Ten Years After Fukushima, the Future of Nuclear Power Is Up In the Air

Calculated cesium-137 concentration in the air, March 19, 2011     Graphic: Roulex_45, Wiki CC

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is a distant memory to most Americans, but at the time it prompted global concern about the releases of nuclear waste into the ocean and atmosphere.  The 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed 15,900 people, and subsequent deaths from illness and suicide linked to the disaster totaled 3,775, according to a retrospective in Smithsonian Magazine.  Dan Gearino of Inside Climate News writes that the impact of the disaster may have rocked the nuclear industry, but it is its high cost that has hampered the growth of nuclear power even though it is carbon-free.  To refresh your recollection, the giant waves from the earthquake-caused tsunami engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant knocking out the backup generators that cooled the plant’s reactors and spent fuel, causing the reactor to suffer a partial meltdown. Half a million people were evacuated and the area has never been the same since.

Why This Matters:  In Europe and Japan, the Fukushima disaster resulted in moves away from nuclear power.  Gearino examined the state of nuclear power here and says it’s “difficult to examine the U.S. nuclear industry and conclude that it has a bright future.”

Both the Smithsonian and Inside Climate News lookbacks at Fukushima are fascinating and worth your time.

Up Next

Poland Sets Date to Close Europe’s Dirtiest Power Plant

Poland Sets Date to Close Europe’s Dirtiest Power Plant

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer This week, Poland announced it will close the coal-fired Belchatow power plant by the end of 2036. The country’s national energy group opted not to develop an open-pit coal mine to power the plant after deciding it would not make financial sense. The decision comes as Poland’s Lodz region […]

Continue Reading 563 words
More than 1000 Protesters Disrupt “Line 3” Pipeline Construction in Minnesota

More than 1000 Protesters Disrupt “Line 3” Pipeline Construction in Minnesota

Thousands of protesters gathered near the headwaters of the Mississippi River from around the country, including actresses Jane Fonda and Patricia Arquette, in an attempt to disrupt the construction of a major pipeline through northern Minnesota, the Duluth Tribune reported.

Why This Matters: The Line 3 pipeline, at a cost of $4B, will carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of dirty Canadian tar-sands oil through the U.S. across at least 200 bodies of water and sensitive watersheds.

Continue Reading 512 words
DoE Announced Energy Earthshots Initiative to Reduce Costs of Clean Energy

DoE Announced Energy Earthshots Initiative to Reduce Costs of Clean Energy

by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The Department of Energy has announced a new initiative to dramatically lower the costs of clean energy by 2030. The Energy Earthshots initiative intends to accelerate breakthroughs in affordable, reliable, clean energy and boost the nation’s progress toward its 2050 net-zero goal. The first “shot,” if successful, will reduce the cost of clean […]

Continue Reading 475 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.