(NaturalNews) If you think the Fukushima situation is bad, consider the fact that the United States is vulnerable to the exact same meltdown situation, except at 124 separate nuclear reactors throughout the country. If anything should happen to our nation's poorly protected electric power grid, these reactors have a high likelihood of failure, say experts, a catastrophic scenario that would most likely lead to the destruction of all life on our planet, including humans.
Though they obviously generate power themselves, nuclear power plants also rely on an extensive system of power backups that ensure the constant flow of cooling water to reactor cores. In the event of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), for instance, diesel-powered backup generators are designed to immediately engage, ensuring that fuel rods and reactor cores don't overheat and melt, causing unmitigated destruction.
But most of these generators were only designed to operate for a maximum period of about 24 hours or less, meaning they are exceptionally temporary in nature. In a real emergency situation, such as one that might be caused by a systematic attack on the power grid, it could take days or even weeks to bring control systems back online. At this point, all those backup generators would have already run out of fuel, leaving nuclear reactors everywhere prone to meltdowns.
Cost to retrofit power grid minimal, but government won't do it
According to Dave Hodges from The Common Sense Show, it would only cost taxpayers about $2 billion to update the power grid and protect it from attack or shutdown. This is roughly the same price as a single B-1 Stealth Bomber, or the annual sum that the government pays American farmers not to grow crops.
In other words, it is a mere drop in the bucket compared to everything else the government spends money on. And yet nothing is being done to protect the power grid against failure or, worse yet, an attack by domestic or foreign enemies. Investment guru Paul Singer warned about this, noting that an electromagnetic surge is the "most significant danger" facing the world today.
"Even horrendous nuclear war, except in its most extreme form, can [be] a relatively localized issue," said Singer, "and the threat from asteroids can (possibly) be mitigated."
Spent fuel racks contain radiation that won't be contained during an emergency
In the event of a disaster or loss of power, a nuclear plant's emergency power systems are designed to automatically engage, while its control rods are dropped into the core. Water is then pumped into the reactor to mitigate excess heat, in turn preventing a meltdown. And just to be sure, spent fuel rods are encased in both a primary and secondary containment structure, aiding in meltdown prevention.
But if the emergency results in longer-term power losses, and backup generators run out of power, this constant flow of cooling water will eventually run dry. This is what happened at Fukushima, resulting in several reactor cores melting right through their containment structures into the ground. There is also the issue of residual spent fuel, which is normally contained in high-density storage racks that are not taken into account during an emergency.
"...contained in buildings that vent directly into the atmosphere, radiation containment is not accounted for with regard to the spent fuel racks," explained Hodges. "In other words, there is no capture mechanism."
Like many others, Hodges wants to know why the government refuses to take this important situation more seriously. Again, it wouldn't cost that much in the greater scheme of things to bring the power grid up to proper safety standards, protecting Americans and their infrastructure from a possible cascade of nuclear meltdowns. So why isn't it happening?