For Every 1 Person Who Dies From Nuclear Power, 4,000 Die From Coal Power

Seth Godin has a piece over at his blog that points out brilliantly 
something that I have been saying over and over about the Japan 
nuclear accident and mass media sensationalism: 
Things are being blown way out  of proportion.

Drama is much more exciting than dull and boring

Seth Godin writes in Triumph of Coal Marketing:

For every person killed by nuclear power generation, 4,000 die 
due to coal, adjusted for the same amount of power produced... 

Regardless of the facts, too many people are guided by fear. 
Fear is not rational.

Seth also links on to another article and chart showing the 
statistics comparing deaths due to differing energy sources. 
Interestingly, in one example, even though Solar power accounts 
for less than 0.1% of world energy and nuclear is 5.9% of 
world energy, more than ten times more people die annually 
from Solar power than nuclear power.

I have pasted the chart here for your convenience:

Energy Source              Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

Coal – world average               161

Coal – China                       278

Coal – USA                         15

(26% of World Energy - 50% of Electricity)

Oil                                36

(36% of World Energy)

Natural Gas                         4

(21% of World Energy)

Biofuel/Biomass                    12

Peat                               12

Solar (rooftop)                     0.44

(less than 0.1% of World Energy)

Wind                                0.15

(less than 1% of World Energy)

Hydro                               0.10

(europe death rate, 2.2% of World Energy)

Hydro - world including Banqiao)    1.4

(about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)

Nuclear                             0.04

(5.9% of World Energy)

It is a lack of information and fear of the unknown that 
creates this sort of atmosphere amongst the public. 
I posted some simple, yet excellent and thought provoking 
videos about nuclear power which I would hope everyone would 
take 30 minutes to watch.  The odds of you dying from coal 
related emissions are over 4,000 times higher than the odds 
of you dying from nuclear power related emissions. If people 
played the odds and were sensible about this, they wouldn't 
be moving away from countries with nuclear power but would 
be moving away from old-fashioned coal burning nations into 
nations with nuclear power.

But fear is a greater motivator than calm, fact-based rational 
thinking as fear is an emotional reaction.

Not to mention about how many millions of people have died 
and continue to die due to wars concerning the control of oil 
resources. There's no comparison to which have killed more 
people in the last 60 years.

Think about this: Nuclear power plants are not like nuclear 
weapons. Consider the case of Iran. Under IAEA rules, Iran, as 
a signatory, can produce nuclear power, but not  nuclear 
weapons - as processing Plutonium for a nuclear power plant 
and processing Plutonium for a nuclear weapon are two totally 
different animals. They have the technology to make nuclear 
power, but to make nuclear weapons they would need to process 
the Plutonium in a technical process that is much more 
complicated and that process produces a product that is many 
many times more dangerous than what is produced at a nuclear 
power plant.

The trouble is that people today have equated nuclear power 
with the atomic bomb and nuclear weapons. I believe that this 
is due to years of conditioning and molding due to marketing 
efforts by the coal and oil industry. I'm glad to see others 
who are expert at media agreeing with me. Nuclear power vs. 
nuclear weaponry? That's like comparing an apple with a herd 
of bull elephants or - like in the comparison that Seth Godin 
so aptly displays - like comparing the odds of dying in a 
car accident or from high blood pressure related diseases 
to dying in an airplane crash.

When you live in western society and whenever the facts 
do not bear out what you believe, you can bet your bottom 
dollar that most probably tens of millions, if not hundreds 
of millions of dollars have been spent on marketing, 
advertising and promotion to help create the ideas that 
you believe.