chapter  1
22 Pages

The Fukushima Effect: Traversing a New Geopolitical Terrain

ByRICHARD HINDMARSH, REBECCA PRIESTLEY

The immediate and remarkable effects of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) on March 11, 2011 (3/11), now widely referred to as the “Fukushima disaster,” or “Fukushima,” ranged from radiation leakages from the plant, which saw tens of thousands of citizens displaced from their homes, to the shutdown of Japan’s entire nuclear reactor fleet. Indeed, “the then Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, described the disaster as the worst crisis that Japan has had to face since the Second World War” (see Hasegawa 2013: 15). The effects of the disaster then rippled out internationally, causing unprecedented safety checks of nuclear power plants worldwide. Some countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium, even decided to phase out nuclear power, whereas others made decisions against embracing or re-embracing nuclear power. Overall, Fukushima appears to have effected a slowdown in the growth rates of nuclear power.