Aftermath of Fukushima: Avoiding another major nuclear disaster

Noriko Behling, Mark C. Williams, Thomas G. Behling, Shunsuke Managi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Japan's laws to promote nuclear power, including the Dengen Sampo (the Three Electric Power Laws), have accelerated nuclear reactor construction via subsidies, grants, and other incentives. These laws also have had the perverse effects of discouraging promotion of safety as the highest priority, with consequences that can be seen in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. If the government decides to restart a portion of the reactor fleet, experience indicates that another serious nuclear accident could be expected again. Accidents, in effect, represent a recurring cost which should be built into business plans. Although improvements in reliability and safety will certainly be made, legislation alone cannot guarantee that these actions will create a culture of safety. Inevitably, the complex systems associated with nuclear reactors and the overwhelming influence of corporate officers who are focused on cutting costs in the near-term will make safety improvement an uphill battle. These factors are symptomatic of a worldwide nuclear industry that views safety as a cost to be managed. Unless the industry is incentivized to consider safety improvements as a source of greater profits in the long-term, the industry will continue to have a mindset of negligence toward safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-420
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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