Blog: Two years since Fukushima, UK musn’t ignore disaster’s lessons

“No more Fukushima! No more Fukushima!” this was the impassioned cry of Japanese protestors at a march I covered before Christmas. Holding aloft yellow paper lanterns decorated with the three-pronged […]

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By Vicky Ellis

“No more Fukushima! No more Fukushima!” this was the impassioned cry of Japanese protestors at a march I covered before Christmas.

Holding aloft yellow paper lanterns decorated with the three-pronged nuclear power sign crossed out in black, they were clear: we must not let the nuclear accident happen again. For those anti-nuke walkers, the best way to achieve this was to scrap nuclear stations altogether.

I can’t help but remember their words as the two year anniversary of Fukushima arrives today: 11 March is the date which will never be forgotten around the world, let alone on the east coast of Japan.

Those years that have passed since the triple meltdown at the nuclear plant have been “challenging”, as Yukiyo Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency said last week.

At the nuclear agency’s annual meeting he remarked how challenging it has been “especially for the people and Government of Japan… However, the worst elements of the accident are behind us and we are now in the post-accident phase.”

It’s worth thinking about how mammoth a task the clean up is and will continue to be. From radiation monitoring to looking after the health of people in the region and who work there on a daily basis, to making sure emergency preparations are in place at other power stations around the world. Fukushima was a global wake-up call for safety we would do well to remember.

Especially as right now the UK is about to embark on plans for new nuclear plants. Discussions are underway between EDF Energy and the Government over how much money the supplier can squeeze out of the deal to build as many as four new reactors in Britain.

Talks are said to be on a knife edge – and at a time of tight belts and ever rising bills, it’s not hard to guess what might be a sticking point. But where nuclear is concerned, perhaps we should be focused less on the cost to our wallets and more on the cost to our safety, or Fukushima’s terrible lesson will have been one we chose to ignore.