News / USA

Experts: Japan’s Nuclear Problems Could Greatly Affect Global Energy Policies

A view of Enel's power plant, built on a site of a projected nuclear plant which has not been completed, in Montalto di Castro in central Italy March 18, 2011. Italy, which is prone to earthquakes, is the only Group of Eight industrialized nation that doe
A view of Enel's power plant, built on a site of a projected nuclear plant which has not been completed, in Montalto di Castro in central Italy March 18, 2011. Italy, which is prone to earthquakes, is the only Group of Eight industrialized nation that doe

Multimedia

Audio
Nico Colombant

Experts and diplomats are predicting Japan’s recent deadly earthquake and tsunami, along with its ongoing nuclear reactor crisis, will not have too much of an effect on Japan itself in the long-term, but rather on energy policies in other countries. During a discussion Friday in Washington, they said a scaling down of nuclear energy projects could have a damaging effect on efforts to curb pollution from other energy sources.

Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, said he was confident his country would eventually overcome the earthquake-borne disasters.

“I do not want to prejudge the situation now, but what I can say is we are trying our best. We should overcome the situation and we will overcome the situation”

Possible chilling effect on nuclear power

Economists predicted the situation will have little overall effect on Japan’s economy, and may actually spur stimulus spending for reconstruction projects.

But an energy expert, Charles Ebinger, warned countries investing more and more in nuclear energy, may now stop those initiatives, and turn back to other energy sources.

He said this could derail international efforts in terms of trying to limit potential climate change.

“If China and India said we are not going to build nuclear and burn more coal, we might as well not worry about what we do on fossil fuel consumption because it will not make any difference. We will have climate change. And I do not think people have realized the degree to which you are not going to replace the nuclear plants with wind and solar in the near future. So you are talking about a fundamental change. You would see upward pressure on petroleum prices and it just would not be good for the world economy,” said Ebinger.

Anti-nuclear movement gets lift

Ebinger said it is clear that politicians in Germany, Italy, and Sweden already are trying to either phase out nuclear energy or eliminate new plans in the wake of the unfolding situation in Japan.

He says he believes the United States, which relies on nuclear plants for 20 percent of its electricity will see a slow downward trend in terms of nuclear reliance.

Ebinger, the director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said he believes there is currently an overreaction.

Possible overreaction

“I think a lot of people have not thought rationally about what the overall implications of using this incident as a death knell for nuclear power might lead us to.”

Exceptions where he believes there will be continued growth in nuclear plants include France, Belgium, Britain, and Baltic states in Europe, as well as Japan itself.

Japan’s government is continuing in its attempt to cool damaged reactors at the 40-year-old Fukushima-1 plant, where the tsunami knocked out diesel pumps that were used for back-up water power.

Worst-case scenarios considered

Many nuclear plants are located in coastal areas where it is easier to transport needed materials, but some experts are now questioning whether earthquake-prone areas should be avoided.

Outright opponents of nuclear plants say these type of accidents - where high levels of radiation leak out - have too much potential to harm the environment, fauna, food chain and human health.

The most significant accident at a nuclear plant was at the Chernobyl plant, in what is now Ukraine, nearly 25 years ago. Estimates of deaths attributed to that accident vary from several dozen staff and emergency workers to many more.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid