This is a couple of days old now, but Investor’s Business Daily had a good editorial on the safety record of nuclear power plants. An excerpt:
More than 100 Americans have died in coal mines since 1984. Over that same period, not one American has died in a nuclear energy accident. In fact, no American has ever been killed in an atomic energy accident — and that includes any sailor in a Navy that makes extensive use of nuclear fission to power its fleet.
Worldwide, only 56 deaths are directly traceable to a nuclear energy accident. And all of those were the result of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that has correctly been blamed on poor Soviet engineering and design, not atomic power’s inherent risk.
When properly harnessed, nuclear power is a clean, steady source of renewable energy. It doesn’t sling out ash, generate acid rain or emit mercury or arsenic. It has been safely used for decades in the U.S., Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Belgium and France. The last two use nuclear energy to meet more than half of their electricity needs.
On this side of the Atlantic, coal provides roughly half of America’s electrical power and serves as an indispensable link in our energy chain. With 275 billion tons in recoverable reserves, no other nation is as rich in coal. We have enough to meet domestic demand for 250 years.
These facts compel us to be strong supporters of coal and the jobs it provides. We also support nuclear energy and are convinced it can provide a much larger portion of our electrical energy needs.
The numbers, however, suggest that America – the world’s top economy and biggest energy consumer – has mishandled its energy policy.