Friday, February 21, 2014

Takes a licking...

I occasionally read opinions like this one, which feel we no longer "need" a Doomsday Clock.

And then I read articles like this one, about Soviet-era nuclear waste (including subs!) that will potentially be released into new sea currents due to climate change (I blogged briefly about that here).

And then I read about how trucks of waste are, apparently, regularly stolen in Mexico. This is medical waste, so Cobalt 60. If you open the containment box, the resulting dose would kill you in 3 days, according to many of the interviews I read. When they found the most recent one (that I knew of), the box was open.

Or how the Carlsbad, New Mexico Energy Waste Isolation Plant has all kinds of false positives on their radiation alarms, and may have a real one this time. 

Or in Fukushima, where they've just had the worst spill in 6 months, wherein 100 tons of irradiated water has leaked from containment. That's right; in addition to the original nuclear accident, rated at a 7 (the same as Chernobyl, for those following at home) , they also had a spill in August which received its own separate rating of a 3. I really wish people would stop believing Tepco when they say they'll handle it and step in with some actual effective oversight. Because California isn't going to fall off; it's going to glow. That and the rest of the Pacific.

Or Iran, who thank God just agreed to terms for their nuclear talks. Terms to talk about, that is. The nuclear talks themselves have not yet happened.

Or North Korea, who's been excavating at their underground test site. And who does whatever the fuck they want, apparently. But we're talking about Doomsday Clock potential here, not basic human rights.

I'm fairly certain people don't think much about nuclear accidents; I tend to be the only one I know who's alarmed. I think, despite knowledge of nukes as a Thing That Exist, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki that exist as a Thing That Happened, people don't much think about the implications of nuclear war. Theoretically, the US and Russia are not going to fire at each other any time soon. But can other, newer nuclear powers can be relied upon? Depending on who's got their finger on the button, the whole world is in deep shit, and has been all along, ever since Trinity.  Ever since Russia's Tsar Bomba.

The world itself needs a conscience, in addition to individual countries. If the Doomsday Clock can accomplish that, then it needs to. And we need it.

Oh, and a late addition: Whistle-blower fired from Hanford Nuclear Site. Hanford is where some of the Plutonium for Fat Man was produced, if I remember aright. And Hanford continues to have problems with its safety, apparently. Because you don't have whistleblowers if somebody wasn't doing something wrong, typically. Hanford's waste is threatening to leak into the Columbia River, which I don't think I have to tell you is a big goddamn problem. This whistle blower? She's the second one to be fired in the last six months. Over safety concerns. 


  1. Replies
    1. Nuclear stuff is one of those scary-but-I-don't-feel-like-I-can-do-anything-about-it topics. That, and our terminal mismanagement of it at nearly every step is frustrating, to say in the least.