Saturday, March 17, 2012

Compare Fukushima to Chernobyl

A year after the Japanese nuclear disaster, anti-nuclear activists are gloating that power plants are being shut down in Japan, Germany, and elsewhere. But nuclear power remains the safest way to generate power. NewScientist reports:
there is no possibility that the physical health consequences of Fukushima Daiichi will be anywhere near as bad as those of Chernobyl.

As far as anyone knows, no member of the public received a significant dose of radiation attributable to the Fukushima Daiichi reactor emergency and no physical health effects of radiation should be expected. ...

Chernobyl was the worst that could happen. Safety and protection systems failed and there was a full core meltdown in a reactor that had no containment. In the "defence in depth" of nuclear power plants outside the former USSR, containment is an essential engineered safety feature.

The figures tell a story: 237 Chernobyl workers were taken to hospital with suspected acute radiation sickness; 134 of these cases were confirmed; 28 were fatal; about 20 other workers have since died from illnesses considered to have been caused or aggravated by radiation exposure; two workers died from other causes at the time of the accident and another disappeared - presumed dead.

On top of that, it has been estimated that about 4000 people will die (or may already have died) from radiation-induced cancer, including workers exposed directly to radiation, and members of the public exposed to the huge release of radioactive material from the reactor. ...

At Fukushima Daiichi, the reactors shut down safely when struck by the magnitude-9 Tohoku earthquake, the fourth largest ever recorded. But problems arose after they were inundated by a much larger tsunami than had been anticipated when the nuclear plant was designed. This caused the loss of all power on the site so that cooling systems failed and some of the reactor cores overheated.
Even if you are just concerned about radioactivity, a far greater hazard is coal power.


coal seam gas queensland said...

Regardless of which disaster was more tragic, both clearly show the potential danger of nuclear power plants. While I still believe nuclear power's benefits are not to be ignored, I think safety protocols involved should be revised in order to help prevent another repeat of Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Roger said...

The safety standards have been revised. No nuclear power plant has been built like Chernobyl or Fukushima in the last 40 years. They are all safer now.