Entire cities have been wiped out by fire. The Banqiao dam disaster all by itself killed far more people than have ever died in all nuclear power accidents. Major aircraft accidents (ie. more than 50 fatalities) have killed nearly 60,000 people, and that’s not counting the far more numerous smaller accidents. There have been more electrocution deaths than aircraft deaths, and that doesn’t include deaths from fires started by electricity. And I’ve seen various estimates that medical mistakes in the U.S. alone kill around a quarter million people per year.
“And, btw, what exactly is your solution for Fukushima and how long will it take?
Including the WASTE?”
First, I consider Fukushima to be the result of nuclear power having taken a wrong turn back at the beginning–or more accurately, having been set on the wrong course by military and government decisions. We could have had reactors for which something like Fukushima was impossible, but research in that direction was quashed. But just because we wound up on an inferior path, there’s no reason we can’t develop and take the better path now.
Having said that, the main problem at Fukushima is the buildup of water in the storage tanks. The ALPS system removes every kind of contaminant except tritium, but the amount of tritium on site is trivial (about 10 grams) compared to prior releases (around 650 kilograms from bombs), current levels (between 25 and 30 kilograms) or natural equilibrium levels (around 7 kilograms). The sensible thing to do with it is disperse it, the only trick being how to disperse it so that there aren’t serious point-of-release concentrations. One option I’d like to see investigated is the possibility of loading up a tanker (should hold about a quarter of the water on site) taking it down to Antarctica, and dispersing it onto the ground to freeze. In its frozen state, tritium decay within the ice would be a threat to nothing, and as the ice evaporated, the tritium would slowly disperse at very low concentrations, and would be negligible against the background tritium rates.
Second biggest problem at Fukushima is plugging the leaks in the containment vessels (which is the reason water is accumulating in the storage tanks in the first place), but the urgency of getting that done would be greatly reduced by freeing up a lot of storage with one or two tanker trips. Finding the leaks to plug them from the inside will require better robots, but they’ve been improving and we should have a lot more information to work with in another few years.
Once the leaks are plugged, the pace of work could slow down. There would be nothing time-critical that would need to be dealt with, and working slower would actually give radiation levels more time to subside.
As for the spent fuel on site, all spent fuel becomes roughly 95% fuel in a fast reactor, so we could consume it that way while also generating enormous amounts of energy. Fast reactors could also eat depleted uranium, bomb fuel, and even the destroyed cores from Fukushima, if we wanted to get rid of them that way. And if these are molten salt fast reactors, that also means they would not be able to melt down or explode.