Thursday, July 7, 2011

Q&A: Bill Gates on the World’s Energy Crisis
Chris Anderson: How has Fukushima changed your perspective on nuclear power?
Bill Gates: What happened in Japan is terrible, and there are many reasons it should have been avoided. It’s a 1960s plant design, generation two, put into service in the early 1970s. Emergency planning and execution were quite weak. The environmental and human damage is clearly very negative, but if you compare that to the number of people that coal or natural gas have killed per kilowatt-hour generated, it’s way, way less. The nuclear industry has this amazing record, even equipment from generations one and two. But nuclear mishaps tend to come in these big events—Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and now Fukushima—so it’s more visible. Coal and natural gas have much lower capital costs, and they tend to kill only a few at a time, which is highly preferred by politicians.

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