Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

The Return of Nuclear Fears

Much of the modern environmental movement was born in opposition to nuclear power. But as climate change became a more and more pressing threat, even the most hippieish greens were forced to rethink their knee-jerk hostility to atomic plants — still the only utility-scale source of zero-carbon electricity. Nuclear was increasingly seen as a vital tool in the global battle against climate change.

But all that changed when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck northern Japan on March 11. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex was badly damaged by the disaster and eventually suffered a meltdown in easily the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl. While we're still trying to figure out how severe the long-term effects of Fukushima will be, the impact on the nuclear industry was quick and devastating, with nations including Germany and Japan announcing drastic reductions in atomic power. Once again for greens, nuclear is the big bad.