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Costs mount for idled nuclear reactors

16 Comments
By Aaron Sheldrick and Osamu Tsukimori

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Yeah, yeah! They can cry poor all they want, but there are other issues to be considered before complaining about losing money. One issue in particular that has still not been addressed is, how does Japan intend to deal with their nuclear waste? Another issues is, if they do restart the reactors will the costs savings be passed onto the consumers or just pocketed by the power companies? I understand fossil fuels are expensive and produce a lot of CO2, but having 47 nuclear reactors in one of the world's most earthquake prone countries is just ridiculous! - there used to be 52 reactors, remember? The sad irony is, they state that the Japanese consumers are paying more because of having to use fossil fuels, but the truth is, the consumers are paying more because of the failure of the nuclear industry. The one disaster in Fukushima is costing the consumer billions of dollars and the safety upgrades of the rest of the reactors, which are still inadequate, are costing the consumer even more! How many nuclear disastersw I'll it take for Japan to realise it is not a safe or cheap alternative to fossil fuels? Their mind-set is only focussing on the immediate future and not the long-term. Japan only uses 3% alternative energy! which is lowest is the developed countries. Time to wake up Japan!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

One way or another, Japan’s taxpayers are going to be saddled with the cost of throttling back on nuclear power through taxes and higher electricity bills, analysts say,

Just another cost passed on for generations by the current Japan "leadership". It was so easy for them to construct all the nuclear plants, and supply "cheap" energy. All the while ignoring the obvious safety issues. And now that cheap energy is going to cost their kids and grandkids for decades. Same thing they did with all the borrowing.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Even though the reactors are technically shut down, they are still putting out a lot of heat, and still require cooling of their fuel rods in both the reactor pressure vessels and their spent fuel pools, just like Fukushima Daiichi. This means that they still have almost the full complement of staff working there, just as if they were generating power, plus external power for cooling and monitoring functions, and that costs money.

If decommissioned, around five years are required to remove all the fuel from the reactor pressure vessel, and allow it to cool sufficiently that it becomes possible to place into dry storage, if available, or fuel pools away from the top of the reactor buildings. Only then can dismantling start, and under stringent exposure monitoring.

The utilities are supposed to have saved enough money to pay for decommissioning during the active 40 year lives of the plants, and that money is usually generated only after 20 years of operations, but in the case of newer plants, less than 20 years old, they won't have that money. Hence the desperation to get reactors on line to starting bringing in cash.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jerseyboy, hindsight's great, isn't it? :-)

SushiSake3 -- if you want to pretend that TEPCO ignored numerous calls for safety improvements over a number of decades, and most of the other power companies have as well (which is why such a small percentage will ever get restarted), you go ahead and do so. Sticking one's head in the sand is about as "great" as hindsight.

jesry boy. Yeah. While the USA has 50 nuclear reactors, building 4 more as we speak, and they contrinue to reap in the rewards of cheap energy and savings passed on to its people. Its not nuclear power.

inakaRob -- huh? Why don't you just compare apples and oranges? The U.S. reactors are not subject to the earthquake and tsunami issues that the Japanese ones are.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Well,, they can't turn on the other reactors until they know for sure they are stuxnet proof

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Renewable Energy in Japan -- Current Trends Show Promise and Opportunities

http://www.japanfs.org/en/news/archives/news_id034505.html

In Japan, a feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme for renewables was launched in July 2012. The total power capacity of newly operating renewable energy generation facilities reached 3.666 million kilowatts (kW) at the end of the first year of operation, the equivalent of three large-scale nuclear power plants, and generation capacity increased by more than 15 percent in one year.

Awesome Accomplishment

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The time has come to de commission all Nuclear Reactors in areas on or near fault zones. Better not to have more meltdowns and radiation poisoning with generations of birth deformities and radioactive mutants.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is no replacement for the cost / power ratio of a fully functioning nuclear reactor. If everything goes right, the waste and pollution is relatively low also. The nuclear power plant being inundated with sea water and the resulting damage is just one of many possibilities when you combine a country built on one of the earth's most active fault lines and a way to generate power that requires constant water flow and human supervision. Anything is possible including a china syndrome type situation. Who knows...

The issue here is that japan has to give up ALOT in order to survive purely on power derived from wind / sun / geo... that's not something they are prepared to do.. I am not willing to give up all my electronics gear, my Airconditioning etc... Why would anyone else. So either japan runs a hundreds of coal / natural gas fired plants at a huge expense or they weigh the odds with cheap accessible electricity / with the potential cost of human lives...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Would not you want to know what these company's profits were the 10 years before the calamity? , It was inevitable something would happen, just not then, just sad for all the people it has ruined , their lives , legacy's , land , while the very rich really haven't lost nothing except a nice money train they have been riding for decades. The 100 trillion yen that i want the government to cough up goes to the 160,000 people that this disaster has displaced,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

jesry boy. Yeah. While the USA has 50 nuclear reactors, building 4 more as we speak, and they contrinue to reap in the rewards of cheap energy and savings passed on to its people. Its not nuclear power. ANYTHING has its dangours. Its the idiots who run the plants. You can have cleanish coal. like USA and Japan. In the hands of the Chinese and other psudo 1st world coutnries their coal plants are destroying the world. Nuclear CAN be a very prospersous hold over until green energy takes hold, but in the hands of idiots....you get get Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ron Barnes,

the earthquake did not damage the reactor. Please don´t bring up more strawmen.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JoshuYaki:

" The nuclear power plant being inundated with sea water and the resulting damage is just one of many possibilities "

Even the inundation with sea water did not cause the disaster. The inundation with sea water of the auxiliary generators, and the design stupidity that did not allow to quickly connect new generators did. It is really a stupid design oversight and a trivial problem to fix. That is how progress works --- we learn from mistakes and make improvements. Screaming hysterically, throwing everything away and trying pie-in-the-sky nonsensical miracla solution is NOT how progress works.

Switch the damned things on already and make sure that external generators can be connected to assure cooling in the worst case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WilliB My point was that whatever happened was one of many different possible scenarios that could happen in an Earthquake zone. Taking the possibility of poor planning and or human error as being part of the equation is the last thing on developers minds when they are building these things..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jerseyboy, hindsight's great, isn't it? :-)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Start the things up already!

The whole economy is being held hostage by the antinuclear zealots.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Time to RESTART JAPAN.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

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