Nuclear Power after the Japan Earthquake
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan posed some very difficult questions about the future of nuclear power. Before the earthquake many experts claimed that it was not the safest but probably the best available option to fight climate change. Instead of burning oil and releasing more carbons into the atmosphere nuclear plants produce electricity with little impact on the environment and that’s what’s so appealing about them.
On the other hand, there’s a chance of something going wrong in one or more of the reactors. Do the dangers outweigh the benefits? While Chernobyl catastrophe was a result of negligence symptomatic of the Soviet brand of planned economy, Fukushima meltdown is a consequence of a natural disaster of great magnitude. Presumably all the necessary safeguards were in place but they still did not prevent the catastrophe from unfolding. Now several areas can become uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.
The question everyone is asking now is whether we should abandon plans of expanding the use of nuclear energy and maybe even close down some of the existing facilities or rethink the safety concerns and start paying more attention to the location of the plant and the probability of earthquake or hurricane hitting it at some point in the future
The advocates of nuclear power will now have a much more difficult job convincing anyone of its safety. The question is whether nuclear power has a future or we should concentrate our efforts on finding alternative renewable sources of energy. Or a healthy combination of both? What do YOU think?
For more on pros and cons of nuclear power, read the Foreign Policy Passport blog: http://bit.ly/e1MUnZ On the most recent updates about Fukushima plant disaster: http://on.wsj.com/h4hQTK