Anti-nuclear parties fail to specify how energy gap will be overcome

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  • 0

    Maitake

    That leaves the average citizen wrestling with little more than gut feelings, which they find difficult to weigh against what they know are real needs for an energy-hungry country.

    This country should be hungrier for change.

  • 9

    marcelito

    70% of voters want nuclear power phased out yet they are overwhelmingly going to vote for the corrupt, pro nuke LDP and even hand them a majority. This election is like a bizzaro world- I just don,t understand J- electorate.

  • 8

    SquidBert

    It was easy marcelito;

    Just sell and buy a couple of island, that is sure to piss the Chinese off enough that they will start acting hostile. Then do whatever you need behind the scenes to trigger the North Koreans to launch a missile(err rocket ) test. Make statements on changing the constitution to allow the Japanese to have nuclear weapons

    All this while Noda looks weak trying to do the civilized thing and negotiate with his neighbors, sprinkle with some economic fears and a couple of black vans. And the election is in your pocket (and Taro-kun is your uncle) .

  • 4

    Disillusioned

    Anti-nuclear parties fail to specify how energy gap will be overcome

    Energy gap? Is there? The country seems to be well powered without the reactors being used. Yeah, gas and oil are costing them more, but how much will the Fukushima disaster end up costing the country? Japan does not need nuclear power. It needs to develop more sustainable (and manageable) sources of energy immediately! If the cronies get back into power they will restore nuclear power as the mainstay and it will never change. Sadly, the events of the Fukushima disaster has shown that the energy companies in Japan can not be trusted to properly maintain and manage nuclear power.

  • 12

    Yubaru

    Yeah, gas and oil are costing them more,

    It's not costing "them" more it's costing "us" consumers more because there is no way the utility companies are going to eat the increase in costs.

    Overuse is one major problem, hell you could probably see Tokyo, pre-Fukushima, all the way from Mars.

    It's a typical problem with politicians, they raise issues that are important and get peoples attention to garner their votes, and then when elected revert to idiot status.

  • 3

    alliswellinjapan

    DPJ could never been a winner to begin with in the public eye no matter what they advocate on energy policies at this time. The biggest unfortunate disappointment at this election is the inability of the third force to team up and take a unified stand on this particular issue, representing the views and concerns of pretty much the entire nation. Ishihara played a key role in making sure this didn't happen, as if he were acting on behalf of the LDP to contain Hashimoto's actions and keep him away from Watanabe and Ozawa. Was hoping this to become one of the most critical turning points for Japan's energy policies after all the nation has gone through, but seems everyone's OK with pretending nothing really happened. Shame really.

  • 2

    6wings

    That leaves the average citizen wrestling with little more than gut feelings, which they find difficult to weigh against what they know are real needs for an energy-hungry country.

    Hmmm but if only there was some way to get this information out to the people. What agency could provide new information to the public in a useful, timely and easy-to-understand way? I got it! What we need is some kind of news agency!

    For example, why is it so unthinkable that the country could someday do without nuclear power when currently "All but two of the nation’s 50 reactors now sit idle"?

  • 4

    USNinJapan2

    Anti-nuclear parties fail to specify how energy gap will be overcome

    You don't say. Of course they only haven't because they haven't hooked up with the anti-nuke crowd here at JT who have had all the answers to this problem since 3-11-11...

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    But opinion polls indicate that despite their apparently popular stance on ridding Japan of nuclear power, the Japan Tomorrow and Japan Communist parties are struggling to gain popular support.

    Wow, so the Future party is called "Tomorrow Party of Japan"...

    But are the big media polls to be believed? Yahoo Online polls show "Tomorrow Party of Japan" is doing fairly well. 27% are willing to vote for LDP and 25% are willing to vote for Future Party (top two).

    http://seiji.yahoo.co.jp/vote/result/201212100002/

  • -3

    Utrack

    Waste to Steam Energy power plants. Just convert the incinerators to create energy instead of smog.

  • -1

    YuriOtani

    Easy solution raise the electric rates until demand falls below supply. Raising the rates by 2 or 3 times will be the solution. People will remember fondly the time of electric a/c and heat. The election will be about Japan becoming a 3rd world country. There is nothing to replace the atomics and there is no "Disney" solution. Maybe donor countries can supply Japan with food. We are almost at sunset on Corp Japan.

  • 2

    LFRAgain

    " . . . experts warn little thought has gone into how to replace atomic energy."

    You don't say! Color me surprised.

    Well, not really. I and others here at JT have been saying this very same thing for the better part of the past year to the usual boos and catcalls of the nigh cult-like anti-nuke crowd here. And guess what? Our Occidental friends ain't got a blinking clue either.

    This very thread, before the day is out, will be rife with shrill cries of, "Japan needs to develop more sustainable and manageable sources of energy immediately!"

    And there will be nary a suggestion for how to do this. Again, color me surprised.

    Sure, there's the usual mumblings about solar, wind, and wave power, with the obligatory nod toward geothermal, but no one outside of Japan or in has been able to provide a real roadmap to practical and demonstrably equivalent alternatives to the level of power that 50 nuclear reactors provided for an economy that's on its heels as we type and read.

    My home utilities have gone up 25% over the last two years, and this is after installing energy efficient lighting, insulation, and appliances. This is directly attributable to Japan lacking a workable plan to A) phase out nuclear, and B) achieve energy self-sufficiency, forcing it to do the very thing it turned towards nuclear in the first place some 40-odd years ago, namely avoid being at the not-so-tender mercies of world fuel market prices.

    But hey, what do I know? Let energy prices climb through the roof some more and watch the world's 3rd largest economy topple to No. 4 or lower.

  • 5

    Thomas Anderson

    Just sell and buy a couple of island, that is sure to piss the Chinese off enough that they will start acting hostile. Then do whatever you need behind the scenes to trigger the North Koreans to launch a missile(err rocket ) test. Make statements on changing the constitution to allow the Japanese to have nuclear weapons

    All this while Noda looks weak trying to do the civilized thing and negotiate with his neighbors, sprinkle with some economic fears and a couple of black vans. And the election is in your pocket (and Taro-kun is your uncle) .

    Sounds like something straight out of Machiavelli.

  • 1

    The passage

    This election is all about what parties are against and not what they will would actually do. Cynical attempt to get votes, and sadly it seems to be working. Just say you are anti-nuclear, anti-consumption tax hike, and anti TPP you are bound to get votes. Tell the public what you are offering instead and the strength of opinion fizzles away. Really sad, but that is Politics I guess?

  • 6

    SquidBert

    Thomas Anderson,

    Sounds like something straight out of Machiavelli.

    Except for the NK missile thing, I don't think I am that far off from the truth. And in fact it could be argued that it is possible the north Koreans are just acting as a proxy for China in all this.

  • 5

    SquidBert

    Then again, it is not like DPJ has done anything to exactly inspire confidence in the voters.

    Anyway, rough seas ahead.

  • 2

    japan_cynic

    Hey, promises of magic pixie dust is all we need. Just kick the can a couple of years down the road. It's not like the electorate is going to kick up a fuss.

  • 2

    Seirei Tobimatsu

    Behooves Japan to pursue safer control of nuclear energy if others are going nuclear.

  • 3

    2020hindsights

    Energy gap? Is there? The country seems to be well powered without the reactors being used. Yeah, gas and oil are costing them more,

    And costing the environment more. We're on a Global Warming destiny with disaster and you want to pour more CO2 into the atmosphere. When you can come up with power as clean as nukes that can generate the same amount of energy tomorrow I'll listen.

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    Except for the NK missile thing, I don't think I am that far off from the truth. And in fact it could be argued that it is possible the north Koreans are just acting as a proxy for China in all this.

    No I'm saying that Machiavelli was a sharp political scientist.

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    And costing the environment more. We're on a Global Warming destiny with disaster and you want to pour more CO2 into the atmosphere. When you can come up with power as clean as nukes that can generate the same amount of energy tomorrow I'll listen.

    It's called renewables, bro... Germany has dumped nuclear while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions.

  • 3

    SushiSake3

    "but experts warn little thought has gone into how to replace atomic energy."

    That's what I've been saying all along.

  • 5

    SushiSake3

    Thomas, Germany dumped its own nuclear plants and is now purchasing power from France's nuclear plants. 

    Same pig, different lipstick.

  • -2

    YuriOtani

    Thomas Germany is still running their plants. They have a plan to close them. Question how to pay to close the plants and make new plants in which the technology has not yet been created?

  • 0

    Rick Kisa

    At times those with most resources to campaign win elections, not necessarily that tehy are the best for Japan. one cannot even rule out the nuclear village funding some of these parties advocating for retaining nuke energy. After all, they have been ammasing abnormal wealth for decades! How is Germany managing its vision of phasing out muke energy? Where there is a will theres a way; and the moment Japan decides to phase out nuclear, it will find a way. The will and leadership in that direction is what is lacking......

  • 2

    USNinJapan2

    Thomas Anderson

    It's called renewables, bro... Germany has dumped nuclear while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions.

    And now they are purchasing nuclear-generated electricity from France to supplement their shortfall. So, if Japan were to follow in Germany's footsteps how do you propose it should supplement its shortfall. Aren't you forgetting that as an island nation Japan doesn't have the option of buying electricity from its neighbors to fill the gap in power production that renewable energy sources simply cannot fill?

  • -6

    WilliB

    Of course they fail! Other than wishful pontificating about "green" energy solutions which only exist in their imagination, they have nothing to offer. Not really different from some contributors here.

  • -1

    Thomas Anderson

    And now they are purchasing nuclear-generated electricity from France to supplement their shortfall.

    Bro... Germany is a net exporter of electricity. And France also buys electricity from Germany.

    So, if Japan were to follow in Germany's footsteps how do you propose it should supplement its shortfall. Aren't you forgetting that as an island nation Japan doesn't have the option of buying electricity from its neighbors to fill the gap in power production that renewable energy sources simply cannot fill?

    Japan is doing fine with only 2 nuclear reactors running.

