Nuclear energy - a phoenix or extinct species?

Ten years after the Fukushima disaster, over 400 nuclear power plants are still in operation worldwide. Challenges remain in strengthening a safety culture and counteracting nuclear nationalism.

A nuclear power plant in Gundremmingen, southern Germany. PHOTO: AFP

Ten years ago, on March 11, 2011, the biggest recorded earthquake in Japanese history hit the country's north-eastern coast. It was followed by a tsunami that travelled up to 10km inland, reaching heights of over 43.3m in some areas and sweeping entire towns away in seconds.

This disaster left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing. It also destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and released radioactive materials over a large area. The accident triggered widespread evacuations, leading to large economic losses and the eventual shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan.

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