– Solar Storms Could Debilitate Earth this Decade: NOAA (International Business Times, August 6, 2011):
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency that focuses on the condition of the oceans and atmosphere, said that a severe solar storm could cause global chaos, debilitating satellite communications and taking down the most important global power grids.
The NOAA predicted four extreme solar emissions which could threaten the planet this decade. Similarly, NASA warned that a peak in the sun’s magnetic energy cycle and the number of sun spots or flares around 2013 could enable extremely high radiation levels.
Government studies revealed that extreme solar flare emissions could cause blackouts, possibly for years, in large portions of the U.S.
This type of storm could also induce geomagnetic currents that could debilitate transformers on the power grid. Electric power would be out for years or even decades.
Nuclear plants would also be negatively affected as supplying power systems with enough fuel despite main power grids being offline for years would be a grave problem. Furthermore, spent fuel rods losing connection to the power grid could cause pools to boil over, fueling fires and releasing deadly radiation.
A report by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory said that over the standard 40-year license term of nuclear power plants, solar flare activity enables a 33 percent chance of long-term power loss, a risk that significantly outweighs that of major earthquakes and tsunamis.