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Fukushima Moves Away from Nuclear Legacy with Renewables Drive

18 Nov 11:00 by Steve Walia

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The Japanese city of Fukushima - best known for its nuclear disaster - is reinventing itself and moving away from its controversial past with a $2.7 billion investment in renewable energy.

After the nuclear power station went into meltdown in 2011, the surrounding land became dangerously toxic and prevented people from living and working on it. But now it will be put back to use once again as a site to house solar panels and wind turbines. 

By 2024, 21 of these installations will be generating 600 MW, which equates to around 66% of the output of a typical nuclear power plant. Furthermore, research has found that the majority of local people want to see a switch to renewable energy.

The financing needed to make this happen is coming from a variety of sources, including the commercial Mizuho Bank and the government-owned Development Bank of Japan. A new power grid will also be installed to existing transmission lines, carrying clean power back to Tokyo.

The city's move away from nuclear and embrace of clean energy is happening as scientists and policymakers across the world attempt to clarify the role of nuclear power as part of the low-carbon economy. Some see the fuel source as a way of generating vast amounts of power without the emissions of fossil fuels. However, many are still concerned about the very real risks which come with nuclear. 

The Fukushima Prefecture, which is home to more than 1.8 million people, is still in the process of recovering from its recent past. As it seeks to rebuild itself, it is setting ambitious goals. The latest is to be 100% fuelled by clean energy by 2040, and already it is making progress and freeing itself from its recent troubled energy past.