After the disaster in Japan the world’s media rushed to dramatize the situation involving the problems of nuclear power in Fukushima. But I agree, the situation there is pretty grim and it’s going to be a long time before they fix it.
Journalism today is largely based on shock. If you do not shock the reader, if you are not bound to a sensational headline, you lose his interest, there are a declining number of viewers, income starts dropping… who cares, that the title and the actual content of the article is from the truth as Earth is from the Sun? Numbers are important, everything else is irrelevant. Even journalists need to pay the mortgage …
So there should be no surprise, that unnecessary panic arises, people take stupid and sick precautions in case of reactor shutdowns, buying iodine rich preparations (useless), agitating, protesting, screaming…
Just tap into emotion of fear and 95% of people are ready to commit incredible foolishness.
On the other hand, write a reasonable story, support it with facts, statistics, and science and only 5% will take care about that. It’s a sad fact.
The vast majority apparently do not (or simply wish not) understand basic facts:
– Nuclear energy is statistically one of the safest in terms of the ratio of energy produced to the extinction of human life or damage from other conventional power plants.
A comparison would be flight transportation, which has the smallest number of casualties based on the number of passengers carried compared to other types of transport. But if some plane crashes and there are immediately dozens, possibly hundreds of deaths, no one starts calling for cessation of flights.
– Nuclear energy produces NO greenhouse or toxic gases, air pollution, ash. Look at the heap of (toxic) ash from coal-fired power plants, count those megatons of carbon dioxide from gas power plants…
– The common argument of various anti-nuclear activists is that spent fuel is a disproportionate threat to humans and the environment. It is not truth anymore. Burnout fuel from a few years ago can be used (and is used) in a new generation of reactors.
-Not any other electricity acquisition technology can keep up with the rapidly rising consumption of electricity than nuclear energy, whether it is from fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) or renewable resources (water, wind, solar, biofuels and geothermal power).
– The scarecrow of a crashed reactor, which is turned into an „atomic bomb“, will long remain in the minds of people. However, modern reactors are constructed far more safely than before, if there are any abnormal deviations or problems they themselves automatically cut fission and/or shut down reaction. The age of dangerous reactors like Chernobyl made with a graphite moderator is irrevocably gone. The latest discovery in this area is called a thorium reactor.
– The possibility of intentional destruction or damage to the reactor, power plant or any of its key parts is equal to zero – either outside or inside. Security measures throughout the area are so strict that employees themselves in the critical areas have almost no chance to just fart, that a sensor does not notice it… not to mention noticing the unauthorized entry or activities in any part of the power plant, and conditions are tightening!
– It was claimed that the radioactivity which hit the territory due to the accident, lasts for thousands of years and that area will be uninhabitable for centuries … reality? Hiroshima is today, roughly 65 years after a direct bomb hit, a multi-million citizens(!) flourishing city, Pripyat (about 2 kilometers from the reactor) already has limited supervised entrance and serves as a silent memorial and museum of Chernobyl accident. And that’s just 25 years after the accident! The Chernobyl power plant had other reactors working until 2000. So where has this „indestructible“ radiation gone?
Of course, no system is perfect or completely secure. You can fall and break your neck even when you install solar panels on the roof. Nuclear power plant technologies are still under intense research, developing new and safer procedures and technologies, principles and rules. Additionally the multiple automatic security systems of today cannot be bypassed or turned off, as happened in the case of Chernobyl.
An enormous surge of water caused the Fukushima disaster, an event on which no one could have counted. The bulwark against the tsunami was projected for approx. 6 m height of incoming wave which actually was more than doubled. Each one of Fukushima reactors have more or less similar performance, as in Chernobyl. Then there must be added more sources of radioactivity – the pools of spent fuel, which are not sealed and where is stored several times more nuclear fuel than the reactors themselves. In spite of this, the radiation released from Fukushima is only a fraction of what was released from Chernobyl accident. Fukushima accident had not even a single victim! This is an additional consequence of progress and new technology.
(focus to „radiation by distance“ part of chart. Instead of multiple amounts of exposed nuclear fuel in Fukushima compared to Chernobyl, Fukushima had thousand times less released radioactivity!)
So… WHY should we ban and shut down nuclear power plants, when their construction and development is ultimately saving lives?!? If nothing else, at least by replacing coal-fired power plants, we save lives and the environment. The scientific benefits of the progress in radiology medicine are also not negligible.
If somebody did not understand the chart of concerning the number of deaths per TWh by the source, I will explain it clearly:
A ratio of 1:4,025
Speaking purely in statistics: For the same amount of produced electricity, you need to count more than four thousands corpses for coal-fired power plants, compared to a single victim in the case of nuclear power!
Is that clear enough???