Argument: Nuclear energy has caused far fewer deaths than coal

Issue Report: Nuclear energy


  • Patrick Moore, a prominent environmentalist and founding member of Greenpeace, “Going Nuclear A Green Makes the Case”, Washington Post, 4/16/06 – “The multi-agency U.N. Chernobyl Forum reported last year that 56 deaths could be directly attributed to the accident, most of those from radiation or burns suffered while fighting the fire. Tragic as those deaths were, they pale in comparison to the more than 5,000 coal-mining deaths that occur worldwide every year. No one has died of a radiation-related accident in the history of the U.S. civilian nuclear reactor program. (And although hundreds of uranium mine workers did die from radiation exposure underground in the early years of that industry, that problem was long ago corrected.)”
  • Mark Hertsgaard. “The True Costs of Nuclear Power”. Mother Earth News. April/May 2006 – “Dissident greens concede there are risks with nuclear power, as with any technology. But those risks, they say, are less than those of the alternatives. Coal, the worlds major electricity source, kills thousands of people a year through air pollution and mining accidents. Coal also is the main driver of climate change, which is on track to kill millions of people in the 21st century not in a sudden bang of radioactive explosions, but in a gradual whimper of environmental collapse as soaring temperatures and rising seas submerge cities, parch farmlands, crash ecosystems and spread disease and chaos worldwide.”