Workers are seen in front of storage tanks for radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Photo: REUTERS file
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Japan's new climate goals lift prospects for crippled nuclear industry

33 Comments
By Aaron Sheldrick

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Nuclear Power has no ‘support’ from the Japanese public!

Strange how there isn’t a nuclear blower plant on the shore of Tokyo Bay-why not?

Building NPPs in an earthquake ravaged country only makes sense to greedy morons.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

So that was part of Suga’s hidden motive behind his announcement of the zero target for carbon dioxide emission—restarting the country’s nuclear power plants.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Why? Nuclear equals pollution. Excessive pollution just to build it, pollution to maintain it, and the longest pollution ever made that will last on a geological scale of millions of years. It is the ultimate in pollution. Thus it is no solution only a problem. Nuclear cannot exist without government funds, it's a white elephant.

Renewables don't have any of these properties. Creates jobs and in areas that are not centralized. Encourages multiple types as one-size-fits-all isn't necessary or even ideal. Costs keep dropping year after year and more solar is installed. Even home owners can do their part and subtract their needs off the tired grid.  

Renewables are where the world is going. Nuclear is from the past and should stay there. Why Japan cannot embrace the future and always has to be dragged down by the brown paper bags is really an embarassment.

Given a choice, people don't want nuclear. How many accidents does Japan need to change? 2 more? 5?  

In contrast a solar accident is a nice day

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Nuclear doesn't remove carbon. Only removing carbon removes carbon. True story

“Nuclear is now explicitly emphasized as a key element of decarbonization, in tandem with renewable energy,” Andrew DeWit, professor of energy policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo.

He's a policy wonk, not an engineer. Notice that he has to say 'in tandem with renewable energy'. Thus nuclear needs renewables, renewables don't need nuclear. Otherwise they can't cover up nuclear's endless shortcomings.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan’s move to embrace a climate target of carbon neutrality by 2050

Greater emphasis on conservation measures is needed.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The LDP are at it again. They created Fukushima, the Democratic party had to deal with the disaster, and now the LDP are back in full swing with not as strict as it should be regulations, have no idea what to do with the contaminated water and now want to build more nukes. Where is Koizumi the Environmental minister poster boy? Nothing? Japanese had better learn to vote for party and not individuals because that's the only way they're going to get these idiots out of office. Suga's carbon neutrality is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Yep, Suga using the climate scare to rationalize restarting the reactors. No surprises there

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Japan does not have energy sources. When China and S. Korea are building nuclear power plants one after another, can Japan survive economic competitions?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Japan has all the energy it needs just under the ground...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan should strive to achieve to become radioactive-neutral by 2050.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Japan has plenty of geothermal power underground, but the National Parks Commission always reject planning permissions on the grounds that it could affect tourism! If these oyajis took a trip to New Zealand, they could see for themselves the low footprint that these plants take up, often hidden by trees, and hard to spot until you are on top of them.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Inflexible nuclear power does not coexist well wth renewables since it is either all on or all off. Kyushu, which had restarted some reactors, recently had to throw away solar energy to avoid overloading its grid. Renewables coexist well with flexible thermal backup to fill in supply rapidly when necessary.

Of course the real solution to load balancing is a proper, well connected national grid.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Renewables won't be dumping tons of nuclear waste irradiated water into the ocean every ten years. Renewables won't destroy a fishing industry

Nuclear is crippled for a reason. Time to let it go

Once Japan leaves the oil/gas mindset, there are enormous opportunities in Japan for renewables. Thousands of Japanese engineers are ready to take up the challenge. Japanese renewable solutions are fun and attractive to new recruits and existing employees.

It would be a national celebration for change and common cause

3 ( +5 / -2 )

happyhere, that's true right now it's all about balancing the grid not storing power.

I think Tesla Power would make a real dent here (if allowed in the country?)

Also rather than wasting all that energy, they could do molten salt, and keep boilers going to tap for electricity. (Google molten salt Spain).

