March 11th, 2012 marked the one-year anniversary of a severe earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan. This natural disaster killed 20,000 people, and led to the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. The anniversary offered a chance to reflect on the events surrounding the nuclear crisis, and responses to it in Japan and around the world.

  • In a New York Times op-ed, Richard Brodsky sees the Fukushima crisis as an opportunity to reform the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “In order for nuclear power to play a significant role in our energy future, the American public needs to have confidence in the industry and the government agencies that oversee it. That begins with real reform of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
  • The Economist is pessimistic about the future of the nuclear power industry. “For nuclear to play a greater role, either it must get cheaper or other ways of generating electricity must get more expensive… [Despite] generous government research-and-development programmes stretching back decades, [nuclear getting cheaper] does not look likely.”
  • In a contribution to Forbes titled Nuclear Power Shaken But Still Standing A Year After Fukushima, Energy Central editor Ken Silverstein asks “What now? A more cohesive international strategy is required — one where technological and safety features are universally shared through multilateral treaties.”

What is your take on how the media has covered the crisis in Japan? How has this crisis impacted the direction of nuclear power? Has the crisis, and media coverage of it, helped stakeholders and policymakers better understand nuclear power?