[FoRK] The triumph of coal marketing

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 23 02:40:07 PDT 2011

On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 08:02:58PM -0700, Stephen Williams wrote:

> Do you have an opinion about nuclear power? About the relative safety of 
> one form of power over another? How did you come to this opinion?

Why, I researched this for 30 years, or so.

> Here are the stats, and here's the image. A non-exaggerated but simple version of his data:
> Deathratewatts

If the data is from Brian Wang, it's likely worthless. Whatever
you read there you have to fact-check yourself, and it's just
too damn much work. Caveat lector.

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


http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2379 etc.



See the list of reprocessing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reprocessing
that are green, and look at the processing rate.

Look for breeders in


see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_breeder_reactor#The_Fast_Breeder_Reactor


I could find more, but then so could you.

In general, anyone who insinuates that by rejecting nuclear we must
embrace coal is at least acting intellectually dishonestly. None is
an option, long-term. We must kill both.

> well have excellent reasons to argue for one form over another. Not the 
> point of this post. The question is: did you know about this chart? How 
> does it resonate with you?
> Vivid is not the same as true. It's far easier to amplify sudden and 
> horrible outcomes than it is to talk about the slow, grinding reality of 
> day to day strife. That's just human nature. Not included in this chart 
> are deaths due to global political instability involving oil fields, 
> deaths from coastal flooding and deaths due to environmental impacts yet 
> unmeasured, all of which skew it even more if you think about it.
> This chart unsettles a lot of people, because there must be something 
> wrong with it. Further proof of how easy it is to fear the unknown and 
> accept what we've got.

We don't need to be told that people are completely irrational when
it comes to risk assessment. That has nothing to do that we need to
continue to be able to power this planet, to the tune of 15 TW, and
far, far more in future.

> I think that any time reality doesn't match your expectations, it means 
> that marketing was involved. Perhaps it was advertising, or perhaps 
> deliberate story telling by an industry. Or perhaps it was just the 
> stories we tell one another in our daily lives. It's sort of amazing, 
> even to me, how much marketing colors the way we see the world--our 
> reaction (either way) to this chart is proof of it.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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