Fukushima fallout

Monday 24 October, 6.30pm until 8.00pm, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH

Tickets: THIS EVENT IS CURRENTLY FULLY BOOKED. To be placed on a reserve list, please contact Manchester Salon.

This year’s earthquake off the northeastern coast of Japan, and the subsequent tsunami, had a devastating effect on that country, including the highly-publicised damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the days and weeks following the earthquake, press coverage of the plant was intense, with many predicting a catastrophe - especially as some parts of the plant dated back to 1967. Fears of a ‘new Chernobyl’ spread across the globe. The fallout from the disaster has included Germany shutting down some of its plants and declaring all will be shut down by 2022. Meanwhile, some environmentalists who had recently begun to support nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels are having doubts, or simply reverting to the anti-nuclear position.

With the prospect of oil and gas production declining, with coal widely seen as unacceptable, and alternative forms of ‘green’ energy production seemingly unable to satisfy increasing demands, the nuclear option had looked set for a renaissance. Will the new political climate allow the expansion of nuclear power that would be required to meet demand? What if any are the barriers to long-term safety? Will scientists be able to convince a sceptical public of the merits of nuclear power over traditional or other ‘green’ technologies still in their infancy? Are politicians willing to discuss the scientific merits or otherwise of nuclear power more openly, and help develop a balanced approach to political decision-making about energy?

Dame Sue Ion
fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering; visiting professor, Imperial College London

Rob Lyons
science and technology director, Academy of Ideas; convenor, IoI Economy Forum

Dr John Roberts
nuclear fellow, Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester

Tony Gilland
associate fellow, Academy of Ideas

Produced by
Simon Belt IT consultant; coordinator, Manchester Salon
Recommended readings
US shale gas bonanza: New wells to draw on

Now the technology exists to extract the reserves, the promise is of an industrial renaissance

Ed Crooks, Financial TImes, 6 October 2011

Is fracking environmentally friendly?

Andrew Simms and Rob Lyons debate whether the fracking process of gas extraction is safe

Rob Lyons & Andrew Simms, Guardian Comment is free, 23 September 2011

Fukushima disaster: it's not over yet

Six months after the multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the streets have been cleared but the psychological damage remains

Jonathan Watts, Guardian, 10 September 2011

Piecing together Fukushima

Japan's nuclear disaster

Economist, 6 May 2011

Nuclear energy: clean, reliable and powerful

Physicist Wade Allison expertly demolishes fears about radiation. If only he was equally as sceptical about the fear-fuelled climate-change panic.

Rob Lyons, spiked, 16 April 2011

Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power

Japan's disaster would weigh more heavily if there were less harmful alternatives. Atomic power is part of the mix

George Monbiot, Guardian, 22 March 2011

Session partners

in association with