Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Nuclear Energy, Japan and the Implications for Obama’s Visit to Chile

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 17, 2011

by Patricio Navia for Americas Quarterly, March 17th, 2011.

The earthquake in Japan and the emergency in the nuclear plant of Fukushima have had an unprecedented effect in Chile on the upcoming visit by President Barack Obama next Monday.

Weeks before the visit, the Sebastián Piñera administration had announced that a cooperation agreement on nuclear energy would be signed during the visit. After the nuclear crisis in Japan, that agreement has become a contentious topic of debate in Chile. Some environmental organizations and the center-left Concertación opposition have seized the opportunity to criticize the government.

Though the treaty will only allow for the preliminary steps toward the possible adoption of nuclear energy in several years from now, like Japan, Chile is also vulnerable to powerful earthquakes. The government has now tried to downplay the importance of the nuclear energy cooperation agreement, but until last week it had highlighted this agreement over dozens of others that will also be signed.  As an inevitable result, the Japanese nuclear emergency has produced aftershocks in the political arena in Chile. (continue reading… )



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