The horrors of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster in Japan after the March earthquake and tsunami are vivid on American minds. Almost immediately it was apparent that the government was not telling near to the truth about the scope of the disaster. Soon the evacuation zone was widened, crops grown near the plants were recalled, and not long after that, mutation began appearing in the animal ecosystem. A bunny was born without ears. And now, residents who had lived within 40 km are emitting radioactive urine.
From across the Pacific, which proved to be little comfort as a barrier, Americans watched in horror as this nuclear disaster unfolded and as the nuclear cloud wafted our way. The power of the quake and the enormous force of the tsunami shook many people to their core. I know that it did for Christians, who knew they were watching the majesty of the Lord warn us again.
Well it wasn’t long before American shared in nuclear horror, as for the last month we have been hovering on the very knife’s edge of a similar kind of tragedy. Three nuclear plants are under the Sword of Damocles and no one knows when or if the horsehair will let go. The National Weather Service reports significant flooding is occurring in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Portions of the Interstate in Nebraska was closed. CNN has a good overview here. Here are some pictures to ground us on where these things are happening and how they impact each other
Here is the news roundup:
Cooper Nuclear Station: Snowpack and rain runoff continue to swell the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. This flooding has damaged or ruined thousands of acres of farmlands, and spring planting was interrupted. Hole cities have been evacuated, homes lost and lives destroyed. Along these waterways are oil refineries, and nuclear power stations. Cooper is one of those nuclear stations that is inches away from inundation. As we all learned from the tragedy at Fukushima, water and nuke plants do not mix. However, unlike Fukushima, the Corps of Engineers and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission knew of the coming flooding weeks ahead and began to prepare. Whether their preps will be enough remains to be seen with at least another month or tow of flooding to come: “One of the biggest threats to the safety of any nuclear power plant would be a prolonged loss of electrical power because the plants need to be able to continue pumping water over the radioactive fuel to keep it cool…Cooper also has two main lines of outside power, at least three generators on site and a battery system that can power the plant in an emergency. Flooding remains a concern all along the Missouri because of the massive amounts of water the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released from upstream reservoirs. The river is expected to rise as much as 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in much of Nebraska and Iowa and as much as 10 feet over flood stage in parts of Missouri. The corps expects the river to remain high at least into August because of heavy spring rains in the upper Plains and substantial Rocky Mountain snowpack melting into the river basin.”
Ft Calhoun: This is more of an issue. The waters have indeed encroached upon the plant, actually inundating parts of it and there has been a fire, power outage for a short time, and failure of a berm yesterday. This local news report from KLKN-TV insists “all is well, no worries and no threats exist.” I truly hope that is the case.
The Gavins Point Dam: “Record water flows of about one-point-one million gallons per second are still jetting from Gavins Point Dam into the swollen Missouri River, with no sign of a break ahead for many weeks.” This dam is under a lot of pressure as historic, even epic, flows have kept the Corps of Engineers busy for weeks. Nuclear consultant Arnie Gunderson said recently that the issue is the dams and levees upriver. Controlled releases mean more water downstream, which is bad for the Ft. Calhoun and Cooper Station plants, just mere feet away from total inundation. Gavins Point is under pressure, and as a result, the wild rumors going around the internet is that that particular dam is cracked. This article mentions it in an interview with a nuclear regulatory chairman who was on site, inspecting the Gavins Point dam, and the answer is short and to the point: “See that YouTube video about a supposed crack in the Gavins Point Dam? Ruch said that’s hogwash. “It’s crazy,” he said. “The dam isn’t cracking, it’s performing as designed.” Other mentions in that same article are as follows:
* A berm burst near the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station early Sunday, but government officials say the plant remains safe. It has been closed since early April for refueling.
* Flood water surrounded two buildings at the plant, but officials said those buildings can handle flood waters of 1,014 feet above sea level. The river is now at 1,006.3 feet and is expected to crest at 1,008 feet.
Jaczko will visit the plant Monday.
* The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to secure the levee at Cass County’s Lake Waconda, Col. Bob Ruch said.
* Several sand boils, or leaks, have been spotted in the levee that holds the Missouri River back from the dam.
Sand boils or Sand Volcanoes occur when water under pressure wells up through a bed of sand. The water looks like it is “boiling” up from the bed of sand, hence the name. Sand boils can be a mechanism contributing to levee failure during floods. This effect is caused by a difference in pressure on two sides of a levee or dike, most likely during a flood. This process can result in piping, whereby the removal of soil particles results in a pipe through the embankment. The creation of the pipe will quickly pick up pace and will eventually result in failure of the embankment. A sand boil is difficult to stop.” [Wikipedia]
All is well, we keep hearing. In my opinion, the news is mixed. Now let’s take a look a bit south and east.
Los Alamos Nuclear Lab: Wildfires rage 50 feet from Los Alamos. On the right of the map is the Missouri River basin with the affected dams and nuclear plants.On the left of the map where the pin is shows the Los Alamos Center. Notice that in between is Joplin MO, where the tornadoes were last month. The mid section of the nation has been hit hard.
“The wildfire that surrounds the nuclear lab in Los Alamos, N.M., has grown to at least 61,000 acres amid mounting concerns about what might be in the smoke that’s visible from space. Such fear has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to bring in air monitors, along with a special airplane that checks for radiation levels. So far, officials have not been able to find anything. “Our facilities and nuclear material are protected and safe,” Laboratory Director Dr. Charles McMillan told ABC News.”
All is well. All is well. Here is a photo.
It does not look as though all is well. Not at all.
The Iranian state news outlet, Press-TV has a good summary here of the situation with American sources noted.
One last thing. I noticed in the above article where there is video also, that the newscaster noted that the smoke can be seen from space, and they show a NASA satellite photo of all the smoke. The Eritrea volcano (Nabro) erupted for the first time ever and the way that the populace knew it erupted was the satellite photo. (News from the sparsely populated and tightly controlled Eritrean civilization rarely makes it outside the border). And the Chilean volcano eruption caused a bunch of satellite photos to be circulated…And the floods can be seen from space, too. (here). If we were astronauts I’m sure I’d be looking at a planet under a lot of smoke, strife, and overall visible negative activity. Our planet is groaning!