With the recent power grid failure in India and other problems such as the Fukushima Diachi disaster, one can never be too sure when the kickoff to martial law might be.
However, what I do know is that a source of mine in the nuclear power industry was told late last year (by officials) to prepare for just that, as power grids worldwide are expected to fail in 2012 or 2013 according to some reports.
The sun goes through an 11-year cycle during which sunspots and flares peak and decline. The next peak is expected in 2013, and the radiation that may shower Earth could wreak havoc on satellite communications, radio waves and the electricity grid. (It also could create spectacular aurora borealis â the Northern Lights).
A variety of applications of GPS technology â such as managing cellular telephone signals and tracking planes in the air â could be affected, said Anthony Russo, director of the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing.
In the worst case, solar flares could disrupt all the electronic systems weâve come to rely on in daily life. A large burst of radiation from the sun, for example, could knock out power transmission systems for months, grid experts warn.
Two out of three nuclear power plants in Minnesota have been shut down for unscheduled maintenance.
Xcel Energy said Tuesday it has shut down two of Minnesotaâs three nuclear reactors for what it called minor repairs.
Neither plant released any radiation or posed any danger to citizens, the company said. The Monticello nuclear plantâs single generating unit, which had been operating at 10 percent capacity since last weekend, was shut down because of a leaking pipe inside the plantâs concrete containment structure, the company said.
One of the two nuclear generators at the Prairie Island plant was shut down because its emergency diesel generators suffered exhaust leaks.
âItâs unusual for us to shut down both units in [the] same half day, but itâs not unheard of,â Xcel spokeswoman Mary Sandok said.
The company is compensating by buying more electricity from other providers on the Midwest power grid, Sandok said. Although additional electricity costs are passed to ratepayers, the effect is not likely to be large enough for most to notice, she said.
Also, one of two of Marylandâs nuclear reactors has been shut down as well.
Operators of the Calvert CliffsÂ nuclearÂ powerÂ plantÂ in Southern Maryland have shut down one of the two reactors there because a control rod unexpectedly dropped into the reactor core, causing a reduction in power generation, a plant spokesman said Monday.
But wait, theres more. Now a Michigan plant has been shut down as well.