Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nuclear power accidents

I have just started reading Uranium:

The timing feels appropriate, what with the multiple meltdowns going on in Japan, and the author of the sometimes great, sometimes Sarah Palinesque, Unwanted Blog suggesting that nuclear activists (with communist puppet masters) caused the meltdowns in Japan.

Many would have you think that nuclear power is perfectly safe. Others think that it is automatically going to result in disaster. Neither group is correct. Nuclear power can be safe, but has often been dangerous in the past. The problem is complex, because the technology is complex. For example, letting the lowest bidder buy and operate a plant is a bad idea. Also, having insiders from the industry work in regulation later is not a great idea. On the other hand, most nuclear plants run for decades without any major problems. When they do have an accident, usually the results are minor. Rarely, there are actually serious accidents. Sure even the worst accident only caused a few thousand premature deaths (mostly from cancer years later). And a very small accident like the one in Japan is only going to cause a few dozen cancer deaths at most (the exact number is impossible to state because of the probability involved), but then again how would you like to get thyroid cancer? It matters if the deaths can be prevented. And so far, every nuclear accident could have been prevented. Usually it is a matter of being a bit more humble, a bit more cautious, or spending a bit more money. Here are some major accidents from the past:

Worst nuclear accidents

The source for this information is somewhat biased. Their comments on the accidents appear to be modest and factual, but the commentary at the end means one should carefully consider the point of the article. Having said that, the scientific information on this page is typically quite good. For example, they participated in a much needed debunking of the super-moon hoax. (That was even on CNN as one anchor stated that parts of the ocean had "run dry" as a result of a super low tide, and that ships had crashed as a result.)


عبدلله ابن عباد الله said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
R2K said...

Do you really think I am going to leave that religious nonsense on my blog?

Arjan said...

There was a short documentary on Dutch tv on the dangers of earthquakes for the nuclear powerplants here.
Hardly anyone takes earthquakes here serious because heavy quakes don't don't happen often here , and that's why the plants aren't build to resist much over a 5 on the scale. The geologist warned that this might become a problem either tomorrow or somewhere in the next decade or two.

I don't have a problem with nuclear plants as such, only with the fact we don't have any other solution for the waste than to store it.

As for getting cancer...these kind of things probably have a bigger impact.