Japan to let some nuclear plants operate after 40-year limit

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  • 4

    bonword

    Why am I not surprised? Seems all rules in Japan are more guidelines than anything (which is not a bad thing as flexibility is good in some cases). But this seems silly.

  • 2

    some14some

    praying for long life for people in Japan.

  • 6

    alladin

    Japan has not learned from what took place in Fukushima. I guess it will have to be another Nuclear explosion to make Japan wale up. The way it looks to me, the Japanese government is on a road to blowing themselves up by their own actions.

  • 7

    Familienprobleme

    Every politician that voted for this measure should be required to live near the Fukushima nuclear plant...unless they change their minds of course!

  • 1

    cactusJack

    I think the plan all along was to use the reactors until they completely broke down. Somewhere around 60 to 80 years.

  • 0

    namabiru4me

    the talk just keeps changing... The nuke plants are to be shut down, then active for 40 years, then some not shut down...next is we are bring them all back online.

  • 1

    marcelito

    The nuclear village is keeping a low profile since Fukushima and since they got rid of Kan but their influence over the political establishment has evidently not been reduced. Shame.

  • 0

    wanderlust

    They'll find a way to allow exceptions in every case, so you're looking at 60 years of life.

    However, more public and expert scrutiny of the so-called stress tests should be allowed, and more realistic scenarios examined.

    Embrittlement of metal components, thinning of pipes due to pressure, and integrity of welds should all be tested as often as possible. In the Tsuruga Bay incident when a steam pressure pipe burst and killed 6 workers, their sole testing criteria was that reactor 'A' was similar to reactor 'B', the pipes were of similar age, and as 'B' was OK, 'A' should be too.

    The workers at Fukushima spoke and wrote of using heavy lifting equipment to pull large pipes into place for welding as the design and manufacture were so poor; and of course as soon as the quake hit, the cooling pipes separated from the reactor vessel, in a LOCA (Loss of Coolant Accident), meaning that there was no way coolant could be supplied, without re-connecting the pipes, or improvised engineering.

  • 0

    Azusa Suzie

    Just today watching this news I learned there r bit over 50 nuclear plants around Japan..,? How was I ignorant.

  • 2

    Mirai Hayashi

    As if Fukushima wasn't bad enough....did we not learn anything from this?

  • 2

    Dennis Bauer

    "He said to qualify a reactor would have to meet strict safety requirements." on paper, but in reality

  • 0

    Elvensilvan

    1.8 times the strength of an anticipated quake, and four times the height of an anticipated tsunami

    And what are the set minimum levels for these disasters? And are these the same standard for all reactors?

  • -2

    MaboDofuIsSpicy

    You cannot stop time. 40 years always come and go.

  • -2

    tmarie

    So from this disaster, with all the "reflection" on it, they've learned nothing. Nothing surprising about this at all. Sadly.

  • 1

    NetNinja

    These guys just won't learn from past mistakes. Futhermore, the people of Japan won't give these guys the boot.

  • 1

    Blair Herron

    Some experts and concerned residents say the tests have no clear criteria, rendering them meaningless. They also say disasters often occur in a string of events, and evaluation by computer simulation on a single event is not realistic. Ino said the way stress tests are designed is not adequate even though an attempt to find vulnerable spots to improve safety is good. "The problem is that stress tests are not comprehensive. They only look at certain areas, and it's not appropriate to determine safety based on an evaluation on limited areas."

    IAEA is coming next week. I wonder if they would approve this stress test result...

  • 3

    Samantha Zoe Aso

    It's like Fukushima never happened. I know we can just phase out nuclear power overnight etc that's another discussion but....Safety issues of the plants we do have here? Are the boys at the top putting safety first? I am sorry but 10 months later I am a jaded skeptic. And things aren't wrapped up nicely over at Fukushima yet either. They are still having aftershocks. The plant is still in a delicate state. I feel so frustrated.

  • 1

    SushiSake3

    I really don't see the Govt. has any alternative.

    As always, it pays to ask "What is the alternative?"

    Alternative energy? - still a long way off in terms of getting base prices cheaper than imported oil.

    Thermal? Nowhere near sufficient supply.

    Shut down nuclear plants as planned after 40 years? - And replace them with what? Coal plants?

