A rather muddled piece on Big Carbon, coal, nuclear and renewable energy from the Guardian.
Mr. Simon Jenkins writes about the Turkish mine disaster, cost of renewable energy and nuclear energy. About 300 people died in the Turkish mine disaster and about 1,000 people per year die in Chinese coal mines. Mr. Jenkins seems to believe we should abandon coal in favor of nuclear. The cost of renewable energy makes that source problematic for consumers. The unwarranted panic over the Fukushima (no death) incident resulting in Germany closing nuclear plants and going to coal and lignite, resulting in increasing emissions. Britain’s dependency on coal has risen to 38%. All of these problems would be reduced, according to Mr. Jenkins, if we would just get over our irrational fear of nuclear energy. The problem is “There have been few such potent alliances as the anti-nuclear lobby, Big Carbon and the Saudis driving up the cost of nuclear. The beneficiary, again, has been coal.”
Mining for anything can be dangerous, but I don’t see people proposing bans on the products from mining or bemoaning the fact that we use minerals from mining like this one demonizing coal. Mine safety is always an issue, however one should look at the records of modern coal mining for safety such as this chart showing a steady decrease in coal mine deaths and deaths per capita in the US from 5 per 1,000 miners in 1907 to 0.16/1,000 in 2013. Apparently Mr. Jenkins would have us believe that all coal mining is something from the 1930’s.
Big Nuke versus Big Carbon? Rather silly idea.