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Nuclear power: Go ahead or stop now?

JAPAN-QUAKE/MELTING

After an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on Friday, engineers are pumping seawater into damaged nuclear reactors to prevent a catastrophic full-scale meltdown, but major damage has already occurred and the plants likely won’t operate again, experts said.

The political impact of the crisis is also hitting home in the United States. The U.S. currently has 104 nuclear reactors operating, and analysts expect four to eight new reactors to be built.

Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate’s homeland security panel, said on Sunday the United States should “put the brakes on” new nuclear power plants until the impact of the incident in Japan becomes clear.

What are your thoughts on the use of nuclear power? Give your answers below.

I think nuclear power is:

    Very safe Somewhat safe Somewhat unsafe Very unsafe

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How has the tsunami changed your view of nuclear power?

    I am much less confident in its safety I am a little less confident No change I am a little more confident I am much more confident

Americans’ attitudes toward China

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Senior officials from the United States and China are due to meet in Beijing for Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual meeting to discuss broad economic, foreign policy and security concerns. The meeting comes on the heels of a tension filled year of relations between the two global powers.

National flags of U.S. and China wave in front of an international hotel in Beijing February 4, 2010. Relations between China and the United States will be tested this year by a range of issues, including currency rates, trade, Internet censorship, human rights, the Dalai Lama and arms sales to Taiwan. REUTERS/Jason LeeMany U.S. lawmakers who believe that Beijing deliberately undervalues its currency for an unfair trade advantage are now looking for progress on that issue at the talks.

Can a new president repair relations with Europe?

A man holds a banner reading 'Obama For Chancellor' before a speech of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama during his visit in Berlin July 24, 2008.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke at the “Victory Column” in Berlin’s Tiergarten park in front of thousands of Germans and tourists in his only formal address during his week-long foreign tour. He called on Europe to stand by the United States in bringing stability to Afghanistan and confronting other threats from climate change to nuclear proliferation.

Relations between the United States and Germany reached a post-war low under former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who strongly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He said Germany would “not click its heels” and follow President Bush into war — a position that tapped into wells of German pacifism but infuriated Bush. But Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up behind the Wall in the communist East, has worked hard to repair ties with the U.S. and has emerged as one of Bush’s closest allies in Europe.

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