The natural disaster in Japan exposed the weakest link. Japans reactors are top notch, well run and as safe as nuclear plants in the US. While Japan did harden their reactors to stand an earth quake up to 8.0, they took a 9.0 without problems.
What went wrong then?
Keep in mind Tsunami is a Japanese word, and the reactors themselves with stood it quite well they did not prepare the 4 or 5 back up cooling systems for a Tsunami in the 8.0 range.
The deluge following the earth quake soon made quick work of taking all the cooling systems down.
US reactor plants cooling systems could not with stand such a tidal wave either.Many nuke plants in the US store 10X more spent fuel rods then are in active plants.And these too must be cooled.
And US nuclear reactors plants are subject to two other threats. Our sources inside the Beltwayindicate the Iranian Nuclear Reactors cooling systems are subject to a Stuxnet type cyber attack. Just the same as the current stuxnet attack, it would just need to target a different part in the cooling system. Paradigm Intel tells us the US nuclear plants are also vulnerable to the same type of attack.
The second threat.
The new smart electrical grid, I wrote about when it first came out,if its got software its subject to cyber attack. And many of us have seen the video where a generator shakes its self into destruction via a computer command. Our electrical infrastructure has vulnerable parts that are so big, and dependable they are not in stock, and I won't name them here.
But these parts have to be specifically ordered and built, a build time of one to three monthsdepending if parts are available or if they have to be made. Now if the infrastructure was hit in enough places, and many of these parts destroyed across the US infrastructure there would be an order back log, and extend the waiting period up to 3 to 6 months and parts of the country could be without electric for 3 to 6 months.
All of the Nuclear plants in the US have diesel back up generators, but can they run for 24/7 for 6 months to keep the cooling going at the US nuclear plants? If one broke down how long would it take to fix it, or replace it? Could the US nuclear plants go that long on battery backup cooling systems? Alot of unknown conditions and a big bulls eye, these questions need to be addressed.
I contacted IAEA 3 days ago about this and am awaiting a response. Are Nuke plants safe? I don't know, but they are vulnerable.