Monday, May 16, 2011

Japan to abandon nuclear plans and embrace renewable energy - who's next?

On May 10th, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan made an incredible announcement – prompted by the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis, Japan, the world’s 3rd largest economy, is dropping plans to double its nuclear power capacity and the construction of 14 new nuclear plants, and will instead “start from scratch” with its energy policy, by developing wind, solar and biomass energy sources.

Japan’s nuclear crisis has provided the wake-up call. Two months after Japan was brought to the edge of a nuclear catastrophe by dual impacts of an earthquake and tsunami on the Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant, the situation is still far from under control.

On May 12th, Fukushima’s operator TEPCO announced that despite all previous claims, the fuel rods at Fukushima Reactor 1 had been fully exposed. This is a huge setback for the authorities, who have been at pains give the impression of keeping the crisis contained. Now, however, the melted fuel that has now accumulated at the bottom of the reactor vessel is in danger of leaking through, which could cause a serious release of radiation.

Source: Greenpeace International

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