R. Stephen White debunks the misinformation claiming nuclear power is not “safe.”
Safety is judged incrementally, not categorically.
Newspapers, commentators, the public, you and I all evaluate certain actions as “risky” or “extremely risky” with little idea of the magnitude of the risk involved.
Really, how risky is nuclear power? The Three Mile Island meltdown was the worst accident in the history of U.S. commercial nuclear fission electricity generation. It occurred at a time when about 100 U.S. commercial reactors were generating electricity, with an average life span of about 30 years. Yet it caused no injuries or deaths. The emitted radiation was so low that it could hardly be measured. In the 20 years before and 28 years after that accident, no deaths from other U.S. commercial reactor meltdowns occurred.
It might be even “extremely risky” to work at certain jobs in the United States. Information about risk may be found from the Statistical Abstract of the United States. The chance of work-related deaths per worker per year is about 22 in 100,000 workers for agriculture, 23 in 100,000 for coal mining and oil and gas extraction, 14 in 100,000 for construction, and 3 in 100,000 for manufacturing. The coal-mining accident at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Huntington, Utah, with three rescuers and six miners killed, is only the latest of many coal-mining tragedies.
Total killed by Nuclear Power Accidents in the US: 0
Killed per year by Coal Power: 23 in 100,000
So clearly we must continue using coal for electical power because it is safer.
As White says, living is riskier than nuclear power.