News FocusJapan Disaster

Nuclear Ambivalence No More?

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Science  09 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6073, pp. 1166
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6073.1166

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The crisis at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that riveted the world last spring has had a potent effect on the industry's future. With one exception, it simultaneously strengthened opposition in nations already wary of nuclear power and made those committed to building—and exporting—nuclear reactors all the more determined to continue their programs. The exception, of course, is Japan, which has had a major change of heart. Japan's energy plans called for nine new reactors, which would raise its total to 63 by 2020. Critics had long questioned industry claims that nuclear power is the cheapest energy option. After Fukushima, politicians and even some industry insiders joined the chorus.

  • * With reporting by Gretchen Vogel.