  • -5

    WilliB

    Thomas Anderson:

    " It's called renewables, bro... Germany has dumped nuclear while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions. "

    They have only decided to dump it. And, like Japan, they have no clue about replacing it. The eventual solution will be be to rely on nuclear power from France and Poland (both of which are building more nuclear plants close to the German border), plus even more reliance on gas supplies from Putins Russia.

    And by the way, Germany has also recently decided to cut its generous subsidies for solar cells... while they could afford to subsidize a few showcase plants, once people decided to install solar en masse, it simply became too expensive to pay for this "solution".

    Quoting Germany´s non-success with this is kind of ironic...

    • Moderator

      Readers, please stay on topic. Other countries are not relevant to this discussion.

  • 1

    The passage

    What are the anti-nuclear parties actually offering? There is no detailed plan, and doesn't help us NOW.

  • 5

    zichi

    The longer the reactors are shut down the less likely their eventual restarts, which according to the new NRA won't happen before it introduces new safety standards and inspects all the plants to ensure they meet those new safety standards. Its unlikely there'll be any restarts before the end of next year. The NRA are also complaining they don't have enough workers and resources to cope with their work load.

    Prior to the 3/11 nuclear disaster, 34 out of 54 reactors were operating and generating about 27% of total power. It's unlikely even with restarts, will be that many reactors available in the future, with the loss of ten reactors at both the Fukushima plants,. The Tokai reactor failed the stress test and will be shut down, and the problem of active fault lines at Tsuruga. Its until new atomic plants come on line, three are under construction, that nuclear energy will not be able to generate more than 20% of total power.

    The anti nuclear groups should use this shut down time to come up with plans to replace nuclear energy with other sources, especially how much renewable energy can be used.

    No single gov't or party will be able to end the use of nuclear energy without the backing of all the parties. 30 years is a very long time in Japanese politics. It will take a commitment from all the parties.

    The power generation industry needs a major review and overhaul how it operates. The monopoly of the power companies over both power generation and power supply needs to end, as does the monopoly of the power companies to supply electricity to a region. A smart grid needs introducing with power companies supplying power to the grid, rather than just a fixed region, which power supply companies buy and sell on to its customers.

    The ending of the power generation and supply monopoly would reduce the price of electricity.

    More effort is needed to reduce the amount of electricity used by using it more efficiently. All major companies should be looking at ways to generate at least 20% of their own power needs.

    The country needs to move away from the notion that power can only be generated by the major power companies with their large generating plants.

  • -10

    basroil

    USNinJapan2Dec. 14, 2012 - 09:06AM JST

    You don't say. Of course they only haven't because they haven't hooked up with the anti-nuke crowd here at JT who have had all the answers to this problem since 3-11-11...

    There have been exactly 0 technologically and economically feasible answers here or anywhere else. The fact of the matter is that Japan has only two options: use more fossil fuels, or use nuclear power. Considering that fossil fuels are expensive not only to the bottom line, but people's to health (all those coal plants IN major cities kill more people a decade than all the radiation accidents ever), Japan really doesn't have an alternative power source.

    Solar is not only expensive, but impossible to make in the necessary amount of panels locally in any reasonable time frame given the power crunch. Wind is cheaper than solar, but Japan has pretty poor wind conditions (most winds are fairly unstable in direction and speed except for a few tiny places) and absolutely no space for it (you need to cover 15% of Honshu with turbines to produce just as much as nuclear did in 2011). Other things like tidal power or wave power are pretty much useless here because you have major oceans rather than some narrow channels or inlet seas. Natural gas is better than coal and oil, but none of the Japanese companies really have baseload operation systems, and Japan will never use GE's (very efficient, very well built) plants directly (even if they did, to replace just Oi reactors 3-4, you're looking at about 100 billion yen for the plants and a year of fuel, or 1.7 trillion yen just for the plants to replace all nuclear power, and about a decade)

    The energy gap is quite real, just look at the current situation in Hokkaido. We've already had a few days in the "yellow alert" area, where if a single one of the coal plants fails it could cause a blackout. If the temperatures are much lower than last year as predicted, we could easily hit red even.

  • 3

    Impersonator

    Don't they have televised debates here in Japan, you know, where the political candidates are all gathered together and are made to respond to questions from the host and public?

  • 4

    smithinjapan

    Eliminate the nation-wide light displays.

  • 3

    LFRAgain

    "The power generation industry needs a major review and overhaul how it operates."

    This is all very true and good. But the question is how can Japan practically accomplish this in the current economic climate? The answer is that it can't. There is simply no money for these changes. None whatsoever.

    Right now, the Japanese electorate is recoiling in horror at a proposed consumption tax hike to pay for, among other things, rebuilding the quake-struck areas, shoring up a rapidly dwindling social insurance fund, and building a fire break for ballooning public debt.

    And Japan's population is on a negative slide, on target to lose some 6 million taxpaying workers by 2050, with ittle relief in sight in the midst of ever rising cost-of-living.

    Building further on the theme, Japan's economy is getting hammered, not because Japanese productivity, products, or ingenuity have all somehow magically become sub-par, but because its relatively reliable and stable currency has become a poison pill, thanks to other nations that can't keep their economic houses in order.

