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Concern about aging reactors grows

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27 Comments
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50 down, 6 more to go.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's less about how old they are and more about science,upkeep and following the rules.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

A culture of "Mottainai" has to go to a trash. Safety has to be the #1 priority.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What about sickness from pollution? Global warming aside, all of that crud in the air makes people sick.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Scrap them and go for renewable energy sources.

6 ( +7 / -2 )

But the reactors weren't the problem. The problem was the cooling equipment and the way it was deployed, like in basements(!!).

I heard from a friend at NHK that when the GE engineers who designed the reactors saw Fukushima's plan to put cooling generators underground, they threw their hands up in the air and returned home, baffled by such stupidity.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are 54 reactors with 14 new ones in some stage of the pipe line. Only five are currently in operation. All atomic power plants older than 30 years should be shut down along with any on dangerous fault line like Hamakoa.

6 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan has two choices. One is to remove nuclear reactors since another earthquake could potentially cause another meltdown. Or the other decision is to keep the nuclear reactors and thus have lower cost in energy imports.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Back just after 3/11 when I was doing my reading and research about the TEPCO atomic plant I read the No1 reactor was fully designed by GE and would accept no alternations to their plans including locating the emergency generators below sea level which would be better in a location for tornado's but not for tsunami's?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If nuclear power plants were built to the highest safety standards and factored in the cost of decommissioning and waste disposal, the power charges would be much higher than they are currently.

If the cost of a nuclear disaster was also factored in, like Fukushima will cost at least ¥30 trillion, they wouldn't even build the atomic power plants in the first place.

There is a need for some nuclear reactors but I think 54 and another 14 in the pipeline are way too many. The maximum life of a reactor should be 30 years, and all should be shut down as soon as alternative renewable energy becomes available.

With 10% of the world's earthquakes happening here, it's not a country which should even have atomic power.

Do people still believe atomic power is cheap?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@zichi

Do people still believe atomic power is cheap?

You see, you hit the nail on the head. The first issue is money, profit, next power supply for the country, third........ fourth ...........and the last one is safety and human lives. The question is not whether which power is cheap, but which creates the best profit for the big boys. And that's the answer for your point on alternative renewable energy availability. It is always available, but then with new players entering the market where would the money go?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Munya Times,

agreed!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Promising that nuclear plants may be gone in about four decades may help the government gain public support for getting more reactors running again.

Promising that the government spend more time and money on alternative energy source may help them gain public support. Get rid of Monju and spend the money on shale gas research, for example.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/T110708005057.htm

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

if you build the reactors in submarines to hook up to the grid if something happens you can take it out to see and sink it to the bottom of the ocean

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"The Asahi newspaper reported Saturday that Japan is likely to face a power shortage if it carries out the 40-year rule, which, barring loopholes, would force 18 more reactors to shut down by 2020, and another 18 by 2030."

Ahhh... 'barring loopholes', eh? Well, expect a good number of loopholes designed for the energy companies to exploit to be put into the legislature. Then when the next meltdown occurs and Japan is being criticized there will be no one to blame it on, just a collective 'shouganai' from government and industry as they ask for understanding. Anyway, didn't realize they were going to put this legislation forward 'soon'. "Soon", in Japanese government speak, means 20 years or so... unless it involves raising taxes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Albert Einstein the great thinker once said that the current global challenges cannot be solved by the same type of thinking that created them. Japan should use technologies suitable to its current condition and this will need innovative thinking and leadership from another generation of people, not those that promoted or benefit from its proriferation and currently in power or well connected to those in power. with japan's earthquake prone situation and lessons learnt, the only selling idea as of now should be gradual close of all nuclear reactions and reinvigorating research into alternative energy sources. after the march 11 meltdown, germany, with almost no scare of earthquakes or tsunami and other countries have already put stringent deadlines to use of nuclear energy. japan is only singing reassurance of safety and security of nuclear plants! and japan should not compare itself with USA! USA for instance has about 66 nuclear reactors. japan currently has 54 + 18 proposed, which will make it 72! the number of reactors not withstanding, the difference here is that USA is 27 times bigger in size than japan and whereas USA population density is only 27 persons per sq km, japan is 338 person per sq km. this means that whereas USA can afford to allocate huge swarths of uninhabited land for nuclear power plants, japan can ill afford that because of its population density. this is the nightmare that japan experienced during evacuation on march 11, which was not same magnitude with mile island nuclear accident in USA!!! there is just something wrong with japan's current energy strategy and policy. can japan's great thinkers and leaders of this generation stand up to be counted?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"japan can ill afford that because of its population density"

Japan's population density is much lower than many European countries. In fact, many rural communities are depopulated from the graying population. The lack of space at facilities is a function of cost-cutting, not geographic reality.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

...a reactor that the company operates in Fukushima Prefecture, in northern Japan, was closed temporarily last week because a chimney was emitting more than 100 times the usual level of radiation.

"At first, people had no other choice but to trust the government, because this is such important technology," Eisaku Sato, the governor of Fukushima Prefecture, where some of the troubled Tokyo Electric plants are located,... "Then this incident occurred, and the trust between us, which was never more than a thin red thread, was completely cut off."

This from my New York Times cache. It's dated September 15th, 2002 titled Safety Problems at Japanese Reactors By HOWARD W. FRENCH.

Why didn't Governor Eisaku Sato from Fukushima Prefecture do anything in 2002 to shut down the Fukushima Daiichi reactors to protect his people in Fukushima back then?

