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What impacts will this have on plans to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change?
Until now nuclear energy has been regarded as a failsafe method of reducing human dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating the worst impacts of climate change.
The March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster exposes enduring questions about the safety and reliability of nuclear energy, the capabilities of human beings to predict and manage complex events, and the relationship between humanity and nature.
International response to this disaster has been varied; the UK position on nuclear power remains virtually unchanged. Conversely Germany has vowed to phase out nuclear generation altogether by 2022. Japanese official policy is unlikely to phase out nuclear power entirely, but a de facto phase out appears possible. In February 2012 only 6.1 per cent of Japanese nuclear capacity was online.