Despite 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|
The pie below gives a graphical view of the rates of death for energy production.
On his blog, Seth Godin gives a more dramatic visual of the deaths attributed to various technologies.
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.