Quantcast

'San Andreas' Blockbuster Has Huge Radioactive Omissions

Energy

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Six Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested as they blocked off corporations in the UK. The group had increased their actions to week-long nationwide protests.

Read More Show Less
Sari Goodfriend

By Courtney Lindwall

Across the world, tens of thousands of young people are taking to the streets to protest climate inaction. And at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem last month, more than a dozen of them took to the stage.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Pumpjacks on Lost Hills Oil Field in California. Arne Hückelheim, Wikimedia Commons

By Julia Conley

A national conservation group revealed Wednesday that President Donald Trump's drilling leases on public lands could lead to the release of more carbon emissions than the European Union contributes in an entire year.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Marlene Cimons

For nearly a century, scientists thought that malaria could only spread in places where it is really hot. That's because malaria is spread by a tiny parasite that infects mosquitoes, which then infect humans — and this parasite loves warm weather. In warmer climates, the parasite grows quickly inside the mosquito's body. But in cooler climates, the parasite develops so slowly that the mosquito will die before the it is fully grown.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, which is considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians. Charmian Vistaunet / Design Pics / Getty Images

A decade-long fight over the proposed construction of a giant telescope on a mountain considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians came to a head Wednesday when 33 elders were arrested for blocking the road to the summit, HuffPost Reported.

Read More Show Less
A boy walks past a plastic-choked canal in in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Jan. 17, 2019. TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP / Getty Images

Cambodia is the latest Asian country to reject the wealthy world's plastic waste.

Read More Show Less
Pick one of these nine activism styles, and you can start making change. YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee

By Cathy Brown

Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

Read More Show Less