    In this climate, people are calling for Japan to build smart grids to service the third largest economy in the world? When the electorate sees 50 perfectly functional reactors -- and 40 years of heavily invested public funds -- sitting gathering dust, it doesn't take a political savant to understand why the Japanese people are indecisive on this issue.

  • -6

    basroil

    LFRAgainDec. 14, 2012 - 12:45PM JST

    This is all very true and good. But the question is how can Japan practically accomplish this in the current economic climate? The answer is that it can't. There is simply no money for these changes. None whatsoever.

    Not even that, the "cheaper through competition" myth has been claimed by nobody in the industry or academia. Competition can't drive down fuel costs, which are the biggest issue in power generation, since the major companies are already paying market rate or even a discounted market rate given the fact they have (until lawmakers and "free competition" idiots make them sell them) oil refining plants that actually drive down their fuel oil costs and provide a decent profit so they can offset loses from residential and block electricity prices.

  • -10

    basroil

    ImpersonatorDec. 14, 2012 - 12:16PM JST

    Don't they have televised debates here in Japan, you know, where the political candidates are all gathered together and are made to respond to questions from the host and public?

    That's against election laws here, they can only drive around in speakercars blasting sometimes hateful messages at all times of the day even when people are trying to sleep.

    And even if they did, they would use political speech that would render anything said irrelevant because they never really said anything.

  • 0

    LFRAgain

    "Competition can't drive down fuel costs, which are the biggest issue in power generation..."

    Excellent point.

  • 0

    Robert Dykes

    The ONLY person who has said anything sensible is basirol.

    It's this simple, this is fact: a gap exists! It does not matter why. It does. It matter that nothing WAS done. It's here now!

    You all say that you have been posting the answer to this. What? All in read on JT is using magic fairy dust. Renewable energy does not exist yet!!!!! Please tell me. Wind farms? Wind does not exist in enough quantity in Japan to build much more wind farms than Japan already has. Solar? Okay. Where you ganna put them. I live in Fukui? We used to supply all the power for the kinki area. Are you going to put solar power in Fukui. In November we had 6 days of sunshine!!!! 6. In December today is our 2nd of sushine! 45 days with 8 days sun. Sorry folks. That isn't going to close this gap. And even if it could we are talking about decades. Don't you realize it took 40 years to build the nuclear power system. What makes you think they can replace it in less time, with an economy that is going in reverse than when they built the nuclear system?

    This is fact: just mining, not even brining, just mining coal kills more people in a year than all the worlds nuclear accidents combined.

    I get it. It's time to move on from nuclear power. It's time to change. But to think its going to happen anytime soon is just naive. The issue is NOT why is there a gap. The issue is not what to do. We get it, get rid of nuclear power. The issue is what do to fix the gap! Fairy dust is not an answer

  • 6

    zichi

    In countries which ended monopolies by power companies over both generation and supply led to lower monthly power charges for users, and also creates choice of suppliers for the consumer. Monopolies in any industry always makes artificial high prices. The ending of the monopoly over only one power company supplying power to a region which create competition between them.

    With a smart grid system the power can go to the places were its most needed, just like the grid system used in Britain.

    There are many more options for power than just increasing the use of fossil fuels.

    Even if the reactors are restarted they will only between 20% to 25% of total power, the other 75% to 80% will still need to be generated by other fuels and energies.

    A 10% to 15% reduction in power consumption could be achieved with more efficient use of the power generated. Renewable energies could supply 20% of total power.

    At the moment, the majority of Japanese people no longer want to use nuclear energy.

  • 3

    Yubaru

    That's against election laws here, they can only drive around in speakercars blasting sometimes hateful messages at all times of the day even when people are trying to sleep.

    .Really? Then what do you call the debate that the parties had online a week or so ago? Also ALL the parties talking heads have made the rounds TOGETHER on ALL the news stations for round table forums moderated by said networks' political hacks.

  • 0

    Robert Dykes

    And "bro" Germany WAS a net exporter of power. They are now supplementing their lost paper with nuke power from France. Just like Japan is throwing what little cash they have left at china for its gas and coal. Doesn't matter how often your use "bro" in your post, you can't just use old facts to form the current reality you want to be true

  • 3

    SquidBert

    @Hide, You cant ask him to do that, because then he wouldn't have much to say.

  • 5

    zichi

    The nuclear disaster will take many decades to fix and clean up the site and will probably take the rest of this century to achieved. It will eventually take more than ¥50 trillion yen. The radiation has contaminated 8% of the land mass and an unknown amount of the ocean seabed. The radiation level in bottom feeders is still increasing when it should be decreasing, probably due to highly irradiated water still leaking from the atomic plant.

    More than 150,000 people had to flee their homes, communities and business and most of them will never be able to return to towns like Okuma where the radiation is too high to ever allow people to live their again.

    Mistrust over food contamination has been created and Fukushima farmers are facing decades of problems selling their foodstuffs.

  • 2

    globalwatcher

    It is interesting that the world has learned a big lesson from Fukushima and shifting the direction to the alternative energy while LDP is considering to re-start nuke plants and other parties have no solid plans for replacements. I see a huge problem here. Am I missing anything?

