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Nuclear power thrust into the spotlight in Finland too – surprised?

March 22, 2011

…Not one bit!

In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, discussion has been rife around the issue of nuclear energy in Finland, one of the few countries still building new nuclear power plants.

Take this article from Helsingin Sanomat last week: Damage to Japanese nuclear plants becomes political issue in Finland despite calls for moderation

I wonder about the seemingly knee-jerk response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant situation in Japan… Now in the last week European countries are “reassessing” their positions on nuclear power (as are many other countries around the world). While I admit I sit on the fence when it comes to nuclear power, seriously – most of Europe does not sit in a seismically active area – what gives? SDP leader Jutta Urpilainen calls “for an extensive study on the security arrangements of nuclear plants in areas with a high risk of earthquakes.” Umm Ms. Urpilainen – we’re in Finland, so what does that have to do with us? I am sure countries in earthquake prone areas are already doing this?!

I also thought that the head of STUK, (Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority) Jukka Laaksonen communicated an extremely unfair assessment of the situation in Japan as reported by YLE News: He is quoted as saying, “We have wondered together with IAEA experts — how can it be so difficult to arrange emergency operations. Clearly, there was no expert local leadership directing this work.” Mr. Laaksonen, do you think we would be so organized here in Finland if something on that scale ever happened here? The earthquake and resulting tsunami was completely unprecedented, so how do one prepare for that? How many nuclear experts died in the earthquake and resulting tsunami??

The disaster in Japan has thrust nuclear power on to the election platform here in Finland. Finns (that’s me too) head to the polls in parliamentary elections on April 17. Look for more on elections in a future post.

Yet, slightly over a week on from this horrible natural disaster and it seems that the incredibly resilient Japanese have things under control. Rebuilding has started in some prefectures and that is heartening news indeed.

Strength to friends in Japan…

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