IN DEPTH: Japan's nuclear options

A cask is prepared to remove nuclear fuel rods at a destroyed Fukushima reactor

A cask is prepared to remove nuclear fuel rods at a destroyed Fukushima reactor

Shortly after the tsunami triggered the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011, Prime Minister Naoto Kan was told that radioactive contamination could potentially render the entire Tokyo metropolitan area — a region of 43 million people — uninhabitable.

“If things had reached that level, not only would the public have had to face hardships but Japan’s very existence would have been in peril,” he later told Reuters.

As 160,000 people near Fukushima were evacuated from their homes, unsure if they would ever be able to return, the public in the earthquake-prone country turned firmly against nuclear power.

The previously pro-nuclear Kan immediately scrapped plans to build new atomic plants and began shutting down the country’s 50 reactors, a process that was completed in May 2012 under his successor, Yoshihiko Log in to read complete article.

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