    Build more new nuclear plants? - Besides the dearth of public support for that idea, building new plants would be at least a good decade away.

    Import more oil? - with prices as volatile as they are and Iran getting aggressive?

    Japan already has a homegrown power supply - nuclear. No, some don't like it but most of the nation has been more than happy to use it for more than 50 years.

    alladin - "Japan has not learned from what took place in Fukushima. I guess it will have to be another Nuclear explosion to make Japan wale up. The way it looks to me, the Japanese government is on a road to blowing themselves up by their own actions."

    That is extremely reactive. Let's face it - Japanese nuclear technology, since the first power station was commissioned in 1966(?) has been very safe. No meltdowns, only a handful of minor accidents, and the couutry's nuclear plant network has supplied the nation with safe power for more than half a century.

    Really, when you look at it in a historical context, Japan's nuclear plants have been 'unsafe' for a fraction of a percent of the time. Of course there is risk - that's part of the deal with life, technology, etc. and it's something we just need to live with and cope with as best we can.

    The way I see it, the government really has very little alternative to extending the lives of the reactors.

    Has anyone got any better - realistic - ideas?

  • 1

    Christina O'Neill

    So, extend the life of ageing reactors by 20 years and to H.... with the possible consequences. Why not have a referendum and let the Japanese population decide whether or not this is a good idea, after all, they are the ones that have to live with the possible problems

  • 2

    gogogo

    In other news, Japan to slowly reverse all nuclear promises said after 3/11 bowing to pressure from big business.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    What are the alternatives?

  • 3

    NetNinja

    @SushiSake First off. Right now you have all the power turn on full blast and Japan is currently running on ONLY 5 reactors.

    Japan isn't using any alternatives. You need to combine all that you have into one so you can avoid disasters. It will take time to phase out nuclear energy. We've gotten too comfortable.

    If you didn't know before, I bet you do now.....Japan is unstable. These major quakes can come and when they do they'll have unpredictable results. TEPCO has scorched the Earth with it's nuclear disaster. Now they don't even want to pay for the damages.

    Alternative energy is out there. There's nothing more abundant than the Sun's energy. Just because it's cloudy over Tokyo doesn't mean it's cloudy in Nagoya.

    As far as the costs of alternative energy....you've been lied to.....it's affordable. It's possible for you to provide energy for your own home without receiving a single bill in your mailbox. You fit your home properly and that's it....you will be self sufficient.

    WHAT?? Are you joking? Yes, it's true....don't you get it??? They want you to depend on them like a drug dealer. They never want to let you have your own energy, free and cheap to develop. That would mean they would lose billions.

    Money over people and country. That's TEPCO.

  • -1

    nandakandamanda

    Perhaps they are afraid of the German or Italian model where they legislate themselves into a corner. Sounds like they want to be able to keep their options open, but I hope this will not affect their dedication to blazing a path, seeing what can be done with alternative sources of power.

    This country rocks, and rolls.

  • 0

    Christina O'Neill

    What are the alternatives? Wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal,solar,wave, any or all of these I think would be preferable to extending the life of any nuclear reacor that has passed its sell by date

  • -1

    SushiSake3

    Christina, you're right - I agree. Totally.

    But are any of them ready to take the weight of power supply if nuke plants aer gradually closed down?

    Maybe they are, in fact, Japan is probably the country that could get this kind of tech online and quick.

    Who knows? I'm not sure.

  • 1

    Utrack

    Waste to Energy or Trash to Steam Power Plants are good too. There are only 7 in Japan but there should be alot more.

    http://www.industcards.com/wte-japan.htm

  • 4

    Christina O'Neill

    SushiSake3, I dont see any reason why Japan cannot develop and produce Eco energy ,Japan is an Island, wave and tidal is possible, hot springs, geothermal is another way to go. Solar power is allready getting established combine all possibilities and I think they will provide Japans energy consumption. Initial installation is expensive, but the fuel to run them is free

  • 0

    kaminarioyaji

    True, Not much in the way of alternatives at the moment, but Japan really needs to stop moving the goalposts on everything, and I mean everything.

  • -6

    MaboDofuIsSpicy

    SushiSake3

    Well said.

    Until tidal, thermal, solar, wind etc. are fully developed, nuclear has to be used.

  • -1

    Franchesca Miyara Yang

    Agree with Samantha.

    It seems to me that after two Atom bombs dropped and a third one made in Japan at Fukushima, this people just don't care about the common folk and children suffering the side effects of radiation. I have never seen a country so careless about their own population. Let them play with fire then..well, radiation for that matter. To make profit seems more important than the people's lives. How sad and frustrating, yes. I dare to bet that before this year is over, all the remaining plants will be back online again.

  • 1

    Elvensilvan

    First of all, I do agree that operating limits should be strictly imposed ... no exceptions however. Making a standard based on a foreign country's current one is just plainly dumb, considering that the US and Japan have totally different disaster lists to worry about.

    Also, considering that Japan is a teeny-weeny land mass compared to the United States, Japan should consider not making more plants, and start decomissioning old plants, as well as the ones that won't pass stringent tests and standards.

    In terms of decomissioning costs, the companies running the plants should have considered this in the first place, and not use the plants until they break down or are too old to even function safely.

    Safety tests and standards, Japan should start making a common standard and test guidelines designed specifically for Japan's environmental conditions. Not made by TEPCO or any other local private firm, but a body of international specialists.

    Every one here would agree that making reliable and ecologically-sound alternative sources would take some time to construct and implement. But the nuke plants have to start stopping NOW.

  • 0

    Franchesca Miyara Yang

    That's exactly what I thought, Ted. Well said. That's how the Government of Japan is: deceitful and criminal. I feel so sorry for the good hard working decent people of Japan.

  • 2

    Blair Herron

    What are the alternatives?

    Multiple experts have been saying "Japan doesn't need nuclear energy at all".

    (Koide Hiroaki: assistant professor of Kyoto University)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTx942kwh94

    (Kono Taro:LDP lawmaker)

    http://www.newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2011/12/20/japan-must-say-no-to-nuclear/

    (Iida Tetsuya:Executive Director of Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies: ISEP)

    http://actio.gr.jp/2011/04/09111104.html

    (Masao Takano: assistant professor of Nagoya University)

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xjsp9n_yyyyyy-yyyyyyyy-1-2_news

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    They have effectively moved the decommissioning problem from our children to our grandchildren.

  • -9

    WilliB

    Those who want all nuclear plants shut down now, should be prepared to live in the dark and cold. I would suggest a two-tier electricity system: a separate non-nuclear grid for those who are prepared to put their livelyhood where their big mouth is.

  • 7

    zichi

    The best situation for Japan, a country which experiences more than 10% of the world's total earthquakes, would be to have no nuclear reactors or atomic power stations, but it's too late for that.

    There are 54 reactors and another 14 in the building process. Some of those have began construction others are still in the planning stage. Two have started construction. Even if the country decided to permanently shut them all down and decommission the plants, it would take more than 30-50 years to achieve that and during that period there would still be some level of nuclear danger.

    Sometimes, its easy to open a door but difficult to close it again.

    Not counting the two Fukushima atomic power plants, out of the 54 reactors, about 15 have reached or will reach the 40 year limit soon. 25 reactors are reaching or have reached 30 years.

    Originally the life span was 30 years, but because of pressure from the power companies, it was increased to 40 years. That extra 10 years represents enormous profits for the power companies. Almost pure profit because the cost of building the plant has been paid for. This was the situation at the Fukushima plant. Probably, also why TEPCO resisted spending any money to increase safety standards.

    The Fukushima reactors were built in the 1970's and would have reached the 40 year limit. The second Fukushima plant was built in the 1980's. TEPCO stated the first plant (Daiichi) was damaged by the tsunami and not the earthquake. Many would disagree with that. TEPCO stated there was no earthquake damage at the second Fukushima plant, (Daini), but we now know that's just another of the TEPCO lies. A containment vessel was cracked open by the power of the earthquake. TEPCO have been trying to repair it without attracting too much media attention.

    This reactor is less than 30 years so I have my doubts about the stress testing the government required on all reactors before restarting them.

    The government will now allow power companies to apply for a 20 year extension on those reactors hitting the 40 year lifespan.

    All reactors older than 30 years should be shut down and also all atomic power plants considered to be in a dangerous location, like Hamaoka.

