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First it was Japan, then Germany, and now it looks like all of Europe is following suite. According to a report by energy experts GlobalData, Europe will decommission almost 150 of its nuclear power plants by 2030. The decision comes as a result of last year’s Fukushima disaster, and the European closures will account for nearly 69% of the total global number of expected nuclear power reactor closures by 2030. Meanwhile, the US has decided to grant life extensions to 71 nuclear plants and close only five.
Despite the global shunning of nuclear power, the US has made no plans to change their energy program and has in fact announced plans to extend the lives of 71 of its nuclear reactors by 20 years. These plants are expected to have further life extensions further down the line. In fact, only five reactors in the US will undergo the decommissioning process between 2012 and 2030. Canada, by comparison, will shut down 17.
The Fukushima disaster has clearly had far-reaching consequences. Despite nuclear power being often discussed as necessary for the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy, public outcry over the potential dangers has meant that more than 200 nuclear power stations across the world will be closed by 2030. That is also half the number that is operational now — clearly the power of the people can still make a difference.