photo: Derek Visser/Creative Commons
Two on nuclear power: Japan's PM says its energy plan must be started again from scratch due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster; and, closer to home for most TreeHugger readers, the biggest threat to US nuclear power plants may not be headline grabbing natural disasters but ordinary fires--something than happen 10 times a year on average. Japan's nuclear rethink first.
Reuters quotes Prime Minister Naoto Kan:
The current basic energy policy envisages that over 50% of total electricity supply will come from nuclear power while more than 20% will come from renewable power by 2030. But than basic plan needs to be reviewed now from scratch after this big incident. I think it is necessary to move in the direction of promoting natural energy and renewable energy.
Currently nuclear power supplies one-third of Japan's electricity.
On Earth has a good background summary of the shift in enthusiasm for nuclear power in Japan.
As for fires at US nuclear plants, iWatch News reveals the threat that fires pose to nuclear power plants is overlooked by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
The NRC...has so routinely exempted utilities from what's on the books to safeguard plants from fires that some companies no longer bother to request an exception. Even when safety flaws are identified, the NRC allows operators to voluntarily come up with their own solutions. And so reactors operate for years on temporary fixes. When blazes recur at the same plant, penalties tend to be minimal.