    The latest move by the government is contrary to the feeling and desires of most Japanese to see an end to its nuclear power program.

  • 1

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    Well, it looks to me like some money has changed hands here. How quickly a brown envelope can assuage the consciences of our unelected leaders.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    So there will be a 40 year cap, but it's okay if the 40 year cap is not followed. I'm guessing the 'exceptions' will be plants that are already in operation or have been halted that are past or nearing the 40 year mark, with power companies complaining and whining about what it would mean in terms of costs if the 40 year cap is imposed without exception?

    "The operator said the tests found the two reactors had a safety margin of 1.8 times the strength of an anticipated quake, and four times the height of an anticipated tsunami."

    The key word is 'anticipated', and even though TEPCO was warned of a tsunami like the one of 3.11, most people still didn't 'anticipate' such a strong quake and/or the subsequent tsunami.

  • -5

    Star-viking

    As long as the Japanese Bureaucracy gets reformed, I have no problem with this.

  • 3

    TheBigPicture

    All that danger to turn on a lamp. It's insane.

  • -8

    Robert Dykes

    I have NO problem with this or nuclear power for that matter (and yeah I live in Fukui which has more nuke plants than any other pref in japan!) as long as they are maintained and regulated (better). yes fukuishima was a disaster, but NOT becuase it was a nuke plant. but becuase it was poorly regulated and affected by a 1 in a 1000 year disaster.

  • -8

    Robert Dykes

    "All that danger to turn on a lamp. It's insane." yeah if that lamp is a street lamp, or a road signal??? we dont need those I guess. I cant believe people act like we dont need electricity. It has improved every single facet of life and with out it our life expectancy would drop to 30 years.

  • -9

    Robert Dykes

    I guess would could still just burn more coal... Global warming isn't real right? Or we could just buy more LGP from china, increasing their economic dominance and furthering Japanese dependency on other countries like their best friend China. or we could just buy more oil from Iran and support their nuclear program and middle eastern terrorist incentives. Or how about we cover your entire house in solar panels at a cost of 10,000,000 yen which will only pay for itself after about 60 years, but too bad that after 2 years solar cells loose over 50% of their effectiveness

    it is really easy to be against something with out offering up a single alternative. which does not included the fantasy land of "green power." We are 50 years or more away from ANY decent dependency on green power

  • -1

    Johannes Weber

    I personally don't see any problem in operating modern nuclear plants form a scientific and engineering point of view. There are many ways to make them safer (than the old facilities). You further add an insurance issued by the state (with admittedly a high yearly fee), they have to do without subsidies, they have to pay for the next 30000 years (about one half-life of Pu239) of waste storage (in advance) and then it should be fine. Of course, under such conditions nuclaer power is not profitable anymore. But form a scientific point of view, it is okay.

    Honestly, the overall cheapest energy source are currently wind, hydro and tidal. Geothermal finds extensive use in some areas. Solar will get cheaper. Transparent solar-cells which can be used in window glass have been developed. Plastic solar cells will be coming. The need for nuclear power will reduce. Anyone who closes her eyes willfully leaves the profits to others. But don't complain if the economy of your country sucks in the future.

  • 3

    Blair Herron

    They are still having aftershocks. The plant is still in a delicate state.

    Exactly. We've had 6,000+ aftershocks that human beings feel. 3.11 M9 earthquake will calm down gradually? Or will it trigger another big one? We don't know, even seismologists do not know. If M9.5 earthquake hits at Tokai/Tonankai, will the government say, "It was 想定外(soutei gai)"?

    1 in a 1000 year disaster.

    True. But It doesn't mean another big one will hit in 1000 years. Maybe tomorrow.

  • 2

    Ranger_Miffy2

    This really is embarrassing to read. "What are the alternatives?" J.C. on a popsicle stick, people! GOOGLE IT.

    Alternatives, viable and economical, and even profitable, have been around for decades!!! The oil/corptocracy/military cartels stand in the way, aided as always by their bought off government stooges.

  • 1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    This is a step in the WRONG!!! Direction, Japan should be ashamed! Just wrong to not close down these nuclear reactors and Japan INC. with all the scientists, engineers etc..am sure can come up with way better forms of CLEAN, SAFE energy!

