What is the “worst industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind?”

“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind,” says Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see how you can make that claim. 

  • How many people died a Fukushima? 2
  • How many people died at Chernobyl? 64 (so far, but the death toll could reach 4,000 according to the World Health Organization).
  • How many people died near the Union Carbine plant in Bhopal India? According to Wikipedia:

The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Others estimate 3,000 died within weeks and another 8,000 have since died from gas-related diseases. A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.

It’s too early to know the long term effects of the disaster at Fukushima, but it doesn’t seem possible that it will be worse than Chernobyl and it surely isn’t worse than the disaster in Bhopal.

So how exactly is Fukushima the “worst industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind?