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Jerome a Paris:
Why are we more scared of a few random deaths from nuclear ... than of all the certain, documented and counted deaths from other power sources ...?
Let's see...
Lowering Deaths per Terawatt Hour for Civilization
Energy SourceDeath Rate (deaths per TWh)
Coal - China278
Coal - world average161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Oil36 (36% of world energy)
Coal - USA15
Biofuel/Biomass12
Peat12
Natural Gas4 (21% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Solar (rooftop)0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Nuclear0.04 (5.9% of world energy)
(reordered)
There are a number of problems with this analysis, though. The first one is the treatment of hydroelectric power, where the single most deadly accident is classed as an outlier and the distintion is made between "hydro without chinese disaster" and "hydro with chinese disaster". Although it's not said, the same has been done with nuclear.
ceebs tells me it appears they assumed 100 deaths for the nuclear industry. That means they're working on 2500 TWh.
It also means that
the 100 deaths are for "normal operations", considering Chernobyl "an outlier".

After all, look at how they treat the Banqiao Dam accident separately.

The number of Chernobyl deaths is disputed, so
Let's assume that the estimate excludes Chernobyl entirely. Then, you get

 
Chernobyl Deaths  Total nuclear power deaths per TWh 
	      50				0.06 
	    4000				1.6 
	  300000			      120 
	 1000000			      400
DoDo:
at the end of my onetime diary Chernobyl's Downplayed Victims, numbers range from 60,000 to 212,000.
That's between 24 and 85 deaths per kWh for nuclear, enough to make it the deadliest form of energy generation after coal, and maybe the third after Oil. It's really unfortunate that the best way to address your cavalier
a few random deaths from nuclear (because, as far as I can see, is the only real danger from Fukushima, at this stage)
is too close for comfort to getting personal.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, you have to ask exactly how they're attributing deaths to oil and coal as well.

But yeah, I wouldn't take those numbers on faith.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the treatment of major catastrophes as outliers is really irksome.

For one thing, it highlights that average quantities are not really meaningful here.

For something like wind, they might, because it's hard to imagine a single accident involving wind power with a large number of casualties. So the rate of deaths per TWh is meaningful.

But for something like hydro or nuclear, where a single accident killing tens of thousands of people is obviously a possibility, a number of "deaths per TWh" can well be close to zero before the accident and worse than coal after the accident. The outlier defence is less than convincing.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:42:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it's a defence with an impeccable pedigree. Except that in nuclear power, it's the Boom that's an outlier.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:02:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole deaths per watt discussion may very well be meaningless, given that we're deep in the land of statistics as propaganda.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may well be meaningless, but if we are in the land of statistics as propaganda, and this is the most positive thing they can present then it behooves us to poke the argument with a sharp stick and point out that it either is meaningless, or doesn't mean what it is claimed to mean.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:56:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but let's acknowledge what we're dealing with.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:00:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
unlike some demons, just naming it as propaganda unfortunately doesn't make it go away.

ceebs is right, you have to keep poking away at it till enough people realise.

hard work...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, even with Chernobyl and Fukushima worst-case scenarios, Coal still kills more people than nuclear. So Monbiot wins.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:02:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monbiot only wins if you accept the premise that nuclear is needed to get rid of coal.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear isn't needed to get rid of coal. You could always use gas instead. Until it runs out a generation later.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:53:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The outlier defence is less than convincing.

because it's intellectual codswallop?

easy not to see no inflation if you exclude food and energy.

tissue of lies, in every direction, cog diss rulz.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have said on occasion that teaching people about outlier removal techniques is one of the biggest mistakes in the teaching of statistics.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there are no outliers, only incorrect priors.
by njh on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 05:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
between 24 and 85 deaths per TWh for nuclear


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:49:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
for providing hard numbers, to help the discussion.

I fully agree that large accidents should definitely be included in these statistics, otherwise they make no sense.