This would cripple nuclear again as it would no longer be needed for baseload. For that I'd go with a mix of geothermal and molten salt, and it's bye bye nuclear

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The Ignorance on here.. Wow

If you care about the environment in 2020. Nuclear Power is the best by miles compared to solar or wind. Fact

Fukushima = Super old reactor, first Generation, hit by Massive magnitude 9 Earthquake and Tsunami afterwards.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

48 reactors pre 3/11. More than 20 to be decommissioned. The nuclear industry is finished in this country. There will no new reactors.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Population to shrink to80.000.000 by 2050 or 1/3 rd down. Economy in free fall. So, there is no need for more energy, on the contrary. And the energy waste and light polution in Japan’s big cities is still enormous. Simply have a look on weekdays at the offices of Microsoft, Canon, Jr at Shinagawa. Like christmas trees untill midnight at least. Please don’t come with the fairytale of overwork. Overstay maybe. But no need to keep entire skyscraper lit up to impress the boss

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How about waiting 70+years after cleaning up Fukushima before thinking about restating?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan has many volcanoes and uses of geothermal power has been studied long time but they are located remote in Tohoku and Kyushu and sizes are small. About solar power, household electricity may be covered but not big factories, big offices and big cities. It is unlikely New York and Tokyo will be covered by renewable powers.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

to de-mystify all these energy sources, it's all about just boiling water to run a turbine generator to make electricity. That's it. Whatever brings the heat to boil water will work. Molten salt, thermal pipes, electrical elements, whatever.  

Japan invested in boiling water through nuclear rods and sure it works, but the cost is too much and the environmental cost is literally beyond humanity. So kinda not good. Fukushima was a wake up call to do something else.

Japan is poor in current energy sources but those sources are based outside of Japan. Time to change that mindset to instead think about what Japan is rich in: geothermal, access to ocean water, rooftop solar thermal and solar panel, and you have a rich opportunity to, again, just boil water and make electricity. In the case of solar panel make electricity directly, but everything is really just a means to make it.  

More like nations such as New Zealand and Iceland, Japan can find geothermal a great resource since any hot water doesn't have to be converted from electricity. it's just a big plumbing system. District heating systems established in those countries could be modified for Japan. Every city near the ocean can have district cooling systems as well. Japan would find new partners for sharing expertise, import and export.  

It really would be grand. Construction would be happy, lots of projects to do. Workers will be happy, no radiation poisoning. Cities will be happy, local energy supply means local prices as well as resilience against earthquake damage cutting off power. Japan's economy would be happy, you cannot export local energy, it would just be a foundation of the society. Governments will be happy, a larger tax base for a little pays off in the long run. With so much owing a debtor government like Japan needs ongoing cash flow. 

Pay attention to the man behind the curtain (nuclear/natural gas/ oil whatever fossil fuel), replace him and you have real positive change.  

if change really happened in Japan, that 2050 deadline would be met in the 2030's. Japan could be in charge of its own destiny. It would be a wonderful accomplishment.

It's possible. Whatever the reality and the politics, it's possible. I know given all this opportunity, Japan will once again not do anything!  But they're sitting on a winning lottery ticket. Oh man, time for a drink

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If you care about the environment in 2020. Nuclear Power is the best by miles compared to solar or wind.

Lol..once again thanks to our resident LDP fanboys for the entertainment.

Fact - Fukushima = Super old reactor, first Generation, hit by Massive magnitude 9 Earthquake and Tsunami afterwards.

Fact - last time we all checked Japan still was on top of the ring of fire and more earthquake prone than just about any other place on the planet and the N village culture of cover ups and incompetence was still paramount. Only corrupt LDP and their lackeys keep pushing N- power here. Public resolutely opposes it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

More tax money poured down the rathole of nuclear power... One more quake and it all goes to waste.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

since so many people oppose nuclear reactors, maybe we shall seriously thinking of building more coal power plants and let's fill the earth with carbon dioxide. satisfied?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I quite like nuclear power if the alternative is coal, which is definitely the worst. The reality is that 3/11, Japan has burned lots and lots of coal.

