Large-scale nuclear accidents may be rare but minor ones happen all the time - and are hushed up.
The effects are insidious, hard to spot and last a *very* long time. The worst oil-based disaster of all
time - Saddam burning the Kuwaiti oil fields - doesn't even begin to compare to Chernobyl. Three
Mile Island nearly wiped out a city of millions.
Um? As I recall from school, the radiation release at TMI was on the order of a few percents of a millirem at 1/3rd of a mile outside the plant. Chest x-rays give you much more radiation. How, exactly, did TMI almost kill millions? As for the idea that there are lots of minor incidents, I ask you for sources. I'm not doubting that they happen, but I want to look at your evidence myself.
Re: Chernobyl. Important facts to remember here are that the basic reactor design was unsafe and that the accident was caused by an unauthorized safety test that shut down too many of the safety features. Yes, it was a big huge mess, but that's what happens when you have idiots fooling around with dangerous things.
All the cheap energy propaganda put out by US and European governments was a lie. We've all been paying subsidies to the nuclear industry to create the illusion of cheap nuclear energy.
Sources, please? I'm genuinely interested.
Nuclear fuel contaminates everything it touches. Containers, work clothing, everything. The industry
generates a constant flow of this low-grade waste which itself has to be expensively disposed of
(although a lot of it is criminally dumped in normal waste depositories).
Yes, nuclear power does contaminate things. Yes, waste is often criminally disposed of. Does this need to change? Of course. Problems like this abound in every energy industry: oil- and coal-fired plants generate toxic exhausts, manufacture of solar cells involves the generation of dangerous waste products, windmills can disrupt local environments, hydroelectric plants can damage riparian ecologies, and so on. About the only one that is, to my knowledge, relatively clean is geothermal power, but it's fiendishly difficult to put into practice and very expensive. The waste generated by nuclear power, while dangerous, is not on the same order of magnitude as that generated by fossil fuel industries.
Not only are we already dependent on too many non-renewable resources but radio-active decay
means that all the ore and refined nuclear fuel becomes less useful over time even when you're not
Also true. But the half-life for U-238 (the most common isotope) is about 4.6 billion years. The half-life for U-235 is about 703 million years. Clearly, the vanishing of all our uranium into lead is going to take some time.
While I agree with you that we should be using renewable and cleaner resources, nuclear power (when properly used and checked) is the best shot we've got right now.
As for deaths attributable to nuclear power accidents versus something more common (like coal power operation), it's like comparing the deaths due to airline crashes and the deaths due to automobile accidents. More people die at once from the plane crash, but more people are killed annually while driving.
(Not-so-fun fact: radioactive emissions in the exhaust from coal-fired plants kill about 50 people in the United States every year).
Fight the Power.
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