  • 5

    USNinJapan2

    basroil

    I think you missed the sarcasm in my initial post. FYI you're preaching to the choir...

  • -4

    basroil

    globalwatcherDec. 14, 2012 - 02:50PM JST

    It is interesting that the world has learned a big lesson from Fukushima

    Yes, that no country with nuclear power can survive without it, unless they are willing to get shot in the foot economically.

    and shifting the direction to the alternative energy

    Yes, they are moving away from modified Gen I plants and towards Gen 3+ plants and PWR. In fact, they were doing it before too, but it takes a while.

    LDP is considering to re-start nuke plants and other parties have no solid plans for replacements. I see a huge problem here. Am I missing anything?

    Not really missing much, Japan quite literally is stuck between no choices and indecision. Considering they have just two options, and fossil fuels are clearly the more evil of the two, they should have decided long ago. Their current situation is only going to improve with nuclear power, going without it means the economy will suffer and health decrease from bad economy is quite a bit worse than anything else.

  • -2

    basroil

    USNinJapan2Dec. 14, 2012 - 02:52PM JST

    FYI you're preaching to the choir...

    More like preaching cultural tolerance at a nationalists convention.

  • 5

    zichi

    Reform of the Electricity Supply Industry in Japan http://economics.rice.edu/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=114

  • 4

    crustpunker

    On this topic and on many others, the same overall tendency to post about what the Japanese gov. companies etc. SHOULD do to make life easier or less of a burden for the common people is well, where I think everyone starts to lose the thread.

    Zichi often posts very insightful solutions along with many other JT readers, without any of us being true experts on most of these topics it is hard to say if they really would work but at least they sound like they would. I applaud you all for your research, insight and optimisim.

    Here's the thing though,

    the gov. the companies the top 1 or 2 % simply DO NOT CARE.

    I'm sure they are made fully aware of how changing business models, regulations, rules etc would lead to happier lives for their customers and for the people of their district but that's not what they are here for. They are here to get as much as they can, any way they can and steamroll over anything that gets in the way of maximizing PROFIT. That is it.

    When it all comes crashing down in a fiery mess, when we are all weeping in a ruinous frenzy about the state of modern Japan and how we can barely meet ends meet or hardly put food on the table, when it is too late to go back, only then will people realize what they should have done by making their voices heard and by tearing down a system that is rotten to the core on every level.

    dire.

  • 6

    kurisupisu

    The quote from Sadafumi Kawato is indicative of the know it all,pompous,arrogant elitism that got Japan into this mess in the first place.

    “Not many people have a deep understanding of the nuclear industry,” he said. “It’s hard for voters to judge the safety of nuclear plants.”

    In the present nothing could be further from the truth!

    The track record concerning the safety of nuclear plants speaks for itself.

    90% of Japanese are against nuclear power.Chernobyl shows us the dangers of the radioactive contamination.Studies on insects in Fukushima have shown gross deformities in just a few generations --what is in store for the human population?

  • -3

    basroil

    kurisupisuDec. 14, 2012 - 04:46PM JST

    In the present nothing could be further from the truth!

    Actually, nothing is closer to the truth, as you yourself point out in your next sentence.

    The track record concerning the safety of nuclear plants speaks for itself.

    You're right, but your analysis is wrong. Per TWH produced by nuclear, it is safer than anything except hydroelectric when excluding Banqiao dam collapse (though since it, like Fukushima and Chernobyl, was deemed a manmade failure, should be included). In fact, it's safer than rooftop solar, wind, and biofuels. It's also a whopping 900 times safer than oil, which is Japan's current alternative to nuclear.

    What makes radioactive chemicals worse than known carcinogens and mercury released from fossil fuels that WILL be used to replace nuclear in the 5-20 year range if they aren't restarted? Certainly not the likelihood of death or illness, since even living outside the gates of Fukushima Daiichi is safer than most places in the cities of Japan.

  • 6

    zichi

    Just why does the country have the current situation over the reactors, except for two, being shut down?

    It wasn't because of anything done by the people of the country, nor is it anything to do with the growing number of anti nuclear protestors who still assemble outside the PM's residence every Friday.

    The people and the anti nuclear protestors didn't cause the nuclear disaster to happen. That responsibility belongs to TEPCO, the nuclear village and decades of LDP gov't's, which allowed the nuclear industry to fumble along for decade after decade.

    The Diet Commission which interviewed more than 1000 people squarely put the blame for the nuclear disaster at the feet of TEPCO, and the nuclear village which colluded with the industry. TEPCO finally admitted it was their responsibility for not incorporating the right safety features into their Fukushima plant.

    The decision to shut down all the reactors wasn't taken by the people or the anti nuclear protestors. The decision was taken by the gov't and NISA because the nuclear disaster called into question the level of safety at all the atomic plants.

    “Not many people have a deep understanding of the nuclear industry,” he said. “It’s hard for voters to judge the safety of nuclear plants.” Sadafumi Kawato

    First NISA decided the reactors had to be shut down over safety concerns and then the new nuclear safety agency, the NRA also continues with that decision and are currently working on new safety standards, because the old ones just don't cut it.

