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Anti-nuclear movement growing in Asia

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“The more we share information on the dangers on nuclear power and spread technology and wisdom regarding natural energy, the more East Asia will become the center of peace, not conflict; of life, not destruction,” the network’s initial declaration reads, referring to frequent clashes in the region on the governmental level. Organizers are recruiting 311 prominent pop-culture figures, activists, politicians, and scientists to sign the declaration in time for a March 11 launch (they have 200 signatures so far). Eventually, they hope to coordinate actions, hold joint events, and share information region-wide.  

With its rapid economic growth and pressing need for low-carbon energy, however, Griffith University research fellow Vlado Vivoda says Asia is still on track to become the nuclear powerhouse of the future. It will take constant pressure and recruitment for activists to run with the Fukushima momentum and make the case that alternative energy sources – which are also booming in the region – can entirely replace nuclear reactors.

“Governments have acknowledged the disaster and announced new safety measures, but remain committed to nuclear power,” says Vivoda, who studies Asian energy security issues.

In November South Korean officials reaffirmed plans to nearly double the number of reactors operating domestically and make nuclear technology an export focus. China, too, shows little sign of revising plans to dramatically increase capacity, although it has temporarily delayed approval of new plants in order to reassess safety. And in the Taiwanese presidential election this month, current president Ma Ying-jeou beat out anti-nuclear challenger Tsai Ing-wen, who had promised to halt construction on two new reactors.

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