[ RadSafe ] Comparative Risk Assessment --Wind electric generation: 17 deaths in one accident

Stewart Farber safarber at optonline.net
Tue Nov 6 12:04:55 CST 2012

Hello all,

Regarding comparative risk assessment between nuclear electric generation and other options, there was a single accident earlier this year involving wind electric generation in which 17 people were killed.

A bus in Brazil in March 2012 collided with one 40 ton section of a wind tower which was to be used in constructing a tower 300’ in total height.  17 people died. 15 instantly and 2 later of their injuries. Many people on the bus were very seriously injured.

It is rarely recognized that wind electric generation requires MUCH more steel and concrete PER UNIT ENERGY GENERATED over the working life of the generation source than is required to build a nuclear power plant. Accidents of the type that recently occurred in Brazil killing 17,  come down to the fact that shipping any construction material like the huge steel wind tower components or the 250 foot blades have risks.  This is particularly so because wind components are being shipped in a much more risky manner and it takes more shipments of wind tower components per unit energy generated. The Brazilian shipment for example, causing 17 deaths, was of one tower component weighing 40 tons. Many tower elements [perhaps 6] of this size, that were shipped 3000 km in the case of the Brazilian accident, would be required for one 300’ wind turbine.

Large nuclear power plant components such as one pressure vessel for one reactor to generate 1000 MW[e] with 95% capacity factor for 40 years [or more ] are generally shipped by barge, or carefully monitored truck shipments. Component shipments for one 1,000 MWe nuclear plant have a much better safety record than shipping the components to construct the 3,000 wind turbines [ 3 MWe each with a generally realized maximum capacity factor of 30% to equal one  1,000 MWe at 90% CF ]. Shipping the components for these 3000,  3 MWe wind turbines,   each 300’ tall with blades 250’ in length would require shipping an estimated 25,000 component shipments like the 40 ton section of the tower that collided with the bus in Brazil.

Link to article and video about Brazilian accident summarized above which killed 17 in wind tower/bus collision :


One of the images of the accident scene shown in the above link where 15 people died immediately, with many injuries to others, was deleted because it violated youtube standards for gruesome imagery.

Bottom line. Health, safety, and environmental impact comparisons between electric generation by wind, solar, hydro, coal, gas, or nuclear need to be honestly examined based on impacts per unit energy produced. Rigorous analyses to date have shown that nuclear power electric generation realizes much lower deaths and injuries [ for the entire fuel cycle], or environmental impacts, per unit energy produced than ANY other options with wind among the most hazardous. Unfortunately, these realities  have not been recognized by the general public, politicians [ who lacking any willingness to work for the greater good based on science, change their positions like a flag in the wind of public opinion], regulators, financiers, and others who  ultimately decide what choices are made about electric generation.

But as the Caldicotts, and seemingly endless anti-nuclear scaremongers of the world, who have propagandized against the best interest of society against nuclear technologies would say: “But, but, but, a single photon hitting a cell could induce a cancer”.   I can relate to the comment by George Orwell: “I was not made for times like these.”

Stewart Farber, MSPH
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC

[203] 441-8433 [o]
[203] 522-2817 [m]
[203] 367-0791 [fax]

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