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10 years after Fukushima disaster, Japan's nuclear industry stalled

32 Comments
By Etienne BALMER

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32 Comments
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Humans have proved time and again they are not capable of safely managing nuclear energy. Yes, nuclear energy is a possible source, but the risk as proven in history far outweighs the practicality. Biodiesel is safe and 100% renewable and non-polluting. Welcome to the 21st century.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The electricity sector in Iceland relies primarily on renewable energy: hydro power and geothermal energy, with very minor contributions from thermal power stations. Most of the electricity is sold to industrial users, mainly aluminium smelters and producers of ferroalloy.

Far away country but similar geothermals. Don’t wast them on hot springs only.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Kipling:Agreed. Japan needs nuclear energy! Sun, wind, and thermal are losers. Coal is great though and tech can deal with scrubbing emissions.

Would love to see tidal energy explored.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Technology may have been improved, but loss of trust in the Government, Regulatory Authorities, the Electrical Utilities who operate NPPs, and the local government will remain.

Exposure of the outright lies; poor planning and documentation; lack of safety information and emergency management; faulty construction; falsification of records; editing and deletion of accident videos; lack of responsibility and care towards plant personnel, especially contract workers; bribery and corruption at all levels; and collusion with the media have all damaged the reputation of the 'nuclear village.'

The only future the industry has is acquiring expertise and skills in decommissioning, and marketing and selling that overseas.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The financial cost of a reactor is 10x the financial gain.

The environmental cost is impossible to calculate because there is no price tag on air, water, sea and land.

the human cost of NPPs depends on the legal systems of various countries.

my solar panels produce 400% of our energy needs.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

BY THE WAY: The Japanese Government decided not to dump the contaminated water into our oceans at this moment. They decided to wait until the contamination is at a lower level. So, ten or twenty years from now? My source is from an official who must remain private. However, this is what he indicated.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think it is fanciful to expect a sudden explosion of funding, competence, and diligence in the nuclear industry in Japan.

New designs for nuclear tech may be brilliant, but I would not trust the same organizations to put them into practice. It will be the same organizations with the same budget constraints and the same level of oversight. Unlike the last time, energy savings and renewables are now also cheaper than new nuclear generation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thousands die every year from pollution from coal-fired power plants. Millions die every year from air pollution.

Even if the country decided to build new reactors, the Gen Five won't be available until the 2030's and take 10-15 years to build.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

TEN YEARS and the story just keeps getting better. Ten year. OMG!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nobody ever died from coal, gas, geothermal, hydro, solar, wind or wave power generation either - and Japan has many of these things in abundance. As the population ages and declines, Japan will need less and less power. It's also time to put paid to the notion that Japan is going to remain a manufacturing and economic power far into the future, despite what the LDP and Keidanren would like everyone to believe.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It was in March 11, 2011. Time flies, yet Japan has not recovered (even partially) from the nuclear reactor fiasco 10 years ago.

Now it intends to release the radioactivity contaminated waste water from the huge tanks to the ocean. Could that be a wise or acceptable move? Perhaps the authorities concerned should really think twice, maybe thrice..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mr Kipling

To date, the total number of deaths attributed to the radiation from Fukushima is ZERO. 

True that none of the evacuees died from radiation but I believe five of the workers at the disaster site have had their deaths attributed to radiation exposure.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It isn't that surprising, given the public backlash following the Fukushima incident, but it does ultimately feel like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Nuclear, properly handled, is pretty much the safest and cleanest option Japan has right now for power production. The key is properly handled. If a reactor is scheduled to be decommissioned, that needs to be a priority. Not something that gets shuffled around for years until it is too late. It was a sad coincidence that one of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded hit specifically that area, but every eventuality should be prepared for.

Unfortunately, the mishandling of Fukushima both before and after the incident really soured the public perception of nuclear power.

With modern reactors and safety procedures in place, there really isn't any better option right now. I just am not sure if it is too late at this point.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yeah, it remains stalled because of the safety regulations put in place after Fukushima destroyed half of the east coast. This also means that the 50 odd reactors that were in operation before the Fukushima disaster were doing so on sub-standard safety regulations and any one of them could have exploded under similar circumstances. Now, nearly all of the remaining reactors are reaching their 40 year decommissioning age, which they want to extend because they’ve done nothing about replacing or upgrading them. They are running on technology from the 60’s and 70’s with ridiculous amounts of money invested in them. The decommissioning costs up to ten times more than to build them. Should I mention that Japan still has no plans on how to store the spent fuel from the decommissioned reactors? Tell me again how nuclear power is safe and cheap.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Meanwhile they want you to switch to electric cars , hahaha...........have they considered where the electricity willl come from given that coal is not an acceptable source these days and Japan still hasnt been able to harness the geothermal power resource and the wind power pie in the sky idea is an idea from fantasy land.

The only option is to spend the money on over hauling or upgrading the remaining Nuclear power stations , or building new ones or we all go back to using candles and horse n carts for transport.

Any one who held a upper position in the govt or Tepco prior to the disaster should be tried in a court of law for public endangerment for ignoring the safety recommendations regarding those reactors in Fukushima.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

ReasonandWisdomNippon -

".....If you care that Japan has 0 natural resources, an Island Nation...."

0 natural resources?

Who told you that?

If a portion of the $trillion put into the nuclear industry, was over time dedicated to R&D of energy alternatives on this island nation, then the future would look less bleak.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

ReasonandWisdomNipponToday 06:43 am JST

Nuclear technology has improved dramatically in the past 50 years!

Fukushima reactor was old. Built in 1967. It was supposed to be decommissioned, retired, when a magnitude 9 Earthquake hit. Followed by a Massive Tsunami!

