Interesting possibility


Bob Keir of Pittsburgh writes with an intriguing suggestion: Let the Navy help:

It seems to me that emergency management officials along the Gulf Coast are having a power problem, a lack of it. The equipment that helps provide life's basic necessities such as refrigeration, illumination, communication and water purification require electric power.

In many places, the delivery network and generating stations will not be back in working order for many weeks or even months, but the demand for electricity will grow exponentially as people reclaim their homes and businesses over that same period. A lack of power will put a drag on the local economy and sink moral to an even lower point.

In the short term, authorities will likely set up emergency diesel generators to power essential facilities like hospitals, pumping stations and airports until the grid is brought back on line.

This is a perfectly fine temporary solution, but the storm damage to the nearby oil refineries and roads will make the production and transport of diesel fuel to the generating stations difficult and may result in temporary blackouts in those installations where electric power is needed the most.

This is an incremental problem and innovative solutions will be necessary to fill in the holes until repairs are completed and power is restored.

I suggest that President Bush immediately order the Navy to place nuclear submarines in military bases near New Orleans, Gulfport and Mobile to supply reliable temporary electric power to high priority users as identified by commanders on the ground.

Even if the submarines are only energizing the military facility itself, the electricity normally used to run it would now be available for other uses by the general public.

 I realize that my proposal creates some complicated engineering issues, but the situation is desperate in many areas of the coast, and outside the box thinking is required by our leadership to resolve this enormous problem. This is but one suggestion, but I think it should be taken seriously.