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BY STUART SMITH ANCHOR ANA COMPAIN-ROMERO You're watching multisource world video news analysis from Newsy. The partial melt-down of reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power plant has compelled nations around the world to re-evaluate the safety of nuclear power plants, and whether the energy source - is worth the cost. This week, the European Union announced it will begin stress-testing nuclear plants across the continent to see if they can withstand disasters like the earthquake in Japan. A Wall Street Journal Blog calls the action a compromise. “The idea bridges Austria’s demand that nuclear energy be banned in the EU and a stark refusal from France, home to no fewer than 58 nuclear reactors.” In the U.S., nuclear plants have been assessing their own risks. But the president of the Institute of Energy and Environmental Research says regulators tend to protect nuclear power plants from additional oversight. He asserted on MSNBC that by letting plants evaluate themselves, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t do its job. “The NRC is reluctant to impose costs on the industry that are reasonable, that would greatly increase safety, and its had official studies from Brookhaven, from the national academies, and it should accept those recommendations. It’s not doing that.” But some analysts say Japan’s situation doesn’t translate to all nuclear plants. Michael Hanlon of the Daily Mail notes the Japanese plant... “..***ntained several design flaws; most notably the questionable decision to store spent fuel rods perilously close to the reactors, on the roof. There seems to have been some skulduggery over the years involving the plant’s operators and the nuclear regulators in Japan. Profits were put before safety, corners were cut, lies were told” Nevertheless, the economic fallout in the nuclear industry is building, and some experts say the so-called “nuclear renaissance” will never come to pass. A TIME article suggests that even before the disaster in Japan, nuclear power didn’t have a bright future. “Private capital still considers atomic energy radioactive, gravitating instead toward natural gas and renewables, whose costs are dropping fast. Nuclear power is expanding only in places where taxpayers and ratepayers can be compelled to foot the bill.” Despite the high cost of nuclear projects, plans for two new reactors in the U.S. moved forward after the developers assured regulators that they would pose no environmental risks. 'Like Newsy' on Facebook for updates in your feed. Transcript by Newsy.
5 Apr 2011
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