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Every Nuclear Reactor Melting Down Would Be Better for Humanity Than Global Warming's Impact

People who say we should not develop nuclear power because of the risk are severely underestimating the impact that global warming will have on climate and humanity.

Take the Fukishima Daiichi disaster. A large area has been evacuated and is contaminated. There could be as many as 100 deaths from radiation and associated cancers. Combine this with Chernobyl where a large area is contaminated and there were at least 31 deaths, with between 6,000 and 50,000 thyroid cancers expected (92-96 percent survivable.)

Suppose every reactor of the older type still operating melted down. And suppose all the waste from all those nuclear reactors got into the environment.

Then suppose we built enough new reactors to let the world stop burning coal for power. (Note that the new designs pretty much can’t melt down, many designs use safer fuels, and many designs burn enough of the material that there is much less of a waste problem.) But suppose ALL of those reactors had disasters, too. Every one.

This adds up to nothing compared to what is coming if we do not stop burning coal (some of which is coming already because of the CO2 we have already put into the air.)

The evacuated, contaminated areas from all of those nuclear disasters won’t add up to a fraction of the coastal land that will be submerged. The uninhabitable areas don’t add up to a fraction of the land mass that will be uninhabitable if we pass 2 degrees centigrade and keep putting carbon into the air. The number of people killed if every one of those reactors blows up doesn’t add up to a fraction of the number who will die from famine and other causes if we don’t stop burning coal.

So get serious and be afraid of the right things. We shold replace every coal plant with nuclear as fast as we can, and then phase out the nuclear if we want to, replacing them with alternatives.

 
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