March 23rd, 2011

2 Comments

Coal is more deadly than nuclear power

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

The eco-system of the Earth can not survive in anything like its current vibrant state, so long as there are 6 billion or more humans on the planet. People live in denial about this fact. People want to have children, and they do not want to face up to the consequences of having children. Like anyone running from an important truth, people get defensive, and they look for scapegoats. The last few weeks have given people a chance to vocalize their concerns about nuclear power. While there are many, many valid reasons to be concerned about nuclear power, very few people are forthright enough to say “I prefer to have the planet destroyed by coal, rather than nuclear power.” Because that is the choice we face. Every society depends on coal, so no society wants to face up to the destructive power of coal. But coal is destructive. It also lethal. Consider this chart:

Source

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2 COMMENTS

March 25, 2011
2:03 pm

This is very interesting, and I have some questions. How is the nuclear “death” rate determined? Are they only counting deaths that happen as a result of meltdowns and emergencies like the one they are currently experiencing in Japan? Do they track the radiation effects down family lines? If my two year old were exposed to radiation from a nuclear facility meltdown and became infertile as a result, would that show up in this chart?
On the other hand, I’m curious to know if the oil and coal deaths include only catastrophic events, or if they have devised a way to estimate all the deaths that occur as a result of our use of the fuels. Many questions!

March 25, 2011
3:14 pm

By lawrence

Kelly, those are good questions. The original article is here:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

As it says there:

“The air pollution data is mainly from the World Health Organization and the european study Externe. The World Health Organization compiled peer reviewed health studies on air pollution from many institutions. Occupational health and safety statistics track the deaths of workers in the different industries.”

My sense is that the WHO released a meta survey of other studies. Such studies always need to be taken with a grain of salt. In the end, we can never know for sure how many deaths are caused by any particular energy source. For that matter, we can never know how many people die due to the sun. We have only estimates and uncertainty, as we grope forward in the dark.