04 May 2012:
Japan Goes Nuclear-Free
For the First Time in Four Decades
Japan will shut down its last working nuclear power station this weekend
, culminating — at least for now — a national shift away from nuclear energy in the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima disaster. The
shutdown of the No. 3 Tomari reactor in Hokkaido will leave the country without nuclear power for the first time since 1970. Given public concerns about nuclear safety, it may become difficult to switch the plants back on if the country makes it through the summer months without power shortages or blackouts. “Can it be the end of nuclear power [in Japan]? It could be,” Andrew DeWitt, a professor of energy and policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, told Reuters
. Before the March, 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors provided nearly 30 percent of the nation’s electricity. While Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has suggested that the country cannot afford to go without nuclear power for the long term, the government has no timetable to switch the plants back on and the country has yet to develop a long-term, nuclear-free energy policy. Speaking at a meeting of the Asian Development Bank this week, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs insisted, however, that the growth of nuclear power remains a key element of the global strategy to reduce carbon emissions and slow global warming
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.