  • 1

    Gurukun

    They should get all prisoners in Japan to pedal stationary bikes hooked up to generators, 24-7 to create electricity for Japan.

  • 1

    gaijinTechie

    There are dozens of countries that run hundreds of nuclear power plants as old as ones in Japan, and most of them have had no trouble at all. But since Japanese legislative body has been for sale for too long, the only safe course for Japanese people is to get rid of nuclear power alltogether. The child will not listen nor learn, the matches must be taken away.

    Nuclear energy can be safely operated, there are numerous examples. But Japan will never be anything but a warning to the rest of the world.

  • 6

    zichi

    There are dozens of countries that run hundreds of nuclear power plants as old as ones in Japan,

    And which of those dozens of countries have powerful earthquakes and tsunami's?

  • 3

    warnerbro

    Japan is not experiencing any shortages right now with only 6 of 54 reactors generating electricity. One alternative is to use less electricity. Japan's population will decline very rapidly which means fewer people to use electricity. Better technology can, should, and will permit increased conservation with diminished negative consequences. The nuclear power industry exists to support itself and (give Japan the potential to make nuclear weapons). The industry does exist not to support Japan.

    Not to accuse anyone, but the Japanese government is paying people to post supportive comments on internet venues.

  • -3

    WilliB

    zichi:

    " And which of those dozens of countries have powerful earthquakes and tsunami's? "

    Earthquakes? Many. Tsunamis are rare, but can of course theoretically occur anywhere where there is an ocean. And you can be sure that Japanese engineering will now take that in account.

  • 2

    nandakandamanda

    On paper a scientific case can be made for nuclear power. Agreed.

    Japan has two GIANT drawbacks.

    One is the constant and unpredictable seismic activity underground.

    The other is an inefficient bureaucracy geared more to interpersonal harmony than to picking up on potential troublespots.

    Look for more egg on TEPCO's face as more embarrassing news bubbles up. Hundreds and hundreds of instances of unthinkable sloppiness, and it is not about to stop now. It's OK to hold your breath folks, coz the next horror story is right in the pipeline.

  • -3

    WilliB

    Johannes Weber:

    " Honestly, the overall cheapest energy source are currently wind, hydro and tidal. "

    Are you joking, or do you have figures for that? Is there ANY place on earth where wind, hydro and tidal can compete in the market place without government subsidies?

  • 4

    zichi

    Is there ANY place on earth where wind, hydro and tidal can compete in the market place without government subsidies?

    Is there ANY place on earth where nuclear energy can compete in the market place without government subsidies?

    Nuclear power plants cost billions to build, billions to decommission and trillions when they go wrong.

    If nuclear power plants didn't receive government subsidies, built to the highest safety standards and included the cost of nuclear waste storage and decommissioning, the power companies would no longer build them.

  • 2

    marcelito

    Alternatives are there and available...political will to start developing them massively in Japan is not. Japan should STOP talking, considering, evaluating and otherwise dragging its feet and start MOVING towards the alternatives yesterday...It would already be happening if the Jgovt wasn't,t so corrupted and inbred with the nuclear vilage industry. For comparison, when I visited Australia couple of years ago there was a new 50 turbine windmill farm where a few years prior was none. I drove past that farm again last month and the number of turbines had almost doubled...this was driven by govt policy and incentives. The move to other energy sources is possible under govt leadership and support to the private firms that develop the alternative power plants - sadly even after Fukushima that is lacking in Japan and money continues to flow to the nuclear village as if nothing happened - just check out the budget funding requests. Unbelievable.

  • 1

    Elvensilvan

    @WilliB

    Earthquakes? Many.

    Please do feel free to name even 1 country that as GaijinTechie claims that has "run hundreds of nuclear power plants as old as ones in Japan, and most of them have had no trouble at all" and is along 3 active tectonic plates.

    Thing is, each of the major nuclear disasters have been from completely different circumstances, so comparing Japan to other countries' nuclear power generation and management is absurd.

    Before I forget, how many countries that run nuclear reactors have TEPCO-like management?

  • 2

    marcelito

    " Japanese engineering will now take that into account" - sorry but with the record of cutting corners to save costs in order to pocket the dough at various N plants that had come to light past Fukushima that is not a good enough justification.

