For most of your life, you probably associated the term “nuclear” with bombs that kill and destroy anything close enough. But were you ever exposed to nuclear power? Chances are, you haven’t. If you have, you hate it.  Nuclear does indeed release radiation, but there are only 2 nuclear incidents that should concern you, which are Three Mile Island and Fukushima. Chernobyl had a very faulty reactor, so the meltdown there was the fault of the Soviet Government, the reactor already had it coming. What about nature? How would we be helped if we used nuclear energy instead of coal? How would the economy be hurt, and how can we compensate for this? First off, lets talk about nonrenewable resources. Coal is ranked among one of the most deadly energy sources ever. Check out this chart by Forbes:

Energy Source                      Mortality Rate (deaths/trillionkWhr)

Coal – global average         100,000    (41% global electricity)

Coal – China                         170,000   (75% China’s electricity)

Coal – U.S.                               10,000    (32% U.S. electricity)

Oil                                               36,000    (33% of energy, 8% of electricity)

Natural Gas                                4,000    (22% global electricity)

Biofuel/Biomass                    24,000    (21% global energy)

Solar (rooftop)                              440    (< 1% global electricity)

Wind                                                 150    (2% global electricity)

Hydro – global average          1,400    (16% global electricity)

Hydro – U.S.                                     5    (6% U.S. electricity)

Nuclear – global average              90    (11%  global electricity w/Chern&Fukush)

Nuclear – U.S.                                0.1    (19% U.S. electricity)

 

This table states that on average, it costs 100,000 lives to generate 1 trillion kilowatt hours of coal energy. You probably already knew that coal was dangerous, but did you ever consider there is more cost that just money? When it comes to nuclear in the US, 10 trillion kilowatt hours costs 1 human life. And keep in mind this death could come from a nuclear research laboratory, not a nuclear power plant. 90 people die from nuclear on average, with the Soviet nuclear disasters. You also probably did not know that nobody has died from radiation at the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant as of now.

 

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