Hasn't it!? So we have an issue, haven't we?

Yeah, it was SUPPOSED to be. But it wasn't. And no earthquake was ever considered? I mean c'mon! It was just a disaster waiting to happen. You don't need to be the sharpest tool in the shed.

Mr KiplingToday 07:31 am JST

To date the total number of deaths attributed to the radiation from Fukushima is ZERO.

Well, it's not like it will kill you instantly if you receive a small dose. It takes years. And considering the culture of not wanting to lose face, I'd doubt the reported numbers.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for nuclear energy in the long run. But you need competent professionals dealing with that. Not some oyaji or just someone who has no education in this field but is there just because he is a friend with someone. And if things go south, you need people who know how to deal with it properly. Like crisis management, etc. Not someone who will just hold meeting, press conferences over one decade and that's basically it. Not scapegoating.

Up until now, TEPCO has never answered any questions and has not done anything concrete. They are just repeating the same mantra again and again all those years. They don't deal with the situation. Just swiping everything under the carpet.

bag of hammersToday 08:48 am JST

TEPCO is Frank Drebin from Naked Gun telling everyone "Please disperse! There's nothing to see here!" after those reactors went into meltdown. Absolute incompetence. Then again, these are the same loonies who played with fire and built nuclear power plants in an earthquake prone country.

Spot on.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan's government, regulators are simply not mature enough to deal with nuclear energy. Japan might need a source of power but its intrinsic ability to mismanage even the smallest of problems should bar it from any new technology. Untill they get on top of 1970 technology, then welcome them to 1980. I'll send them a fax. Do I have a fax machine?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It's an awful lot of time, trouble and money just to boil water.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy should be Japan's future" There is no such thing as "safe nuclear power" in a country on the Ring of Fire... period.

Nuclear Technology, Innovation, Research is Key for Japan in 2021 and beyond." No , it is not, only J N-village & LDP stooges are pushing the idea.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The cost of a new reactor would be about ¥100 billion. Too much for the power companies to pay.

"The total costs to implement government-mandated safety measures, maintain facilities and decommission commercially operated nuclear power plants in Japan will reach around 13.46 trillion yen ($123 billion)"

"Decommissioning costs for 17 reactors belonging to nine nuclear power plants, which were deemed too expensive to implement safety measures for, totaled around 849.2 billion yen."

New reactors will cost in the range of $5,500/kW to $8,100/kW

3 ( +3 / -0 )

TEPCO is Frank Drebin from Naked Gun telling everyone "Please disperse! There's nothing to see here!" after those reactors went into meltdown. Absolute incompetence. Then again, these are the same loonies who played with fire and built nuclear power plants in an earthquake prone country.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Cut the Olympics, GoTo subsidies and corporate welfare and use the money to upgrade Japanese reactors to efficient , fail-safe thorium salt reactors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Thanks Zichi, your insight was very helpful when all this was going down real time 10 years ago. Hope to see more posts as we look back on 3/11.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy should be Japan's future.

"Clean" apart from all the radioactive waste that will build up if the 30% target is ever achieved. One idea is to shoot it into space on rockets, or Japan could contract with a desperately poor African country to bury it.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

To date the total number of deaths attributed to the radiation from Fukushima is ZERO. The long term deaths from low dose radiation is very difficult to estimate but studies suggest from zero to less than one hundred. Less than those from generating electricity by fossil fuels.

Safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy should be Japan's future.

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

Six reactors.

No 1 1971

No 2 1974

No 3 1976

No 4 1978

No 5 1978

No 6 1979

The No 1 reactor was being considered for decommissioning in 2011.

The 2011 earthquake and tsunami badly damaged reactors 1-3. The reactors 4-6 were empty of fuel.

To date the spent fuel removed from No4 and No3 cooling pools. The removal of the spent fuels from cooling pools 1 and 2 will be more difficult and take until the early 2030's.

The problem of about one million tons of waste water remains without any definite decision about what to do with it.

The recent powerful earthquake further damaged the No 1 and No 3 reactor containment vessels increasing the size of cracks and increasing the amounts of leaking cooling water into the basements.

TEPCO have no answer for removal of the melted fuels.

Currently, the power companies have applied to decommission about 20 reactors because of the expense of updating them to compile with NRA regs.

The cost of the nuclear disaster to date is ¥25 trillion and expected to reach ¥80 trillion or more.

No government decision where all the nuclear waste will be stored for tens of thousands of years,

Nuclear power will never return to the levels before the 2011 disasters. The government intention was to make nuclear energy 25% of total power by 2030 but that probably don’t happen.

Nuclear energy is unlikely to generate more than 15% of total power.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Nuclear power in an earthquake ravaged country?

What could go wrong?

Well, it already has!

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Never a mention of the underfunding and mismanagement of the site pre disaster, as well as the countless lies told by TEPCO and the local & national government post disaster.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Nuclear power can be solution to tackling the climate change. An inconvenient truth?

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

Never a mention of the source...massive waste and consumption.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Nuclear technology has improved dramatically in the past 50 years!

Fukushima reactor was old. Built in 1967. It was supposed to be decommissioned, retired, when a magnitude 9 Earthquake hit. Followed by a Massive Tsunami!

More needs to be done on climate change. Nuclear technology should be on the table, next to other renewable sources like Solar, Wind.

It's in Japan's best interest to continue nuclear:

-If you care about the economy.

-If you care about becoming energy independent.

-If you care that Japan has 0 natural resources, an Island Nation.

-If you care about national security.

-Prices going up on energy.

Nuclear Technology, Innovation, Research is Key for Japan in 2021 and beyond.

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

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