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Japan nuclear crisis: Europe reacts

Monday, March 14, 2011 - 02:13

Mar.14 - The renaissance of the nuclear industry could be in jeopardy after Japan struggles to control its Fukushima power plant. Ciara Sutton reports

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TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~** NONE ** Anti-nuclear protestors were out in force across Europe within a day of the tsunami hitting Japan. This was one of several demonstrations - around 50,000 people formed a 45-kilometre human chain in southern Germany. (SOUNDBITE) (German) DEMONSTRATOR, SABINE TERLINGER, SAYING: "I get goose bumps when I hear such news. I think we need to act now." Japan is fighting to control two of it's reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant. A second explosion there on Monday raised concerns over radiation levels. Switzerland has now put some nuclear plant approvals on hold and Germany has said it may suspend a decision to extend the life of its power stations. Austria's Environment Minister is also calling for stress tests for European nuclear plants. (SOUNDBITE)(German) AUSTRIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER NIKOLAUS BERLAKOVICH SAYING: "It must be quickly proven how earthquake proof the nuclear power stations are, how do the cooling systems work, what is the reactors' protection like, and the power unit, that must come quickly to reassure the people.'' There were protests in Paris too - France is the second biggest nuclear producer after the US - with 58 reactors - three more than Japan. New nuclear power stations are also planned in other European countries including the UK and Finland. In recent years atomic energy has enjoyed a revival - being seen by some as an effective way to cut emissions and reduce dependence on oil, gas and coal. Davide Tabarelli from the think-tank Novisma Energia says the current nuclear crisis could in fact improve the industry in the long term: (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVIDE TABARELLI, NOVISMA ENERGIA SAYING: "We will have the opportunity to judge from what is going to happen out of this disaster, if things are going to be to some extent better in the sense that the technology could help develop power stations that are going to be more secure." As Japan struggles to regain control at the Fukushima power plant, this disaster is likely to put pressure on governments to address nuclear safety concerns. Ciara Sutton, Reuters

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Japan nuclear crisis: Europe reacts

Monday, March 14, 2011 - 02:13