I see legitimate arguments to have a separate number of "nukes, worlwide" and "nukes, Western countries" because the Soviet system was really not very good at caring for  the environment or safety in general (but both numbers should be provided), but I see no way to exclude Fukushima from such statistics. However, the number of deaths at Fukushima is not significant yet.

 

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:24:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more sensible to use "nukes by type of reactor". Sellafield had more in common with Chernobyl than with Three Mile Island, the latter being more like Fukushima.

But then you get into the question of what to do with large, rare events when the number of historical events in the category is zero. The more you slice and dice the categories the more categories have zero events in them.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, obviously, if there have never been any accidents in a category we can take the probability of one as zero.

On the other hand, since we can't reliably work out how many people have been killed in warfare for control of oil and coal resources we can just ignore this cost.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
obviously, if there have never been any accidents in a category we can take the probability of one as zero
Except that that's wrong. Even if Laplace's calculation of the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow haw been laughed at, it's still the best method for estimating the probability of an event that has never happened yet.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:47:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now stop it with that science stuff. It's confusing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:48:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i thought the uncertainty principle makes everything provisional!

so if there has never been a 12 richter scale earthquake in living memory, all nuke plants must be safe.

black swan or black hole, dark art or dark matter.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's why we can't calibrate atomic clocks to one part in 10,000,000,000,000

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in living memory, we're talking about using the historical, archaeological or geological record.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:

On the other hand, since we can't reliably work out how many people have been killed in warfare for control of oil and coal resources we can just ignore this cost.

Should not also Hiroshima and Nagasaki be counted as part of nuclear powers development costs?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, just like the battle of Jutland should be counted in the development cost of oil? This is getting silly.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:57:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And don't forget the Second Schleswig War as part of the cost of Germany's development of wind energy.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking down wars to death by energy components gets silly, yes.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
don't forget winnie gassing marsh arabs. gotta protect capital investment, bring 'growth' to the sambos.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:52:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Soviet system was really not very good at caring for  the environment or safety in general

Neither is the Western one.

Worker safety has a higher profile. But the environment? Over the longer term, I think it's going to be difficult to see any substantial differences.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:58:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Soviets were even more cavalier about environmental degradation, especially in Siberia and central Asia. Not that the USA or UK are so great, but I have the distinct impression that large areas of contamination, such as Hanford, WA are much more common in the former Soviet Union.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IIRC, those numbers do not include deaths related to mining of uranium and storage/disposal of nuclear waste.

For example, in the Wismut mining corporation (Soviet/East German Inc. located in East germany and one of the prime sources for Uranium for the USSR), accidents alone cost 772 lives between 1946 and 1990. More than 5000 cases (more than 3000 deaths) of cancer have been determined by the Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BfS) as being caused by radioactive substances set free by the mining (see here: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-69629003.html ).

And that is ONE mining area (several mines).


_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One extremely badly managed mining area operated without any consideration for the environment. It wouldn't surprise me at all if more miners have been killed mining the iron ore needed to make the steel to build the plant, than were killed mining the uranium needed to fuel it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought we weren't disallowing Banqiao or Chernobyl either as outliers.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one has claimed that badly managed mines are not dangerous.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But that isn't a reason to remove those numbers is it?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:39:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is, then we have to remove the coal mining deaths, too, since those are mining deaths, not energy deaths.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Niger better? Australia?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:41:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wouldn't surprise me at all if more miners have been killed mining the iron ore needed to make the steel to build the plant, than were killed mining the uranium needed to fuel it.

We are talking about comparative death rates for ENERGY sources, not basic minerals such as iron, but we could include the iron mining deaths in the totals for all energy sources.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:22:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thats not going to be good for many of your older power sources, with asbestos based insulation.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but it is as valid as the number of deaths in Chinese coal mines... You have to count both or none.

_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:42:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
welcome to ET ravenTS!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like welcome back :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:19:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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