For much the same reason that people who happily drive cars fear airplanes. Although Coal Plants are far more harmful to the environment that nuclear power plants, thanks to severla high profile meltdowns, nuclear power looks terrifying for the potential accidents. Even the collapse of a coal mine doesn’t compare to Chernobyl, or Three Mile Island.
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Because nuclear waste also deals with radiation, like the Chernobyl incident in Ukraine. Almost 30 years later, and we still can’t even go near the city without radiation suits. Coal waste like ash, while harmful, at least dissipates from the air eventually, and can be filtered out from indoor places. People who visit Chernobyl nowadays and take off their suit are doomed to die with years, sometimes months, from the incredibly high level of radiation. Imagine widespread areas like Chernobyl, we’d run out of places to live.
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