Turn down the dial on radiation fears
Next to Chernobyl, the Fukushima accident is the worst nuclear power calamity in history. To minimize damage in Fukushima’s aftermath, the Japanese — and all of us — need first learn the lessons of Chernobyl, whose casualties numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Chernobyl’s great calamity in 1986 — a total meltdown in a reactor designed with no containment that ejected astounding amounts of radiation over a 10-day period — came not from the radiation it spewed but from fear of radiation. (Financial Post)
By Michael J. Economides and Xiuli Wang
The Japanese earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant spawned a disaster that will be hard to remedy or forget. As usual the events have had a number of dimensions, mostly unfortunate for that country no matter how developed and prosperous it has been, no matter how stoic and expectant the population may have grown from past experiences in natural or even man-made calamities.
Japan’s misery becomes Australia’s opportunity of the century, staring the country in the face with a sense of urgency. Australian natural gas is the obvious energy source to be marshaled by Japan in both the immediate and the long-term future.
The Japanese reactor meltdown brought about an even bigger meltdown in public perception of nuclear power, which was barely showing some signs of life after decades following the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. There has not been a new nuclear power plant in the United States in thirty years. Now, Germany and other European countries, planning gingerly new nuclear reactors have either scrapped the plans or want to “study” them more. China and many other countries have announced their intentions to rethink nuclear power.
For Japan the situation is even starker and it will create a new reality in the entire Australasian region, affecting natural gas trade and natural gas production. (Energy Tribune)