Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Nuclear Disaster Is Not The Only Thing To Worry About

Anxious about the possibility of a Fukushima-style nuclear calamity in the event of another earthquake here on the East Coast? You should be! But save some shelf space in your cabinet of concerns for our deteriorating dams:

In 2009 the American Society of Civil Engineers released a survey of the state of infrastructure in the U.S. The group found that dams are, on average, in terrible disrepair. Of the more than 85,000 dams, more than 4,000 are unsafe or deficient, and nearly 1,800 of those are located where a breach would cause severe damage to life or property. With so many dams, it is hard to know where the gravest danger lies. The average budget for dam inspectors is distressingly low. For instance, Texas employs just seven inspectors to keep an eye on 7,400 dams, and in many states inspectors lack the authority to inspect private dams, including those built to hold back the chemical by-products of mining operations. A report by Switzerland's Paul Scherrer Institute estimates that dams are the most potentially hazardous source of energy. A catastrophe at an average dam has the potential to kill 11,000 people. The second-most-hazardous energy source? Nuclear.

Uh oh. I don't know about you, but I think it's way past time for desperate measures to resolve this issue. Only collective action can ensure that we properly address this critical problem. I propose that we all put our fingers in our ears, shut our eyes and repeat, "Nothing's gonna happen, it'll be fine" over and over. I mean, it's kept us safe so far, right?

10 Comments / Post A Comment

Aloysius (#1,808)

Too bad it's politically impossible for the government to spend money on a thing.

Dave Bry (#422)

@Aloysius Even if it was politically possible, where would they find the manpower? I mean, every prospective worker in this country already has a job, right?

Aloysius (#1,808)

@Dave Bry True, I guess we could issue work visas for 7400 little Dutch boys.

Van Buren Boy (#1,233)

I work in water infrastructure for the federal government and there is no money for anything. We were asked by the administration to brainstorm ways to create jobs. I told my boss "ummm…more money?" He laughed and said that wasn't going to happen. *sigh*

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

I like worrying. It's organizing to change things I can't stand.

I've modeled the potential devastation with mashed potatoes and gravy. Prepare for a complete wipe out.

C_Webb (#855)

@NotAndersonCooper You're obviously not using your peas correctly.

coalbaron (#11,105)

We need to get government hands off our private sludge containment ponds!

johnpseudonym (#1,452)

Nobody gives a dam.

BadUncle (#153)

Obama needs to work out a mutual defense treaty with the beavers.

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