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How many nuke plant disasters would be needed to equal the deaths from coal, oil?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Little-Acorn, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    I keep hearing how dangerous and deadly nuclear power is, how we shouldn't have any, etc. The earthquake and tsunami hitting Japan has knocked out a number of their nuclear power plants, with the possibility of core meltdowns and releases of radiation. Japanese officials say they have already released small amounts of radiation to keep plant pressures manageable.

    How safe is nuclear power? We've had it for more than fifty years now, while the nation has also been producing large amounts of electricity from coal-fired plants, oil-fired plants, hydroelectric etc.; plus small amounts from geothermal, wind, and solar.

    In the last fifty years, how many people have died from nuclear energy plant mishaps? How many died at and near Chernobyl in Russia? How many at Three Mile Island, at plants in France, in Japan, and all other nuclear power plants around the world? How many in uranium mines where the uranium was used in power-generation plants, from transporting uranium, storage and transportation of nuclear waste, etc?

    And how many have died from coal-generated energy? How many in coal mines, from black-lung disease, from air pollution from coal-fired plants, coal transportation mishaps, from accidents at coal power plants? And the same questions from oil-fired energy plants, oil fields and pumping plants, refineries, oil tanker mishaps, and the rest?

    It's hard to evaluate the safety of each, if you don't know the facts. Each has now had a long time to compiles its relative safety record.

    Anybody know the numbers for each?

    In fact, if coal and oil generation had compiled the same safety record that nuclear plants have for the past fifty years, wouldn't we be calling coal "the safest industry the world has ever known"?
     
  2. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    just as a point of fact...Chernobyl...you can;'t even go live there today...estimates range but are around 4000 dead...

    also 336,000 people had to be relocated,

    also newer reports on cancer and cancer deaths show number could be well higher...as much as 270,000 cancers of them 93,000 fatal.

    feel free to show a coal death toll near that...its not likely unless you wanted to count all deaths from pollution...meaning you have to admit that there is a reason for the government to lower pollution standards even if it costs money ( that or for you to say your willing to let those people die for cost savings)
     
  3. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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  4. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    I think a lot of opposition to nuclear power comes from a general misconception about how it works exactly....as for hard safety numbers over the last fifty years, I have ni idea, would be interesting to see though, if any correlations could even be drawn.
     
  5. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    So we have some evidence for deaths from coal-fired electrical generation and its fuel; zero evidence for deaths from nuclear-power generation and its fuel.

    It's a start.

    BTW, several people have pointed ouut to me that emissions from a coal-fired power plant are more radioactive than emissions from a nuclear power plant generating the same amount of electricity.

    Radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium exist as very small trace elements in coal, that occur naturally. But when the coal is burned, most pesky impurities like carbon are eliminated, effectively concentrating the remaining substances in the fly ash that results... and which come out the smokestacks into the air.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste

    How many people have come down with various forms of cancer from the emissions of coal-fired power plants? And how many from the emissions of nuclear power plants?
     
  6. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    That and NIMBY-ism.

    The earthquake in Japan does raise the question of safety in an earthquake zone, but most of the US is not prone to strong quakes.

    And, nothing is totally safe, of course, and the OP does raise an interesting question: Which is really the most dangerous, coal or nuclear? Given the mining disasters, probably coal.
     
  7. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member

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    http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/03/deaths-per-twh-for-all-energy-sources.html

    Coal is FAR more dangerous than nukes, in fact, wind power has four times the mortality rate. Rooftop solar energy has 11 times the mortality rate as nukes (because people fall off the roof while installing it.)

    Deaths per trillion watt-hours:

    Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
    Coal – China 278
    Coal – USA 15
    Oil 36 (36% of world energy)
    Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy)
    Biofuel/Biomass 12
    Peat 12
    Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
    Wind 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
    Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
    Hydro - world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
    Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)
     
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