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Texas Blackouts point to crises coast to coast waiting to happen

“We need to better understand these compound impacts,” said Michael Craig, an energy systems expert at the University of Michigan who recently conducted a study on how rising summer temperatures in Texas could put pressure on the grid. unexpectedly. “It’s an incredibly complex problem to predict.”

Some utilities are taking note. After Superstorm Sandy in 2012 cut power to 8.7 million customers, utilities in New York and New Jersey invested billions in flood walls, submersible equipment and other technology to reduce the risk of breakdowns. Last month, Con Edison of New York City said he would incorporate climate projections into his planning.

As freezing temperatures hit Texas, a problem in one of two reactors at a South Texas nuclear power plant, which serves 2 million homes, triggered a shutdown. The cause: The detection lines connected to the plant’s water pumps had frozen, said Victor Dricks, spokesman for the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

It is also common for extreme heat to disrupt nuclear energy. The problem is that the water used to cool the reactors can get too hot to use, forcing shutdowns.

Flooding is another risk.

After a tsunami caused several collapses at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission asked the sixty or so decades-old operating nuclear power plants in the United States to assess their risk. flooding to account for climate change. Ninety percent showed at least one type of flood risk that was beyond what the plant was designed to handle.

The greatest risk came from heavy rains and snowfall exceeding design parameters at 53 factories.

Scott Burnell, a spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in a statement: “NRC continues to conclude, based on the review of detailed analyzes by staff, that all US nuclear power plants can cope. appropriate to potential flooding, including the effects of climate change. and stay safe. “

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Video: ‘Will not happen again’: Mayorkas vows to protect Capitol

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‘Will not happen again’: Mayorkas vows to protect Capitol

Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Homeland Security Secretary’s candidate, said he would work to ensure the United States is protected from domestic threats and another attack on the Capitol.

The United States faces significant security concerns and threats, and I would just like the committee to know that this senator is confident that all Americans will demonstrate positive leadership and urges the committee to support his appointment. This committee worked to create the Department of Homeland Security following the horrific events of September 11, 2001. At the time, we were primarily concerned with foreign threats coming from outside our country’s borders. As we sit here today with the Capitol complex surrounded by fences and thousands of National Guard members all around us, threats the Department is tasked with protecting us from our very different. Well, foreign threat actors remain a concern, the attack on Capitol Hill on January 6 was an attack on our democracy itself. In my opinion, the love for this country that I learned from my parents only made the January 6 attack on our Capitol all the more horrific. If I have the honor to be confirmed, I will do everything possible to ensure that the tragic loss of human life, the aggression against the police, the desiccation of the building which constitutes one of the three pillars of our democracy, the terror that you felt that your colleagues, your staff and everyone present would not perform.

Recent episodes of United States and politics

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In the United States, 1 in 17 people have been infected and 1 in 1,000 have died. However, the worst could well happen to us.

About 3.8 million people passed through Transportation Safety Administration checkpoints between December 23 and December 26, up from 9.5 million on those days last year. Only a quarter of people who flew Boxing Day last year did so on Friday, and Christmas Eve trips were down by a third compared to 2019.

And the AAA forecasts that more than 81 million Americans would travel by car during the holiday season, from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, which would be about a third less than last year.

For now, the United States is no longer experiencing explosive growth overall, although the worsening epidemic in California has canceled out progress in other parts of the country. The state added more than 300,000 cases during the seven-day period ending December 22. And six southern states saw a sustained increase in cases last week: Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas.

Anomalies in holiday reporting can mask any post-Christmas peak until the second week of January. Testing is expected to decrease around Christmas and New Years, and many states have said they will not release data on certain days.

On Christmas Day, the numbers for new infections (91,922) and deaths (1,129) were significantly lower than the seven-day averages. But on Saturday, new infections topped 225,800 new cases and deaths topped 1,640, an increase expected on Friday, with some states reporting figures for two days after Christmas.

Watching the Thanksgiving vacation for classes is complicated. The number of cases and deaths have continued to rise since, but the patterns look like a plethora of microspreads rather than a mass-market event.

Overall, experts told The Times that areas of the United States that improved before Thanksgiving – such as the Midwest – continued to do well afterwards, while areas that had higher numbers before Thanksgiving. the holidays continued to get worse.

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“Wow, what can happen to us this year?

Jason We lost our jobs the same day and were both at home because of the pandemic ending. I went into a depression. I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt like we had changed our entire lives to move to Oregon from California for nothing. It was like a horrible breakup, like death. I just didn’t know how to deal with it and I wasn’t sure about our future.

James My coping mechanism was to solve all the problems so that he didn’t have to worry so much. We made plans, like, Jason likes to run errands so he’s the only person who left the house and I stayed in the house the entire time. I didn’t see any human being other than my husband, because we wanted to be super safe.

Jason The pandemic has made us more resilient. We realized we were each other and had to rely on ourselves, which was really intimidating. Between Covid and the Fire, we slowly started to make our own new normal by giving ourselves a daily schedule. And we hadn’t done this before because we didn’t have to do it before. We had a job and we came home, had dinner and watched TV.

On the day of the fire, James told me to come and look out the window and he pointed out the smoke rising on the horizon. We grabbed some suitcases. We took our passports, our marriage license and some personal belongings. So maybe 45 minutes later we heard the helicopters.

James I got out, and a helicopter came by and opened the bucket of water the next block. There was black smoke directly above our house and all of our neighbors were packing their bags. That’s when we said we had to get out of here, so we put our dog in the car and drove off.

Jason Sadly, we left a photo album my mom made for me with photos of grandparents and photos of me as a baby and throughout high school. But I took a box with pictures of James from high school and us when we first started dating, and some of his marching band medals. It was the last thing we ended up packing.

James Honestly, we were just focused on the moment. But now it’s like, wow, what else can happen to us this year?



Mohamed Sadek for the New York Times

Jason We escaped the fire and slept in our car that night. Our conversation for probably last month has been, “Where are we going?” But we love where we live. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival offered to rent us an apartment they found until January at a reduced rate, so we’ll do it. We had tenant insurance on the house, so we have to catalog every item that was in our memory house so that we could be reimbursed. We know we had about 15 spatulas. So, do I remember each of them? How much would that cost? Maybe in the future we will simplify our lives and have fewer spatulas. It’s heartbreaking though, as we have to think about each room and what each room was in and what was on the wall, all the things that we have put together in the life that we have built together as a family. We had a huge collection of books and so many Christmas decorations. They are all gone. It’s hard to think about it.

James I spend a lot of time figuring out what the next step is. At one point we were going to be living with Jason’s parents. So we went there for a week and realized that it was not a good option for us. They are 70 years old, so we don’t want to endanger them if we bring Covid into the house.

Jason There has been trial and error on how to live life almost every day. If Covid hadn’t happened and we had this fire, we would have a safe place to go, and there wouldn’t be so many complications. But Covid complicated it. We cannot interact with my parents. We can’t hold our arms too tight or be around people. Covid makes it difficult to move on.

Going through Covid together and having to survive this fire has given us more license to be honest and open with each other. We forgive each other more when there is a mistake. I might be forgetting something at the store, but honestly our house is on fire. There are bigger fish to fry.

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Video: ‘It can happen in Pennsylvania,’ Biden says

TimesVideo “ It can happen in Pennsylvania, ” said BidenJoseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential candidate, gathered voters on Saturday at a drive-in event in Bristol, Pa., Stressing the importance of the swing state.