    The nuclear disaster and the shut down of the reactors firmly lies at the feet of the power companies which have nuclear energy plants and not the people of the country nor the anti nuclear protestors.

    The tragic mistakes by the nuclear power companies and the nuclear village will take many decades to fix and will cost trillions and trillions of yen, much more than the total cost of having the highest safety standards at the atomic plants.

    The myth of nuclear energy being clean, safe and cheap is well and truly busted and replaced in the minds of the people with serious doubts over ever using nuclear energy again.

  • 2

    Mike Bird

    Are these 'Experts' paid by the Nuclear industry I ask myself???? Can they not see the obvious? Japan is one the most active Geothermal countries in the world. Take a country like Iceland, if you include heating, over 50% of the countries energy is Geothermal (The rest is Hyro-electric) - look beneath your feet and into the Mountians!!!

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Are these 'Experts' paid by the Nuclear industry I ask myself???? Can they not see the obvious? Japan is one the most active Geothermal countries in the world. Take a country like Iceland, if you include heating, over 50% of the countries energy is Geothermal (The rest is Hyro-electric) - look beneath your feet and into the Mountians!!!

    Makes too much sense and not enough profit.

  • -2

    Thomas Anderson

    Ah yes, Fukushima could have made half of Japan uninhabitable... nuclear is so safe. And the Fukushima accident isn't even resolved yet.

  • 6

    zichi

    In a TBS TV program on December 13 evening, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda commented on Reactor 2 at Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant operated by Japan Atomic Power (in Fukui Prefecture), saying "It (decommissioning) will be likely".

    Prime Minister said, "If the Nuclear Regulatory Authority says there is a safety problem, I will not allow the operation. It will be decommissioned, on the decision by the operator", prompting Japan Atomic Power to decide voluntarily.

  • -1

    basroil

    Mike BirdDec. 14, 2012 - 05:21PM JST

    Can they not see the obvious? Japan is one the most active Geothermal countries in the world.

    Any place is, and yet Japan is horrible for Geothermal. It has near zero natural geothermal wells that are both not protected (national park or already used by onsens) and hot enough for power production. With no natural wells, Japan would have to make them, and it's a known fact that manmade wells increase earthquakes in a region. In fact, some of the more famous attempts at manmade wells found themselves out of business because of the earthquake issue and water table pollution.

  • 5

    zichi

    @Mike Bird

    Geothermal is responsible for approximately 0.2 percent of electricity generation in Japan, but with an estimated 23,000 MW of geothermal energy, opportunities to further develop Japan’s geothermal resources abound. Until recently, access to Japans geothermal resources was restricted due to the fact that a significant portion is located within national park land. However, in March 2012 Japan’s Ministry of the Environment stated that, under certain conditions, it would allow vertical drilling for geothermal resources in its national parks. Easing the restrictions on geothermal drilling in national parks alone could open up 1,000 MW of geothermal resources to development according to one estimate. http://www.geo-energy.org/pdf/reports/2012-GEA_International_Overview.pdf

  • 6

    zichi

    A group of Japanese companies plans to lay a 1,400-kilometer offshore pipeline to import natural gas from Russia’s Sakhalin island, which could reduce procurement costs substantially for this increasingly sought-after energy source. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201211050009

  • 1

    Mike Bird

    Geothermal is no just about where wells come to the surface, the whole of Japan is a Geothermal area. And talk of manmade wells increasing earthquakes in a region are just scare tactics - probably put about by the same sort of 'expert' as in the article? And how does using the heat of natural steam pollute a water course???

  • -3

    Priest

    70% of voters want nuclear power phased out

    Where do you get this figure from? The so called green energies are uneconomical, dont produce enough electricity and are mostly just a way forgreen business` to con the tax payer into subsidizing their profits.

    In England, wind farms are an eye sore, ruining the view of (once) beautiful countryside. They cannot produce enough electricity due to the lack of wind.

    Nuclear is the cleanest, most environmentally friendly form of power and Japan needs it. It may have to think about the location of its plants though.

  • -5

    basroil

    Mike BirdDec. 14, 2012 - 07:44PM JST

    Geothermal is no just about where wells come to the surface, the whole of Japan is a Geothermal area. And talk of manmade wells increasing earthquakes in a region are just scare tactics

    I would suggest you read up on it from better sources, but I've included a simple to understand one ( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/12/science/earth/12quake.html?_r=0 ). Earthquakes went from a few M2 level quakes a year to several M4 and plenty of M3, including M4.6 in a field only expected to max out at M5. If it was in Japan, you could expect up to M6 level quakes depending on where you build. Berkeley National Labs has some information on the exact correlations and reasoning into why larger quakes can happen if Geothermal is built on top of larger faults.

    The article doesn't explain the water pollution aspect though, so I'll just give a brief introduction from which you can then search for more articles. The main issue isn't with natural water (normally you pull superheated water, not steam from these vents), though that does often come with more pollution than legally acceptable for expulsion from factories and powerplants under current laws. The main issue is that these places need to have water injected to be commercially viable, and that can cause heavy metals and sulfur leeching from the rock. The drilling methods can also have an effect, much like oil and gas drilling do.

