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Fukushima’s Pardoxical Impact on Environment

2013 November 16
by Shared by Steve Rust

More than two years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, a number of questions linger regarding the paradoxical impact that the meltdown is having on the environment, both locally and globally. Surely, filmmakers entering such festivals as Earth Vision in Tokyo and audiences familiar which such documentaries as Fukushima Never Again and Two Years Later  and Frontline’s Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown in the US will be taking up this complex topic in the year ahead.

On one hand, as the Jota Kanda, an oceanographer at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology told the New York Times recently, “Obviously, there is some continuing source of cesium 137. We are not sure exactly what is happening, but we are seeing a bigger than expected effect on the environment.” Due to the widespread concerns about nuclear radiation resulting from the disaster and public protests, Japan’s government promised to phase out nuclear power and replace it with green energy over the coming decades.

As reported yesterday by Public Radio International’s The World, Japan’s new government has not abandoned those efforts but has also overseen a massive boost in energy consumption from oil, coal, and gas.

As a result, the country that held the Kyoto Climate Summit that led to the most comprehensive and influential international treaty on the issue ever created has now announced that it will “abandon its promise to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas pollution” and fail to meet the levels established by the Kyoto Treaty. “Essentially, all of the gains they had expected to get on carbon emissions had been wiped out by the loss of nuclear power,” says Peter Thomson, The World’s environment editor.

As the world’s nations search (or fail to search) for effective ways to meet energy consumption demand while lowering greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power has taken on a renewed visibility (as discussed here in previous posts). However, as the Fukushima disaster and films made about the issue remind us, there are no easy answers.

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