The case for a return to nuclear power
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan. This earthquake, also known as the “Great East Japan Earthquake”, triggered extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 40.5 m high, in some locations reaching up to 10 km inland. The nuclear power station at Fukushima survived the earthquake but was knocked out of operation by the tsunami. In particular, the emergency power supply for cooling the reactors was lost. At the end of May, 2011, German chancellor Angela Merkel decided to shut down all 17 nuclear power reactors in Germany, which, collectively, supply 23% of that country’s electrical power. Yet, to supply the growing energy demands in both developed and developing economies, projected to grow at the rate of 2.5 TW (terawatts) per decade, while reducing the production of greenhouse gases, nuclear power must be part of the solution. This paper makes the case for increased electrical energy production by nuclear power to meet these growing demands.