Nuclear power is always a contentious topic, with people on both sides adamant about the safety or danger of such power. Considering how much we have gained from nuclear power plants across the world, and how few notable accidents there have been, many are inclined to argue that it is safe and, in any event, that the benefits outweigh the costs.
This may be true, but a recent study has found that nuclear power is more dangerous that it seems. According to the researchers, a disaster the scale of Fukushima or Chernobyl is likely to happen once or twice a century, while smaller disasters, though still dangerous and costly, are likely to occur once every 20 years or so.
The researchers have been careful to point out that they have not compared nuclear power to other power sources, so this information, while significant, can’t really be used for comparative purposes. They also note that much of the danger comes form the continued use of older reactors and equipment, and that future improvements to nuclear power plants could significantly reduce such dangers.
Hopefully this new study, which presents much more information that had previously been publically available, will push the industry in that direction.
Nuclear power has been a contender for moving away from our reliance on fossil fuels, which have had a far greater impact on the world’s health that even the worst nuclear disasters.
As we move ever closer to a world in which fossil fuels will no longer be available, and we have to shift to “alternative” energy sources one way or another, it is important that we know as much as possible about those potential sources so that we can implement them safely and effectively. Studies like this are an excellent tool with which to accomplish such a task.