As the Japanese nuclear disaster shows, the cleanup costs after a nuclear meltdown are borne in large part by governments and taxpayers rather than the industry.
Paying for cleanup is just one of many hidden costs of nuclear energy that make it difficult to judge the value of nuclear power. Many countries, including the United States, are rushing to build a new generation of nuclear power plants to reduce carbon emissions. But the disaster in Japan should force us to take into account the full costs of nuclear power, including climate impacts, the risk of accidents and the safe disposal of waste.
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