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Swine Flu Pandemic Will Threaten Coal and Power Supplies

Posted Aug 20 2009 11:25pm
A severe Swine Flu outbreak that turns deadly will threaten the Coal supplies and thus the electrical power for millions of American homes. So says a report from the University of Minnesota's CIDRAP - The Center for Infectious Disease and Policy.

Coal supplies nearly 50% of all the power generated in the U.S. However, some areas are likely to be affected more than others. Take for instance the Mid-West which gets about 74% of it's power from coal. "Despite regional differences in coal usage, a pandemic is likely to break links in the coal supply chain, thus disrupting electrical generation. This has the potential to severely endanger the bulk electrical power system in most of the United States," says the report from the university's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of CIDRAP News.

The report says that current federal preparedness plans do not address the possibility of power supply problems resulting from reduced coal shipments during a pandemic. A key planning gap, it says, is that federal plans put coal industry workers among those last in line for pandemic vaccines and antiviral drugs.

This should be of some concern considering the fact that a couple of train derailments in 2005 threatened to knock out power in several areas with some coal power plants having only a few days of stockpile left after a few weeks with the rails out of service. Read the full story here: Center For Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Image: Lisa F. Young -

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