On March 11, 2011, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station was flooded by a massive tsunami that triggered a nuclear accident exceeded only by Chernobyl in its severity. Almost one year later, the plant itself may finally be under control, but the accident’s consequences are likely to be profound and long lasting. In the United States, a serious debate about the adequacy of nuclear power regulation is underway. The prospects for nuclear energy, which was widely predicted to undergo global renaissance before the accident, now appear very uncertain.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a conference with some of the world’s leading nuclear power experts to examine Fukushima’s impact.
Contrary to initial assessments that characterized the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as an unavoidable disaster, the accident was foreseeable and preventable.
The accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station has already and will continue to alter the regulatory approach and framework for nuclear power in the United States.
The Fukushima accident has spurred renewed awareness among American nuclear industry and in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the importance of improving emergency management, but questions remain about whether post-Fukushima improvements are enough to ensure the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants in a variety of emergency scenarios.
The Fukushima accident continues to have significant implications for Japan’s energy future, the nuclear liability regime, and the future of nuclear power globally.
The Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program is an internationally acclaimed source of expertise and policy thinking on nuclear industry, nonproliferation, security, and disarmament. Its multinational staff stays at the forefront of nuclear policy issues in the United States, Russia, China, Northeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.
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