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Japanese firms shift to clean energy despite state's cling to nuclear power

27 Comments
By Hidetoshi Takada

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Good News! It will help Japan shift away from fossil fuels.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It’s shameful that the government won’t support alternative energy and it’s left to the private sector to do it. The Japanese government have too much money invested in nuclear power and not enough brains to let it go.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

if the gov't and the brown envelopes got out of the way there's plenty of green energy projects that could get the light of day

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Nuclear power is the cleanest alternative energy option we have. Fukushima was an ancient reactor design, and it's location on the coast was poorly chosen in an area that is prone to tsunamis. Yes, nuclear power produces waste, but, of all the power options available, it is the only one that can produce consistent power at the needed levels without a lot of atmospheric emissions, harm to wildlife, and other problems. Solar doesn't work when the sun doesn't shine. Wind doesn't work when the wind doesn't blow, and the turbines decimate bird populations. More people die in a month from fossil fuel emissions from asthma, lung cancer, and other related health problems than have died in the entire history of nuclear power.

If you care about the environment and want to do something to stem carbon emissions, nuclear power is the best (only) current option to embrace.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

It’s shameful that the government won’t support alternative energy and it’s left to the private sector to do it. they are they make electricity companies pay for the electricity generated by renewables., these same companies then rasie prices to cover the added cost. So basically its the J consumer who are paying for the private sectors investments into renewable energy. I just received a letter from my local electricity company they said theyll be dropping prices as they will be supplying more electricity produced from nuclear power, while the price drop will be small it seems theyre fighting back with the allure of cheaper prices.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan could definitely do more renewable - plentiful sun in summer and as an island country, plenty of wind power to tap into.

Roofs are an excellent place for solar panels - if all houses had them it could would be a major boost.

At the other end there is a huge amount of wasted power - Japan could easily use less. Shifting to summer time and moving the clocks forward an hour would reduce lighting and aircon time. Also, some commercial properties are extremely wasteful.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I’ve been in more earthquakes in Japan than most and was injured in an aftershock last night.

Anyone, condoning nuclear power for Japan is .....insane!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Are they having a tug of war in the photo?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Clean" energy is not the rainnbow unicorn most believe it is.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The UK is moving forward in leaps and bounds and although still using nuclear energy it is also generating more power from renewables than from nuclear energy. At the moment of this comment UK nuclear energy is generating 7.3GW (25%) and renewables 8.9GW (30%) of power. Most day the burning of any cool is also zero which it is now. Britain is installed even larger sea wing turbines.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That makes total sense.

Running nuclear power in a country with the seismic situation of Japan is utterly insane.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It would seem that Japan would be perfect for wind power. They could be placed on top of all of the mountains. Japan is a windy place and they should do well. While wind is not perfect, they could replace nore than a few coal thermal plants.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What is NOT said in the article is more troubling to me ... that the Japanese reactors just happen to be of the type that produces weapons-grade fissile plutonium, enough to make thousands of nukes ... http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/01/japan-has-enough-plutonium-to-make-thousands-of-nukes/

China has been complaining about this at the U.N. for years, but you won't see it in many Japanese or U.S. newspapers. Duh.

Even in the 1960's my father, then a Master Sergeant in the Green Beret, hinted that one of his jobs was teaching generals the tactical use of back-packable nuclear weapons.

If it can be made, you can be pretty sure it has been made. Just look up 'Japan's Nuclear Weapons Development Program' in Wikipedia. Two euphemisms immediately jumped out and bit me ... 'screwdriver bomb' and 'bomb in the cellar'.

But of course this has nothing to do with the LDP's policy or plans. If one investigates too much, one will be charged under the rammed-through 'states secrets law'. You will not see the Japanese equivalence of Ed Snowden or Julian Assange. Nope, nothing to see here, folks. Move along little doggies.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Do people think Mount Fuji beautiful if wind power stations are built here and there around the Mount Fuji?Wind turbines produce lot of noises and bother people who live near to the system. They are only useful when winds blow constantly with certain speeds. The wind power system is weak to uncontrollable strong winds like typhoons. Like jets, birds causes troubles to the systems, etc. etc.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The plutonium stockpile has frequently been reported in the Japanese media and there was an article about it recently because of the government decision to decommission the Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture reprocessing plant. Also the failure of the Monju fast breeder reactor.

There's enough plutonium to manufacture 6,000 atomic weapons each a 100 times greater than those dropped on Japan.

There are about 47 tons of plutonium but 37 tons are stored in the UK and France and 10 tons are currently stored in Japan at the Aomori reprocessing plant.

Fabricating a nuclear weapon using plutonium from typical spent commercial fuel is neither convenient nor efficient but is nonetheless possible. Such an effort would require overcoming significant mechanical and radiological obstacles, and would result only in a weapon of relatively low yield by nuclear weapons standards;

https://thebulletin.org/northeast-asias-inflection-point-plutonium-stockpiling11549

Japan’s research and development facilities stored a total of about 450 kilograms of plutonium with isotopic ratios at or near weapons grade. That was shipped back to America.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201806170027.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nuclear power is the cleanest alternative energy option we have.

