Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

Nuclear power in scary places

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Today’s special report “After Japan, what’s the next nuclear weak link?” takes a look at developing countries’ plans for nuclear power. Read the story in PDF format here.

Andrew Neff of IHS Global Insight sums up the issue in this section:

If in a modern, stable democracy, there could be apparently lax regulatory oversight, failure of infrastructure, and a slow response to a crisis from authorities, then it begs the question of how others would handle a similar situation. 

“If Japan can’t cope with the implications of a disaster like this,” said Andrew Neff, a senior energy analyst at economic analysis and market intelligence group IHS Global Insight, “then in some ways I think it’s a legitimate exercise to question whether other less-developed countries could cope.”

The nuclear power industry is booming, with countries like China, Russia and India leading the way in building new plants, as this graphic shows:

Is a 10 percent chance of disaster too high for a nuclear power station?

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JAPAN-QUAKE/Kevin Krolicki has another alarming special report from Japan today challenging the assertion that the disaster facing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was beyond expections.

The report quotes Tokyo Electric’s own researchers who did a study in 2007 on the risk of tsunamis: 

Battling meltdowns, nuclear and fiscal, in Japan

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JAPAN-QUAKE/Check out two special reports out of Tokyo today.

The first examines what has happened at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant since Friday’s massive quake: “Mistakes, misfortune, meltdown: Japan’s quake” (PDF version here)

 Here’s how one expert sums up the situation:

“They might have been prepared for an earthquake. They might have been prepared for a tsunami. They might have been prepared for a nuclear emergency, but it was unlikely that they were prepared for all three,” said Ellen Vancko, an electric power expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

ElBaradei: From nuclear diplomat to Cairo politics

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EGYPT/ELBARADEI-SQUAREWho is Mohamed ElBaradei, the professional Egyptian opposition figure who joined the ranks of disaffected Eypgtians to topple President Hosni Mubarak after thirty years in power?  Does the 68-year-old diplomat and lawyer have what it takes to become Egypt’s next president if it holds free and fair elections? 

Louis Charbonneau’s special report takes a close look at ElBaradei’s performance while at the helm of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where he stood toe-to-toe with the Bush administration over Iraq and Iran. It tells how he survived a plot by hawkish U.S. politician John Bolton to oust him and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 jointly with the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.  It looks into his questionable record as a manager while showing that he may have what it takes to lead Egypt — if he wants the job. 

In case you missed them

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Just because it was summer, doesn’t mean we weren’t busy here at Reuters. Here are a few of our recent special reports that you might have missed.

IRAN-OBAMA/ECOMOMYTracking Iran’s nuclear money trail to Turkey. U.N. correspondent Lou Charbonneau – who used to cover the IAEA for Reuters –  followed the money to Turkey where an Iranian bank under U.S. and EU sanctions is operating freely. Nice to see the New York Times follow up on this today, and the Washington Post also quizzed Turkey’s president about it.