Weighing up the Fukushima nuclear thingie

Deaths so far from the nuclear power plant* being hit by the 5 th largest earthquake of the past century and a 30 foot tsunami: 0

Deaths today from the coal industry operating as normal:

52 feared dead in Pakistan coal mine explosion

The nuclear industry is just so unsafe, isn\’t it?

* From the nuclear bit you understand, not from the earthquake or tsunami itself, like that poor crane operator.

8 thoughts on “Weighing up the Fukushima nuclear thingie”

  1. Presumably there are deaths in uranium mining as well, though granted probably nuclear as a whole causes fewer deaths per kilowatt hour generated than coal does.

  2. JamesV

    Without the figurs to hand I can’t comment exactl;y, but my instinct tells me you are 100% correct.

    Firstly the volumes mined in the nuclear industry are much lower. Less volume requires fewer people. Less people, less dead bodies, even if the risk profile is the same.

    Secondly, the risk profile is not the same. A far higher proportion of uranium comes from open pit mines which are inherently much safer* environments in which to work.

    So basically fewer people in a safer environment adds up to to much fewer deaths. And that’s just the mining part of the process. I’ll leave it to someone in the nuclear industry to comment on the relative safety risks faced by workers in the generation sector.

    *By a couple of orders of magnitude.

  3. Note as well, outside places like China and Russia, Uranium mining is largely in the hands of big international mining companies. They tend to be a little more concerned about safety* than some of the local companies that operate coal mines in third world hellholes.

    *If for no other reason than because dead bodies equals bad publicity, home-government investigations and so on.

  4. Also transport: just shifting huge quantities of coal around causes death on railways, etc. (Remember that nasty episode a few years back where a reckless arse drove his Landrover and towload onto a railway track, which resulted in a passenger train and a coal train colliding?)

  5. “Estimated cancer deaths from the Chernobyl accident range as high as 475,000”: so how come none have shown up yet? We’re now getting into the period when they should.

  6. Remittance Man: There is no age limit. Radiation remains in the affected areas and decreases in accordance with its half-life. Some people who were not born when Chernobyl occurred will still be exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl event. People who are not even born yet will likewise be exposed.

    As time goes on the amount of radiation decreases and the number of people affected will decrease.

    Even the minimum estimates of fatalities range in the thousands. Unfortunately cancer tumors don’t carry a “Brought to you by” label on them – so all that can be relied upon are statistics and probabilities.


    dearieme: As an example: there was a huge increase in thyroid cancers among children in the affected areas. 4000 cases as of 2005. So, in addition to the 50 workers deaths directly attributed to the event, there are many cases of cancers that have befallen the population – fortunately modern medicine is able to keep most of these in the “non-fatal” category. Most, but not all.

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