Drama is much more exciting than dull and boring
Seth Godin writes in Triumph of Coal Marketing:
For every person killed by nuclear power generation, 4,000 die due to coal, adjusted for the same amount of power produced...
Regardless of the facts, too many people are guided by fear. Fear is not rational.
Seth also links on to another article and chart showing the statistics comparing deaths due to differing energy sources. Interestingly, in one example, even though Solar power accounts for less than 0.1% of world energy and nuclear is 5.9% of world energy, more than ten times more people die annually from Solar power than nuclear power.
I have pasted the chart here for your convenience:
Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)
Coal – world average 161
Coal – China 278
Coal – USA 15
(26% of World Energy - 50% of Electricity)
(36% of World Energy)
Natural Gas 4
(21% of World Energy)
Solar (rooftop) 0.44
(less than 0.1% of World Energy)
(less than 1% of World Energy)
(europe death rate, 2.2% of World Energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao) 1.4
(about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
(5.9% of World Energy)
It is a lack of information and fear of the unknown that creates this sort of atmosphere amongst the public. I posted some simple, yet excellent and thought provoking videos about nuclear power which I would hope everyone would take 30 minutes to watch. The odds of you dying from coal related emissions are over 4,000 times higher than the odds of you dying from nuclear power related emissions. If people played the odds and were sensible about this, they wouldn't be moving away from countries with nuclear power but would be moving away from old-fashioned coal burning nations into nations with nuclear power.
But fear is a greater motivator than calm, fact-based rational thinking as fear is an emotional reaction. It is this type of thinking that allows us to do things like, say, buying lottery tickets when you know that you have a greater chance of being killed by lightening than you do of winning the lottery.
Which reminds me that I have to get out and buy tickets for this weekend's lottery. The jackpot is over $3 million dollars, you know!
This is not to mention about how many millions of people have died and continue to die due to wars concerning the control of oil resources. There's no comparison to which have killed more people in the last 60 years: Oil or coal versus nuclear power.
Think about this: Nuclear power plants are not like nuclear weapons. Consider the case of Iran. Under IAEA rules, Iran, as a signatory, can produce nuclear power, but not nuclear weapons - as processing Plutonium for a nuclear power plant and processing Plutonium for a nuclear weapon are two totally different animals. They have the technology to make nuclear power, but to make nuclear weapons they would need to process the Plutonium in a technical process that is much more complicated and that process produces a product that is many many times more dangerous than what is produced at a nuclear power plant.
The trouble is that people today have equated nuclear power with the atomic bomb and nuclear weapons. I believe that this is due to years of conditioning and molding due to marketing efforts by the coal and oil industry. I'm glad to see others who are expert at media agreeing with me. Nuclear power vs. nuclear weaponry? That's like comparing an apple with a herd of bull elephants or - like in the comparison that Seth Godin so aptly displays - like comparing the odds of dying in a car accident or from high blood pressure related diseases to dying in an airplane crash.
When you live in western society and whenever the facts do not bear out what you believe, you can bet your bottom dollar that most probably tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on marketing, advertising and promotion to help create the ideas that you believe.