At 07:18 PM 7/31/2008 +0000, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Why not use the same tactic to take out a large hydro dam and just drown people? It's more immediate. Dead is dead.
At 07:48 PM 7/31/2008 +0000, email@example.com wrote:
By the way, I still don't see a way to conduct a controlled flight into the very top of a containment dome striking at a 90 degree angle. You have combined a lot of low probability events together into a worst-case scenario that is too improbable to matter. Controlled flight is the key. Commercial aircraft of the size you reference aren't going to be able to fly with precision in a vertical dive. Your scenario is implausable.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
July 31st, 2008
Assemblyman Chuck DeVore,
What, BlackBerry's don't have spell-check? That's an interesting use (and spelling) of the word "implausible" since I would certainly hope that it would take a few hours in the flight simulator to perfect the maneuver to the point where you are willing to go out and do it. But what EXACTLY does "with precision" mean? How much precision do you need to hit any of so many large targets? And who says -- besides you -- that they'll only use one jet? And since when is a Raytheon Hawker 800 corporate jet, which can carry more than 12,000 pounds of payload (including fuel) a large "commercial aircraft?" And I didn't say the jumbo jet would dive at "exactly" 90 degrees. Most of the top of the dome is a lot thinner than the sides -- presumably the part you said the turbines could go "2/3rds" of the way through. And for what impact speed, and which engines exactly, were you making that claim (because I've found that the densities and diameters of the turbine shafts vary greatly from one engine model to another)?
In any event, here are five reasons why terrorists will probably figure they are getting a much better "bang for their buck" by attacking our nuclear power plants rather than our large hydroelectric dams:
1) Dead is dead, but suffering can last a lifetime, and cost far more for everyone in terms of dollars, time, and effort. In war, maiming is actually a useful tactic if mayhem is your goal. A dirty bomb or nuclear attack would clog our hospitals with burn victims -- radiation burns are very difficult to treat and oh, the unspeakable suffering! Anyone who tried to put out a spent fuel fire would be there, as would anyone caught outside, or inside without duct tape. In Vietnam, and other wars, it was not uncommon for a sniper to shoot not to kill, but to wound, so that two buddies would have to help the wounded man. That takes out three people with one shot. Multiply that by the damage from a nuclear attack versus the drowning/not drowning from a hydro attack, and you can see the difference.
Plus -- duh -- a hydro dam is vastly thicker and harder to take out than, say, a nuclear spent fuel pool.
2) The "devastation" would not extend past the flood zone. Not all dam flood zones are highly populated, but the area around San Onofre certainly is. With a nuclear attack the radioactive poisonous plume would roll over the mountains and the valleys according to the winds. So therefore, the devastated area is very likely to be much bigger for a nuke attack than for a hydro dam attack, assuming for the moment (as you do in your cartoon world) that water damage and radiation fallout damage are equal. They aren't. Those who manage to float on the water and live will be in much better shape than people who breathed in some radiation poisoning but managed to survive the wave of early fatalities.
3) The devastation is NOT equal -- it lasts for thousands of generations for a nuke attack (in you cartoon world, background radiation can just go up and up and up, because no one ever died from background radiation in your cartoon world). The water from the flood is actually likely to be rich in nutrients and will aid the next generation of farmers. The radiation from a nuke accident will poison the land for eons.
4) Only six of the 40 largest hydroelectric dams in the world are in the USA. There are many, many more nuclear targets than large hydro targets. San Onofre has at least a dozen perfectly good (if you're a terrorist) targets, as does every other nuclear facility. A hydroelectric dam has only one "devastating" target -- the dam itself -- which is usually in a canyon and behind a lake, not all that easy to approach from the air -- and there's little advantage that I can think of for barrelling in to steepen the angle of the dive.
5) If the goal of the terrorists is to break America's will by breaking our back, the suffering that will accompany a nuclear-oriented terrorist attack would be a pretty good start. If they want to cause long-term financial losses, destroying SoCal would surely be a harsh pill for the rest of the country, as we lose a trillion dollars of real estate, tourism, industry, farming, educational institutions, and even our ecological preserves. The damage plume could stretch for 500 miles and be circular, if the winds vary during the highest release times -- which might be hours, days, or weeks. I can think of little that would cause more panic than a nuclear attack. Can you? Can you really blame people for fearing this odorless, colorless, tasteless carcinogen which can devastate their children's children, and for which no one will ever compensate them for their suffering, and about which no government official is on record for telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, certainly not Chuck? No, don't blame the people for panicking when the time comes. Blame yourself for letting the time come. For doing nothing but pretending we live in a cartoon world when you had a chance.
Besides, Chuck, you have no right to ask why the terrorists might choose to attack a nuclear power station instead of a hydroelectric dam. None at all, because the terrorists have already made threats against our nuclear power plants, so we're past that phase of the discussion. It can be assumed that they will. Which one?
Our plants are vulnerable. Our plants are threatened. Our plants are unnecessary. Our politicians are irresponsible.