    Japan has tried using supercritical CO2 in their EGS test plant, but it's still untested technology and nobody really knows what can happen when replacing water with CO2.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    But opinion polls indicate that despite their apparently popular stance on ridding Japan of nuclear power, the Tomorrow Party and Japan Communist Party are struggling to gain popular support.

    LOL. This one statement in the article made the entire rest of the article pointless. You write a story about how the no-nuke platform is an important plank, then note that apparently not enough people support that plank to give the parties using it any popular support. I guess the plank wasn't that important after all, huh?

  • 6

    zichi

    Standing on a platform of ending the use of nuclear energy while good won't be enough to win the election. No single gov't or party will be able to end nuclear energy without the support of all the parties.

  • 6

    zichi

    The only answer from the pro nuclear energy supporters is to restart the reactor but that's not a 100% solution to how power should be generated. At best its only about 25% of the answer since nuclear energy can't generate 100% of power. Even in France, nuclear power only generates 70% of power.

    The rest of the power needs have to be generated by other fuels and energies. The more renewable energy can be used the less need for fossil fuels.

    The pro nuclear supporters just want to maintain the status quo which would mean returning to the situation prior to 3/11 which just don't cut it anymore.

  • 1

    Star-viking

    Thomas AndersonDec. 14, 2012 - 10:19AM JST

    It's called renewables, bro... Germany has dumped nuclear while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions.

    No, they have said they will phase out their nuclear plants. The NPPs have not been dumped yet. Apparently there are plans for new cola plants in the pipeline

  • 0

    sengoku38

    I like how everyone gives bad votes to basroil, when it seems like he actually knows what he is talking about.

    Energy policy drives the entire economy and unfortunately I doubt there are any people in Tokyo who are really up to the task of making the right decisions. I think any rational person can say that being against an entire field of scientific study is not reasonable, however.

  • 2

    Star-viking

    zichiDec. 14, 2012 - 01:48PM JST

    The radiation level in bottom feeders is still increasing when it should be decreasing, probably due to highly irradiated water still leaking from the atomic plant.

    Two researchers have published on this: Ken Buesseler and Jota Kanda. Buessler does not see the contamination as being significant beyond Fukushima's coastal waters - Kanda thinks water leaks are the least likely contributor to the fish contamination.

  • 3

    Star-viking

    kurisupisuDec. 14, 2012 - 04:46PM JST

    Studies on insects in Fukushima have shown gross deformities in just a few generations --what is in store for the human population?

    A study, with apparently large problems in its methods and background. The study with criticism at end: http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120809/srep00570/full/srep00570.html

  • 4

    zichi

    Star-viking I agree with your comment but its a major concern that water is still leaking from the atomic plant. Also fish are free to swim wherever the currents might take them so it also be of concern to fishing in Miyagi and Ibaraki waters?

  • 2

    Star-viking

    Mike BirdDec. 14, 2012 - 07:44PM JST

    Geothermal is no just about where wells come to the surface, the whole of Japan is a Geothermal area. And talk of manmade wells increasing earthquakes in a region are just scare tactics - probably put about by the same sort of 'expert' as in the article? And how does using the heat of natural steam pollute a water course???

    It is about how close the resource is to the surface - and in Japan most of the resources are deep down.

    As for pollution - arsenic is naturally found in the water in active geothermal areas, and this can be exacerbated by power production http://www.kiwiscience.com/downloads/NZarsenic.pdf

  • 4

    bruinfan

    Certainly the 10 most dangerous nuclear plants in Nippon need to be shut down at once. This includes Oi 1 and 2.

  • 2

    Fadamor

    Fission power has a lot of problems - whether they offset the benefits is debatable. Regardless, the majority of people who actually have a horse in this race are against Fission power. The people have spoken and it's up to the government to figure out how to implement the people's wishes. We're rapidly coming up on two years since the disaster, and as far as I can tell there hasn't been any sort of coherent move in ANY direction. This "spinning of the wheels" isn't making anything easier on ANYBODY.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Invest in further R&D while maintaining the current levels of energy production -- obviously we don't need more or none of us would be able to type comments on here. Cut back on all the light displays while electric companies complain about shortages, and cut back on personal use, which I think most people have been doing. There's absolutely no reason to restart idled nukes save to make said companies more money; and we've seen time and again how they are in the pockets of politicians, the Atomic Energy Agency (or whatever it's called), have been hiring via the yakuza to cut corners, etc. What's amusing is Japan plans to host a 'safety' summit in Fukushima in the near future when Japan is nothing but a danger to itself.

  • 0

    basroil

    bruinfanDec. 14, 2012 - 11:21PM JST

    Certainly the 10 most dangerous nuclear plants in Nippon need to be shut down at once. This includes Oi 1 and 2.

    By the same reasoning we should shut down the ten most dangerous coal and oil plants, as well as 10 most dangerous hydro dams. Just what makes them dangerous? In the case of Oi, there are two things that actually are of concern:

    1) Whether or not the borate corroded heads have been fully replaced as was recommended. While they dropped the temperature to reduce corrosion, only about 75% of the heads had been replaced with corrosion resistant ones by 2011. This however, is only a safety concern when the reactor is operational, since at all other times the power level is low enough that even if a leak happened, the pressure loss would not affect cooling.

