Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan is the Worst Case Scenario

By Alan Caruba

Japan is now the global example of the worst case scenario in which everything that can go wrong has gone wrong.

When a nuclear plant servicing an equivalent area of a U.S. state blows up and moves toward meltdown, even Russia’s Chernobyl begins to shrink by comparison. For the nuclear energy sector, it’s a meltdown of another kind as few people will want to see another one built any time soon.

One astonishing side note to the disaster is the way Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada forced the shut-down of a multi-billion dollar Yucca Mountain repository for U.S. nuclear waste.

In the age when television cameras are everywhere, the people of the world got a firsthand look at what it looks like when a tsunami hits. As it plowed down buildings and everything else in its way, the devastation is so vast that the mind struggles to comprehend it.

You can rebuild buildings, roads, bridges, railroads and such, but restoring confidence in the future will take a generation or two for Japan. Meanwhile, the economic losses defy calculation.

What Japan tells us is that all the early warning systems are no match for the sheer power of natural forces. If the Yellowstone Park caldera, the largest potential volcano in the U.S. should explode, it would have a comparable affect and there isn’t a damn thing that can be done about it.

At the heart of the Japanese disaster is the loss of man-made power, the electricity that allows a modern nation to function, to keep its lights on and everything else that requires electricity. Not all the solar farms and wind turbines in the world could ever begin to provide the vast amounts of power generated by coal, natural gas, or—yes—nuclear facilities. And don’t forget the hydroelectric power that literally transformed the West.

There is a stark contrast between President Obama’s pledge to assist Japan in every way and his failure to assist the Libyan forces battling one of the worst dictators in northern Africa, a man with a forty-year history of oppression and even terrorism that was directed against America.

Largely unnoted is the way the Pacific Rim is demonstrating the primacy of geological events. From Christchurch in New Zealand to northern Japan, the Earth is literally moving under the feet of millions. The prospect of volcanic eruptions increases. The likelihood of more earthquakes increases. Tsunamis threaten.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. an economic earthquake looms. A $14 trillion deficit threatens to sink the nation and probably take a few others with it. Why does it always take a death or two at a dangerous intersection before the town installs a stop signal?

If you want a worst case scenario in America, you need only wait and watch as neither the White House, nor the Congress does anything serious to address this fate.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


joetote said...

It's always interesting when a disaster like this occurs. Of course, we already have the global warming alarmists claiming of course the Earth's crust is also affected by the B.S. and as such this was predicted. Al Gore would be proud!

But in all seriousness, it's apparent that our schools do not teach anything anymore! When you and I were in school way back when Alan, we had to take required science classes. I distinctly remember being taught the the earth is ALWAYS MOVING beneath our feet. The plates are always interacting. Even back in the late 50's and early 60's plate tectonics was understood and the locations of the major faults were known. we were taught this!

The geological history of our planet is pretty well known. Earthquakes are and always will be part of the equation in the fault areas. All knew Japan is on one of the MAJOR fault lines and it was just a matter of time.

Yes, this is a catastrophe of major proportions. As you note, for the first time in his term, the President is actually reacting in an immediate timely fashion unlike the rest of the world events he's chosen to basically ignore.

And I would be the first to agree that Congress and the majority of our elected officials will sirt on their thumbs and do nothing to prepare for something like this.

One note here as we have reports of a containment building exploding over there. As we see in the case of the environmental morons and our President as to drilling for and developing our own oil resources, one has to assume they will do all they can to prevent any more nuclear power plants here. Third world status due to lack of energy seems to be their goal.

Jane said...

POTUS will only respond to the easy fixes. You can't screw up and lose supporters by giving stuff away or offering monetary assistance to Japan and a time like this.

Alan Caruba said...

@Jane: Good point!

Alan Caruba said...

@ Joetote: There's a reason the schools teach nothing of value any more. It began long ago with John Dewey, a leading, intellectual progressive who wrote the book on education in America in the 1920s and the progressives have been ruining it every since. The combined weight of very bad ideas from Columbia, Yale and Harvard universities has ruined the nation.

Desertrat said...

So far, no particulates emitted, so no comparison to Chernobyl.

Japan will need mucho dinero for reconstruction; will she sell US treasuries?

Short-term, a reduction in oil demand, but once the refineries get back in operation the demand will increase.

They'll need a lot of cement and copper, as well as steel. That increased demand will affect prices, worldwide.

TexasFred said...

If Mother Earth wants MANKIND gone, all She has to do is shake like a dog after a good swim... We will be GONE, a footnote in the history of the universe... A minor footnote...

And Mother Earth will rapidly repair whatever damage we may or may not have done...

Mother Earth is good like that...

Donna Harris said...

@Alan & @Joetote - makes me glad I homeschool my children. If nothing else I can teach critical thinking skills - along with real history, geography, mathematics - all the subjects that schools seem to have dropped.

joetote said...

@Donna Harris,

My daughter home schools her five children and it's safe to say they they are far ahead of the norm Good for you!!!

Conway said...

This debacle is going to cost me plenty on my uranium positions.

Oh well, trading the bourses has its fortunes, good and bad.