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Do you think Prime Minister Naoto Kan made the right decision when he asked Chubu Electric to shut down the Hamaoka nuclear plant which stands in an area where a magnitude-8 earthquake is strongly pro

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He made a decision which has a possible benefit, but which definitely has negative costs and consequences. The costs and consequences likely were not well considered. He will look like a hero if a mag 8 earthquake occurs in the next five years or so, but like a goat if it does not.

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Only time will tell. If there's an 8.0 or higher quake there in the near future, then he made the right choice. If no huge earthquake materializes, then he's needlessly asked for something that put the Japanese people in deeper hardship. I should note that the Chiba Power Company didn't have to agree to Kan's request, so any blame for needless hardship shouldn't fall only on Kan's shoulders.

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Chubu Electric, not Chiba Power. Man I must be getting tired.

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a decision which has a possible benefit, but which definitely has negative costs and consequences. The costs and consequences likely were not well considered.

That describes the building of the nuclear plants in the first place. Possible benefit - seemingly cheap, clean energy. Negative costs and consequences - liability of processing and storing spent fuel rods into a future longer than our past history, in what are essentially radioactive land-fills that no one wants in their own backyard. The costs and consequences of a triple meltdown were not factored into the cost of the cheapo power.

So did Kan make the right decision? Heck yeah. Japan should stop pandering to big power, and put more money and research into clean, safe, renewable energy; wind, hydro, tidal, solar, geothermal. Work on a plan to shut down and decommission all the nuclear time-bombs and make power more local, so that the loss of one plant doesn't shut down half the country..

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Absolutely. I was actually impressed, as I had not put much hope in Kan, and now he showed that he can do what a man's got to do, when he has the safety of the nation on his shoulders.

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Yes, it put the citizens at ease and shows the global investor community that Japan is serious about risk management. The losers are the big power company contractors.

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Yes. Given the high risk in that location, it's worth ensuring that safety changes are made in light of the situation in Fukushima. At a minimum there needs to be assured power supplies to cool the reactors in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.

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Yes, and Chubu Electric already ran into a problem shutting it down (since rectified). Glad we didn't have to have an earthquake there to find that out.

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No. Stable door and all that. Earthequake didn't cause all the fukuoka trouble, tsunami did.

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I'm with Cleo. The question is not whether Kan made the right choice in closing down one plant. The question is, did Japan make a wise choice putting 90% of their power needs into over 50 nuclear power plants? When talking to the locals about this I always get the same self-pitying response, "Japan has no resources, so nuclear power is the best choice." Guess what? They are wrong! One disaster at one plant is gonna devastate the economy and totally disrupt the infrastructure of the kanto region. It would have been cheaper to supply the nation with generators.

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putting 90% of their power needs into over 50 nuclear power plants

Try again, disillusioned. Less than 40% is from nuclear power.

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Yes, he made the right decision and bully for him. But in Japan (and I guess most places in the world) nobody pats your back you when you do something preventative and nothing happens. But if you do nothing and then something does happen, there is never any shortage of finger pointers.

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@Mittsu. No. The men who designed and then let said design go ahead against the wisdom / evidence of the time were the ones who got us into the trouble. NOT an inanimate tsunami. That, the tsunami, did no wrong because it is not able to understand. The men who designed the plant did wrong. As did the men who built Hamaoka. Mr Kan did a BIG big BIG right. Well done that MAN.

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yes - we really dont need another fukushima. lets shore up the places that need it - safety and all that - and then get them going again.

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Yes, and I admire him for his courage to go ahead with an unpopular decision in these critical times. The politicans before him ignored the problem, and instead of keeping their mouths shut, still try to oust one of the few people who act responsibly. This is something I cannot understand.

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Yeah, very conservative for protecting the population and the infrastructure of Japan. I think there is more needed investigations to the remaining reactors in Japan, I do not think they have been carefully maintained.

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No. Stable door and all that. Earthequake didn't cause all the fukuoka trouble, tsunami did.

@ Mittsu, read the updates. The latest assessment is that temperatures started rising due to the earthquake, resulting in a meltdown. By the way, it's Fukushima, not Fukuoka.

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Re: above

"High radiation readings taken in the No. 1 reactor building the night of March 11 suggest it was the quake rather than the loss of cooling that critically damaged the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, a utility source said Saturday....Though Tepco sprayed in large amounts of water, the fuel was exposed and the reactor core melted down."

Absolutely the right decision from Kan.

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No. It was illegal, confiscatory, and based on spurious speculation that was NOT intended for use in support of this kind of policy.

He is a demagogue. He made this decision to save his party and destroy due process.

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Yes.

Klein, I believe you are in the minority on this one.

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Of course it is a popular decision. The mob cheers. But whenever one man can seize on some lame opinion of a committee of scientists gazing at their navels and shut down a billion dollar operation that is SAFE, then we should all be afraid. OF HIM!

Next time a plane crashes and kills 400 times as many people as have died in Fukushima, will he shut down the airports nationwide and declare a state of national emergency? Who will stop him? Logic and precedent will be on HIS side, after all.

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Of course! Quake predictions are far more predictable than they were years ago, we certainly do NOT want another Fukushima near Yokohama or Tokyo, that would be devastation 10 times more than up in the East!

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Mittsu: What? There was an earthquake and tsunami in Fukuoka also? When?

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@Klein2

No. It was illegal, confiscatory, and based on spurious speculation that was NOT intended for use in support of this kind of policy.

This is a false accusation. He had no legal authority to ORDER the plant shut down. That's why he only ASKED Chubu Electric to shut down the reactor. Chubu Electric did not have to abide by Kan's request. Kan broke no laws, nor did he confiscate anything.

