Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nuclear Emergency in Japan Causes Countries Worldwide to Examine Policies

In the week since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami sparked a nuclear emergency in Japan, governments around the world have begun to review their nuclear energy policies and in some cases have halted plans to expand use of the low-carbon power source.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged four of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s six reactors. Crews are now using helicopters to pour water on the facility to cool overheating reactors and spent fuel rods in storage pools, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Some 11 nuclear reactors in Japan have been knocked out of commission, according to the International Energy Agency.

In response, countries like Germany and Italy, where nuclear power is not popular, have stepped back from plans to reconsider the energy source as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite its increasing energy needs, China has suspended all new approvals of nuclear plants while it reviews safety standards. Taiwan also has decided to postpone commercial operation of a nuclear power plant under construction, while the Philippines said it will not pursue nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, nations like France, India, and the United States, which see nuclear power as a vital part of their energy mix, have voiced continued support for it. In recent days, all three countries have said they will proceed with plans to expand nuclear power generation…

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