File under "It COULD happen here..."

Joined
Apr 12, 2006
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Central Georgia, USA
Mother nature can strike at any time. We only have to look back 100 years to the Tunguska event, to realize that.

I have a friend who is a marine geologist, the day of the quake, he said that predicting one was impossible, but he would put his money on the Oregon and British Columbia coast, next to that would be the south American coast. As he said, "that energy went somewhere, and the stress loads have been shifted.

There was a cable survey ship directly over the epicenter of the Japan quake, he has talked with the geologist on board, they stated is was a surreal experience, with the ship bobbing about, and "vibrating harshly" he is awaiting the electronic survey data that was being recored at that moment. As a geologist, one does not get much luckier than those guys.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
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Newcastle, Wa
The Pacific Northwest is overdue for an earthquake of that size or larger according to local seismologists as well as Mt. Baker erupting. The ground we stand on can be pretty unstable. The last one we had was February 28, 2001, the quake measured 6.8 on the MMS and lasted approximately 45 seconds. I remember it very well.
 
Joined
May 3, 2007
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
In a huge earthquake like this one its not just nuclear reactors that are a risk, all forms of energy generation contain huge amounts of power and if they become compromised the results can be devastating. Imagine if an earthquake took out hoover dam, or if all of the natural gas lines under Los Angeles or San Francisco were ruptured. The only way to 100% guatantee that we would be free from these risks would be to not use the power sources in the first place and I dont think anyone would be willing to make that compromise.

So what do we do - we try to insure that we make these things as safe as we possible can and then we pray that we got it right.

So far in Japan it looks like they might have, the reactor has issues and there may have even been a partial melt down, but so far it seems to be contained and with Gods help it will stat that way.

At least its much better than a broken Dam or ruptured gas lines would be, once a dam breaks its done and there is no stopping it or containing it and once the gas lines are broken the gas is out and the city is toast. Heck with all the paranoia these days I wonder sometimes if natural gas would even be allowed to run through pipes under our cities if it were being considered today.

We are pretty much in agreement, Edward. I do think that it would be prudent, however, to begin a phased retirement and replacement of the riskiest of the older technology reactors. The newest designs, especially the French reactors, are very well engineered and safer than anything currently running in this country.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
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Broussard, LA, USA
The Juan de Fuca plate that pushes under the North American plate at the Pacific Northwest coast has caused several very large earthquakes in the past. Thankfully the last was over 300 years ago.
It is considered due for a quake and if the pressure releases over the whole 680 miles of the subduction zone at the same time, a quake measuring 9 on the richter scale is possible. That would be roughly twice as big as the quake in Japan. But more ominous is that the resulting shift of the underwater seabed would be enough to start a tsunami much larger than the one in Japan.
http://www.livescience.com/3775-tsunami-generating-earthquake-possibly-imminent.html

I hope the geologists are wrong. Some claim a 400 year return instead of a 300 year time frame. Either way, having it now or waiting another 100 years is not a good thing.
 
Joined
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Broussard, LA, USA
Well, Yellowstone is a little different. The funny story about finding out about the hotspot under Yellowstone is when a geologist realised that a lot of mountains were missing. If you look a google maps of the area of Yellowstone, you can see the hole in the mountain ranges going all the way back to Oregon.

When Yellowstone blows up again, we are ALL in trouble to the East of it. There will be feet of ash as far away as Texas from the prevailing winds.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
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Central Georgia, USA
A West coast quake is a minor worry, according to this prediction of a super storm:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/38/20110118/tsc-scientists-warn-of-superstorm-headin-98fda55.html

To start with that's Yahoo, who listens to them? They are using scare headlines, must have learned that from Fox.

"Meteorologist Kevin Martin. "Any outlet that deems scares the living daylights out of the public with false titles should lose credibility. The fact is, it is a scenario, not an actual storm coming as we speak"

Is it possible? Heck anything with nature is possible.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
2,722
Location
Banff National Park, Alberta
The Juan de Fuca plate that pushes under the North American plate at the Pacific Northwest coast has caused several very large earthquakes in the past. Thankfully the last was over 300 years ago.
It is considered due for a quake and if the pressure releases over the whole 680 miles of the subduction zone at the same time, a quake measuring 9 on the richter scale is possible. That would be roughly twice as big as the quake in Japan. But more ominous is that the resulting shift of the underwater seabed would be enough to start a tsunami much larger than the one in Japan.
http://www.livescience.com/3775-tsunami-generating-earthquake-possibly-imminent.html

I hope the geologists are wrong. Some claim a 400 year return instead of a 300 year time frame. Either way, having it now or waiting another 100 years is not a good thing.

Well a geologist was on cbc radio 1 this afternoon and he claimed that the above mentioned plate runs in cycles. As you said the last incident was 300 years ago. He claims that it will quake every 300 to 700 years.

All I know for sure is that British Columbia is nowhere near as prepared as the Japanese. Be it building codes or population preparation. If the same thing were to hit in BC I'm sure the end result would be way worse.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
2,228
Location
Broussard, LA, USA
Well a geologist was on cbc radio 1 this afternoon and he claimed that the above mentioned plate runs in cycles. As you said the last incident was 300 years ago. He claims that it will quake every 300 to 700 years.

All I know for sure is that British Columbia is nowhere near as prepared as the Japanese. Be it building codes or population preparation. If the same thing were to hit in BC I'm sure the end result would be way worse.

I hadn't heard about a 700 year cycle. That may be between groups of events. The things I learned in Geology class and recent research said they think that the Juan de Fuca plate has events in groups of as much as 5 events spread out over roughly 300 years before a longer break (which may be the 700 year gap spoken of). That last geologic event was in roughly the year 1700, which is about 300 years ago. Hopefully that is the last of the events and we will have a longer break and we can use that time to improve forecasting, disaster preparedness and warning systems and drills.
 
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
One additional interesting note: the reactors that have failed catastrophically were scheduled to be decommissioned this year. However, the government and the regulatory agency decided to give them an operating license for another ten years.

IMHO, this is just more evidence that, if we are to continue using nuclear power, strict safety regulations free of corporate/political manipulation are essential. And I still believe that we (the U.S.) should start a phased retirement and replacement of the type of reactors that failed in Japan.

And, once more, I think the French can teach us a lot about how to do nuclear power the right way.

IMO, there is nothing inherently wrong with nuclear power. However, the nuclear power industry is a case study for capitalism requiring adult supervision.
 
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