Fukushima Proved Turn-Off Point for Nuclear Power
From The Guardian
By Terry Macalister
Nuclear power generation fell last year by its steepest annual level since the industry began because of the continuing impact of the Fukushima accident in Japan. Despite going out of favour in some countries, 66 new reactors are under construction, most in China.
The amount of electricity produced by atomic plants was measured at 2,349 terrawatts per hour (TWh) in 2012, which was 7% less than in 2011 and 11% lower than 2010 just before Fukushima, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Nuclear power as a technology was in the doldrums following the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island accidents in 1986 and 1979. It has come back into favour because of worries about how to replace fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions.
That renaissance was brought to a juddering halt by Fukushima in March 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami hit the power plant, causing enormous damage and a release of radioactive materials. This triggered the immediate shutdown of plants in Japan but also encouraged Germany – another major user of atomic power – to decide to phase out its remaining plants. Sweden, Italy and Spain made similar moves.
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