Should atomic energy be nuked?

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Discovering the ways in which nuclear power is being interpreted.

Green energy encompasses wind energy, solar panels and biomass but what about nuclear energy? Contrary to many beliefs nuclear power is, in fact, green. With the power to provide vast amounts of electricity with little harm to the environment, nuclear energy is a far more efficient means to green energy than fossil fuels.

However in response to the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan, people have become more and more sceptical of nuclear power. Countries like Germany and Italy have banned nuclear energy all together and Japan shut down most of their reactors.

“All but two reactors have been offline since the earthquake and tsunami which crippled the Fukushima plant,” the BBC reports.

In a closer look at Japan’s response and Germany’s new implementations, we learn just how dramatic providing energy has become.

“Japan has suffered a shortage of energy since the closing of almost all the country’s nuclear reactors, which followed the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. As a result, it has been importing much of the energy it needs,” says the BBC.

Thus last week, four companies, Hokkaido Electric, Kansai Electric, Shikoku Electric and Kyushu Electric, submitted applications to restart the plants under the new regulations determined by the Nuclear Regulation Association (NRA).

The process will take a minimum of six months to review each reactor according to the NRA.

However, in spite of the review, this is great news for the nuclear companies whose stocks prices plummeted quickly after the disaster.  As you can see from Kyushu Electric’s graph their numbers are finally on the rise two years later.

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants Japan’s nuclear reactors to be restarted…however, many in Japan are opposed to restarting the reactors,” reports the BBC.

Thus, the dramatic dichotomy begins but in order to help their economy, Japan needs to lower their importation of energy and begin making their own.

Meanwhile two months after Fukushima on May 2011, Germany declared an end to all nuclear power plants and in return, uses other green energies.

“This remarkable transformation has a name. It is called the Energiewende, or energy transformation. The rapid take up of renewables means that in 2012, these green entrepreneurs provided 22% of Germany’s electricity,” says Matt McGrath of the BBC.

But the drama continues; how is Germany to pay for this energy transformation? Prof Colin Vance from the German economic research institute RWI explains, “I definitely think there will be a cost hangover with it. The least competitive renewable energy is getting the most support. There is certain insanity to it, yes.”

The investors agree as it appears green energy companies are a bit of a rocky investment as AFC Energy demonstrates. Is this because people are doubtful of Germany’s plan? Is this green energy coasting too much green?

Obviously, drama accompanies any change but is it necessary? Without a doubt, Fukushima was a horrendous event but the NRA and nuclear plants worldwide are raising their regulations. Thus, do we continue to adapt or do we change entirely? Like our sentiments, the investments are equally up in the air.

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