Kuwait scraps nuclear power in light of Fukushima crisis
Mar 8, 2012 - mdn.mainichi.jp
In this March 24, 2011 file aerial photo, taken by a small unmanned drone and released by Air Photo Service, the damaged Unit 4 of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. (AP Photo/ Air Photo Service)
Kuwait is no longer pursuing nuclear power following the disaster in Japan, scrapping a plan last July to build four reactors by 2022, officials of a Kuwaiti government research body told Kyodo News and other media Tuesday.
While a number of countries, such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy, have decided to turn away from nuclear power due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis, it is rare for a country which has signed a civil nuclear power cooperation agreement with Japan to do so.
Nuclear energy was intended to be part of Kuwait's strategy to preserve its oil resources and it had set up a national nuclear energy committee in 2009.
But in July, four months after the radiation-leaking crisis broke out at the Fukushima plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait, issued an order to dissolve the committee, according to Osama Al-Sayegh, a research scientist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.
Some of the duties previously undertaken by the committee are now assigned to the institute.
In this March 20, 2011 aerial file photo taken by a small unmanned drone and released by Air Photo Service, the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture. From top to bottom: Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3 and Unit 4. (AP Photo/Air Photo Service)
Al-Sayegh and two of his colleagues told reporters that after the Fukushima accident, public opinion questioning why it was necessary to build nuclear reactors in Kuwait grew much stronger.
Kuwait, with its limited land area, also faced the problem of securing space to store radioactive wastes from the reactors, they said.
In addition to Japan, the major oil producing country has also signed agreements with the United States, France and Russia to boost cooperation in atomic energy and the development of nuclear plants, among other areas.