Despite Fukushima, Nuclear Power Is Safest Technology

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Nuclear Power PlantDespite the drama unfolding at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in earthquake ravaged Northern Japan, nuclear power is still the safest energy technology available. There are a number of very vocal anti-nuclear power protesters, but perhaps they are acting on emotion rather than the actual statistics. View them here.

A simpler reduction of the information is found in the chart. It doesn’t account for all the variables as the linked article, but it illustrates the point in a clear manner

Energy Technology Death rate per terawatt hours of generated energy
Coal 161.00
Oil 36.00
Biofuel/Biomass 12.00
Peat 12.00
Natural Gas 4.00
Hydro 1.40
Solar (rooftop) 0.44
Wind 0.15
Nuclear 0.04

 

 

The pie below gives a graphical view of the rates of death for energy production.

Death Rate for Various Energy Producing Technologies

Death Rate for Various Energy Producing Technologies

 

On his blog, Seth Godin gives a more dramatic visual of the deaths attributed to various technologies.

Illustration by Seth Godin

Why are coal and oil still our favored technologies? Because a couple of large scale scary events like Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant partial meltdown and the Chernobyl disaster are the measuring sticks that we use to judge our emotional response to the technology. Yet the death toll of coal and oil is so common that it hardly makes a blip in our collective consciousness. Just last year 11 men were killed when BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico , 25 miners died in a West Virginia mining accident and the world was held captive as 33 coal miners were rescued in Chile, narrowly escaping a cave in that just as easily could have killed them all. But those events are not met with calls to rethink and discard the technology of coal and oil production as has happened with nuclear power generation. The earthquake that has disabled and put at risk the Fukushima Nuclear plant in Japan has reignited the irrational fears of nuclear technology, but if we look at the technology over the course of time, the statistics say it is the safest.

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About The Pluralist Advocate

The Pluralist Advocate started out this life in a conservative Military oriented community, and he later moved to that bastion of liberal activism called the San Francisco Bay Area. Having lived both ends of the political spectrum he has a unique understanding of both sides of most issues. He was also very religious growing up, serving as a studying the Christian scriptures and even spending some time as a foreign missionary. He used to think he had all the answers to life's greatest questions, but the more he looks around the world, the more he finds a wide variety of different values that work for different people. This blog is an exploration of thought and consideration from as many points of view as can be held at one time. He now holds the position that truth is found in many different disciplines. You may know the Pluralist Advocate around the web and twitter as brihartwell, or his given name of Brian Hartwell. He hates to be narrowly defined by one title, so as you read these musings you may find things you identify with, and others that you despise. That is good. Please share your reactions to the thoughts here and we will all grow together.