In more Fukushima fallout, at least three European countries have elected to prohibit nuclear power:
(In Germany, a nuclear phaseout was ongoing; the action here was to close plants much sooner than otherwise planned.)
In Japan, 3/4ths of voters now support a nuclear phaseout:
Japan has not enacted such a phase-out, although it is in a de facto freeze on nuclear operations as 29 out of its 54 reactors remain shut down post-earthquake (not including the six Fukushima Daiichi reactors), with 5 more to turn off for maintenance before August (so that only 14/54 will be operating):
Since the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in Fukushima Prefecture started on March 11, nuclear power plants across the country have faced difficulty in resuming operations of some of their reactors that have been closed for regular inspections.
Moreover, the governments of prefectures or municipalities where those plants are located are strengthening their positions that they cannot allow the operations to resume unless the central government provides new safety standards that can prevent crises like the current one at the Fukushima plant.
US nuclear politics is in a meltdown of a different sort. NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko is indisgrace, as the agency's inspector general reported underhanded tactics he used to circumvent NRC commissioners:
At issue is a directive by Mr. Jaczko to agency staffers that effectively halted work on a key NRC report about a proposed waste repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. The inspector general alleges that Mr. Jaczko wasn't forthcoming with his fellow NRC commissioners about the implications of his directive.
The safety evaluation would have determined whether Yucca met NRC health and safety regulations. Yucca's supporters have long hoped to see the safety report made public, because they believe it will support the technical and scientific case for the repository.
Mr. Jaczko anticipated that using the budget guidance to halt work "could be controversial" and acknowledged that others might see it as requiring consideration by the full commission, the report said.
As a result, Mr. Jaczko "strategically provided" three of the four other NRC commissioners "with varying amounts of information" about his intention to prevent publication of the safety documents. The report says that two of the three commissioners "did not fully understand" the implications of Mr. Jaczko's budget guidance, and that a majority of the commissioners "disagreed with" the outcome.
The political game here is much larger than Mr. Jaczko:
The Obama administration's rushed efforts to shut down Yucca Mountain were strictly political and could set back the opening of a nuclear waste repository by more than 20 years, according to a new report by a federal watchdog.
The administration killed the repository program last year without citing technical or safety issues, and restarting the costly and time-consuming process of finding a permanent repository or an alternative solution could take decades and cost billions of additional dollars, the Government Accountability Office reported yesterday.