Japan’s nuclear crisis has unnerved many political leaders around the globe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Germany will close (temporarily, but with no promise of restarting) all seven reactors that began operation before 1980. Merkel has said that Germany should take this opportunity to focus on such renewable sources of energy as solar and wind power.
Switzerland, which gets 40% of its electricity from five nuclear reactors, is also concerned about building new reactors. The existing reactors are due to come off the power grid by the end of 1919, and a nationwide referendum on construction of new reactors, sometime during 2014-15, could well determine the fate of nuclear energy in Switzerland.
Malaysia and other countries are rethinking their development of nuclear power. The future of nuclear powered electricity could depend on the success (or failure) of Japanese efforts to contain and resolve its current problems.
Meanwhile, to make up for the lost electricity, countries will have to burn more coal. Radioactive contamination or greenhouse emissions? Not a pretty choice?