Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Radiation Death Toll

The total number of people known (or suspected by me) to have been killed directly by exposure to radiation is:

  • One fisherman killed by bomb-test fallout
  • Twenty-two killed in criticality accidents
  • Four killed in Goia, Brazil
  • Thirty-one murdered by the Soviets (yes, I do have a grudge)

A total of fifty-eight have died, or may have died, from direct exposure to radiation in about the same number of years with a world average population of around 4 billion. Five of these were members of the "general public." I may have missed a few, but the point is that, statistically, death from direct exposure to radiation is about as likely as death from the bite of a rabid cow.

What if we were to confront an anti-nuclear activist from the grossly misnamed "Union of Concerned Scientists" or the Sierra Club with this statistic? Would they deny it? Oh, maybe they would say that a fisherman on another boat at another time was a fallout victim, but in general this would not be of any concern to them. What would be important to them is the number of deaths that occurred "that we don't know about but are scientifically calculated."