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June 08, 2007

Nuclear proliferation has killed no one, fear of nuclear power has killed

Nuclear proliferation has not killed anyone. The only nuclear bombs (Hiroshima, Nagasaki) used in war were by the USA. Any country that has gotten them since has not used them in a conflict. Proliferation has killed no one.

Fear of nuclear proliferation is used as a reason not to use more nuclear power. By not using nuclear power to help displace fossil fuel we have allowed more air pollution and water pollution to be created. This pollution causes 3-5 million deaths per year.


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Air pollution (particulates, smog etc...) and water pollution (mercury, arsenic etc...) matters to me more than carbon emissions because they are clearly killing more now and for decades to come.

Those are all caused by fossil fuel usage. Air pollution kills more than 3 million each year.

Nuclear war - I know you are scared about it. Conventional war and attrocities killed 170 million in the 20th century. Nuclear war killed 214,000. 3 days of fire bombing Tokyo in WW2 killed 72,489. Operation rolling Thunder in Vietnam dropped 500 times the amount of bombs as the firebombing of Tokyo.

A one sided all-out modern conventional war can be just as deadly as a nuclear war to the losing side. The big nuclear power countries (US, Russia, china etc...) could firebomb and destroy the infrastructure of a target country. Take out medical, emergency response capability, roads, rail and bridges. Then poison food and water. Blockade and wait a couple of months. They could speed it up with some biologicals which would be devasting to a place without medical infrastructure but which is ok for a place with it.

Nuclear war is just a bit faster. We should stop letting the nuclear war fears cause us to continue to let 3-5 million/year die when we could save them.

Stopping deaths now is more important than nightmare (Bogeyman) scenarios which are not anymore likely or dangerous than other conventional kinds of all out war.

Nuclear energy is only deadly when something goes very wrong. This has rarely occured. Zero dead at Three Mile Island. Chernobyl an accident with a reactor design (no containment vessel) no longer in use. Fossil fuels are deadly all the time even when things are going relative right. Business as usual fossil fuels have been over 20 times more deadly than nuclear (weapons and power) have ever been for every year including 1945.

From 2007 onwards, who are we worried about proliferating to? 40 countries now have nuclear material and the know how sufficient to make nuclear bombs.

It is taking Iran and took North Korea a long time to get their nukes. They have had the main know how since AQ Kkan told them in the 1980's.

Plus there is deterrence. Iran/ North Korea or one of the minor nuclear powers uses their weapons by smuggling it in etc... Then the people in that country will die.

People dieing from lung cancer, lung disease or heart disease caused by coal or by a knife, gun, bomb from conventional war are just as bad and far more common than nuclear weapons.

What are the real incremental risks from more nuclear reactors ? We are mainly talking about more reactors in the USA, China, India, Russia, S Korea, Japan. All places that either have nuclear weapons or can easily make them. All places that already have nuclear reactors.

Air pollution indoor and outdoor kills 4.5 million people per year. Research published in 2005 suggests that 310,000 Europeans die from air pollution annually. (world health organization stats) It is a preventable situation. Plus if you add up the costs from sickness, death and lost productivity then a lot of the medicare and other program costs are impacted by coal pollution and fossil fuel pollution.

25% of disease is caused by preventable environmental causes (World Health Organization). Most of those environmental causes are fossil fuel usage.

People should be aware of the deaths that are happening now each and every day and year. Less concern should be placed on how we might die in a war. If big wars start then people will die by knife, gun, bomb, chemical. Nuclear could happen too but the body count would not be much different than all out conventional.

So why should we not use nuclear as part of a major effort to save the millions who are actually dieing each year and as insurance against global warming and to get off of a dependence on a highly unstable region of the world ?

Get your sense of proportion in line with reality. Get reality separated from potential fears. Get a correct risk analysis.

3-5 million dead from fossil fuel pollution - 100% this year and next year and the year after. Several times that number are also guaranteed to get sick. Each coal plant that is removed will save 50-1000 lives each year (depending upon how dirty the coal plant is) in the area of its pollution footprint.

Incremental risk of deaths from nuclear power ? Compare to the status quo or the alternative with fossil fuel usage.
What is the actual chance of something happening?
How many might die for the scenario ?
Incremental risk of proliferation ?
Incremental chance of war ? Is the chance for war actually reduced with nuclear weapons in the equation ? If fossil fuels are out of the equation we would not have the motivation for oil wars. With different groups with nuclear weapons would wars be deterred.
How many would more would die based on more nuclear weapons ? Would any more die ?

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