As current credible research proves, global warming is almost totally due to the Sun and solar cycles. But the impact of our nearest Star on all life here on planet Earth goes way beyond that basic fact, potentially spelling the end of our modern way of life according to this quite well-researched article. In fact, it would take no more than a repeat of the 1859 solar storm (called the Carrington Effect) to "devastate the modern world", as admitted by a National Geographic article referenced by the writer.
Solar flare could unleash nuclear holocaust across planet Earth, forcing hundreds of nuclear power plants into total meltdowns
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
(NaturalNews) Forget about the 2012 Mayan calendar, comet Elenin or the Rapture. The real threat to human civilization is far more mundane, and it's right in front of our noses. If Fukushima has taught us anything, it's that just one runaway meltdown of fissionable nuclear material can have wide-ranging and potentially devastating consequences for life on Earth. To date, Fukushima has already released 168 times the total radiation released from the Hiroshima nuclear bomb detonated in 1945, and the Fukushima catastrophe is now undeniably the worst nuclear disaster in the history of human civilization.
But what if human civilization faced a far greater threat than a single tsunami destroying a nuclear power facility? What if a global tidal wave could destroy the power generating capacities of all the world's power plants, all at once?
Such a scenario is not merely possible, but factually inevitable. And the global tidal wave threatening all the nuclear power plants of the world isn't made of water but solar emissions.
The sun, you see, is acting up again. NASA recently warned that solar activity is surging, with a peak expected to happen in 2013 that could generate enormous radiation levels that sweep across planet Earth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has even issued an urgent warning about solar flares due to strike in 2012 and 2013. IBtimes wrote, "With solar activity expected to peak around 2013, the Sun is entering a particularly active time and big flares like the recent one will likely be common during the next few years. ...A major flare in the mid-19th century blocked the nascent telegraph system, and some scientists believe that another such event is now overdue." (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/194...)
The story goes on to explain:
"Several federal government studies suggest that this extreme solar activity and emissions may result in complete blackouts for years in some areas of the nation. Moreover, there may also be disruption of power supply for years, or even decades, as geomagnetic currents attracted by the storm could debilitate the transformers."
Why does all this matter? To understand that, you have to understand how nuclear power plants function. Or, put another way, how is nuclear material prevented from "going nuclear" every single day across our planet?
Every nuclear power plant operates in a near-meltdown stateAll nuclear power plants are operated in a near-meltdown status. They operate at very high heat, relying on nuclear fission to boil water that produces steam to drive the turbines that generate electricity. Critically, the nuclear fuel is prevented from melting down through the steady circulation of coolants which are pushed through the cooling system using very high powered electric pumps.
If you stop the electric pumps, the coolant stops flowing and the fuel rods go critical (and then melt down). This is what happened in Fukushima, where the melted fuel rods dropped through the concrete floor of the containment vessels, unleashing enormous quantities of ionizing radiation into the surrounding environment. The full extent of the Fukushima contamination is not even known yet, as the facility is still emitting radiation.
It's crucial to understand that nuclear coolant pumps are usually driven by power from the electrical grid. They are not normally driven by power generated locally from the nuclear power plant itself. Instead, they're connected to the grid. In other words, even though nuclear power plants are generating megawatts of electricity for the grid, they are also dependant on the grid to run their own coolant pumps. If the grid goes down, the coolant pumps go down, too, which is why they are quickly switched to emergency backup power -- either generators or batteries.
As we learned with Fukushima, the on-site batteries can only drive the coolant pumps for around eight hours. After that, the nuclear facility is dependent on diesel generators (or sometimes propane) to run the pumps that circulate the coolant which prevents the whole site from going Chernobyl. And yet, critically, this depends on something rather obvious: The delivery of diesel fuel to the site. If diesel cannot be delivered, the generators can't be fired up and the coolant can't be circulated. When you grasp the importance of this supply line dependency, you will instantly understand why a single solar flare could unleash a nuclear holocaust across the planet.
When the generators fail and the coolant pumps stop pumping, nuclear fuel rods begin to melt through their containment rods, unleashing ungodly amounts of life-destroying radiation directly into the atmosphere. This is precisely why Japanese engineers worked so hard to reconnect the local power grid to the Fukushima facility after the tidal wave -- they needed to bring power back to the generators to run the pumps that circulate the coolant. This effort failed, of course, which is why Fukushima became such a nuclear disaster and released countless becquerels of radiation into the environment (with no end in sight).
And yet, despite the destruction we've already seen with Fukushima, U.S. nuclear power plants are nowhere near being prepared to handle sustained power grid failures. As IBtimes reports:
"Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said U.S. plants affected by a blackout should be able to cope without electricity for at least eight hours and should have procedures to keep the reactor and spent-fuel pool cool for 72 hours. Nuclear plants depend on standby batteries and backup diesel generators. Most standby power systems would continue to function after a severe solar storm, but supplying the standby power systems with adequate fuel, when the main power grids are offline for years, could become a very critical problem. If the spent fuel rod pools at the country's 104 nuclear power plants lose their connection to the power grid, the current regulations aren't sufficient to guarantee those pools won't boil over -- exposing the hot, zirconium-clad rods and sparking fires that would release deadly radiation." (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/194...)
Now, what does all this have to do with solar flares?