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Death toll and Energy Source
Old 08-27-2007, 04:38 PM   #1
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Death toll and Energy Source

How many people die annually in coal mining, in oil exploration, in refineries, in power plants using coal or oil?

How many people die in the same operations using nuclear energy?

It's mind boggling that a few big smelly mouths can do to people's perception about the "danger" of one of the safest technology. Not to mention affordability, and environmentally friendliness.

I don't have a problem with "normal" people falling under the scare-tactics. But what about the people we elect? Aren't they supposed to be wiser, more practical? Aren't they supposed to be able to see through the smoke? Aren't they suppose to lead, to make tough but correct decisions on behalf of the sheep they herd?

Are French or Europeans smarter than Americans? Frustated but don't know what to do!
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:45 PM   #2
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I feel a political rant in the offing...

I go out of my way and pay more to buy electricity from a supplier that does not use coal. It is enormously polluting, dangerous to produce, and trashes the environment where it is produced. Having said that, I don't hold any great feelings for nukes, either. Sure, the day to day death toll might be lower, but all it takes is one bad accident. I don't know if all the details will ever come out, but after a recent earthquake, the largest nuke plant in Japan was closed (maybe for a looooong time) after a release of nuclear material and who knows what else.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:47 PM   #3
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So, Sam, you're saying Chernobyl was no big deal?

Chernobyl disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by twaddle View Post
So, Sam, you're saying Chernobyl was no big deal?

Chernobyl disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That's exactly what I'm talking about! I'm somewhat surprised you didn't bring up 3 Mile Island.

So let's put it in context. Chernobyl was the ONE and ONLY accident in the nuclear power history. 31 people died within days or weeks of the accident. 10 more people died much later of cancer.

41 is less than the number of people dying ANNUALLY from coal mining alone world wide.

How often do we have a refinery accident? 15 deaths right in my backyard, in 2005: Texas City Refinery Blast.

And BTW, Chernobyl was a sub-standard operation. But you knew that, didn't you?
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:31 PM   #5
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You're missing part of the nuclear cycle. Uranium is mined and I'm sure these mines have the odd accident, but I have no stats.
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:32 PM   #6
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But what about the people we elect? Aren't they supposed to be wiser, more practical? Aren't they supposed to be able to see through the smoke? Aren't they suppose to lead, to make tough but correct decisions on behalf of the sheep they herd?
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:35 PM   #7
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I prefer not to be irradiated by my energy sources. Call me crazy.

There are two considerations when taking on some risky venture: 1) the probability of something bad happening, and 2) the impact of something bad happening. Low probability by itself isn't sufficient.

I think the efforts to make nuclear failure *low-impact* is a good thing, and public understanding of that is a good thing. But your comparison of death rates is just plain silly.
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:40 PM   #8
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The other thing left out of the discussion is...

What in the world do you do with all of that spent nuclear fuel. And what do you do with all that nuclear waste ?

That problem is yet to be solved to my satisfaction.

Sam: Would you (please) volunteer to store a couple of those leaking nuclear waste drums in your garage ? Those drums double as a night light too.
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:11 PM   #9
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Well, here's one country's take on it...thought folks here would appreciate this perspective:


"For a long time, in families, the good thing for a child to become was an engineer or a scientist, not a lawyer. We like our engineers and our scientists and we are confident in them"

FRONTLINE: nuclear reaction: Why the French Like Nuclear Energy

unfortunately, i think the US's upkeep of bridges, levies and the like do not bode well for trusting our untechnocratic bureaucrats....
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:28 PM   #10
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This article says we already get a lot more than i thought, it's #2 in terms of source of electricity:

