Last year I read an article in the Orange County Register regarding San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant and its problems (released radioactive materials into the atmosphere in an accident – not good). I thought the article was well written and I contacted the writer. He asked me to send him a copy of my book, “The Nuclear Catastrophe” (a fiction novel of suspense and survival). I did and then did not hear from him until last month.
He emailed me and said he enjoyed the book, but did not really know what to say in regards to the book. He said he enjoyed it but had concerns what readers would think since it was originally written in 1977. Since I had recently updated the manuscript to a 3rd edition, bringing in cell phones and computers and ATMs (none of which will work without electricity to power the cell towers and internet transformers, and electrical machinery of the ATM) I informed him of this and a new updated copy was emailed to him.
Then we discussed whether people could really carry radioactive materials and be dangerous to others as presented in the book. If an explosion or other release of radioactive materials from a storage facility or nuclear power plant, or nuclear bomb took place the materials would be released into the atmosphere and slowly drift down with dust & rain, onto people and animals, soil and water. They take many years to decay and go away, sometimes hundreds of years. Decay means releasing invisible atomic bullets that can penetrate skin and bodies, just as x-rays and the sun rays do (remember those bad sunburns?)
And finally, could a nuclear plant really be destroyed completely? I invited him to take a look at: http://pinterest.com/barbarabillig/nuclear-catastrophes/ where pictures of Fukushima-Daiichi and Chernobyl nuclear power plants before and after their accidents are posted. That is complete destruction.
But the basic question of “what to say” never really got answered. I pondered about what statement I would like to see made. And I think it is this:
Thirty-five years ago, as a science teacher living near San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, I was concerned that an event (such as an earthquake) could trigger a series of reactions that would lead to large amounts of radioactive materials being released in the atmosphere and water. I wrote a fiction novel to bring attention to a potential problem – which proved to be true, i.e. Fukushima.
All human beings should be made aware of the aftermath of a nuclear bomb, nuclear power plant explosion or leak, or nuclear waste dumps.
Besides the fact that human beings make mistakes (operator error), many of the nuclear power plants are now approaching the 40 year old mark. This 40 years is about their life span and makes them prone to failures. Many new nuclear power plants are being built outside of the United States, especially in 3rd world countries but they will one day be 40 years old, too. All human beings are subject to their failure as the oceans, rivers, and atmospheres will carry their deadly toxic radioactive materials around the world to all of us.
At the time Jane Fonda was looking for a script regarding nuclear catastrophes, she met with me and took away a copy of my novel. She ultimately chose “The China Syndrome” which was an excellent movie, but only went up to the fact that there was an explosion, and did nothing to deal with what would happen after the fact. The consequences after the fact are worse than the actual initial disaster.
We should all be aware of the legacy we are leaving for the rest of our lives and to those after us.