Built in 1971, the Japanese reactors that are tragically melting down, as well as 23 others in the US, are designs from the sixties! From GE, they were dubbed the Mark I, and marketed as less expensive and easy to build. From the same era, the Westinghouse/Bechtel-built reactor, beachside at San Onofre, may seem a world away, in the heavily populated provinces, but it is only 64 miles from the border of the city of Los Angeles. Built to withstand only a 7.0 quake, a 30-foot seawall has been erected to protect against tsunamis.
L.A. TIMES, today: “Fukushima’s #3 reactor…uses plutonium fuel, which poses a special health risk even in small quantities if fallout from that reactor were to reach US shores.”
As we await the fallout that will reach So Cal Friday, there are so many talking heads spouting answers, but no models; no one can really say how much radioactivity will reach the US – and for how long. All I can think of is the classic 1959 movie, On The Beach. Stream it and weep!
Update:The San Onofre reactor in Orange County, California has been shut down.