The Madeleine Brand Show for July 31, 2012

Millions of people without power in India

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Indian women and children wait inside a darkened train carriage at a railway station in New Delhi on July 31, 2012. A massive power failure hit India for the second day running as three regional power grids collapsed, blacking out more than half the country in a crisis affecting over 600 million people.

Porters at a train station in Delhi push

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Porters at a train station in Delhi push parcel carts under high voltage electric wires feeding a train line in New Delhi. A massive power failure hit India for the second day running as three regional power grids collapsed, blacking out more than half the country in a crisis affecting over 600 million people.

An off-duty flight attendant from KLM Ro

TENGKU BAHAR/AFP/Getty Images

An off-duty flight attendant from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines browses for souvenirs in a dark shop in Janpath Market, a popular tourist shopping area, during a power outtage in New Delhi. India's northern and eastern power grids collapsed on July 31, blacking out half the country and affecting hundreds of millions of people in the second day of electricity chaos.


In India, 620-million people are without power after three regional power grids collapsed, creating one of the world's biggest-ever blackouts.

The blackout has raised concerns about the country's outdated electric system and its inability to meet the huge energy demand. And many wonder if this could ever happen in the US.

Effects have been far reaching in the country. Transportation grinded to a halt in India, as hundreds of trains stalled and traffic lights went out, causing widespread traffic jams in cities like New Delhi. Electric crematoria stopped operating, leaving some bodies half-cremated. Coal miners were trapped underground while awaiting generators to be brought to the scene.

According to Maggie Koerth-Baker, author of "Before the Lights Go Out," a similar power outage would be unlikely in the U.S. A massive power outage occured in August 2003, when 15 percent of the population was out of power for roughly 16 hours.

Guest:

Maggie Koerth-Baker, author of "Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us."


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