3 ( +2 / -0 )

I just found the site of my source. Safety Problems at Japanese Reactors By HOWARD W. FRENCH.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/16/world/safety-problems-japanese-reactors-begin-erode-public-s-faith-nuclear-power.html

The answer to my question is former Governor Eisaku Sato of Fukushima Prefecture was treated as a state enemy.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/04/18/how-sato-sums-up-governments-nuclear-response-soviet/

3 ( +2 / -0 )

Lies and spin for profit! They should all be shut down! Even those here in the US. Older plants constantly leak and the soil is remove and dumped somewhere! Or put into containers and stored somewhere? Just take a look at the Chernobyl fiasco. Decimated for miles and people still lining up for thyroid surgeries! WTF are we doing? Our materialistic lives will change sooner than most people want to see. Look at the large array solar farms that are now in use! I would rather see miles of man made energy production like solar, than breath our polluted air! And what about water? If we screw that up, we all perish! What about the sea? For the next several years, debris from the Japan disaster will make it's way to the US west coast! You'll most likely see those mildly radioactive items in thrift shops as collectables! Dumb asses! How many disasters does it take to get the message! I hope it's not never!

1 ( +0 / -1 )

Aging population and aging reactors, go figure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"if their safety is confirmed with tests." But the safety of all reactors in Japan, including the China Syndrome achieving Fukushima units were and are confirmed with tests. And we have all seen the results. Most of us have breathed and eaten the results, actually, and continue to do so, thanks to Japanese government policies against protecting its citizens. This means that absolutely nothing will change. Almost all of them are shut down now and Japan is not experiencing any electrical shortages. These hideous facilities take decades to close down even when their operators don't allow the fuel to melt into the ground. Japan should begin the process of shutting them down immediately.

2 ( +1 / -0 )

@JeffLee: "

Japan's population density is much lower than many European countries. "

yes you are right. however european countries with higher population densities such as monaco, gibraltar, vatican and malta all do not even have any nuclear reactor plants. Netherlands with 393 persons per sq km has only one (1) nuclear reactor!!! Belgium, with almost same population density as Japan only has 7 reactors.

For Japan situation, we are talking here of getting its population of 127 million, together with 82 nuclear reactors (58 of which old or faulty or both) and piling them in an area smaller than California, which is one of the 50 USA states. Definitely the situation is more risky and choices fewer in case of accident (as is the case now), as compared to say if all the reactors were distributed in the 50 USA states. Why do you think Japan is talking of decontaminating Fukushima instead of leaving the contaminated area a la chenobyl and settling people elsewhere?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"USA for instance has about 66 nuclear reactors. japan currently has 54 + 18 proposed, which will make it 72!"

That should be 104 for the US - commercial, plus a quite considerable number of military and research reactors of various safety ratings. Your other stats are equally disingenuous.

Even disregarding the effects on the climate, a Chernobyl a year is still much to be preferred over continued burning of fossil and biofuels, just for the immediate effects on health and environment. Like it or not, that's the way it is.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@zichi & JeffLee

"when the GE engineers who designed the reactors saw Fukushima's plan to put cooling generators underground, they threw their hands up in the air and returned home, baffled by such stupidity."

"I read the No1 reactor was fully designed by GE and would accept no alternations to their plans including locating the emergency generators below sea level which would be better in a location for tornado's but not for tsunami's?"

Which is which???????

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just finished reading "Japan's Tipping Point" by Mark Pendergras­t which is now available as either a paperback or as an ebook! He won an Abe Fellowship for Journalist­s, (an annual grant given to selected writers who then spend six weeks in Japan); he arrived two months after 3/11 visiting their Eco-Model Cities and interviewe­d many of Japan's Eco "Leaders" both in Government and in the private sector.

===>One thing I learned is that Japan's utilities own their electrical GRID and therefore are the only ones that can "approve" of any forms of energy accessing it! If Japan is to "kick" their Nuclear reactor habit, the Utilities will have to OK that decision, which means a reduction in both Control and Market share for them! snip "I discovered­, however, that the real power in Japan lies with bureaucrat­s who have strong ties to big business. They outlast the politician­s. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is the most powerful bureaucrac­y, with a large budget at its disposal."

==> Another thing I learned is that Northern Japan has a different form of alternatin­g current than Southern Japan so that Energy cannot be easily shared Nationwide­! This is yet another roadblock to low cost energy that the Utilities promote to protect their market share in Japan! snip "Each of the regional utilities jealously guards its borders, so that there is limited cooperatio­n between them. Transmissi­on lines are not large enough to allow power to flow easily between regions. Worse still, the northeaste­rn half of Japan uses a 50 hertz frequency, while the southwest operates at 60 hertz, making it impossible to share power between them without huge transforme­rs."

This to me, is the real "Tipping Point", since without a "up to date" modern (Think SMART) grid energy cannot flow to where it is needed, when it is needed, at a fair price from where it is generated! Imagine installing new solar panels and the Energy produced is not allowed to be added to the grid because the Utility wants to only sell it's own energy!

Because Nature has PROVEN in Fukushima, that it can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365; now is the time for the Japanese to demand real Change in the way that their Country "deals" with Energy; both in generation and distribution! Until that happens the Japanese people will remain slaves to the Nuclear Fascist* and others, that now Control their lives and are dragging Japan's economy downward!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Rick Kisa BTW: California only has two reactors and there is now a big movement to shut both down because they are not only dangerous but their capacity is not required since there are other safer ways to get the Energy!

Here are links to two that will be coming on line very soon that will provide 24/7 Energy from Solar: http://www.solarreserve.com/technology.html and http://is.gd/hwzA8b

Japan has many choices available if ONLY their Utilities will release their death-grip on their distribution grid.

One method is to build solar farms some place like Argentina or Australia and then use the electricity to produce clean burning Hydrogen that can then be shipped to Japan; at least until Energy from Space become a reality...

Japan should RACE Germany toward a clean future instead of continue to use Nuclear because the Utilities want to make money and retain their market share!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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