TABLE 9–1 Accidental Deaths During Routine Operation, by Energy Source (per gigawatt-plant-year)

Energy Source and Quantity Required

Extraction

Processing

Transport

Power Station

Totala

Coal (3×106 tons)

 

0.02

2.3b

0.01

 

Deep

1.7

 

 

 

4.0

Surface

0.3

 

 

 

2.6

Oil, onshore and offshore (12×106 barrels)

0.2

0.08

0.05

0.01

0.4

Natural gas (67×109 ft3)

0.16

0.01

0.02

0.01

0.2

Uranium oxidec (150 tons from 75,000 tons of ore)

0.2

0.001

0.01

0.01

0.2

aTotals do not add due to rounding.

bThe estimates are not based on coal trains per se, but on the overall rate of train accidents. Furthermore, many accidents with trains are not the fault of cargo nor of the carrier, and the responsibility for them may be incorrectly charged, For meaningful statistics, the matter needs further study. A forthcoming review cites figures based on the exclusive use of unit trains that scale to 0.5 deaths per gigawatt-plant-year. less than one-fourth the entry in the table. Carl W.Gehrs, David S.Shriner, Steven E.Herbes, Harry Perry, and Eli Salmon, “Environmental. Health, and Safety Implications of Increased Coal Utilization,” in Chemistry of Coal Utilization, tech. ed. M.A.Elliott. chap. II, suppl. vol. 2 (New York: Wiley Interscience, in press).

cWith reprocessing, the uranium oxide requirement could be reduced to 1.4 tons. Presumably, the mean extraction risk would be reduced proportionately, and the processing risk increased. The net result could be lower total risk.

Source: Data for coal are from MITRE Corporation, Metrek Division, Accidents and Unscheduled Events Associated with Non-Nuclear Energy Resources and Technology (Washington, D.C.: MITRE Corporation, (M76–68), December 1976), p. 51, except power-station entry. For oil, natural gas, and power stations, U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, Energy and the Environment—Electric Power (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973). For uranium oxide extraction, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Comparative Risk-Cost-Benefit Study of Alternative Sources of Electrical Energy (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (WASH-1224), December 1974). For uranium oxide processing, Nuclear Energy Policy Study Group, Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr., Chairman. Nuclear Power: Issues and Choices (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger Publishing Co., 1977), p. 175. For uranium oxide transport, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Directorate of Regulatory Standards. Environmental Survey of Transportation of Radioactive. Materials to and from Nuclear Power Plants (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (WASH-1238), 1972); and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Final Generic Statement on the Use of Recycle Plutonium in Mixed Oxide Fuel in Light Water Cooled Reactors (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NUREG-0002, or GESMO), 1976).



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