Nuclear Energy
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Old 08-27-2007, 07:10 PM   #11
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Right, but it's only 20% of the electricity we use. Most of Europe have 50% or more.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:01 PM   #12
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Sam,
Just to set the record straight: Chernobyl was not the only accident at a nuclear power plant. It was the only lethal accident. And the death toll there (including early deaths in the surrounding area) was a lot higher than 41 people.
Still, I agree with your point. Nuclear power, overall, is far safer AND has lower environmental impact than burning coal.
A greater percentage of our electricity will probably come from nuclear power as the environmental argument in its favor is finally being understood by even some of the old "no nukes" crowd.
I wouldn't count on politicians who are sweating out every daily poll to take positions divergent from the electorate. Sometimes I think this is good, sometimes I don't--depends if it is my ox being gored!
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:03 PM   #13
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You're missing part of the nuclear cycle. Uranium is mined and I'm sure these mines have the odd accident, but I have no stats.
Hmmmm. Good point. Still, they probably mine a lot less material in U mines.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:16 PM   #14
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I prefer not to be irradiated by my energy sources. Call me crazy.
I won't call you crazy. But people living near coal plants are exposed to more radiation than people living near nuclear plants.

Coal has trace amounts of radiation from the ground, and it goes right out the smoke-stack.

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Old 08-27-2007, 11:19 PM   #15
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Here is some back up data. It is worse than I thought:

Fossil fuel power plant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Coal also contains low levels of uranium, thorium, and other naturally-occurring radioactive isotopes whose release into the environment leads to radioactive contamination. While these substances are present as very small trace impurities, enough coal is burned that significant amounts of these substances are released. A 1,000 MW coal-burning power plant could release as much as 5.2 tons/year of uranium (containing 74 pounds of uranium-235) and 12.8 tons/year of thorium. The radioactive emission from this coal power plant is 100 times greater than a comparable nuclear power plant with the same electrical output; including processing output, the coal power plant's radiation output is over 3 times greater.[8].
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:42 AM   #16
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this thread is very enlightening...hadn't given the issue enough thought...until now...
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:49 PM   #17
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Thank you ERD50!
I had been looking for that source for quite some time. I even tried Wiki, but apparently didn't read carefully enough or search the right terms.
I really find that information amazing, and even more so, that someone hasn't latched onto that as an argument against coal.
I prefer wind/solar over nuclear. However I prefer nuclear over coal.
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:59 PM   #18
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You're missing part of the nuclear cycle. Uranium is mined and I'm sure these mines have the odd accident, but I have no stats.
Uranium miners die, they just die a slow death.

Uranium mining left a legacy of death
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Old 08-28-2007, 02:10 PM   #19
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Uranium miners die, they just die a slow death.
I wonder if stats exist for deaths caused by uranium mining.
It would be nice to do a direct comparison between different sources of energy. Something like:

xxx deaths/GigaWatts produced using coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, or nuclear power.

The above article lacks numbers. Without numbers, any issue can be made as tragic as the writer wishes. All too common amongst the fear mongers. All one has to do is show, talk about a poor widow who lost a husband, or a father who lost a loving, success-bound son, or...
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:20 PM   #20
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That's exactly what I'm talking about! I'm somewhat surprised you didn't bring up 3 Mile Island.

So let's put it in context. Chernobyl was the ONE and ONLY accident in the nuclear power history. 31 people died within days or weeks of the accident. 10 more people died much later of cancer.

41 is less than the number of people dying ANNUALLY from coal mining alone world wide.

How often do we have a refinery accident? 15 deaths right in my backyard, in 2005: Texas City Refinery Blast.

And BTW, Chernobyl was a sub-standard operation. But you knew that, didn't you?

I don't know where you are getting your numbers from .... but they are WAY off... I was in Kiev and wanted to get out to see the accident... it was not going to be easy to do so I blew it off... but, heard that many hundreds or even many thousand died. I was shown a fire station where every single person in that group died as they went in the first few days...

And there are many who died or gotten cancer who 'cleaned up' the site and build the tomb around it... (maybe these are the ones that the locals were talking about, but it was still related to the accident)..

Also.. there are many sq. miles of land that will not be used in the next few thousand years...


BTW... I am one that thinks we should be using more nuke energy, but it need to be better regulated more like France... NO skimping on maintenance etc.. I don't care what budget constraints you have...
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