Unfortunately, nuclear power in Japan means an especially corrupt and irresponsible group of people in charge, so I cannot support it. I oppose them, not the technology itself.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Of course it's not just a choice between nuclear and coal but if indeed those are the only options i will gladly go for coal.

We have solutions for removing carbon in the atmosphere but we don't have solutions for safe disposal of nuclear wastes.

Once nuclear wastes are created they just pile up and last practically forever.

The problem that Japan has now regarding waste water is just a minuscule part of the problem.

Of course it's not just nuclear waste that's piling up with continued use of nuclear power, nuclear materials for creating weapons are piling up also.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Relicensing 40 year-old nuke plants that were supposed to last 20 years doesn’t sound like a wonderful part of any plan for the future.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The cripple has no concept for storing , means future beyond individual politics is .........

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course it's not just a choice between nuclear and coal but if indeed those are the only options i will gladly go for coal.

Really? I don't think you quite grasp this whole carbon neutral concept.

We have solutions for removing carbon in the atmosphere but we don't have solutions for safe disposal of nuclear wastes.

Is that so? What are these solutions you speak of that the international scientific community has yet to discover?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

renewables don't need nuclear.

Renewable energy sources have great value but they are not available all day every day. They are all episodic. Solar only produces energy when the sun is out and wind energy needs wind. Tidal energy likewise only generates when the tides are coming in or out. What do you do for electrical energy when those sources either aren't producing power or the demand for power exceeds their output? There has to be something powering the grid when renewable energy sources are not available, and there has to be an ability to generate extra power for periods of peak demand. What do you propose then? There are no beauty queens in this pagent. Natural gas emits greenhouse gases. Coal and oil are worse. Hydroelectric dams up rivers and causes a host of other problems from destroying fish migrations to retaining silt that normally replenishes river banks, farmland and deltas during floods or replenishing beaches to warning streams to the point that various juvenile fish cannot survive. Even if you decide to store energy in battery banks the batteries and their electrolyte is highly toxic. It too is a toxic waste stream eventually. What is the solution then?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

More tax money poured down the rathole of nuclear power... One more quake and it all goes to waste.

There would have been no disaster at Fukushima had the auxiliary generators and their fuel supplies been located on the bluff immediately behind the plant. The plant itself survived the actual earthquake. The tidal wave did a lot of damage but there would have been no nuclear emergency if the plants had been able to maintain cooling, and that didn't happen because the auxiliary generators were on the same level as the plant and were washed out by the tidal wave. Instead of simply walking away from nuclear power, analyze the mistakes and do better the next time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fact - last time we all checked Japan still was on top of the ring of fire and more earthquake prone than just about any other place on the planet

If that is the case then don't build anything more than one story and wood framed in Japan. Go back to being a simple agrarian society because, well, anything more complex you build might get knocked down by an earthquake. Do you think the tall buildings in Tokyo or Osaka would do well in a similar sized earthquake? A little proportion please.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Buildings in Tokyo and Osaka don't have nuclear cores. Building nuclear plants that are earthquake and tsunami proof make them too expensive to build. The containment vessels and suppression rings were damaged by the earthquake. The reactor buildings were badly damaged by the earthquake tsunami including the major electrical switch gear located on ground floor levels. The plant operators lacked safety training and didn't know how to operate the auxiliary condenser cooling.

The plant was badly designed to reduce costs.

https://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/icanps/eng/120224Honbun04Eng.pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you think the tall buildings in Tokyo or Osaka would do well in a similar sized earthquake? A little proportion please

" Tall buildings in Tokyo or Osaka" don't explode and spew radiation in an earthquake last time I heard. Irrelevant comparison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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