In reversal, Chile to weigh nuclear power
Forecasts questioning Chile’s ability to meet its energy needs in the years ahead have given rise to debate about whether the country should consider building nuclear power plants as soon as 2010.
Pressed by leaders of political parties in her center-left coalition government, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet last month agreed to commission a feasibility study on the viability of nuclear power.
Though by no means a commitment, the decision nevertheless marks a turnaround for a country that for years has shunned atomic energy. After making it, Bachelet last month insisted the move does not signify that she has abandoned her anti-nuclear position.
“The fundamental political decisions for my government on this issue are already taken,” she told reporters. “I have not promoted the use of nuclear energy as part of our energy mix, and I have done so out of personal conviction, as the dangers [of nuclear energy] are known. What I have done up to now is just give approval for geographical, seismic and regulatory studies to facilitate a correct decision for the governments that follow mine.”