Sometimes when the earth moves, not everyone notices

June 7, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

On August 23, 2011, at 1:51 p.m., I was standing next to Matt Milazzo, a former ANS Congressional Fellow, on the sidewalk of a high-traffic D.C. street. We were saying goodbye after a pleasant lunch. At that exact moment, a seismic wave from a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Mineral, Va.—one that would be felt as far away as Canada and cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage—rippled under my feet. Perhaps it felt too familiar, like a heavy truck passing by, or maybe the oscillation peaked just as I was turning to walk back to my office. Either way, I didn’t feel a thing. The largest East Coast earthquake in 100 years, and I missed it. Completely. It wasn’t until I saw the stunned faces of my colleagues and a few picture frames scattered on the floor of my office that I understood the gravity of the moment.

Today, as I wrap my head around the stunningly large amount of energy that will be required to support advanced data center and AI functions in the coming years, I get the same feeling—that something big and consequential has happened in my larger world and I have been slow to perceive the magnitude of it.

To continue reading, log in or create a free account!

Related Articles

Strong performances across the board

May 8, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Another year, another stellar performance by America’s nuclear plants. We’ve come to expect high capacity factors, and it’s a credit to the men and women of the profession. They’ve...

Bringing Part 53 across the finish line

April 4, 2024, 9:26AMNuclear News

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Regulatory Information Conference—“the RIC” as it’s commonly known—is an annual rite of spring for many nuclear energy professionals. Each...

“Buy the best and only cry once”

March 14, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Spoiler alert: America has one more nuclear reactor on line.It’s been a long, hard slog for the Vogtle reactor expansion project, and the news coverage has been tough. I would describe it as...

Reflections from COP28

January 31, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society is hosting "Reflections from COP28," an online panel discussion this Friday, February 2, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. (ET). The talk will look back at the event...

Notes from COP28

January 2, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Dubai, UAE—If you have followed the coverage of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, commonly known as COP28, you probably have figured out that it’s a bit of...