24 Other Energy Disasters From The Past Year

china, mining

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The earthquake-induced disaster at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan has rightly brought back the safety of nuclear power to the centre of the American debate about energy.But as we evaluate the safety of our energy sources, it’s worth considering the everyday disasters of the fossil fuel economy too.

Click here to see the disasters >
Every week, miners, pipeline workers, roughnecks and plant workers die across the globe, but the tragedies in which they take part are generally smaller and less dramatic than the high-tech guessing game that riveted the world’s attention as the nuclear reactors neared meltdown.

This post is contains a long list — as comprehensive as I could make it — of serious explosions, accidents and other disasters that have occurred within the fossil fuel world over roughly the past year. I’ve included photographs when I could obtain them.

From mine collapses in China, West Virginia and Russia to natural gas explosions in San Bruno, California and Watertown, Connecticut to the Deep Horizon blowout, the fossil fuel world is dirty, dangerous and precisely what provides most of our energy. And all this doesn’t take into account the thousands of private tragedies of those who die prematurely from inhaling the byproducts of combustion.

We need to take nuclear safety concerns very seriously, but let’s not forget what the baseline for our energy system is.

Click here to read about 24 recent energy disasters >>
This post originally appeared at The Atlantic.

Read more at The Atlantic:

  • The Nuclear Breakthrough That Wasn’t
  • First-Person Account of Powering Up One of the World’s First Nuclear Reactors
  • Future of Energy Special Report: Nuclear Power

FEBRUARY 7, 2010: Explosion at the Kleen Energy refinery in Middletown, Conn.

Six people were killed at an explosion at the Kleen Energy refinery. The explosion eventually led the government to levy $16.6 million in fines because of 225 'willful' violations of safety procedures at the plant.

MARCH 2, 2010: Refinery explosion in Artesia, New Mexico

Two workers were killed and two others seriously injured in a blast near an asphalt tank at the Navajo Refinery.

MARCH 15, 2010: Coal mine accident in Zhengzhou, China

25 workers died after a fire broke out in the Dongxing Coal Mining Company's main elevator shaft.

MARCH 20, 2010: Coal mine accident at Pakistan Mineral Development Corp. mine in Quetta, Pakistan

45 miners died in a coal mine collapse. Most suffocated from inhaling methane gas.

MARCH 28, 2010: Coal mine accident at Wangjialing mine in Shanxi, China

After a flood trapped 153 workers underground in the Wangjialing coal mine, a massive Chinese rescue effort saved most of the workers. 38 still died in the tragedy.

MARCH 31, 2010: Coal mine accident at Guomin Mining Co. mine in Yichauan, China

44 workers died in a blast at a small coal mine.

APRIL 2, 2010: Refinery explosion at Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes, Wash.

Five fatalities resulted from a blast at the Tesoro refinery in eastern Washington State.

APRIL 5, 2010: Explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, W.V.

29 miners were killed at a Massey Energy controlled mine.

APRIL 20, 2010: Rig Explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico

11 workers were killed when an explosion rocked the BP Deepwater Horizon well. Before the environmental catastrophe ended, 200 million gallons of oil had been released into the Gulf of Mexico.

MAY 8, 2010: Coal mine accident in Mezhdurechensk, Russia

91 people were killed in an explosion at the Raspadskaya in Siberia. 129 people were also injured in both the initial blast and the subsequent rescue effort, which was hampered by a second explosion.

MAY 14, 2010: Gas explosion at Yuanyang Colliery mine in Anshun City, Guizhou, China

21 people were killed by a gas explosion.

MAY 18, 2010: Coal mine accident at Turkish Coal Corp. mine in Zonguldak, Turkey

28 coal miners were killed after an underground explosion collapsed the mine.

MAY 19, 2010: Gas explosion at Chengtong Coal Industry Co. Ltd. in Shanxi Province, China

10 workers were killed in yet another Chinese coal mine blast.

MAY 30, 2010: Dynamite explosion at Shugang Coal Mine in Chenzhou City, China

17 people were killed in a coal mine after dynamite stored at the site exploded.

JUNE 17, 2010: Accident at San Fernando mine in Amaga, Columbia

73 workers were killed in a gas explosion that struck in the middle of the night.

JUNE 20, 2010: Explosion at illegally operated mine in Pingdingshan City, China

46 people were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning after a explosion in a mine.

JULY 30, 2010: Natural gas explosion in Los Angeles, Calif.

One person was killed in a natural gas explosion apparently caused by tampering with a gas pipe.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2010: Natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Calif.

Five people were killed and more than 50 people injured when a natural gas pipeline exploded in the San Francisco suburb. 38 homes were destroyed

OCTOBER 16, 2010: Explosion at Pingyu Coal & Electric Co. mine in Yuzhou, China

At least 20 miners were killed in a coal mine explosion.

NOVEMBER 19, 2010: Accident at Pike River mine in Greymouth, New Zealand

29 coal miners died after gas explosions at the Pike River mine in New Zealand.

DECEMBER 19, 2010: Oil pipeline explosion in San Martin Texmelucan, Mexico

27 people were killed and more than 50 people were injured in an explosion that was claimed to be caused by tampering with the pipe.

DECEMBER 29, 2010: Natural gas explosion at William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne, Ind.

Two workers were killed after a natural gas explosion at a furniture store.

FEBRUARY 9, 2011: Natural gas explosion at Enterprise Products in Mont Belview, Tex.

One fatality at a plant explosion. The resulting fire burned for 22 hours.

FEBRUARY 10, 2011: Natural gas explosion in Allentown, Penn.

A gas pipeline explosion kills 5 and destroys 8 homes.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.