    2) Whether the backup power and flood defenses have been upgraded. Unlike Fukushima, the reactor backups were never in the basement, but the electrical systems on 1-2 (not 3-4) haven't been updated to modern standards by the time they were taken offline. The tsunami wall is expected to be up by 2014, though it's progress is such that it can tank out most earthquakes even now.

    Except for the plant that may have an active fault (by law), plants using the old MK I containment (known to be less sturdy in multiple failure than expected), and Monju (that's a nuclear plant that even the most pro-nuclear person cannot like, just too unstable and uneconomical), the rest should be judged on their build and upgrades together. The "danger" lists were actually very poorly done for most plants, since they focused primarily on age and distance to Tokyo rather than build type and adherence to modern design and maintenance.

  • 3

    sighclops

    nuclear power is a necessary evil. green energy will not be feasible for mass market use for generations upon generations.

    naysayers need to wake up.

  • 0

    SquidBert

    Star-viking wrote,

    [On the topic of Geothremal]

    It is about how close the resource is to the surface - and in Japan most of the resources are deep down.

    Could you expand what you mean by this, it is certainly not consistent with my experience. Hell I have even parked my car on parkinglots, and driven on winterroads where the snow melts from the heath within.

  • -2

    basroil

    SquidBertDec. 15, 2012 - 10:43AM JST

    Could you expand what you mean by this, it is certainly not consistent with my experience. Hell I have even parked my car on parkinglots, and driven on winterroads where the snow melts from the heath within.

    You are confusing man-made sources for natural ones. Many roads and parking areas in Japan have road surface heating, which is INSTALLED when they lay down the road or lot.

    Sapporo has quite a bit of roads with it, though this year some of them have been turned off or seriously reduced in duty cycle due to the power crunch.

  • -1

    SquidBert

    Yeah, that was not what I meant basroil, but thanks for playing

  • 0

    Star-viking

    Could you expand what you mean by this, it is certainly not consistent with my experience. Hell I have even parked my car on parkinglots, and driven on winterroads where the snow melts from the heath within.

    Well we have a few places like that in Tohoku - but they don't add up to much power when you compare electricity needs.

  • -3

    volland

    There are many insulting articles, but this one takes the cake. All nuclera power plants have been closed for 19 months and not a single black out!

    There is NO energy gap, there is simply less profit for the power companies! And even that is not so! If the power companies would have to pay for the damage their nuclear power plants have caused, as would be the case in a sane country, there would nev er have been any profit at all!

    The uncountable ways Japan could save energy are incredible, there is basically no awareness at all in this country about the energy wasting of the people and the companies.

  • -2

    basroil

    vollandDec. 16, 2012 - 08:30AM JST

    All nuclera power plants have been closed for 19 months

    That is just plain incorrect. Throughout 2011 more than half of the nuclear plants had been operational, and in 2012 Tomari was operational until winter ended, and then Oi started up a few months after.

    There is NO energy gap, there is simply less profit for the power companies

    The gap is quite real in Hokkaido, where we have crossed into the warning zone several times in the last two weeks alone. The warning zones are the maximum power difference that can be made up should one unit go offline, in this case one of the 700MW generators of Tomato-Atsuma. Should one of those go out at peak, it will mean a brownout or plain blackout depending on the exact amount above the warning level used.

    Elsewhere, the energy gap is real, but being ignored because they are using load follow and peaking power systems for baseline. Sure it's possible, but it's going to eventually come back to bite them, and several of those stations will experience significant problems that are very costly. Chance they fail during peak will be low, but not zero.

    Star-vikingDec. 16, 2012 - 12:46AM JST

    Well we have a few places like that in Tohoku - but they don't add up to much power when you compare electricity needs.

    Places like that don't add to power at all. You still need to drill down to get anything useful (~250C), and unless you pump water in (which causes earthquakes and water table poisoning), you'll deplete the system in weeks if you have any sizable generation. They are good for ground source heating of buildings, but that usually has nothing to do with electricity anyway.

  • 0

    volland

    Simple--- they have not even started to built anythíng producing regenerartive energy. Hokkaido would be perfekt for that.

    But of cousre after the election results nothing has any more meaning. We will go back to business as usual. Because the sheep have voted,m in a democracy, that in reality is a feudal state.

    Fine with me

  • -1

    jeff198527

    Anyone who believes that "green energy" is feasible probably also believes in unicorns, the Tooth Fairly, and Santa Claus.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    The "gap" is only an imaginary one projected to exist in 2030, if all things had continued as they did before 3/11.

    Many things have changed since then, and the populace needs to be asked how they would like their electricity to be generated, just as we have begun to see in other countries (not to be mentioned here, of course.)

    In one country the populace were told that clean energy would cost them more, but they actually voted for the price rise.

    In other words some places are willing to pay more for cleaner, and less risky, power generation. Now is the time to look forwards and upwards!

    Enough of CO2. Enough of radioactivity.

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