The Varsity – University of Toronto’s student newspaper – recently marked the seven year anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima with a reflection on the aftermath of the event. Part of the article cites Professor Steve Hoffman’s research published earlier this year. Professor Hoffman teaches sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus. His research interests include the sociology of knowledge, technology, and the sociology of disasters. We have posted an excerpt below. The full article is available on the Varsity’s website here.
Seven years after Fukushima
Nuclear disaster aftermath affects environment and energy policies today
Ian T.D. Thomson
11 March 2018
…Despite changing attitudes, not a lot has changed in relation to the production and generation of nuclear energy since the event, according to Steve Hoffman, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology.
“Among the large nuclear producers, only two nations shifted their nuclear energy policies in a significant way in the wake of the Fukushima disaster – Japan and Germany… [However], the reductions of major producers like Japan and Germany has been offset by the increased production in China, which has been growing their nuclear fleet at an extremely rapid rate,” wrote Hoffman.
Hoffman has researched the impact of the Fukushima disaster on German and American energy policies.
There have been several protests against nuclear energy in response to Fukushima. In Europe, 50,000 people from Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands formed a human chain in June 2017, calling for the closure of two of Belgium’s nuclear reactors.
The disaster has also shifted energy-related policies such as plans for the development of a deep geological repository to store high-level nuclear fuel waste. Countries like South Korea now have a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to storing nuclear waste.
“The big story of energy policy around the world in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is that very, very little changed. Globally, nuclear production has levelled off, but that has been happening since Chernobyl. By and large global production is about the same before and after Fukushima,” wrote Hoffman.