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Compilation of News Coverage on Fukushima Recovery Efforts

The global nuclear energy community yesterday marked the passing of one year since the natural disaster and accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. We have compiled a sampling of news coverage about the progress that has been made over the past 12 months, both in the recovery efforts at the facility in Japan as well as the actions nuclear plant operators are taking to enhance safety at reactors around the world. Check back this week for an updated collection of coverage.

News Articles

In Japan, Relief at Radiation’s Low Toll
Wall Street Journal
March 9, 2012

“A year after the Fukushima nuclear accident, the emerging consensus among scientists is that its effects on physical health and the environment have so far been minimal. There have been no reported radiation-related deaths or illnesses from the accident, even among workers who faced very high exposure.”

Nuclear Pushes On Despite Fukushima
Wall Street Journal
March 11, 2012

“Developing countries with an insatiable thirst for electricity are going full speed ahead with new reactors a year after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster disrupted the growth of nuclear power around the world…. Many governments have concluded that nuclear [energy] must remain part of the equation.”

IAEA says nuclear power safer 1 year after Fukushima
Reuters
March 9, 2012

“In a statement, Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said meaningful steps had been taken since Fukushima to strengthen global nuclear safety. Fukushima was a ‘wake-up call’ and robust measures have been implemented to improve standards, the veteran Japanese diplomat separately told Reuters in an interview. ‘I believe nuclear power is safer than before,’ he said at the U.N. agency’s headquarters, adding that countries with atomic reactors are now ‘much more serious’ about such issues.”

US Orders Safety Changes After Japan Crisis
Associated Press
March 9, 2012

“The nuclear industry has said it may spend as much as $100 million to buy and install portable emergency equipment, including pumps and generators, at power plants, in the wake of Fukushima. Companies that operate the nation’s 65 commercial nuclear plants already have acquired or ordered more than 300 pieces of major equipment to supplement existing safety equipment…”

Nuclear Power Shaken But Still Standing A Year After Fukushima
Forbes.com
March 10, 2012

“The Japanese disaster has caused the global community to pause and to consider how to do better, necessary considering that 60 nuclear plants are under construction in 14 countries. Here in this country, though, the sector is moving forward….”

Chernobyl’s Lessons for Fukushima on Earthquake’s First Anniversary
The Daily Beast/Newsweek
March 11, 2012

“It’s not the scale of a nuclear accident itself that makes a human disaster—it’s the response. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima were classed “Level 7 events” by the International Atomic Energy Agency. But Japan did better than the Soviet Union at stopping a catastrophe from killing hundreds of people. The Japanese authorities ‘acted quickly and effectively to communicate with the local residents,’ nuclear engineer Ilgiz Iskhatov, who was decorated for his role in containing the fallout of the Chernobyl blast, told Newsweek soon after the disaster. Fukushima residents not only were evacuated quickly but also given medicine to prevent absorption of atmospheric radiation. Officials continue to monitor food and tap water and embargo food products from the area.”

For Industry, Fukushima Fading As Anniversary Nears
AOL Energy
March 9, 2012

“At the first anniversary of the March 11, 2011, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, the nuclear industry outside Japan and central Europe is largely continuing as before the accident, says a World Energy Council report. In the U.S., the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is issuing a series of new requirements, but the industry has not seen new delays in regulatory decisions like licensing new plants or renewing old licenses, and no units have been shut due to Fukushima-related concerns as both regulators and industry insist U.S. units are safe to operate.”

One year on: Steady progress at Fukushima
World Nuclear News
March 7, 2012

“A year after suffering the tsunami inundation that led to an unprecedented triple meltdown, stabilization and restoration work continues across the entire Fukushima Daiichi power plant site…. With essential nuclear safety secured, the focus for this phase of the restoration is to prepare for major projects such as the removal of used fuel from the ponds and the ultimate removal of the melted remains of the reactor cores.”

 

Opinion Pieces

One year after Fukushima our nuclear industry remains ever vigilant
By Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
The Hill

March 10, 2012

“Thoroughly assessing events and improving nuclear safety is a hallmark of the U.S. nuclear industry and the NRC. … This vigilant attention toward improving nuclear safety is the chief reason why our nuclear industry and regulatory system is considered the gold standard world-wide. …

At the end of the day, the U.S. needs and benefits from clean, reliable, affordable electricity provided by nuclear energy. We can take comfort from the industry and the NRC’s assurances, not just that our plants are safe today, but that they are working constantly to keep them safe and make them safer.”

Choosing Fukushima’s Legacy
By Michael Green, senior advisor and Japan chair at CSIS, and Mike Wallace, senior advisor at CSIS U.S. Nuclear Energy Project
Wall Street Journal
March 8, 2012

“The industry response to the accident at Three Mile Island established the U.S. as the world’s leading nuclear operator. Government and business leaders in Japan should continue and intensify their partnership with U.S. regulators and industry experts to ensure the legacy of Fukushima is equally positive…. Now is the time to move from reaction to action and set stronger standards for safety and security both within Japan and around the globe.”

Assessing Fukushima, one year later
By Robert Peter Gale, visiting professor of hematology at Imperial College London, and F. Owen Hoffman, expert in radiation risk assessment
Los Angeles Times
March 11, 2012

“When it comes to exposures like that of Fukushima, the question is: What is the relative magnitude of the increased risk from Fukushima compared to our baseline cancer risk? Despite our fears, it is quite small.”

Why nuclear power is still a good choice
By Mark Lynas, author of The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans
Los Angeles Times
March 9, 2012

“What is needed is perspective. Nuclear energy is not entirely safe, as Fukushima clearly shows, even if the current radiation-related death toll is zero and will likely remain so. But coal and other fossil fuels are far, far worse. And insisting only on renewables risks worsening global warming as an unintended consequence. We need a portfolio of clean energy technologies, deployed in the most environmentally responsible way. Above all, let us base our energy policy on a scientifically valid appreciation of real-world risk, and not on scare stories from the past.”

The Lesson of Fukushima
By Edward Hadas, writer for Reuters Breakingviews
Reuters
March 7, 2012

“In the face of this uncertainty, a reasonable policy choice is to temporize. The Chinese, who have made a serious commitment to nuclear power and several other technologies, paused to learn the lessons of Fukushima, and now look set to go on as before. That sounds about right.”

Editorial: A year after Japan, no nuke overreaction
Newsday
March 9, 2012

“A year after the earthquake-tsunami that killed thousands in Japan and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi plant, there has been no sea change in nuclear power in the United States. Despite anger and anti-nuclear feeling in Japan and calls elsewhere for closing nuclear plants, this controversial power source will be part of the world’s and our nation’s energy mix for years. So what we need is a steady course, solving its problems and making it safer….”

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