News / Europe

Europe Reviews Nuclear Power

The earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant located in the town of Okuma in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 14, 2011
The earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant located in the town of Okuma in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 14, 2011

Japan's nuclear accident has sparked fears about the safety and future of nuclear energy in Europe. 

Already a number of European governments have reacted to Japan’s nuclear explosion, which has leaked dangerous levels of radiation after a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated the northeastern part of the country Friday.  

Switzerland has frozen plans to build new nuclear plants.

Germany says it will close seven of its aging nuclear power plants and will delay a decision on whether to extend the lifeline of others.

A former government had decided to close all 17 of German’s nuclear plants, but the current government, headed by Angela Merkel, has moved to extend their use.

Other European countries say they will be carrying out safety checks. France said Tuesday it will be checking the safety of all 58 of its nuclear power reactors.

Protesters against nuclear energy demonstrate in front of the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2011
Protesters against nuclear energy demonstrate in front of the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2011
Jan Haverkamp, the European Union nuclear expert for the environmental campaign group, Greenpeace, says it is good news if European nations wake up to the risks of nuclear power.

"That is a good thing. What is a less good thing is that some countries who are developing nuclear power are not looking at their program in spite of what is happening in Japan," said Jan Haverkamp. "And then we talk specifically about Slovakia, about Poland, also the Italian government does not want to seem to wake up out of its slumber."

Italy’s environment minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, said Monday that government plans to reintroduce nuclear energy are unchanged despite the situation in Japan.

Italians are set to vote in the coming months on whether they want to block the government’s policy of bringing nuclear plants back. In a referendum almost 25 years ago, Italians decided to get rid of the facilities.

Havercamp says a 1986 explosion at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, in the then-Soviet republic of Ukraine, made many people wary of nuclear power. It was the world's worst nuclear disaster and, according to one United Nations study, may eventually cause the deaths of up to 9,000 people.

But Haverkamp says in recent years, many European countries have been embracing nuclear power.

"There is a lot of talk about wanting to revive nuclear power, and I think that what is happening right now under our eyes at this moment is a stark reminder that we might have to be a bit more critical about that development," he said.

In Japan, officials say radiation levels have reached dangerous levels and have forced 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors.  

Richard Ivens is the director of institutional affairs at FORATOM, the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe.

He says the nuclear emergency in Japan should not raise fears about a similar situation in Europe.

"Normally we don't have the same sort of seismic events in Europe as have occurred in Japan, that's point number one," said Ivens. "Also the chances of having a tsunami of that sort of magnitude are much lower in Europe than they are in Japan clearly because in Japan, they are right next to a major fault line."

He says nuclear power is the way forward for clean energy in Europe.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs