Our Fear of Nuclear Energy May Cost Us the Earth
From The Independent
It would have been hard to imagine back in 1945 that the most permanent and devastating consequences of mankind’s discovery of nuclear weapons might one day be summarised not by the names Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but by that of another Japanese city: Fukushima.
The atomic bombs that fell on Japan at the end of the Second World War were so devastating that it seems almost indecent to say that – particularly when the case is a subtle one, with no horror so stark as the instantaneous deaths of at least 100,000 people. This unfolding disaster, instead, has psychological roots, not in the destructive force of those weapons, but in the weight of the word that defines them. The meltdowns at Fukushima have to date killed nobody. Three Mile Island, likewise, cannot be connected with a single documented fatality.
Even Chernobyl, the very worst such catastrophe the world has witnessed, caused the deaths of 28 people through exposure to high doses of radiation and, later, another 15 from thyroid cancer. The number of deaths caused by oil and coal extraction, in contrast, are in the thousands every year. But we press on with those dirty fuels regardless.
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