The Human Cost of Energy

The Human Cost of Energy

Deadly accidents involving nuclear reactors, oil rigs and coal mines in recent months remind us that all forms of energy generation carry risks. In developed countries, coal is the most hazardous ( bottom left ), according to the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, which studied more than 1,800 accidents worldwide over nearly 30 years. For coal, mining tends to be the most dangerous step; for oil and gas, most accidents occur during distribution; and for nuclear, generating plants are on the hot seat ( orange bars ).

Developing nations tend to have higher fatality rates, experts say (although reporting is less comprehensive, so no numbers are shown). “Regulations may be less strict,” explains Peter Burgherr, head of technology assessment at the energy systems analysis laboratory at the institute. “Working conditions are also poorer,” and less mechanization means more people are doing manual labor in harm’s way.


Add to digg Add to StumbleUpon Add to Reddit Add to Facebook Add to Email this Article

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s