Nuclear energy

That is a tweet from the very bright guy Ben Thompson from Stratechery[1], but I think this time, he oversaw some drastic things.

Please bear with me, I was a little in rage writing this

Let’s begin:

Deaths from:

so he is clearly talking about deaths [2]. Ok, that’s fine.

Coal pollution: untold thousands

ok, so in what reference is he talking about coal pollution? It can’t be the mining itself (it’s mentioned separately)? Or is it the fine particles? It’s not clear exactly what he means to me.

Coal mining annually: 6k

Actually this actually is a problem. No point to discuss here.

Fukushima evacuation: 1k

If you are just counting the evacuation, yes, you might get to that number.

Nuclear exposure: 0

Well, I know a little [3] bit of radiation and its effects on the human body. As it turns out, people don’t usually die when they are exposed to radiation immediatly. It’s not a physical bullet speeding up from a gun and you being dead after just mere seconds or minutes. It’s a slow process with one of the most common forms to die from it is years later from cancer. Sometimes even decades later.

Ok, so he compared deaths from coal mining to deaths from a radiation disaster who didn’t happen yet [4]. That’s the part about deaths.

But wait a minute, how about the impact on human’s future in these regions?

As it turns out, you’ll likely see a spike in mutations (espescially at children) which will cause life expectancy of these kids to drop dramatically. They would have to be added to the deaths statistic of not yet happened deaths. But if you directly compare a coal energy plant and a nuclear one, well, there is one significant difference:

You can turn of the coal energy plant almost immediatly, and even if it blows up, it’s *just* coal pollution, significantly more unlikely to cause mutations and cancer in people around it.

So what do we have by now:

  • we were comparing deaths happening pretty immediatly to deaths not happened yet
  • we even forgot to mention that the mining of uran and nuclear fuels is actually mining in the classical sense, too. So there are sadly most probably deaths too
  • We didn’t even factor in that radiation isn’t going away in just a decade, I mean, look at Tchernobyl, even after almost 30 years, it’s a no human zone with radiation as high, that one would literally die in mere minutes
  • Nobody said that the only alternative to nuclear energy is coal, there are other alternatives (who most likely involve other dirty materials, but they won’t have the risk of making land uninhabitable for a couple of hundred years)
  • A, the waste problem. You generate radiating waste you have to secure and which is dangerous, and you don’t know where to put it. Because dumping it is not a solution. You get a place even more polluted than Tchernobyl – Lake Karachy. That’s just irresponsable for future generations.
  • If you want to argue, that the influence of CO2 from coal will actually have a drastic impact, yes, I agree, but as mentioned before, coal is not a reasonable alternative. And nuclear power plants need CO2, too, because you have to mine, prepare and transport the nuclear fuel. They are not 0 CO2.
  • Nuclear power plants are unflexible for a future proof electric grid, they can’t really respond to spikes in demand or sudden decrease in demand
  • The economical (not ecological!) damage of a nuclear power plant disaster is much higher than from a coal plant disaster. This is one of the reasons, why virtually no nuclear power plant on this planet is insured yet every other significant power plant is insured. The insure is provided by the state, and if you calculate that in, it get’s horribly expensive
  • The ecological damages are just vast (Not the main point, research it yourself, I think if you read thus far, you probably know what I mean 😉 )

And just ask yourself, would you agree on having a 30 year old nuclear power generator in your bathroom? If you say no, then please don’t push to get a big one. I don’t think people would deny (in general) to a coal based boiler in the bathroom.

What really annoyed me [5], is that different technologies, with vastly different impacts on people are compared by numbers which you can’t compare directly. The impact of a nuclear disaster stretches farer away, you limit persons their whole life with cancer and other radiation caused diseases.

I hope this makes some sense, and bear/bare(?) with me as I’m not a native speaker. If you find any errors, please just contact me at @JMoVS on twitter or @Veit on ADN.

Every feedback (espescially with different opinions) is appreciated (preferably in the comments), I’ll respond.

  1. actually a very insightful blog on tech  ↩

  2. will be important soon  ↩

  3. I’m studying Materials science with a bit of business administration, but it involves quite a bit of physics, also, I refer to my common knowledge, so “little” is meant to be quite literally  ↩

  4. This is a rather morbid topic, sorry.  ↩

  5. I am angry, this blog post is likely to be composed with quite some heat in it, so please bear with me  ↩