Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Everybody Panic!

We were having one of our gin-fueled editorial meetings last night, reviewing the news of the day, particularly the increasingly apocalyptic situation in Japan, when someone remarked - not in a racist, Top Gear kind of way, but rather with the wisdom that comes from four years living in Mexico - that if an earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown trifecta has to happen somewhere, isn't it more confidence-inspiring to know it's happening in Japan and not, say, Mexico? I mean, can you imagine?

Actually, we can.

This is the Laguna Verde nuclear power plant, located a tsunami-proof 50 feet from the Gulf of Mexico in Alto Lucero, Veracruz, with an ocean view uninterrupted by any sea wall that we can see.  Laguna Verde is Mexico's only nuke plant, providing about 3% of the country's electricity since it went online 20 years ago.  (This being Mexico, you'll be pleased to know that Laguna Verde once held the world record for Most Consecutive Days of Uninterrupted Operation During a First Generation Cycle - 250 days.)

Yes, yes, we can hear you saying, but what about earthquakes? Not to worry, amigos, the state of Veracruz hasn't had an earthquake in more than two weeks - and it was just a puny 5.7! So the odds that we'll get to see how Mexican bureaucrats and public utility employees would react to a Daiichi-type disaster are... well, we'll get the Statistics Department crunching those numbers and update you later. Sleep well.

(Meanwhile, the Energy Dept. here is reexamining their plans to build more nuke plants in light of recent developments in the Land of the Rising Sun, so chalk one up for Mexican prudence.)


EduardoAIG said...

According to the National Seismological Service, there was a 6.0 seism on the II-25, near Sayula de Alemán, Veracruz. But don't worry, Alto Lucero is located near the boundary of seismic regions A (very low seismicity) and B (medium to low seismicity), and while Mexico is no total stranger to Tsunamis (one destroyed Cuyutlán, Colima in 1932, and another one Zihuatanejo in 1925, perhaps the most famous Tsunami in Mexico is the 1787 San Sixto Tsunami that badly damaged towns as distant from each other as Acapulco and Tehuantepec), no Tsunamis have been recorded in the North of Veracruz... so far. The suggested locations for the next Mexican nuke plant are Barra del Tordo, Tamaulipas or the Yucatán coast, well inside seismic region A. There's another critical nuclear reactor, for investigation purposes, at the ININ, halfway between Mexico City and Toluca.

Burro Hall said...

Thanks, Eduardo - these are all excellent points. At the same time, though, I can't stop thinking about my previous post where they erected a stop light in the middle of the street.

EduardoAIG said...

Poles and signs sprouting from the pavement at the middle of the road, that's truly a quintessential Mexican urban feature. The fact you have managed to find only one in Querétaro surprises me, I can count them by the tens in Monterrey.

Ernest Rutherford said...

Burro Hall seems to be out of range, how are the prevailing winds?

Don Culo said...

Why are the installing nuclear powered stop lghts in Mexico?

Burro Hall said...

The coal-burning ones were something of a disaster.