For killing ability, nuclear pales to coal

Live Science ponders the irony of nuclear energy, so potentially dangerous yet remarkably safer than most other energy sources, particularly coal and other fossil fuels, according to columnist Christopher Wanjek.

As an example, Wanjek cites the Japanese nuclear reactor Fukushima Daiichi, damaged in the tsunami that struck the island nation last month and which continues to leak trace amounts of radiation.

Not long after the earthquake and resulting tsunami, radioactive iodine-131 made it into the water supply in Tokyo, 150 miles or so south of the damaged reactor. But most has since decayed into stable xenon, Wanjek writes.

Wanjek says that means that those individuals who evacuated Tokyo because of the threat at Fukushima likely received more radiation on the airplane flight from the Japanese capital than they would have if they had stayed at home.

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