Monday, February 15, 2010

How Many Bomb Shelters Were There in the USSR?

I've been collecting data on the number of bomb shelters in various Russian cities. This was a topic of major debate decades ago, when some analysts argued that the Soviet Union pursued a "war survival" capability in order to undermine America's nuclear deterrent. I'm getting some really interesting stuff out of the archives here, which I'm going to use to craft an article about the USSR's shelter system. Here are some figures that have come out in recent years:

Moscow: 7,000+
St. Petersburg: 4003, 2873 in housing sector
Tula: ~300, approximately 100,000 spaces
Tver: ~200

The CIA estimated in 1986 that the USSR had shelter space for 11.2% of its urban population. Between these figures and what I've seen in the archives, I believe that this estimate was approximately correct.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

"Clean," "Safe" Natural Gas-Now With Deadly Explosions!

Just a few days ago Joe Romm plugged natural gas as an alternative to new nuclear builds:
"And the relatively low price of natural gas is leading to increased power generation of that relatively clean fuel. . . .You can’t push on a string, not even a nuclear-powered one."
Romm, Robert Kennedy Jr., and others have been pushing for more gas as an alternative to nuclear, despite the fact that its environmental benefits are grossly overrated and it isn't likely to keep its "relatively low price" for long.

And now look what's happened:
At least two people were killed Sunday in an explosion at a Connecticut power plant, police said.

Two people have been confirmed dead, said Middletown, Connecticut, police Sgt. Chuck Jacobucci, but authorities expect the number to rise since they are still searching for people.
. . . .

The plant's general manager, Gordon Holk, confirmed the blast caused casualties, but wasn't sure how many. Fire and police officials in Middletown said there were "mass casualties," but no other details were immediately available.

The site is a 620-megawatt gas-fired power plant, according to Holk.
Puts the ridiculous fear-mongering about picocuries of tritium in drinking water into perspective, doesn't it? My sympathies go out to all the victims of this explosion, as well as all the others around the world whose lives are cut short by our disastrous and unnecessary dependence on dangerous fossil fuels, be it in accident, war, or otherwise.

UPDATE 2/8/2010: Speak of the devil--guess who just wrote a post buying into the tritium paranoia? Joe, I'm waiting for the post where you renounce your apologia for natural gas since it obviously kills a lot more people than tritium leaks, which you seem to think are some kind of REALLY BIG DEAL. And furthermore, (and much more importantly) it is a core climate "anti-solution," given its significant carbon intensity.