@goodwitch205,

Of course! Quake predictions are far more predictable than they were years ago, we certainly do NOT want another Fukushima near Yokohama or Tokyo, that would be devastation 10 times more than up in the East!

This was a joke reply, right? Accurate quake predictions are only seconds in advance of when the tremors start to be felt. However, these aren't really "predictions" because they come from sensors placed at the fault lines and then it's a race between the sensors' electrical signals getting to land and the quake's ground wave to get to land. Longer-term predictions are nothing more than reading tea leaves or consulting your favorite astrologist. Case in point: How many DECADES have geologists been saying the fault under the Hamaoka Nuclear Plant is ready to unleash an 8.0+ quake? (Hint: it's been longer than how long the Hamaoka Power Plant has existed there.) I suppose if they keep "predicting" this quake, they'll eventually get it right. Just like if I start each day saying, "Today I'll die.", EVENTUALLY I'm going to be truthfull.

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Fadamor at 04:12 AM JST - 17th May. How many DECADES have geologists been saying the fault under the Hamaoka Nuclear Plant is ready to unleash an 8.0+ quake?

The explanation for the occurrence is that earthquakes are not predictable. The question to be addressed is whether the accurate, reliable prediction of individual earthquakes is a realistic scientific goal, and, if not, how far should we go in attempting to assess the predictability of the earthquake generation process? Hamaoka nuclear plant have shown that the process of seismogenesis is not completely random and earthquakes tend to be localized in space, primarily on plate boundaries, and seem to be clustered in time more than would be expected for a random process.

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some lame opinion of a committee of scientists gazing at their navels and shut down a billion dollar operation that is SAFE,

The 90% likelihood of a 8+ quake in that area was predicted by one of the world's best scientists in the field, and has since been confirmed and supported through other studies. You're welcome to your religious beliefs, but if you want to pretend to talk about facts, please list any respected studies that support your opinion. Risk management depends on making predictions, even about things that are only partially understood. You get the best info you can, and plan accordingly.

The Hamaoka plant is built right on a major fault line - FACT, that fault is expected to shift soon - FACT, and the nuke plant would not survive an 8+ quake - FACT. In addition, at this time, another nuclear disaster in the Tokai region, along with the damage of a quake and possible tsunami, would kill the economy of Japan, and risking that when other options exist would be foolish.

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And where is the spent fuel? Is it still in the pools? I bet it is, just sitting there! But they won't tell us that.

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Yeah, I'm like.....Shut it down yesterday. Dude, who's the brainchild that decided to build a nuclear reactor on a fault line? I'm probably not going to find that info if it isn't on Wikipedia.

Seriously?? A nuclear reactor on a fault line? Someone is trying to make me laugh. Yes, I am giggling like a kid that just had too much Fruit Punch loaded with sugar.

FAIL!!

A Nuclear Reactor (Millions of Dollars) on a fault line!!

FAIL!!!

Come on people....Picture it in your minds.

FAIL!!!

Hahhahaa.....pulease....shut it down.

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People here seem to think fault lines are nice neat cuts that go straight down from where they breach the surface of the planet. They don't. The Pacific Plate slides under the other plates at an angle, meaning you could get a deep earthquake on the WESTERN side of Japan from a movement of the Pacific Plate (which starts getting subducted EAST of Japan's coast). Obsessing that something in Japan was "built on a fault line" makes me laugh because there isn't a part of Japan that isn't sitting over SOME part of one of the fault lines.

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I am with cactusjack...where is the spent fuel going? Nowhere! Still a potentially dangerous situation.

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Disillusioned at 02:03 PM JST - 16th May

The question is, did Japan make a wise choice putting 90% of their power needs into over 50 nuclear power plants?

Yes, Disillusioned, let's settle down a bit here please. 50 nuclear power plants? try 20. The US, 60. And China, 9 with 13 in the works to start up within the next 5 years.

However, I do agree with what you are saying; yes, Kan made the right choice, and this is simply risk management as someone others have already mentioned, but it should go beyond this one plant in the near future and alternative power sources need to be urgently researched.

For those who say the tsunami was the big factor at the Fukushima power plants and not earthquake, you are correct, but also keep in mind that there was a state-of-the-art nuclear power plant in Niigata that had to shut down for almost 3 years because it had been shaken so badly from a M7 earthquake in 2007.

So the question isn't whether tsunami or earthquake will do the same thing to the Hamaoka nuclear power plant, the question is what are the chances of something beyond expectations (including but not limited to earthquake and tsunami) happening to the Hamaoka plant, which happens to be in the Tokai region, which happens to be the next area to expect a large-scale earthquake. Good call Kan, but don't stop there.

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Disillusioned.

Where do you get the figure from that Japans electricity is 90% from nuclear power.

That would make them more dependant than France or Germany on nuclear power.

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I thought the number was closer to 15-20, wasn't it?

Most of the electricity here comes from Gas, imported from...Bolivia, maybe?

If anyone can prove or disprove this I'm fine either way, I recall hearing it on TV, might have got it wrong.

Moderator: Back on topic please. You haven't answered the question.

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I think he made the right decision. Although, it's an unfortunate one.

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There really isn't a debate here. Kan was told what to do by the US because Yokosuka is too close to Hamaoka for comfort.

The real question here is: Did Obama make the right decision when he asked Chubu Electric to shut down the Hamaoka nuclear plant which stands in an area where a magnitude-8 earthquake is strongly projected?

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Kan made the right decision. And the fact that Chubu Electric quietly accepted the request shows that they know their safety standards are not sufficient.

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No!

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You people sound starved for hard information, while some of us doing research have had some of the key documents from the get-go, and knew this was going down all along. The timelines of the mistakes were just published in the Japanese Wall Street Journal BTW, or you can follow some of the links here to get to a huge database of documents and stories--search Facebook for: Japan Nuclear Emergency.

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