  • 5

    zichi

    WilliB

    There are only 30 countries which have nuclear power generation. Probably only one, China has powerful earthquakes like Japan. 9 of them have no ocean. 28 or 29 of them have no history of tsunami?

  • 5

    zichi

    WilliB

    And you can be sure that Japanese engineering will now take that in account.

    What makes you think they will when they didn't so far and with 54 reactors already in place, 2 being built and another 12 in the planning stage.

  • 1

    Rick Kisa

    wow!!!! back to square one....nuclear energy forever until death doth part. AMEN!

  • 1

    gaijinTechie

    Before I forget, how many countries that run nuclear reactors have TEPCO-like management?

    The point I was desperately trying to make.

  • -2

    gaijinTechie

    Japan has many nuclear plants in the same danger zone as Dai-ichi, but they didn't go up in smoke.

    The reasons why Japan had a nuclear disaster is not some anonymous abstraction. The reasons for the nuclear disaster all have faces and names, and they are as we read this, in some nomikai somewhere and taking overtime compensation for it, paid by us taxpayers.

    When a drunk driver crashes and kills a family, nobody goes around demanding the abolition of cars, now do they?

  • 0

    Farmboy

    A nuke plant is like a fine wine...it only gets better with age. Luckily, I live fairly close to a nice old one....lucky me.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    zichi, where can we go to find out about Fukushima Dai-ichi and the cracked containment vessel you mention?

    This is really part of the problem. Nuclear power in Japan will only reveal what it has been forced to reveal, and no more.

    We still have never had a full report as to what happened to the world's largest nuclear power facility when Kashiwazaki-Kariwa's seven reactors were knocked out by the 2007 Niigata earthquake.

    http://www.nirs.org/international/asia/reportonearthquakedamage71907.pdf#search='Kashiwasaki Kariwa nuclear plant'

  • 2

    zichi

    nandakandamanda,

    The cracked reactor containment vessel is at the second Fukushima plant, Daini. You can find the story on the EX-SKF blog.

    I think there's more than one post about it but this is one,

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/japanese-expert-says-fukushima-ii-not-i.html

  • 1

    presto345

    Money over people and country. That's TEPCO.

    Not just TEPCO. There are 'dark forces' in play. Those that have huge interests in the proliferation of nuclear power. And yes. The people are being lied to constantly about the cost of solar, wind and other alternative sources of energy. And all the time the government is stalling. Failing to create working incentives to spread the use of mentioned sources.

  • 1

    Disillusioned

    In most cases the reactor itself will last for close to a century, but it is all the ancillary components that won't last. All they have to do is keep them well maintained and updated, but recent history has shown the electric companies can't be trusted to properly maintain them and the j-gov can't be trusted to properly regulate them, thus making this whole article a politically motivated pile of hogwash!

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Thanks, zichi. The battle lines are drawn up, I see, but the protestors ar being held down.

  • 1

    Utrack

    Nuclear Power is NOT safe, German Gov’t Study: Children living near nuclear plants have double leukemia rates, high incidence of solid cancers. Reactors cannot prevent radiation from escaping

  • -1

    herefornow

    Great, the country and nuclear regulatory agency with the worst record for nuclear safety is now going to figure out how to allow plants to operate past 40 years. Makes me nervous just thinking about it. Good luck with that.

  • -3

    j4p4nFTW

    Blair Herron san,

    IAEA is coming next week. I wonder if they would approve this stress test result...

    I assume they would. Japan has the highest safety standards of any country with nuclear power, with the best safety record. What specific factors would make you wonder if they would approve the test?

  • 1

    wanderlust

    *Japan has the highest safety standards of any country with nuclear power, with the best safety record. * There are an average of 15 reportable incidents each year since 1994, according to the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organisation. A total of 728 since 1966. Then you must add the unreported incidents, cover ups and falsifications of data to get the true figure.

    Except for Chernobyl, more workers in Japan have died in NPP and faciilty accidents than in other countries - just check out Tsuruga and Tokaimura. These are also not reported in safety data outside of Japan. The numbers of "nuclear gypsies" subcontracted to clean and repair the plants who have died from cancer and other radiation-induced diseases is not known.

    Safety Japan - not...

