A Tale of Two Nuclear Disasters

As Japan commemorates the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack, Japanese officials are developing new energy policies that will guard the safety and the livelihood of the Japanese public in the wake of the devastating Fukushima nuclear accident.

Sixty seven years ago today, on Aug. 6, 1945, nearly 140,000 people were killed by the first atomic bomb used in warfare. Three days later the United States dropped another bomb in Nagasaki that killed 70,000 more.

In March 2011, Japan was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami which crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima nuclear plant and sent it into meltdown.  This caused radiation to spew over large areas from which more than 160,000 people had to flee. Every one of Japan’s nuclear plants were shuttered in the months following the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.  This is a country that now knows, all too well, the devastation of nuclear power both in war and in peacetime.

Two of the nation’s reactors resumed operations in July, but the Fukushima disaster has turned public sentiment against the country’s dependence on nuclear power.

According to NBC News, a recent parliamentary investigation concluded that past energy policy reliance on opinions of industry experts, bureaucrats and politicians had bred collusion and blindness when it came to ensuring nuclear reactors’ safety.

Now Japan is conducting citizen debates to look at options for the role of nuclear power in their generation mix, and expects to compile a draft of its new energy policy by the end of August.