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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/ltit-wasnt-the-5th-largest-earthquake-on-record-29176127.aspx

Subject:  Re: OT-musing about Consequences Date:  3/16/2011  6:58 PM
Author:  gurdison Number:  67877 of 77146

<It wasn't the 5th largest earthquake on record that damaged the nuclear power plants, it was the tsunami that put out the backup systems.>


From what I have read, the design of the backup system lacked a key feature. The backup generators and/or their fuel source were housed in an area where the waters from the tsunami were able to easily knock them out. I don't know if the generators and/or the fuel sources were swept away or if the generators were simply made inoperable due to being swamped with debris.

The design should have been set up to house the backup components in a safe building. Lacking that, it could have been upgraded over the years. The design was not set up to withstand a 9.0 earthquake, but it in fact did. So your point about Ohio being so far away from a potential tsunami is well taken. Unfortunately, points like that get ignored.

Sadly, the media coverage has been close to hysteria with commercials offering the teaser "are we in danger from any fallout?". Each report says we are not, yet they keep repeating the question. Reports of Americans wiping out supplies of iodine from store shelves are given lots of airtime. Instead of focusing on how we can help and honor the victims of the quake and tsunami, 98% of the attention has been on the nuclear issue.

I sense that the attention, while newsworthy up to a point has a distinct agenda of trying to turn people on the nuclear power. Since we are unable to drill in Alaska or off the west or east coasts, paranoia over the nuclear industry only adds to our lack of ability to meet our energy needs for ourselves. There are some harsh realites that we face as a country. There are clearly consequences among the choices we make. Speeches for green energy do not help us today.

We have poured hundreds of billions into the development of alternate energy sources. While technological improvements have made many products more energy efficient, there are no alternate fuels ready to take over on the scale we need. The free market would attract plenty of capital if it sensed a big payoff on their investment. Their general absense tells us that these things are only good on the margins or for companies whose plan is to be profitable only with lots of government help.

I have heard individuals sound off against oil drilling, nuclear power and even natural gas. If you take their desires to their logical conclusion, we would be driven back into the days before the industrial revolution. Tellingly, their arguments fail to consider what will replace the things they want to shut down.

Personally, I am all for new energy sources and technologies. In the meantime, I am also for us maximizing the use of all available energy sources. One of the arguments against drilling in the Alaskan wilderness a decade ago was that it would be a good 10 years before we reaped any major benefit from it. Well, 10 years have passed and we don't have anything flowing from that source and are no closer to producing enough energy to meet our needs.

Oh, and all of this has been tough on our REITs, although the preferreds have held up well.

B
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