  • 0

    Blair Herron

    Japan has the highest safety standards of any country with nuclear power, with the best safety record. What specific factors would make you wonder if they would approve the test?

    The highest & the best quality in the world doesn't mean It won't be damaged by so-called, "soutei gai" natural disaster.

    But I partly agree with you that IAEA would approve it even though some panels there said "The problem is that stress tests are not comprehensive. They only look at certain areas, and it's not appropriate to determine safety based on an evaluation on limited areas." IAEA is coming on January 23 and visiting Oi nuke plants.Everything has been already planned. IAEA has been very disappointing...

  • 0

    Fadamor

    If you're going to allow exemptions to the law, why bother passing the law in the first place? Either the law was a stupid ploy by the politicians to appear to be doing something for the safety of residents, or they didn't do proper research before proposing this law. Actually there's a third possibility: BOTH of the above conditions are true. They should drop this law.

  • -1

    kchoze

    The fact of the matter is that this 40-year limit is mostly an accounting artifact. When making economic analyses of plants, they select a given "life" of the reactor not necessarily for technical reasons, but merely to represent the foreseeable future. It doesn't mean that plants have been made to hold 40 years, then they will collapse in ruin the day after that.

    As long as plants are inspected and parts that show wear are replaced, nuclear reactors can keep working safely for much, much longer than that. As long as the extensions are preceded by a complete and good system of inspection and required maintenance, I don't think there is any reason to be afraid.

    Nuclear Power is NOT safe, German Gov’t Study: Children living near nuclear plants have double leukemia rates, high incidence of solid cancers. Reactors cannot prevent radiation from escaping

    First, there was a German study that said that, and other studies that didn't notice any kind of increase. A study in France from 1990 to 2007 revealed no excess leukemia rates around nuclear power plants... but still anti-nuclear activists said that it proved otherwise because the rate was 90% higher between 2002-2007, thus cherry-picking the data, making the conclusion indefensible. Considering the low rates of leukemia, it doesn't take much for rates to double or triple just by chance. If models expect 1 case of leukemia in a town, and there are 2 instead, the actual rate may be twice the expected rate, but it's not significant.

    Also, this pales compared to the estimated 30 000 deaths in the US caused by coal power and the expected effects from climate change. All sources of energy have death tolls, even solar and wind power. Even not using any energy has a death toll, how many more would die if we didn't have electricity? Imagine if a country uses mostly wind and solar power, and that they had frequent blackouts because they had many cloudy, calm days in a row. These blackouts can kill people too.

    No matter the source of energy, some deaths will be linked to it. By the same yardstick that says that nuclear power isn't 100% safe, we can say that wind power isn't 100% safe, nor is solar power. Nothing is 100% safe. However, when presented with a problem, you always have to consider solutions between each other, not with an ideal world. If you compare nuclear power with other sources of power, it is one of the safest around.

  • -1

    herefornow

    Japan has the highest safety standards of any country with nuclear power, with the best safety record.

    j4p4nFTW -- what parallel universe version of Japan do you live in? Japan just experienced the second worst nuclear disaster in history, which, accoring to its own investigators, was caused in great part by inadequate safety measures, as well as horrible crisis planning. Like a completely inadequate emergency manual and procedures. On top of which, they have been critisized by the IAEA for the too cozy relationship between the nuclear regulatory agency and the industry. Let's try dealing with reality for a change, huh?

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    Absolutely. Mottainai culture of Japan has to go out the door regardless. Every product and life have a life cycle. I hope Japan can admit this core fact. Safety is a job #1.

  • 0

    marcelito

    it is one of the safest around...come and say that to those of us living in Tohoku / northern Kanto again. See the response you will get. It is easy to say from the comfort of a chair sitting a safe distance from a reactor that is near a faultline. I would much rather be near a solar or a wind power plant than a nuclear one if another 3/11 like quake strikes...so sorry but nuclear is NOT one of the safest around!

  • 1

    marcelito

    Japan has the highest safety standards and best safety record in the world? `...you say this after Fukushima? Someone pass the award for the " best jokeist "....not that it is the least bit funny.

  • -1

    as_the_crow_flies

    The meeting was delayed for several hours as activists stormed into a conference room demanding they be allowed to observe the proceedings in the same room, not on a TV monitor downstairs.

