The Other Fallout From Fukushima

Carbon emissions rise as nuclear plants are shuttered

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In the wake of the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, Japan shut down all its nuclear reactors. Two reactors soon returned to operation, but now even these are closed for maintenance. Recently released estimates of Japan’s energy consumption and carbon emissions for 2012 confirm that a continuing consequence of that shutdown is more fossil-fuel-based electricity generation and attendant greenhouse gas emissions. It’s likely, though, that concerns about costs, not emissions, will drive a return to nuclear, as Japan’s trade deficit increase has been blamed on fossil fuel purchases.

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