Our sacrosanct newspaper DN spends eight full pages of today’s edition to increase the feelings of catastrophe with regard to the damaged nuclear plant in Japan. On the really dead, and the suffering people, they spend much fewer words.
A large majority of Swedish journalists have for many years had a horrified attitude towards nuclear energy. The main purpose of that is self-evident. To intimidate readers by creating fear is supposed to be a positive market factor. People are supposed to buy more papers if the head-lines are really terrifying. The rational for that beats me, and I’ve never seen any empirical studies which supports that seemingly crazy idea. Still it is constantly practiced.
On this website I have written a good deal in Swedish about nuclear energy, for instance about the UNSCEAR 2000-study, conducted by an expert committee formed and monitored by the United Nations. The committee’s conclusions implied in fact that almost all popular media reports about the nuclear accident in Chernobyl had grossly overestimated the harm done by radiation. Most suffering and premature deaths was caused by the evacuation of large populations and the social catastrophe for many people that followed.
During a conference in Davos, Switzerland in 2008, the following numbers of deaths in accidents directly associated with a specific energy source was reported:
The nuclear death toll disappears in the diagram, because it is only 31, and that is from Chernobyl. I believe this diagram deserves some contemplating thinking.