    You've got to love how this article presented this. What happened was, members of the public turned up, queued up, got their tickets to the public hearing. Then the organisers of this public hearing decided that they'd rather the public went and heard in a separate room, not the hearing. The public were not impressed and protested. Does that make them activists? They didn't storm a conference room, they just tried to get into the hearing they'd queued up to get into.

    Two experts on the panel were so disgusted at the shenanigans that they walked out, as they didn't want to be associated with such a travesty. This has been so watered down in the article that you wouldn't know this by reading it.. One of the experts is University of Tokyo metallic material scientist Hiromitsu Ino, who is quoted in the article.

    Come to this site for the forum, but get your news elsewhere!

  • 0

    Star-viking

    zichiJan. 19, 2012 - 06:31PM JST

    The cracked reactor containment vessel is at the second Fukushima plant, Daini. You can find the story on the EX-SKF blog.

    The link does not give much, save that the expert asserting the point is a retired materials scientist and an anti-nuclear activist. Any English information available?

    Also, does this mean that reports of cracked containment vessels at Dai-Ichi were wrong? The link suggests it in its title: "Just In: Japanese Expert Says Fukushima II (not I) Nuke Plant's Containment Vessel Has Been Damaged by the Quake"

  • -3

    Star-viking

    asthecrow_fliesJan. 20, 2012 - 11:29PM JST

    "The meeting was delayed for several hours as activists stormed into a conference room demanding they be allowed to observe the proceedings in the same room, not on a TV monitor downstairs."

    You've got to love how this article presented this. What happened was, members of the public turned up, queued up, got their tickets to the public hearing. Then the organisers of this public hearing decided that they'd rather the public went and heard in a separate room, not the hearing. The public were not impressed and protested. Does that make them activists? They didn't storm a conference room, they just tried to get into the hearing they'd queued up to get into.

    And they just happened to have anti-nuclear banners handy? They seemed like activists on NHK.

    Two experts on the panel were so disgusted at the shenanigans that they walked out, as they didn't want to be associated with such a travesty. This has been so watered down in the article that you wouldn't know this by reading it.. One of the experts is University of Tokyo metallic material scientist Hiromitsu Ino, who is quoted in the article.

    Hiromitsu Ino is a long-time anti-nuclear and sustainable living activist - I think he would have walked out in the end anyway. http://cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit132/nit132articles/ww132.html

    Come to this site for the forum, but get your news elsewhere!

    Agreed in general, though there are quite a few knowledgeable posters at work here.

  • -2

    Star-viking

    Johannes WeberJan. 19, 2012 - 01:02PM JST

    I personally don't see any problem in operating modern nuclear plants form a scientific and engineering point of view. There are many ways to make them safer (than the old facilities). You further add an insurance issued by the state (with admittedly a high yearly fee), they have to do without subsidies, they have to pay for the next 30000 years (about one half-life of Pu239) of waste storage (in advance) and then it should be fine. Of course, under such conditions nuclaer power is not profitable anymore. But form a scientific point of view, it is okay.

    Well, you can ask the Finns to store it - or use a 4th Gen Reactor to use the nuclear waste as fuel.

    Honestly, the overall cheapest energy source are currently wind, hydro and tidal. Geothermal finds extensive use in some areas. Solar will get cheaper. Transparent solar-cells which can be used in window glass have been developed. Plastic solar cells will be coming. The need for nuclear power will reduce. Anyone who closes her eyes willfully leaves the profits to others. But don't complain if the economy of your country sucks in the future.

    Hydro is limited by terrain, wind requires a large area if you want substantial generation and is intermittent, tidal has environmental problems and has large up-front costs. The latter two also have a low capacity factor, that is they rarely operate at full capacity, so that a 100 MW power facility might only produce as much as a 20 MW facility over the year. This holds for solar too - TEPCO's Ukishima plant will only produce 12.5% of its full-rated power over the year.

    All these new renewable power generation methods will add to the diversity of the power supply, but none of them is the 'silver bullet' that will make fossil fuels or nuclear obsolete. Also, the bigger the share of the power supply that intermittent renewables make, the greater the need for power plants or power storage system to cover their down times. These will cost a lot.

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