EDITORIAL

The safety of nuclear's future

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Science  11 Jun 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6547, pp. 1131
DOI: 10.1126/science.abj7150

Summary

The explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine 35 years ago forged a strong safety culture that underpins nuclear energy today. At a time when the world was divided profoundly by distrust, the accident prompted nations to collaborate and communicate as they became more transparent and open about their nuclear power programs. After the tsunami of 2011 hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in northern Japan, the international community came together again to reinforce the global nuclear safety regime. These anniversaries are reminders of the ever-evolving efforts to strengthen nuclear safety. This is especially important today because public trust is a prerequisite for nuclear power to play its part in mitigating climate change. Too often, the debate about how to move the world onto a more sustainable energy path is framed in the false dichotomy of “either we invest in solar and wind power, or in nuclear energy.” Reaching netzero carbon emissions will require investment in all of them.

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