Paul Lachine

Blowing Away Nuclear Power

Last year's nuclear accident in Fukushima underscored the need for alternatives to replace nuclear power, but many question whether renewable energy up to the task. But, given that wind power is cleaner, safer, and quickly becoming cheaper than new nuclear capacity, the answer should be obvious.

BRUSSELS – It has been evident for years that Europe needs an energy system that can cut dependence on fossil fuels, bring down future energy costs, and fight climate change. But the Fukushima accident in Japan one year ago underscored the need for an energy source that will fill the gap left by declining nuclear power. Many ask: is renewable energy up to the task?

In the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that now is the time for the renewables sector to “prove itself as a scalable, affordable, and secure energy source….I believe that is going to happen.”

Germany plans to abandon nuclear power by 2022, and Switzerland by 2034. Italy has voted against restarting its nuclear program, which was halted after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, while Belgium has resolved to decommission the country’s two nuclear plants. And, in France, nuclear power is becoming an election issue, with the opposition proposing to reduce its share of electricity production from 74% today to 50% by 2025.

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