"Some 40 Years to Clean Up Fukushima" A View from Ongoing Court Battles
Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service
While China and India continue to build new nuclear power plants, partly for the sake of reducing coal-related air pollution, Taiwan and South Korea have stopped their development plans and have announced a clear agenda for the decommissioning of existing plants. The situation in Japan is somewhere in between: Despite popular opposition and defiance of nuclear experts, five reactors have resumed operations and nineteen are waiting for approval to restart. In contrast with former Prime Ministers Kan Naoto and Koizumi Junichiro, who have become resolute opponents of nuclear power after the disaster on March 11, 2011, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has been determined to restart as many nuclear facilities as possible. The Fukushima nuclear disaster, however, has also boosted initiatives to reduce Japan’s dependence on both nuclear and fossil fuels. But whatever energy mix results in the future, Japan will have to deal with the legacy of the explosions that occurred at Fukushima Daiichi. Experts believe that it could take between forty and two hundred years to clean up the whole site. Robots have been used to inspect the melted reactors, but given the extremely high levels of radiation, it remains uncertain how useful they will be for cleanup operations.
Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service. Asian Studies Program.
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