Chicago, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 07 April 2011 – The disaster in Japan has darkened the mood at a nuclear conference in the United States, but officials said the Fukushima crisis would not change the outlook for the U.S. industry, and blamed the media for stoking fear.
“The accident at Fukushima has rocked our world in ways that Chernobyl never did, and will for many years,” said Richard Myers, vice president for policy development at the Nuclear Energy Institute, at the 2011 World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference here.
Nuclear scientists and government officials have said the dangerous effects of radiation coming from the crippled Japanese reactors will likely be limited to Japan. “But the nuclear industry has to understand that we represent a technology that has, once again, frightened and confused people,” Meyers said. “We must acknowledge that the fear is real and deal with it.”
A massive earthquake and tsunami on 11 March damaged the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan, and nuclear experts have said that damaged reactors at the plant are far from under control almost four weeks after the earthquake.
Although Myers said the industry "must and will provide a visible demonstration of how seriously we take this," he decried the "toxic misinformation that we’ve been exposed by some of the media."
Speakers at the conference, which is attended by uranium producers and buyers, kept referring to nuclear power as a cleaner option than fossil fuels.
“The world needs our industry to combat global warming. We need to succeed.” said Kenneth Peterson, vice president of Exelon Corporation, the largest U.S. nuclear power plant operator.
Representatives of companies in the nuclear fuel industry said that despite its severity, they did not expect Fukushima would fundamentally alter the future prospects of nuclear power.