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energy accidents - not what you might expect  RSS feed

 
gardener
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There is a fascinating chart on this page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_accidents

It details the mortality rate from different methods of energy generation. I was quite surprised to see that nuclear power has the lowest mortality rate.
 
pollinator
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Big Oil fires and mine collapses kill people right when the event happens. The nuclear stuff has a very long residual effect and because it spreads through air and water, it may be killing us all just a little bit. Things like that big event in Japan kill a few people on the scene, but they may reduce the lifespan of many people eating from the nearby ocean.

I wonder how many people have been killed when their horse, oxen or water buffalo made a wrong move. Those animals are used for their energy. Then there's all the guys who kill themselves while cutting firewood.
 
pollinator
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Big Oil fires and mine collapses kill people right when the event happens. The nuclear stuff has a very long residual effect and because it spreads through air and water, it may be killing us all just a little bit. Things like that big event in Japan kill a few people on the scene, but they may reduce the lifespan of many people eating from the nearby ocean.

I wonder how many people have been killed when their horse, oxen or water buffalo made a wrong move. Those animals are used for their energy. Then there's all the guys who kill themselves while cutting firewood.



But... all those 'immediate death' fatalities are a crucial part of breeding for agile, wary workers!

Death by rads recklessly released half a world away are much less selective and thus not very useful for the program.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I see most workplace incidents as manifestations of personal failings. Some guys can walk on a roof all of their life and never fall off and some will get hurt during their first week.

I would expect the highest rate of injury and death to be amongst the tinkerers who don't actually produce a very large percentage of the energy. There's the firewood guys and then there's people setting up their own natural gas system and windmills. Lots of opportunities for mishaps. Then there's the things that happened during the use of that energy, be it house fires, explosions or electrocution. Shit happens, and it happens more often to people who take action. A trip down YouTube Lane, can sometimes help identify next week's victim.
 
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They try to tell us that nuclear is the safest form of energy with the least accidents...  I call bullshit !   How about long term collateral damage ?   Three mile island made thousands sick and die , Chernobyl is still dead and causing all sorts of havoc with livestock and people. And still is melting down ... they just covered it in concrete?  Life of concrete 200 years, life of radioactivity ? lets say 2000 years !!! Hmm
Now lets go to the most recent "incident" in Japan , Fukashima.  I find it amazing that the entire world is not trying to do something other than continuing to pump seawater into a screaming hot radioactive disaster AND THEN PUMP IT BACK INTO OUR OCEAN??? How stupid are we as humans ?     KILL THE OCEAN >>>IT KILL ALL HUMANS ?
As Dale states workplace accidents happen all the time and probably have the highest rate of injury.   I'll take my chances falling firewood or reroofing a house rather than watch thousands die of radiation sickness or starvation.
If I fall off a roof, it will probably be my fault. I could die or end up in a wheelchair or simply hurting for the next 6 months.    If they kill our oceans and poison our air all for that almighty dollar , we all die a slow painfull death .   But oh boy we sure had safe power untill then ! WHO HOO

 
pollinator
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Thomas,

I wanted to shed a little light specific to the Three Mile Island accident.  The radiation release from TMI was extremely small.  No-one actually died from from the TMI accident itself (though according to some sources there were some deaths due to people evacuating).  The TMI accident was mostly a crises due to high-level media involvement (the President went there to assist--he was a nuclear engineer by training) and the release of the movie "The China Syndrome" just a few days before.

Please understand, I am not trying to be argumentative, but the history of energy is an area of specialty for me (I have a masters in history and am doing some post-graduate work involving the history of energy, especially nuclear energy).  Nuclear energy is one of the most feared and misunderstood forms of energy ever devised.  But specific to TMI, it was really a vastly more minor issue than reported (and remembered at the time, especially by local residents).  It does highlight some of the limitations of the specific form on nuclear energy that we use today which is mostly based on pressurized water as a coolant.  Essentially, no major technological advances have been made in the generation of nuclear power since the advent of the pressurized water reactor that had its roots in the 50s and was instigated by the US Navy which was looking for a good way to power submarines free from the need to surface periodically.  Pressurized water did/has worked well for the Navy, especially for submarine propulsion.  This technology was the fore runner for commercial nuclear power plants.  

I am not trying to revisit an older thread regarding nuclear energy which started out with many differing ideas/opinions yet was composed of highly civil discourse before things got ugly, but the nuclear industry is extremely regulated and has an excellent track record.  Coal has a vastly worse track record and also kills people slowly (think asthma and COPD, etc.).  Oil is similar.  Even renewables are not perfect.  The history of energy and its impacts is a highly intertwined, convoluted topic and it is very difficult to disentangle all the different interrelated factors.  But nuclear has had an enviable track record for safety.  Using pressurized water for a coolant is a problem for me.  There are other forms of nuclear that do not rely on pressurized water and I support research on those types of nuclear.  There are even some types of nuclear that are practically green by most any reasonable comparison to virtually any other form of energy.

For the record, I am not uncritical of nuclear energy, but neither am I a nuclearphobe.  I do try to look clear-minded at these types of controversial topics, and as the history of energy is a great interest to me, I have to consider nuclear in the context of historical energy for my own research purposes.  Like virtually every other member of Permies, I long for a day when we use only energy made from a benign source which ideally leaves no visible footprint on the ground.  Given findings of my own research, I can not personally rule out some advanced form of nuclear as being one of those sources.  But it would not be the pressurized nuclear we use today.

Please don't take this offensively.  I am only trying to shed some light on a controversial issue that almost always divides, never unites.  I am writing this solely to illuminate and not to criticize.  The TMI accident was very small in the grand scheme of accidents and by itself, no-one was killed, injured or made ill.  I hope that if you are reading this you understand my intentions.

Eric
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Eric;
Certainly no offence taken for expressing your view. All your points are valid.
Now that it's evening I can say, I guess I was just in a mood to vent this morning. I really don't know why.
The only part of my rant I really should have mentioned is Fukashima. I truly am appalled at that situation and the lack of apparent concern.
 
Eric Hanson
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Thomas,

I certainly know the need to vent.  I am a teacher and I can get that feeling myself (frustration usually coming from administration, not students).  I am glad you did not take this as an attack.  That is not how I intended my response in any way.  Something I love about Permies is the free and open civil discourse, free from personal attacks and vitriol.

Best luck venting for whatever issue you need to vent.

Eric
 
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