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Group files injunction to stop restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors

33 Comments

A group filed an injunction on Monday to stop the restart of Tokyo Electric Power Co's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

The 130 plaintiffs, including former residents of Fukushima Prefecture, said that it would be dangerous to restart the plant's seven reactors when the the cause of the Fukushima nuclear crisis was still under investigation, Sankei Shimbun reported.

TEPCO took the 1.35-million-kilowatt No. 6 reactor offline on March 26, leaving only one reactor in Japan online -- at Tomari, Hokkaido -- but it is scheduled to go offline on May 5.

The No. 6 reactor at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is expected to undergo checks for several months.

© Japan Today/AFP

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33 Comments
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Good for the 130 plaintiffs! All plants shouldn't be restarted until Fukushima has been resolved....decades later most likely.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@yokatta you have a great point. But please explain to me how Japan expects to generate power? WHILE returned energy exports back to manageable levels? I totally agree that we should get dismantle all the nuclear reactors in Japan. The thing is am worried about is that China, North Korea, Korea, India all have nuclear reactors, and they all ALL building new ones! If they have a melt down, it could spread to Japan VERY easily.

Just seems to me like there is a HUGE pictures out there that 99% of Japan is just kind of ignoring.

Chernobyl spread radiation over about 15 countries.

It is VERY easy to wish for world peace or a nuclear free world. But to offer up no solutions its totally pointless day dreaming.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@Robert Dykes. I understand your point. Look at the bigger picture right? That's very true but unfortunately Japan is unable to do anything about China, NK, India and other countries building nuclear reactors. And besides, how hypocritical would Japan appear, after causing one of the biggest nuclear catastrophes so far (only second to Chernobyl) to start preaching to other countries to turn off their nuclear reactors? That would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black I'm afraid.

First, let's start with a small step: slowly phase out nuclear power IN JAPAN. (I agree that stopping it overnight is difficult/unrealistic and will cause problems but let's also be aware that the line of 'we need to keep nuclear power running for the moment' SCREAMS of nuclear industry propaganda too to some people. Concerned, informed and intelligent Japanese citizens are well aware of this danger).

Secondly, if the world folows suit and decides it wants to get rid of nuclear and start using alternative energy, well then, that's great. But if you think that it is going to happen soon in countries like China which seem to enjoy defying the rest of the world (CO2 emissions for example), then that is 'totally pointless day dreaming' I'm afraid. As the Mayor of Nagoya has deeply offended the Mayor and citizens of Nanjing (Nanking), it would be adding insult to injury.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Robert Dykes, While Nuclear accounted for about 25% of Japans Electric power production before Fukushima. It only accounted for about 12% of the primary power sources (i.e the total energy used by Japan).

If Japan is able to show the world that they successfully are able to reduce co2 while phasing out nuclear and turning to green power sources (like Germany is doing) then it will be an incentive for those other countries to consider the same path.

Even in one of the most nuclear friendly countries of the world (France) public opinion is starting to turn against nuclear.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Public opinion turning against Nuclear Power generation is a great step forward - but let's not "Cut off our Noses just to spite our face"

Most of the vocal groups speaking out against Nuclear Power have absolutely no idea what is to replace it when it is gone...

This is a typical case of Speaking out while having No Solution in mind...

It's a great idea to move towards a cleaner and safer way of enjoying our modern day lives - but let's take it 1 step at a time - - producing 37% more ghg because burning coal is "so-much-safer" doesn't seem like a well thought out long term alternative to me - and what we NEED here is LONG TERM ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS -> NOT KNEE-JERK REACTIONS...

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

producing 37% more ghg because burning coal is "so-much-safer"

How did you come to the conclusion that Japan green house gases would increase by 37%? Or was that in relation to Germany?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The are no reactors and associated systems which can be considered safe. They were built according to probabilities and not according to reality.

The Oi reactors didn't even have emergency generators until recently. KEPCO is now using generator trucks located next to the reactors, and they call this safe?

Reactors need to go into shutdowns and maintain the cooling systems no matter what has happened. Earthquakes, tsunami , typhoons, terrorist attacks, airline crash. There are no reactors here that can do that, and not only here, but also most of the reactors across the globe.

With the current thinking on reactor safety, there will be another nuclear disaster at some time.

I've been reading up on Bloom Boxes,from Bloom Energy.

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18560_162-6221135.html

2 ( +5 / -3 )

if Japan is able to show the world that they successfully are able to reduce co2 while phasing out nuclear and turning to green power sources (like Germany is doing) then it will be an incentive for those other countries to consider the same path.

