Evolution and humans: can we control rivers (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 18, 2021, 23:03 (1157 days ago) @ David Turell

There have been too many disasters:


"Decades ago, a single energy disaster left three million acres of land uninhabitable to humans and killed between 85,600 and 240,000 people. A casual student of history might assume these shocking statistics refer to the Chernobyl nuclear accident, but that would be incorrect. No, this catastrophic specter was the fault of the Banqiao Dam collapse in Henan, China. By comparison, Chernobyl killed fifteen times fewer people and desolated an area of land one-sixth as large.

"Though sharply different in magnitude, the Banqiao and Chernobyl disasters occurred under similar circumstances. Constructed by the Chinese Communist party during the Great Leap Forward, with guidance from the Soviet Union, the dam was poorly designed and hastily constructed – just like the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Moreover, party officials wanted it to retain as much water as possible because it would be "more revolutionary." Hydrologist Chen Xing, Chief Engineer of dam projects, warned against that superficial goal and advocated for additional safety features. He was overruled and later reassigned.

"Chen Xing's warnings proved prescient in early August 1975 when Typhoon Nina battered Banqiao and dumped a meter of water in three days. The dam didn't stand a chance.


"Six hundred million cubic meters of water would eventually pour through the remains of the ruptured dam, forming a wall of water six meters high and twelve kilometers wide moving up to fifty kilometers per hour. The towering deluge eventually collapsed 62 more dams, flooded thirty cities, and destroyed 6.8 million houses. Thousands of people drowned. Far more would eventually die of starvation and disease. The Chinese Communist Party silenced all public accounts of the calamity for more than ten years.

"With the full, deadly scope of the Banqiao dam failure now known, there has been no worldwide movement to halt construction of hydropower dams to save lives.


"In the 1980s, 46 nuclear power plants came online in the United States. After Chernobyl, only four have even started being constructed, and none of these have been completed. Despite producing emission-free energy, "nuclear" has become a dirty word.

"Evidence firmly dispels this unfounded belief. Various studies have reached the same conclusion: nuclear power is one of the safest – and perhaps the safest – source of electricity on planet Earth.

"We shouldn't let the minute threat of disaster scare us away from a safe, clean, and dependable source of energy, one that could easily power humanity and prevent carbon pollution for centuries to come."

Comment: We can manipulate the Earth in many massive ways. Dams present danger of collapse as the recent one in Peru (earthen). The known and ignored future problem is the build up of silt behind dams. They will end up destroyed as waterfalls over them appear. Preventive dredging is ignored as too expensive. This is what will happen to the giant dams eventually. I know of Three-mile island, Chernobyl, and Fukushema. We have learned from those mistakes. Humans need not be fearful and should push politicians whose only fear is loss of elections through imagined future mistakes.

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