167The nuclear industry sold everyone in the UK 4 kWh/d for about 25 years. The total generated to 2006 was about
2200 TWh. Source: Stephen Salter’s Energy Review for the Scottish National Party.
–The nuclear decommissioning authority has an annual budget of £2 billion. In fact, this clean-up budget seems to rise
and rise. The latest figure for the total cost of decommissioning is £73 billion. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7215688.stm
168The criticism of the Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations was withering... (Weightman, 2007).
–Nuclear power is not infinitely dangerous. It’s just dangerous. Further reading on risk: Kammen and Hassenzahl
–People in America living near coal-fired power stations are exposed to higher radiation doses than those living near
nuclear power plants. Source: McBride et al. (1978). Uranium and thorium have concentrations of roughly 1 ppm and
2 ppm respectively in coal.
Further reading: gabe.web.psi.ch/research/ra/ra res.html,
–Nuclear power and wind power have the lowest death rates. See also Jones (1984). These death rates are from studies
that are predicting the future. We can also look in the past.
In Britain, nuclear power has generated 200 GWy of electricity, and the nuclear industry has had 1 fatality, a worker
who died at Chapelcross in 1978 [ ]. One death per 200 GWy is an impressively low death rate compared with
the fossil fuel industry.
Worldwide, the nuclear-power historical death rate is hard to estimate. The Three Mile Island meltdown killed no-one,
and the associated leaks are estimated to have perhaps killed one person in the time since the accident. The accident
at Chernobyl first killed 62 who died directly from exposure, and 15 local people who died later of thyroid cancer;
it’s estimated that nearby, another 4000 died of cancer, and that worldwide, about 5000 people (among 7 million who
were exposed to fallout) died of cancer because of Chernobyl (Williams and Baverstock, 2006); but these deaths are
impossible to detect because cancers, many of them caused by natural nuclear radiation, already cause 25% of deaths
One way to estimate a global death rate from nuclear power worldwide is to divide this estimate of Chernobyl’s death-
toll (9000 deaths) by the cumulative output of nuclear power from 1969 to 1996, which was 3685 GWy. This gives a
death rate of 2.4 deaths per GWy.
As for deaths attributed to wind, Caithness Windfarm Information Forum www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk list 49
fatalities worldwide from 1970 to 2007 (35 wind industry workers and 14 members of the public). In 2007, Paul Gipe
listed 34 deaths total worldwide [www.wind-works.org/articles/BreathLife.html]. In the mid-1990s the mortality
rate associated with wind power was 3.5 deaths per GWy. According to Paul Gipe, the worldwide mortality rate of
wind power dropped to 1.3 deaths per GWy by the end of 2000.
So the historical death rates of both nuclear power and wind are higher than the predicted future death rates.
169The steel and concrete in a 1 GW nuclear power station have a carbon footprint of roughly 300 000 t CO2. A 1 GW
nuclear power station contains 520 000 m3 of concrete (1.2 million tons) and 67 000 tons of steel [ ]. Assuming
240 kg CO2 per m3 of concrete [ ], the concrete’s footprint is around 100 000 t CO2. From Blue Scope Steel
[ ], the footprint of steel is about 2.5 tons of CO2 per ton of steel. So the 67 000 tons of steel has a footprint of
about 170 000 tons of CO2.
170Nuclear waste discussion. Sources: www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf04.html, [ ], [ ].
New nuclear waste compared with old. Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (2006).
172World lithium reserves are estimated as 9.5 million tons. The main lithium sources are found in Bolivia (56.6%), Chile
(31.4%) and the USA (4.3%). www.dnpm.gov.br