Earthquake predictions are easy (NOT!)

October 30th, 2011

Hi Donna,

Jen Tucker was presumably referring to the difference between the type of earthquakes they tend have in Japan and the types we tend to have here.  The pro-nukers and otherwise mis-informed always focus on the differences, however slight, however irrelevant.

Fukushima was BWRs, ours are PWRs.. Makes all the difference, they say.  Fukushima was run by Japanese and what do THEY know about technology?  What do THEY know about earthquake prediction?  So many differences, they can always focus on one or a couple of them.  The Emergency Diesel Generators are built high up in one case, low in the other, and vice-versa for their fuel.  Our way is always better.   (Note that DCNPP and SONWGS store their dry casks differently:  One vertically, one horizontally, three high.  I wonder which is better, don’t you?!?!?!  The answer is neither is good enough.  But better storage is more expensive and in SanO’s case, they don’t have the land.   The Marines won’t give them more land because they need room for their ordinance.  Kind of a strange neighbor for a nuclear power plant, when you think about it — especially in the county where that guy stole a tank a while back…

Tucker is completely ignoring underwater land slides caused by relatively small EQs that can create huge tsunamis, and she’s also ignoring the fact that undiscovered EQ faults might run right under one or both of the reactors (like at DCNPP) for all we know.  (New faults are discovered regularly in California.)   And she’s also ignoring the fact that the known fault lines nearby have already been rated (by somebody who’s qualified to make such guesses, if not the scientists SanO hires) as probably capable of greater EQs than SONWGS is designed for.

And she’s completely ignoring the fact that rust may have weakened SanO so it can’t withstand what they say it can — or maybe it never could.  Lots of buildings in California have fallen due to lesser quakes than they were designed for, including buildings built long after SanO, when the engineers supposedly knew more about EQs than ever.  And the Nuclear Regulatory Commission thinks THEY are experts in everything: Earthquake faults in California, tsunami hazards, crane operations or anything Cal-OSHA or OSHA would normally cover, economics of wind-energy systems (how can you call something “safe” when there’s a REALLY safe alternative?)….. the list goes on.  The NRC usurps all other normal regulatory authority, in addition to doing a lousy job of regulating the “nuclear” aspects of the operation.

I’m convinced that one of the main reasons buildings continue to fail unexpectedly in EQs is because of resonance issues, and those are nearly impossible to predict, but their result is obvious:  Building fail “unexpectedly”.  The shaking wasn’t “that much” compared to what they were built to withstand but they fell anyway.  Why does that happen?   I expect that trend to continue.  When the earth rhythmically shakes several hundred thousand buildings at once for a minute or two, it seems likely to me that some of them are likely to vibrate at a very destructive resonating frequency.  In my opinion, it’s not just size that matters, or distance from the epicenter, or both.  It’s far more complicated than that.   The terrain for miles around can effect what one particular area feels in an EQ.

A consequence of whatever it is that makes EQ damage so hard to predict is that the descriptions of what might or might fall down at various levels of EQs are mere guesses, just as the possible strength, time, depth, direction, and resonance frequency of the NEXT big EQ to strike California is, likewise, impossible to predict.

We can hope that the nuke plants and nuke fuel dumps, and any bridges where nuke fuel is being transported at the time, are all immune to resonance frequency vibrations during EQs, and all other dangers beyond their design basis.  We can also believe in ghosts and goblins, too….


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

At 09:48 AM 10/30/2011 -0700, Donna G. wrote:

This YouTube video has a quote from Jen Tucker.  She said, with confidence, we can’t have an earthquake like Japan — giving the impression everything is just swell at San Onofre.  So I sent her the below email quoting the USGS on “Earthquake Myths”.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Earthquake predictibility
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2011 09:38:18 -0700
From: Donna G.
To: Jen Tucker – San Clemente Emergency Planning Ofcr

Have you see this USGS website link?  I’ve printed the text below.

FAQs – Earthquake Myths

Q: Can you predict earthquakes?

A: No. Neither the USGS nor Caltech nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. They do not know how, and they do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. However based on scientific data, probabilities can be calculated for potential future earthquakes. For example, scientists estimate that over the next 30 years the probability of a major EQ occurring in the San Francisco Bay area is 67% and 60% in Southern California.

The USGS focuses their efforts on the long-term mitigation of earthquake hazards by helping to improve the safety of structures, rather than by trying to accomplish short-term predictions.



About acehoffman

Computer programmer, author, nuclear investigator, animator, videographer... Also visit my YouTube Channel! or my business web site:
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