Perspective on the dangers of nuclear power

George Monbiot of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper has written an excellent article about the sensationalist reportage concerning radiation exposure at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

In his article, Monbiot links to this superb graphic from the author of my favorite webcomic, xkcd.  Take a look at Monbiot’s article, and xkcd’s graphic, to get a more realistic perspective on the dangers of nuclear power.

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2 Responses to Perspective on the dangers of nuclear power

  1. RuediG says:

    Isn’t the optimism a bit premature? So far, Fukushima is still adding radiation to our environment at a rate that’s much greater than the half-life of the radioactive elements. And so far, there is no end in sight. Ok, no fatalities so far, but nobody says the worst of radiation danger is in its present effect.
    If radiation originating in Japan is now measured in Austria, that’s just a bit creepy, no matter how small it is.

    • kpharri says:

      Hi Ruedi

      You are right: it might be a little premature to make the final call on Fukushima. However, as it stands now the toll of the earthquake and tsunamis stands at over 10,000 dead, while the toll of the nuclear accident stands at exactly 0.

      The worst nuclear accident in history, i.e. Chernobyl, killed or seriously injured only 30 people. As many as 6000 cases of thyroid cancer may be related to the accident, but there seem to have been no further effects (see the wiki page on health effects of the disaster).

      In short, then, even Chernobyl did not produce as much death and destruction as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami have already done. The problem is that nuclear energy’s unpleasant cousin, the nuclear bomb, has made people extremely jittery about anything nuclear, hence the overblown response to it, and hence the need to get a little perspective!

      Thanks for visiting Ruedi.

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