Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'San Andreas' Blockbuster Has Huge Radioactive Omissions

Energy
'San Andreas' Blockbuster Has Huge Radioactive Omissions

Ok. So we don’t expect much from these mega-blockbuster disaster films.

But maybe just a hint about reality could spice things up. At least maybe a passing acknowledgement that the actual San Andreas could turn the Diablo Canyon nukes into a seething heap of radioactive rubble and permanently irradiate all of California?

Is that too much to ask, even of Hollywood?

Apparently so.

Photo credit: San Andreas Facebook page

In a Hollywood high-budget Earth-coming-to-an-end flick like this one, there will always be a lame love story, totally improbable close calls where death is narrowly escaped again and again, and lead characters—male and female alike—with zero body fat who emerge onto the screen fresh from four hours of pumping iron.

San Andreas more than delivers on all of the above. The male lead (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) might be mistaken in some circles for basketball superstar LeBron James, who is six feet eight, 250 pounds—but who leaps like a gazelle and ball handles like a ballerina.

I knew this guy wasn’t LeBron because LeBron and the Cavaliers were losing game one of the NBA finals to the Warriors elsewhere in the Bay Area exactly as we watched this.

The Warriors also emerged from that game with an improbable (overtime) victory.

And I hope you appreciate that I missed that memorable contest and suffered through the excruciating, sleep-inducing, occasional laugh-out-loud plot twists of this mega-melodrama to confirm just one thing:

Yes! In fact they did make a super-high-budget disaster movie about the eruption of the San Andreas fault without once mentioning the nuclear power plant that would define it all for generations to come.

In the film two seismologists discover how to predict earthquakes just in time to warn the world that San Francisco is about to shudder and fall.

The destruction of the city is actually a sight to behold. And an awesome tsunami does make an appearance.

Three words do not: Fukushima; Diablo Canyon.

Read page 1

Should we reasonably expect such a real-world accommodation in such a frivolous entertainment?

Here’s what we know:

The San Andreas is 45 miles from the two 1,100-megawatt-plus reactors at Diablo Canyon. That’s just half the distance Fukushima was from the quake that wrecked at least Unit 1 and sent in that tsunami to finish off Units 2, 3 and 4.

In all likelihood a 9-plus shaking from the San Andreas could reduce the two reactors at Diablo to radioactive rubble. As at Fukushima, we’d expect hydrogen explosions, maybe some fission, the loss of the cores, the cracking of the spent fuel pools, fires, mayhem, apocalyptic emissions.

Things would be made far worse, of course, because we now know at least a dozen fault lines surround those reactors, and they were not made to withstand them. One, the Shoreline, passes within 700 yards of the two cores. The NRC’s own resident inspector, Dr. Michael Peck, has warned that Diablo simply cannot reliably survive those faults going off … and should be shut.

We also know that all those fault lines are interconnected. There’s a hint of that as our scientific expert (Paul Giamatti) shows us how a previously unknown fault line in Nevada could touch off the Big One in California.

In fact, there’s simply no way that a shock and tsunami anywhere near as big as depicted in this 3-D IMAX monster would not result in the state being saturated with massive radiation releases from those melted, exploded, rubble-ized reactors. Diablo’s radioactive cloud would quickly  blanket North America, destroying our food sources and our economy and ultimately killing millions.

None of this, of course, makes it into the film.

The reason is simple: imagine yourself a Hollywood screenwriter depicting extreme bravery followed by happy endings while everyone both on the screen and in the city where it’s being shown are massively dosed by a radioactive cloud that will continue to spew for the next, say, thousand years.

Try to envision the dramatic possibilities of watching the vast majority of the nation’s fruit, vegetable and nut supplies being hopelessly contaminated, and the land on which they’re being grown rendered useless for millennia to come.

Then let’s think about the romantic twists of radiation sickness setting in and millions of chiseled Hollywood actors realizing that their lives and those of their progeny have been forever ruined.

Let’s throw in a few humorous moments here and there to lighten things up. Plus some flappings of the American flag and a stage right hymn to the exceptional ability of we Americans to "start all over again."

Then, when we’ve written such a screenplay, let’s go get it funded.

So the rumor that San Andreas makes no mention of Diablo Canyon is confirmed. The spent fuel pools at San Onofre, Rancho Seco and Humboldt do not appear. Nor are we reminded that a tsunami far smaller than what the filmmakers roll through the San Francisco Bay would utterly wreck not only Diablo but all the fracking, oil and other extraction rigs along the coast and inland throughout the Golden State, taking the term “pollution” to a whole new level.

At great personal cost, I’ve confirmed all that. If you like seeing apocalyptic urban destruction and a giant tsunami wave, take in this film. You might want to bring something to read during the dramatic interludes.

But don’t count on even a shred of radioactive reality.

And join me to watch Game 2. Unless the Big One does come.

In which case, I guarantee, despite what you won’t see in San Andreas … it will be "Game Over."

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH and edits nukefree.org.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Nuclear Giants Take a Huge Hit

Why We Need to End Mountaintop Removal Now

10 Greenest Cities in North America

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch