Nuclear meltdowns aren't common, but when they do happen, they have devastating effects on a global scale, like we have seen with Fukushima just five years ago. It can cost hundreds of billions simply to decommission the damaged facilities, it affects the country's economy as a whole (not just the cost of the damages, but export/import and tourism), it contaminates the soil people use to grow their food, it contaminates the water they drink, it increases the rate of cancer and it has an impact on the ecosystem across the globe—all this for many generations. I think the fear is justified.mikenz66 wrote:Accidents that kill a lot of people (such as plane crashes) or are perceived as particularly scary (such as nuclear accidents) generate more fear than the much more immediate threats that we all face every day. About 6,000 people die every year in Japan from road accidents (34,000 in the USA) and a much larger number will be injured and/or have a shorter lifespan.
I'm not convinced that the published numbers for the safety of nuclear facilities are accurate, since they may well have underestimated the deaths during mining and technology development (a number of people were killed at Los Alamos during the Manhattan project, for example). The deaths from long-term contamination may also be underestimated. So it's not as clear cut as the statistics above that nuclear power is as safe as some are claiming.
However, any risk assessment needs to be based on data and modelling, not just on impressions.
Also, while road accidents are more common, careless driving, driving under the influence, texting while driving and many more negligent circumstances are probably a large portion of the statistic and therefore does not reliably represent the situation of a responsible driver (the possibility of death is still there though). This is possibly why the US has 200% more road deaths than Japan—6000 for a population of 127 million being very low.