A Brief History of the World.
Prelude to 2030
With the passing of the British enactment of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union lost a member state. That in turn, started a downhill retention of the European Nations. Within the next several years the United Kingdom began to rebuild itself, in doing this it began to forge new trade deals with the United States under the Trump Presidency and Hong Kong, an old British Colony.
With several more nations leaving and some joining, the Euro began to lose retention in the Union and some nations even resorted to their original currency instead of the Euro. Many countries in Europe such as Spain, Greece and France found trouble sustaining their policies with the increasing debt bubble.
Riots begin to erupt frequently due to increasing draconian measures to get several countries financial problems under control, Governments begin to push out drastic measures to forced the storms to calm. Greece fails to uphold their economy in their stubbornness to keep their welfare system up and soon end up with most, if not all enterprises closing down. Meanwhile, Italy decides to lead by example and focus their resources on securing a stable economy.
Following concerns over increasing oil prices, and the potential to run out of oil completely, the United States government commissioned the installation of several new nuclear plants, as well as refurbishment of existing plants. Indian Point was selected as a test site for a new reactor design based off of Soviet RBMK-1000 designs. American scientists worked to eliminate known flaws in the design, such as those which had precipitated the Chernobyl disaster of April 1986. Considering new advances in technology, the elimination of the flaws responsible for the Soviet disaster, and adjustments were made to process uranium in previously unheard of amounts. Following examination of the plans, the United States approves the new reactor design, dubbed APUR-2020.
Original operations began at the Indian Point plant on September 16th 1922, but new updates and systems were updated in March of 2021, despite protests from local environmental groups. Successful education campaigns by the government on the benefits of nuclear power help to smooth the transition period, especially given claims about the newer reactors having no feasible chance of an incident as damaging as Chernobyl, or Fukushima. Increased demand from the public and with more-than-adequate funding from the government, the plant is renovated in record time. By 2027, the plant had re-opened, and resumed producing power for the East Coast. Prior to renovations, Indian Point had been solely responsible for the energy generation of New York state. Now, due to increased capacity and efficiency, the plant generates a majority for the power for the entirety of the north-eastern states.
On 12 August 2030, workers at the plant initiated a partial shutdown, in order to facilitate the complete shutdown and decommissioning of the original Three Mile Island plant. The idea was to reduce power output from the plant, in order to accommodate the increased power output from Three Mile Island plant as it shut down. However, significant power drops and communication errors led to a panic amongst workers, and initiation of the core power-up procedure. Despite initiation, the overall power level of the plant continued to drop, raising concerns that the plant would eventually go sub-critical, before cooling completely.
As workers attempted to bring the reactor up to a stable state, they removed several control rods in an effort to increase power output from the reactor, avoiding a costly reactor cool down. The reactor’s power output started to increase rapidly, following the removal of the rods. Their removal represented a fatal breach of protocol, as replacing permanent rods was a slow process, where removal would happen only after the complete cool down of the core. The power output from the reactor grew exponentially, and workers hurriedly tried to re-insert the rods.
The re-insertion was stalled by the slower mechanism, which operated the permanent control rods, as non-permanent rods could not be inserted without the permanent rods being in place. Roughly 120 minutes after power levels in the reactor started to rise, a fatal power level was reached. Steam buildup within the lower channels resulted in pipes rupturing around the core. Increased pressure, combined with the intense heat of the reactor core resulted in an explosion within the lower core. This explosion was strong enough to weaken structural, weight-bearing beams. A second explosion, believed to have been caused by the reactor core dropping into a waste reservoir below displaced the entire structure, resulting in a total building collapse.
The weight of the building dropping onto the still volatile core produced an explosion of debris which was contaminated by radioactive isotopes. Combined with the severe wind conditions and sheer amount of debris, the radioactive cloud spread over the entirety of the Northeastern sector of the United States. Tens of millions of people are estimated to be severely affected by the radiation, and all contaminated regions are closed to all persons outside of select government organisations. Only three hundred workers lost their lives in the Indian Point disaster, primarily those who were stationed around the reactor and those who worked in control rooms above the core. Resulting deaths from radiation were not taken into account when producing the official death toll, instead, they were blamed on increasing carcinogens found in processed food and severe pollution. This outraged the international community, especially those who had been affected by previous nuclear disasters.
Following the explosion and loss of the Indian Point Plant, the United States government launched a full investigation. Attempts were hindered by the radiation from the plant, making it impossible for investigators to breach the outer premises of the plant. As a result, all information about the fatal accident was lost. When the plant director was called before Congress to attest to the failing of the plant, he blamed the lack of information on workers not following procedures and a hardware failure. Families of those who lost their lives in the accident launched a large protest when the director was acquitted of charges of negligence.
Since the contamination has reduced the American capability to perform economically, the European Union pooled funds to create a bailout loan for the devastated country. However, the loss of nearly a fourth of American land, plus the economic strain produced by clean-up of the contaminated zone and loss of important business infrastructure resulted in the United States being unable to recover from these losses, as radiation continues to spread from the Indian Point Plant.