Sunday, November 23, 2014

Deadly Games Nations Play

Our infrastructure is at risk of sustained power outages from solar flares and malicious sabotage:
Nakashima, Ellen (2014, Nov 20) Foreign powers steal data on critical U.S. infrastructure, NSA chief says. The Washington Post

Several foreign countries, including China, have infiltrated the computers of critical industries in the United States to steal information that could be used in the planning of a destructive attack, the director of the National Security Agency said Thursday....

...“We see them attempting to do reconnaissance on our systems” to steal “specific schematics of most of our control systems” down to the engineering details, said Rogers, who also heads U.S. Cyber Command, the Pentagon’s cyberoffensive unit.....

...China and “one or two” other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency. (AP)

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in our minds that there are nation-states and groups out there that have the capability . . . to shut down, forestall our ability to operate our basic infrastructure, whether it’s generating power across this nation, whether it’s moving water and fuel,” he said. “Those tend to be the biggest focus areas that we have seen.”  [end excerpt]

A sustained outage to electrical grids would eventually lead to SPENT FUEL POOL FIRES and NUCLEAR REACTOR METLDOWNS as cooling for the thousands of densely packed spent-fuel rods is disrupted.

The nuclear industry will point to back-up generators as preventing catastrophic nuclear fires. However, back-up generators don't work if they are flooded, as happened at Fukushima. Back-up generators don't work when not maintained, which appears to be an ubiquitous problem:
AP (2011, October 4) 4 generator failures hit US nuclear plants.
 Four generators that power emergency systems at nuclear plants have failed when needed since April, an unusual cluster that has attracted the attention of federal inspectors ... generators serve the crucial function of supplying electricity to cooling systems that prevent a nuclear plant’s hot, radioactive fuel from overheating, melting... In the U.S., an average of roughly one diesel generator has failed when needed each year since 1997.

Finally, back-up generators only work so long as a steady supply of fuel is available, which would very likely become a problem within a short time period in the event of major grid disruptions.

Nuclear is the path toward extinction.

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