The Fukushima disaster caused a “global retreat” from nuclear energy but there are signs that is now turning around, according to Sky News host Chris Kenny.
In 2011 a huge earthquake triggered a tsunami which struck Japan’s coast prompting the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
“This accident caused a global retreat from nuclear energy, Japan has closed 12 plants since then, Germany decided to turn its back on nuclear, plans elsewhere in the world were shelved,” Mr Kenny said.
“Even with the push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions accelerating across the world, nuclear was sent backwards”.
“Just when we should have been building more nuclear, we went with less.”
More than 150,000 residents were ordered to evacuate the region in the months after the disaster and many still have not returned – locked out by efforts to decontaminate the land and fears over lingering health effects.
Mr Kenny noted the death toll from Fukushima is “one fatal cancer attributed to the disaster”.
“This is the real legacy of Fukushima, sure, terrible hardship for people evacuated and reclaiming their homes in Japan but the real consequence has been to halt the spread of nuclear energy globally,” he said.
“But there are signs that it’s starting to turn around, with new safer technology available, and the push for emissions-free energy getting even stronger.”
Mr Kenny spoke with economist Alan Moran about the topic.
“There’s a terrible PR disaster that nuclear always has,” Mr Moran said.
“It’s really not warranted because there have been very few fatalities as a result of problems in nuclear plants.”