Monday, April 22, 2013

Nuclear Energy Grabs Top Spot on Reddit ... On Earth Day

We've been recognizing Earth Day all day long here on all of our social media platforms, but I wanted to share one image that warmed my heart today like no other. If you pop over to the home page at Reddit, the link that's currently ranked #1 is a story that originally appeared at Scientific American on James Hansen's conclusion that the use of nuclear energy has saved millions of lives all around the world.

Click to enlarge.
For those of you who haven't read the paper from NASA's Godard Institute, here's the nut graph:
The authors come up with the striking figure of 1.8 million as the number of lives saved by replacing fossil fuel sources with nuclear.

They also estimate the saving of up to 7 million lives in the next four decades, along with substantial reductions in carbon emissions, were nuclear power to replace fossil fuel usage on a large scale.
Impressive. It's indeed a happy Earth Day.


jimwg said...

Happy to see such good nuclear publicity -- if it ever gets out to the masses to read and get enlightened! I still believe those estimates are gross undercounts tho'. Billions of lungs worldwide are daily exposed to fossil-fired air pollution/disease for generations, so that 1.8 million figure just logically alone is absurdly low.

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Anonymous said...

Live in Japan and cannot possibly see a positive in nuclear power. Had the tsunami in 2011 hit Aomori, just a small distance further north, where the spent fuel rods are being stored, there would not be much of the country left inhabitable, maybe worse. Nukes make little economic sense, considering the huge subsidies and how many never break even. When they go wrong they really really go wrong.

gmax137 said...

Anonymous - I have little hope of changing your opinions, but I have to try. At least with respect to the economics. Please consider that in many countries, nuclear power generation is TAXED, because it is so much cheaper than other forms of generation. And subsidies? The majority of government subsidies goes to renewables and coil/oil. Not to mention the indirect subsidy allowed to fossil generation by allowing them to dump their waste into our atmosphere, free of charge. Here's one link you might read through:

Thanks for listening

Anonymous said...

Japan suffered zero casualties from anything related to the Fukushima plants. They suffered over 20,000 casualities from the direct effects of the earthquake and tsunami. That is the real tragedy, not the Fukushima damage.

If the fuel storage facility was damaged, there likely would have been little impact beyond the facility site. Fuel storage pools have no active fission, and relatively low heat load compared to operating reactors. Spent fuel is often used by anti-nukes as a boogeyman. Once you understand what spent fuel is and the issues associated with managing it, the boogeyman vanishes.

Anonymous said...

As a university physics student and highly interested in this, I compared the risk of cancer from tobacco smoking to the recent background levels in Fukushima. About 8,3uSv/h is the radiation equivalent (according to LNT-estimates) of tobacco (20% lifetime risk), less than 8% of the evacuated zone is that radioactive. However, people living in Ramsar, Iran, does not have 20%+ cancer rates even though their background radiation can be as high as 29uSv/h, more than "any" area in Fukushima and Chernobyl.

Joris van Dorp said...

The health benefits of nuclear power are known also in Europe (in scientific literature), but this does not stop the media in Europe from portraying nuclear power as bad for our health. I heard about this study on a major news radio station a few weeks ago (BNR), but the report was disparaged quickly on the grounds that "James Hansen is not a radiation or nuclear engineering specialist." and because "James Hansen is passionate about global warming, which probably affected his judgement about nuclear power". So it seems that the media in my country (The Netherlands) will continue their policy of misinformation about - and demonization of - nuclear power.

trag said...

"but the report was disparaged quickly on the grounds that "James Hansen is not a radiation or nuclear engineering specialist.""

That's rich, given that they never use that criticism when an author is critical of the nuclear power industry. If one must be a radiation or nuclear engineering specialist for one's praise to be valid, then surely one must be such a specialist in order for one's criticism to be valid as well.

Feel free to send a letter to your local editors pointing out the double standard. Of course, it sounds like they won't print it....