I'll be the first to admit this photo doesn't look like much, but it's what you don't see that speaks louder than words.
What looks like a small round pond, started out as a man-made hole that spreads 142 feet across and 120 feet down. You could lower a 10 story building into this hole if it wasn't filled with rain water.
This hole, known as "Hole in the Head", was not dug to provide the public with a place to swim. This was going to be the location of a nuclear power plant. The utility company behind it (Pacific Gas & Electric) was building "the biggest boiling water reactor yet scheduled". The plan was to boil ocean water ... the Pacific Ocean.
"Hole in the Head" is located on Bodega Head (hence the name) in Bodega Bay, CA. From the beginning, this "project" was scrutinized by a handful of feisty Bodega Bay citizens. The County, at the time, referred to these critics as "nervous Nellies" whose fear of Nuclear energy was nothing more than lack of knowledge.
All of this was taking place in the early '60s, and Geologists didn't understand tectonics as they do today. Neither did the protesters, but they knew that a nuclear reactor didn't belong 100 yards away from the Pacific. Over the next several years, the critics notified newspaper reporters and talked their way into radio stations to spread the word.
This was how a Geophysicist, Pierre Saint-Amand, heard about the nuclear reactor being built on Bodega Head. He came to take a look, becoming the first to observe the sites proximity to the San Andreas fault. Saint-Amand then alerted the Atomic Energy Commission who ultimately shut the project down in 1964.
Today, we still have "Hole in the Head" to remind us how Japan's recent nuclear disaster could have been our own. Instead of a nuclear power plant, we have a deep hole filled with fresh, clear, uncontaminated water.
* A look at "Hole in the Head" in the early '60s.