- That’s a pretty over-the-top headline, yes? I know, but I’ve read this article and several others and I can find nothing speculative or slanted about them. They are describing simple matters of fact. We’re not talking about the (as deniers call it) ‘soft’ science of Global Climate Change.
- Fact: There have been more than 100 significant solar Geomagnetic Disturbance (GMD) events in the last 150 years including two; in 1859 (the Carrington Event) and 1921, that, if they occurred today, would cripple our high-tech world severely.
- Fact: events like the 1921 event occur regularly every 70 to 100 years and the 1859 about every 500.
- Fact: a single nuclear weapon exploded sub-orbitally above the USA could create an ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP) capable of bringing down virtually every power grid and piece of electronic equipment within one million square miles or about 50% of the continental USA.
- Governments world wide should be implementing programs (are you listening, New Zealand) to protect against solar GMDs because they will happen and no one know when beyond the statistical statement that bad ones seem to occur every 70 to 100 years.
- And, IMHO, the USA is right to be doing all that it can to prevent Iran and/or North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and military rocket lofting techniques. All it will take is one mad-man to take out half the USA. Sorry, but when I listen to Iran’s ranting or look at the face of the new North Korean leader, they both give me the willies.
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There are nearly 450 nuclear reactors in the world, with hundreds more being planned or under construction. There are 104 of these reactors in the United States and 195 in Europe. Imagine what havoc it would wreak on our civilization and the planet’s ecosystems if we were to suddenly witness not just one or two nuclear meltdowns, but 400 or more! How likely is it that our world might experience an event that could ultimately cause hundreds of reactors to fail and melt down at approximately the same time? I venture to say that, unless we take significant protective measures, this apocalyptic scenario is not only possible, but probable.
Consider the ongoing problems caused by three reactor core meltdowns, explosions and breached containment vessels at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility and the subsequent health and environmental issues. Consider the millions of innocent victims who have already died or continue to suffer from horrific radiation-related health problems (“Chernobyl AIDS,” epidemic cancers, chronic fatigue, etcetera) resulting from the Chernobyl reactor explosions, fires and fallout. If just two serious nuclear disasters, spaced 25 years apart, could cause such horrendous environmental catastrophes, it is hard to imagine how we could ever hope to recover from hundreds of similar nuclear incidents occurring simultaneously across the planet. Since more than one-third of all Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant, this is a serious issue that should be given top priority.
In the past 152 years, Earth has been struck by roughly 100 solar storms, causing significant geomagnetic disturbances (GMD), two of which were powerful enough to rank as “extreme GMDs.” If an extreme GMD of such magnitude were to occur today, in all likelihood, it would initiate a chain of events leading to catastrophic failures at the vast majority of our world’s nuclear reactors, similar to but over 100 times worse than, the disasters at both Chernobyl and Fukushima. When massive solar flares launch a huge mass of highly charged plasma (a coronal mass ejection, or CME) directly toward Earth, colliding with our planet’s outer atmosphere and magnetosphere, the result is a significant geomagnetic disturbance.
The last extreme GMD of a magnitude that could collapse much of the US grid was in May of 1921, long before the advent of modern electronics, widespread electric power grids, and nuclear power plants. We are, mostly, blissfully unaware of this threat and unprepared for its consequences. The good news is that relatively affordable equipment and processes could be installed to protect critical components in the electric power grid and its nuclear reactors, thereby averting this “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” scenario. The bad news is that even though panels of scientists and engineers have studied the problem, and the bipartisan Congressional electromagnetic pulse (EMP) commission has presented a list of specific recommendations to Congress, our leaders have yet to approve and implement any significant preventative measures.
Most of us believe that an emergency like this could never happen, and that, if it could, our “authorities” would do everything in their power to prevent such an apocalypse. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. “How could this happen?” you might ask.
- This is a fairly long article but I recommend that you link through and read it all. This first section, is just a small portion of the information in the full article. - Dennis