Cities, Judges and US Americans say no to nuclear power
Three different but related news events have happened in the last month and each in a different way bodes ill for the future of nuclear power.
In Japan, the district court has ordered the closure of two reactors at the Takahama complex. Reactor block 3 had recently restarted and block 4 was scheduled to be the fourth running reactor in a country which had over 50 reactors running before the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The surprise ruling cited the failure of the evacuation plan and lack of tsunami protection as the reasons the court agreed with the local plaintiffs. This is the first time a Japanese court has ever ruled against a reactor. And one of the very few times in any country that a court has stopped an operating reactor. It seriously endangers the Abe administration’s plan to return shuttered Japanese reactors to service, all of which were closed within a year of the Fukushima triple meltdown. Both people protesting nuclear power in Japan and the court ruling in their favor were nearly unthinkable before Fukushima.
In Europe, 30 northern European cities from Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are petitioning for the closure of two Belgium reactors which have had a long series of technical problems. The petition includes two lawsuits, one against the plant operator and the other directing the European Commission to block the continued operation of the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 plants in Belgium. There has never been such an international effort to block nuclear inside the EU before. These plants have seen a disturbing recent increase in cracking and unsolved sabotage strikes.
In the United States, for the first time since Gallop started asking in 1994, a majority of US American’s oppose the use of nuclear power.
The work is not done. The US Congress and Japanese parliament are both in the pocket of their respective nuclear industries and continue, against the will of their populations, to support these failed technologies. But even more writing is on the wall. Nuclear power is dying and almost everyone knows it and wants it to die.