There are things that are important enough that you don't tolerate any risk. You have to have data to work with to generate reliable risk estimates. It just doesn't work for rare but catastrophic events.
- David Schindler
Bad news, earthlings. A former NASA scientist says it's mere happenstance that an Armageddon-style asteroid hasn't hit a densely populated area in the last few years. On Tuesday, the B612 Foundation, which is devoted to preventing the next deep impact, will present data from a nuclear-weapons test warning satellite showing that far more asteroids have hit earth in the past few years than previously thought, the organization announced on its website.
I wrote the paragraphs below in 2013, contemplating the risk of asteroid impacts and the tsunami waves they could cause on large bodies of water.
Maybe I think too much. But I’d worry less if the people who ran the nuclear industry worried a little more. Then again, if they worried more they might come to the logical conclusion that there shouldn't be nuclear plants.
Today I was thinking outside the box, wondering if I could think of a black swan event that no one else is paying attention to. Perhaps I’m doing this just for distraction, to take my mind off the more immediate danger close to home in Japan. Lately the world has been paying attention finally to the potential catastrophe that might unfold after work begins next month on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool (What’s the abbreviation for this? F1NPP-4SFP?) So for distraction, my thoughts wandered back to my original home by Lake Ontario, and I wondered if there isn’t some risk there that the Canadian nuclear people haven’t taken into account.
- 1 mile wide asteroid, solid rock
- Lake Michigan, 50 miles from Chicago
- impact: 12 miles per second
- impact in 800 feet of water
*From Peter Melzer's blog:
Why Fukushima's Reactors Failed. November 4, 2013
... electric power must be available and the residual heat removal system must remain operable for nuclear reactors of the Fukushima type to successfully complete an emergency shutdown. These conditions impose a major constraint on accident recovery, representing a fundamental weakness of the reactor design. The residual heat removal system must remain operable under the conditions of flooding and station blackout.
Thirty reactors of this type currently operate in the United States. A number are sited in flood-prone areas. A moratorium should be imposed on these reactors, until the operators can ascertain that service water pumps are protected against inundation, debris, and loss of power.