer in Ukraine is still mainly caused by for example,
smoking and other factors. Fukushima is not likely going to be worse than that. Several reactors melting down would probably be the least of our
problems in such an event - probably one of the biggest would be an massive increase in poverty due to lack of wealth, for example, as when
electricity stops the economy stops.
edit on 12/8/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)