On March 11th 2011, a massive tidal wave caused by an earthquake hit the east coast of Japan. In its wake the world witnessed a nuclear disaster on a scale not seen since the reactor accident in Chernobyl in Ukraine 25 years earlier.
After the power plant in Fukushima was directly hit by the Tsunami some of its reactors went into meltdown. The whole area had to be evacuated and hasn’t been repopulated to this day. Five years after the meltdowns 100,000 people are still unable to go home, according to the BBC
Confronted with the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear disaster, it seemed political leaders the world over were rethinking their stance on nuclear power. However, as the chart below shows, while investment in the West has slowed, it’s still the part of the world with most power plants in use by far.
Fukushima or not, especially in Asia nuclear energy is on the rise. China alone has 24 reactors under construction, looking to expand its reactor capacity by more than two thirds, according to the Power Reactor Information System of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
While Fukushima once again underlined the far reaching consequences of nuclear accidents, for many countries, especially those with fast growing economies (and a growing hunger for energy) nuclear power still is an attractive energy source.
This also has environmental reasons: “The impetus for increasing nuclear power share in China is increasingly due to air pollution from coal-fired plants,” a country report by the World Nuclear Association concludes