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.


About Barbara Billig

Hi! I am Barbara Griffin Billig and I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis at age nineteen with a degree in biology and chemistry. After teaching for several years in St. Louis, Southern California seemed to be calling. There I started and worked at a variety of businesses including pet shops, restaurants, and a real estate brokerage firm. Deciding to take a sabbatical from the business world for several years I wrote, in conjunction with another teacher, Bett Pohnka, “The Nuclear Catastrophe”. This fiction novel portrayed what ultimately came to pass with 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the Japan Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown. A new updated edition of this is available as an EBook for the kindle. An updated paperback version entitled“THE DISQUIET SURVIVORS of The Nuclear Catastrophe” is now also available. In 2014 the sequel was published: "#Betrayal, a nuclear fiction novel of survival"
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21 Responses to I WONDERED WHAT TO SAY

  1. Scary facts here. Wow! Thanks for bringing awareness on this subject…


  2. WOW! Thank you for pointing out the dangers of this subject!! Powerful stuff!


  3. Barbara–We human beings can easily destroy the world. I have heart that light and consciousness is close to a possible tipping point and I hope “they” are right!


  4. This is so interesting and what happened in China should scare us all a bit huh?


  5. Aimee says:

    Great point about the new reactors being built in 3rd world countries will be 40 years old someday. What do you think about the nuclear bead type reactors? Something like little beads of some elements and they won’t melt down. I have also read about very small nuclear generators that can be built very far underground and can power a village say in Africa. I do think we need nuclear power (preferably cold fusion!), but there needs to be funding to update the technology.


    • Nuclear Power is powering some of the moon rovers (!st pollution). But really, if it worked, I would be in favor of it. It just seems that all the new technology (as Thorium) never gets beyond the fact that we have leftover radioactive materials that are pollutants (Hanford, Washington) and the possibility of a HUGE accident loom over us. Wish it weren’t so.


  6. I’m familiar with the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and always felt that I would not want to live nearby for the exact reasons that you mention. With the aging of the plant, it is a concern for all of us and I’m curious why there isn’t a plan in place to deal with these aging power plants. As you say, one mistake could be tragic for many.


  7. lorettaschoettler says:

    I am heartened that Germany is dismantling their nuclear reactors. I makes me think there is some sanity remaining in the human species. I am a fan and follwer of Joanna Macy, like you she is a long time activist asking us all to know the nuclear world we are living in.


  8. Liz Bigger says:

    wow, i have wondered about this subject before…but EVERYONE you talk to says “that could never happen” – so you just believe them… : /


  9. MamaRed says:

    Such powerful reminders of the dangers we humans bring to bear in this ever-so-fragile, yet strong, world of ours. Thanks for taken this one on!


  10. Hats off to you for educating us on this scary issue. I agree, awareness is crucial moving forward in a conscious way for all of us.


  11. Lots of good info. I live about 45 min from a refurbished nuclear power plant.


  12. I, too, have felt concerned about the aging reactors in our society. Glad that you are bringing this awareness to so many more of us.


  13. jannaduncan says:

    What you say is so true; however, how does education help sovle the problems? Even though it is great to educate people like you are doing — putting the word out. Yet it seems so beyond what anyone can do, it is so disturbing. The money and power that these “power” utility companies have seems to make them unstoppable. They fund the politicians. I’ve experienced the effects of their “power” in my area where they are putting up 500kv power lines all over the place supposedly to create green energy (the Edison TRTP project) and destroying the environment in the process. I have put the word out and tried to bring attention to the problems with EMF radiation and environmental destruction in this area (not to mention in Chino Hills Edison has put up 500kv towers direclty on children’s playgrounds, people’s yards, and city parks) but I have paid a price for it. I am one little voice, even got a front page article in Antelope Valley Press last year — yet have been so harassed by SCE, including felony arrests due to false charges by them, the threat of civil lawsuits if I don’t sign an agreement with them — which they are trying to stop me from exercising my first amendment rights under the guise of false complaints about me. This does tend to take the wind out of my sails, but can financialy break me, and puts others who might want to have a voice on notice of what might happen to them if they step forward — I’ve seen videos from those organizations who are fighting Edison on the re-opening of San Onofre who have experienced the same threatening tactics by Edison that I have. How far will they go? Politicians, news media, plenty of people are afraid to stand up to them, or are perhaps given money for their campaigns to support them. As far as nuclear power, I’ve read how many nuclear power plants are in Europe, too — I think France for one is primarily powered by nuclear power. As far as the power lines going up all over southern California (called the TRTP — Tehachapi Renewal Transmission Project) that is supposed to be renewable “green” energy, is also misleading, great idea going “green”, but there are major health risks and problems with these 500kv power lines going up everywhere (including two of them on my property); yet, thiis still seems small compared to the nuclear threats you have spoken about, that feel imminent at some point. There is no place to put nuclear waste, and it will come back to haunt us — hugely so. What do we do? Pray? In the 60’s and 70’s at least music put the word out of the problems of the era, and people listened and rebelled, but I don’t see music of today doing that — that could be a good way to get the word out. What do you think the best way to go about making a change is? It has to somehow be organized in a huge way. And of course, as you mention, learning where a shelter is — are there such things? Have you heard about the underground complexes that are being built that you can purchase and are there for you in case of a nuclear disaster? Yet, could you actually get to them for safety before it was too late? I am supposedly out of the “60 mile zone” of San Onofre, but they are already finding radioactivity in the rain in the Santa Monica mountains from the effects of the power plant heavily damaged in the tsunami in Japan. And how much AREN’T we told about? They have found radiation in crops in the west coast of the U.S. from that tsunami’s repercussions. We DO need another movie on it — and it does need to be done so it is not just a “thriller,” so it leaves people thinking and maybe more willing to do something about it. But again, where do we begin? Thanks for all your hard work!


    • Janna, I know you well and how much effort you put into everything. With your permission I will pull your comment and “highlight” it in a blog. We are all trying and amazingly running into formidable obstacles. The Pro-nuclear group writes about what a terrible, dumb story I have written….and yet Fukushima and Chernobyl validate that IT CAN HAPPEN. So, I support you in all your efforts and comments.


  14. Wow….that is some scary info…thanks for bringing awareness…as scary a thought as it may be!


  15. Thanks for writing about this important topic. On our side of the world, I don’t think we have really thought about the long term ramifications of the incident at Fukushima-Daiichi, and how massive spillage of contaminants into the water could eventually effect Hawaii and even the western states in the US. Most people don’t want to think anything happened that affects us – but it isn’t only us,, but the whole world.


  16. Thank you for bringing this information to light. It’s scary but we need to be informed about the long term affects of nuclear disasters.Thanks, Barbara


  17. Thank you so much for raising this awareness…truly something we don’t really know or think can happen here…


  18. Did you notice how quickly Fukushima disappeared from the news? Where’s the press?


  19. There needs to be more education and awareness about nuclear power I think. I live about an hour away from a plant, and it’s something that’s almost never talked about.


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