mikenz66 wrote:It's not necessarily pro nuclear. I'm just pointing out that as far as I know, the number of deaths due to nuclear power are very small compared to coal, oil, etc, both death by pollution released and direct deaths of workers, miners, etc.
The thing with nuclear pollution, either from nuclear energy production or nuclear disasters like Chernobyl, Fukushima or the 15 or so partial or complete nuclear meltdowns that occurred in the past 60 years (yes, there have been that many nuclear meltdowns
) is that the direct effects are not as easily seen as with other dangerous forms of energy production. If miners are in a mine while it collapses, it is easier to see the direct negative effect. With nuclear waste however, these effects take sometimes many decades (however, thyroid cancers due to the iodine-131 isotope are more easy to spot). They have an effect on many generations after the event, on innocent children stuck with crippling physical and mental disabilities throughout their life. Radioactive waste and debris also affect plants, animals and basically the whole ecosystem. What is even worse is that it isn't only birth defects in one child and the tragedy ends with this person, but radioactive debris affect the DNA
of every living organism. It negatively affects the human race or any living being to the utmost core; it destroys the blueprint that is used to bring to life the next generation.
With radioactive materials, numbers are quite surprising:
- Iodine-131, Half-life: 8 days, Lodges in your thyroid and gives thyroid cancer
- Cesium-137, Half-life: 30 years, Most problematic, It easily spreads through nature being highly water-soluble, Gamma and alpha
- Strontium-90, Half-life: of 28 years
- Americium-241, Half-life: 432.2 years, Gamma and alpha emissions
- Carbon-14, Half-life: 5730 years
- Uranium-238, Half-life: 4.468 billion years, Alpha emissions
Out of this list, half of these are in medium to large quantities in Japan (though acceptable according to government standards) and in a portion of seafood chain sold worldwide. Significant amounts of cesium were found in Australia and the west coast of the US.
If you aren't too squeamish, look up 'chernobyl birth defects' or 'children of chernobyl'. Imagine being born like that and living all of your life with these disabilities.
It gets even worse when you take into consideration other things that can happen with nuclear energy production, of which there is nuclear power plant attacks
, illegal nuclear waste dumping
, nuclear material sent as scrap material and ending up as household items
, nuclear waste being buried
by the tens of thousands of barrels, the usual birth defects, health problems, cancers and so on.
Some media outlets usually mention how safe and green nuclear energy is. It is even more the case with pro-nuclear energy proponents. When you start making your own opinion by doing your own research, of the things that are known as well as the things that happen behind the curtains, things aren't black and white after all.
mikenz66 wrote:The only sure way to stop deaths due to energy production is to produce a lot less energy...
I agree. Our use of energy is overly liberal, wasteful being more accurate. It always puzzles me when I see whole companies and schools leaving all their computers open 24/7. You multiply that by a portion of the amount of schools and skyscrapers in the world and you end up with quite a lot of wasted electricity (which half was probably produced by burning coal and with nuclear energy).