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European Reactions to Fukushima

June 27, 2011

Following the Fukushima disaster in Japan earlier this year European countries are taking vastly different positions regarding nuclear energy. With energy costs rising worldwide along with increased demand many countries see nuclear power as the only viable option. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that the country plans to increase funding to nuclear programs by 1 billion euros. This decision bucks the recent trend in Europe to phase out nuclear power by major Western European countries.

A large outcry against nuclear power occurred in Europe following the problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after it was hit by an earthquake that measured 8.9 on the Richter scale. In Germany,   Prime Minister Merkel made the bold move of closing down all nuclear reactors by 2022. It will be difficult for the Germans to maintain a nuclear free energy policy while trying to combat carbon emissions. The Germans decision has altered the contemporary course of German politics defining where the Green Party stands.

Germany is not the only European country to take a strong stance against nuclear power in the past three months. Both Italy and Switzerland have had strong reactions concerning nuclear energy. The Swiss have decided not to renew their plants activities when they expire in 2034. The Italian voters rejected Prime Minister Berlusconi’s proposed nuclear plans in a referendum.

There is the possibility that Germany might have reacted too harshly regarding nuclear energy and will pay the consequences in the future. Even with Germany phasing out nuclear energy the country still has to worry about nuclear problems in France with six nuclear reactors located right near the German border. Energy prices are bound to increase dramatically with fossil fuels; leaving much of the problem up to the German citizens. They will have to use their energy wisely, but if anyone can live on a thrifty budget it is the Germans.

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