Well, except for the cleaner ones. I would suggest solar - both concentrated solar and PV panels - as cleaner than nuclear, because, as you yourself say:

"Yes, nuclear power produces waste"

It doesn't just produce waste, it produces toxic, dangerous waste which is very difficult to permanently store. Obviously it could just be shoved deep underground somewhere, but as with all things nuclear, that involves overlooking all the factors which make it impractical - such as local opposition to hosting nuclear waste dumps.

So advocates like you go the dishonest route, which is to ignore that and just call it "clean" anyway; just as it's "cheap" if you ignore the subsidies and national government assistance and pretend that decommissioning costs aren't important; and "safe" if you turn a blind eye to the accidents, coverups, no-go zones, and evacuees.

It's noticeable that you wave off the problems at Fukushima by calling it an "ancient" design, something the pronuclear lobby suddenly latched onto the day after the accident. Are you therefore proposing that all designs (worldwide) of that age and still in operation need to be retired?

Basically, if your intention is to persuade people that nuclear energy is viable, even in seismically vulnerable regions, it would help to stay honest about the drawbacks of nuclear instead of pretending they don't exist.

It's expensive; it's almost impossible to install and operate without subsidy or shoving off the costs onto the public; nuclear failures - as at Chernobyl and Fukushima - can be catastrophic, because of the runaway effect when a meltdown or explosion occurs; it creates waste that nobody wants; and there are alternatives. Some of the alternatives are getting cheaper and cheaper, because renewable energy is a growth area, a commercial reality, and the technology continues to improve.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Do people think Mount Fuji beautiful if wind power stations are built here and there around the Mount Fuji?

Strawman argument. No one said we should deploy them in Mt Fuji. Most would be near or off the coast.

And you're right - the wind doesn't blow constantly. Think solar and also fossil backup.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

For more than 40 years the government paid in thousands of billions into nuclear R&D. If the same had been given for renewable energy we would now be that further down the road.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I loathe nuclear. That's all I know.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Storage technology also needs to be accelerated. Wind and solar are excellent renewable sources, but need to be complemented by storage. Japan is something of a leader, but a government commitment needs to be reinforced too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"While Japan's government clings to atomic power even after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, its private sector is moving ahead with more use of renewables to power"

Just replace "atomic power" and "more use of renewables to power" with anything and everything and you described pretty much every action J-gov takes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shame on the government! And of course, they'll want their cut when people start using these companies and not giving into government "requests" for understanding on restarting the nukes that helped destroy Fukushima. The government reminds me of the characters in an Ayn Rand novel that want to cling to old models and then later depend on, and try to take the success of new and innovative models and make them fit the old standards. The renewables will succeed, and then the government will say they need special permits, licences, and they need to allow certain business (the nuclear industry) to buy a percent of their companies so it's "fair", and then while riding and eventually pulling on the coattails, they'll eventually rip the jacket off the initiative and stagnate that, too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

location on the coast was poorly chosen i

Some other countries are in different situations (and they still face the issue of dealing with old power plants) , but everywhere is Japan is a bad location, when it's not tsunamis, it's quakes, volcanos, landslides caused by typhoons.... For accidents, it's not "if" but "when". It's insane that they insist on producing that type of energy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We need power most in hot summer while winds do not blow in hot summer in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Roofs are an excellent place for solar panels - if all houses had them it could would be a major boost.

True, but not at the cost of 2.5 Million to 3.0 Million to install 20 panels on an average house. Solar, privately, is not cheap here. It takes literally decades to get any savings from it!

Look at the picture, look at the location, the wind blows almost constantly there.

We need power most in hot summer while winds do not blow in hot summer in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

TEPCO and the DJP are so in bed together, Nuclear will always be their pick. That's why TEPCO doesn't have to pay for the 3/11 cleanup.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Wind mills were outdated by other technic and so will the Wind power too. It is ineffective, cost a lot, high amount of rawmaterial and not predictable. A countries electrical consumption can´t be dependent on unpredictable energy.

In Sweden a person do calculate with an income of €120 pro month. This is extremely high income compared to the nominal income which is about €8 pro month.

To replace an ordinary nuclear power station of 1 000 MW you need 600 000 extremely high income solar plant according to above.

Sun power can never be more than a marginal producer of electricity.

In the near future all systems on wheels will be electrically. Such as the complete transport sector like bikes, motor bikes, cars, buses, trucks, lorries. Even agriculture- earth mowing-, wood-, and mines equipment will be electrically feeded. Furthermore ship, ferries, aeroplane and private boots as well as serverhalls, battery facture and conversion of furnaces from coal till hydrogen gas. Only the last part do represent a consumption in Sweden equal to the excisting Wind Power.

Therefore unpredictable renewable will never be enough. We have to have an additional electrical source which either gen. 3+, gen iV cor Thorium reactors represent.

The Thorium reactor can be defined as predictable renewable energy source. The grow pro year of Thorium in the oceans around the world is higher than the consumption.

The radioactive emission from Fukushima is 120 milliSievert pro year which means an increased lung cancerrisk of 1 percent compared to smoking that do increase the risk for lung cancer with 1 500 percent. For the people to avoid passive smoking.

A man with a radiactive detector walk around in a nuclear plant with no indication mostly but get indication on-board a flight.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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