As workers struggle to cool the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan’s nuclear agency raised the severity level of the crisis to the same level as 1979’s Three Mile Island incident. Will the US respond to Japan’s disaster by re-examining our own nuclear energy use?

The Nation’s Jonathan Schell, author William Tucker and Michael Levi, director of the program on energy security and climate change at the Council on Foreign Relations, joined Charlie Rose last night to discuss the future of nuclear power in this country and around the world.

With a mix of opinions on the subject—Schell arguing for nuclear abolition, Tucker for expansion and Levi somewhere in the middle—the panel focuses on the crucial question of whether nuclear power even has a place in a world so vulnerable to widespread disaster. According to Schell, the US is “playing with fire” by expanding our nuclear energy use, not only risking an international incident but also opening the spigot for nuclear proliferation.

For more coverage of Japan’s disaster, read Schell’s "From Hiroshima to Fukushima" and go here to view Schell on last night’s Charlie Rose.

—Sara Jerving