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Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics, Health

Resource Type

  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus



Microsoft Excel

Death Rates from Energy Production per TWh

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  • This resource provides a data table and bar graph of the total number of reported deaths per terawatt-hour (TWh) of energy produced from different energy sources.
Teaching Tips


  • The graph and data table are easy to read and are downloadable.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a bar graph.
  • The source does not give any background information on the energy sources. This video offers an overview of the most common energy sources.
  • The data sources have some limitations because there is no standardized method for collecting data on deaths caused by energy production. See the Scientist Notes for more information.


  • Students could discuss the following questions:
    • What do notice or wonder about the data?
    • According to the data, which energy sources are the safest? Which are the most dangerous?
    • What kinds of incentives would make companies or countries willing to produce energy using the more dangerous energy sources?
  • Students could compare this data with data about energy consumption by source and discuss what can be done to transition to safer energy sources.
Scientist Notes

This resource examined the mortality rate from energy production. There is a limitation in the data source as there is no standardized method for selecting death rate sources, for instance, Sovacool et al. (2016) considered only deaths from accidents in biomass energy production. Also, nuclear data from Markandya & Wilkinson (2007) included both major nuclear accidents (with the exception of Fukushima, since it occurred after publication) plus occupational deaths from mining, transport, and other routes of exposure. The authors noted that nuclear deaths occur "largely at the mining, milling, and generation stages". However, Sovacool et al. (2016) only include deaths (all of which were indirect) from the Fukushima disaster since the underlying data spans the period from 1990 to 2013. Educators should note this. However, the resource is valid for teaching.

  • Mathematics
    • Data Reasoning and Probability (9-12)
      • HS.DR.A.4 Use mathematical and statistical reasoning to formulate questions about data to evaluate conclusions and assess risks.
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