The seemingly relentless climb of gas prices across the globe is a constant reminder that the human race must begin turning to more renewable forms of energy before its current dependence on fossil fuels becomes unsustainable. Nuclear power has been a popular alternative to pick up some of petroleum’s slack, despite its dependency on fairly rare elements.
However, this is not the only negative aspect of using nuclear power as an energy solution. The 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant marks the worst nuclear disaster in Japan for the past 25 years. This incident was a sobering reminder for both Japan and the rest of the world that nuclear energy can be very dangerous in certain situations.
For this reason, Japanese citizens have expressed concerns to their government about the risks of continuing to use nuclear power as an energy source. Recently, all of Japan’s reactors, which supplied roughly 30 percent of the nation’s power, were taken offline both in an attempt to ease public concern and to allow time to perform checks of the reactors. A significant number of Japanese citizens as well as people from around the world have even suggested that Japan should remain nuclear-free permanently.
However, this creates a difficult situation for the Japanese government, which would have significant difficulty trying to find sufficient alternative forms of energy to pick up the slack. As a result of this problem, Japan’s trade minister, Yukio Edano, would like to bring back online two of the nuclear reactors currently offline. In order to resume operations of these facilities, however, he would need to receive the support of both the governor and mayor of the region, who both have expressed concerns regarding the safety of doing so.
While Japan and other major industrial nations, including the United States, seek alternative means of supplying energy to their populations, Germany has largely been at the forefront of this trend. Germany has shut down a large percentage of its nuclear reactors and plans to be completely nuclear free by 2022.
However, although their intentions are undoubtedly good, this policy has generated plenty of criticism from both their own citizens and the rest of the world. For one thing, while nuclear power can occasionally be dangerous, it is mostly a clean form of energy and is carbon-emission free. This is of particular concern due to the lingering threat of global warming. The two factors put together have put additional pressure on efforts to develop reliable sources of green energy by harnessing the sun, wind, waves and other natural processes. The recent nuclear crisis in Japan has simply added additional urgency to the world’s energy crisis.
This is a guest post by Kris Rayner, the creative blogger behind GeneralWasteCollection. Kris is a freelance writer who contributes to a number of websites. He’s a self confessed green tech enthusiast and enjoys writing about green projects and tech in general.