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In Chile and Australia, the Shadow of Japan

Here’s a bit of news that might seem unusual at first:

{…} Chile and the United States signed an accord on Friday intended to help Chile develop a nuclear energy program.

Chile, a country that imports much of its energy, is considering building nuclear reactors to try to fill an expected energy gap in the next few decades. But the developing nuclear crisis in Japan has complicated the debate in Chile, which suffered an 8.8-magnitude earthquake last year that caused widespread destruction.

That may be more a question of timing. There are compelling reasons to proceed:

Chilean officials are concerned that limits on the amount of energy the country may import and its outdated power grid will compromise the rapid growth of its economy. Chile will require a doubling of its energy supplies over the next 12 years if demand for electricity continues to grow at 6 percent a year, said Jorge Zanelli, a physicist who carried out a study of nuclear energy in 2007 for the previous Chilean government. More than 60 percent of that increase would have to be met with energy from fossil fuels if nuclear energy is not part of the equation, Mr. Zanelli said.

There will be more to say.

At the present time, it seems striking – as it has in a lot of instances – that nuclear energy is generating electricity all over the world – safely, with no nerves jangling – and deals and treaties continue to be struck – in their full measure – and countries will proceed as they see fit – with Japan in the mix where it was not before but not necessarily in the determinative spot.

We sometimes say “wait and see” when there is more to be known. So – let’s wait and see.

---

And from Australia’s The Age:

Australia's supporters of nuclear energy are sticking to their view that it does have a place in this country, despite the reactor crisis in Japan.

As well they should.

'It's had a remarkable performance of providing safe power over the last 30 years, and if something goes wrong it should be in the context of its achievements,'' Mr [Hugh] Morgan, former Western Mining chief executive, told The Sunday Age.

True. The whole article is worth reading.

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