Unfortunately they can't. Generation of CO2 has increased greatly since they shut down the NPP. Green power will take decades to come online and even then their output will still be minimal. Meanwhile they will pump millions of toms of CO2 into the atmosphere. An environmental disaster.

Most of the vocal groups speaking out against Nuclear Power have absolutely no idea what is to replace it when it is gone...

This is a typical case of Speaking out while having No Solution in mind...

So true.

All plants shouldn't be restarted until Fukushima has been resolved....decades later most likely.

What hasn't been resolved? Why would it take decades?

...it would be dangerous to restart the plant’s seven reactors when the the cause of the Fukushima nuclear crisis was still under investigation

I didn't realize it was still under investigation. I thought they knew the cause: earthquake and tsunami. From that they should be able to determine if other NPPs are prone to tsunami or vulnerable to earthquakes and make the decision based on that.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

*tons

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Well a new ministry of environment draft report published lately seems to think differently.

The report suggests it would be possible to save 25% on green house gas emissions even without the use of nuclear. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20120422a1.html

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The article above does not go as far as stating as a fact. But at least hints at such reports previously being blocked by nuclear interests inside the government.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't think they are going far enough. They should be pushing to have all the reactors in Japan decommissioned and disassembled. They should also be demanding that the Japanese government stops giving money away to other countries and invests in alternative energy sources. The 7 billion bucks they are giving to Myanmar would go a long way in developing alternative energy sources, don't you think?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

2020hindsights,

Unfortunately they can't. Generation of CO2 has increased greatly since they shut down the NPP. Green power will take decades to come online and even then their output will still be minimal. Meanwhile they will pump millions of toms of CO2 into the atmosphere. An environmental disaster.

Following the nuclear disaster, the level of CO2 increased by about 4% but there are no full figures yet for 2011? The country has made good progress reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gases, unlike America which even refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

Reducing greenhouse gases should still remain that the forefront but no longer top of the agenda until the reconstruction after the mega disasters is complete.

determine if other NPPs are prone to tsunami or vulnerable to earthquakes and make the decision based on that.

That's all reactors in this country and none are equipped to deal with natural disasters. The thinking on safety was more about "it could never happen, but it did!"

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The report suggests it would be possible to save 25% on green house gas emissions even without the use of nuclear.

Yes but it relies on cutting power and switching over to green energy. The fact is that green energy is decades away and coal and gas burning pumps C02 into the atmosphere. Nuclear pumps no CO2 into the atmosphere.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Robert Dykes

The thing is am worried about is that China, North Korea, Korea, India all have nuclear reactors, and they all ALL building new ones! If they have a melt down, it could spread to Japan VERY easily.

China is also investing in renewable energy and generates 50,000MW of power form wind turbines. Three Gorges Dam is the largest power plant in the world. But they are also building too many low technology coal fired plants without the plant to clean and collect the pollution.

Power generated from coal and nuclear energy is same per kWh.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Don't get me wrong I fully support developing new green power sources and switching to use the renewable sources we have the technology for (e.g. hydro). Solar isn't ready yet and wind farms are almost there and worth deploying.

But the fact is that doesn't solve today's issue. By not turning the NPPs back on, they will pump a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

2020hindsights

Nuclear pumps no CO2 into the atmosphere.

That's not correct. The nuclear industry generates less greenhouse gases than gas, oil, coal, but more than hydro. Nuclear produces about 22 grams/kWh of C02 compared with coal in a plant without cleaning plant of 990 grams/kWh.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

That's all reactors in this country and none are equipped to deal with natural disasters.

I don't think so. Are all NPPs built on the coast?

The thinking on safety was more about "it could never happen, but it did!"

I would doubt that. Even Fukushima had tsunami walls and backup generators. It turns out that these were inadequate. So learn the lessons and upgrade to be able to cope with such a disaster.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

2020hindsights,

I don't think so. Are all NPPs built on the coast?

Yes, that are. With many of them located on the Pacific Coast which generates 50% of the world's tsunamis.

I would doubt that. Even Fukushima had tsunami walls and backup generators. It turns out that these were inadequate. So learn the lessons and upgrade to be able to cope with such a disaster.

In 2006, TEPCO was warned that the sea defenses at Fukushima were too low for defending against a major tsunami but TEPCO refused to increase the height.

The emergency generators at Fukushima are located below sea level and were swiped out by the tsunami. The five 660,000 volts incoming power supplies were destroyed by the earthquake. Fukushima lost all power and water for reactor cooling and had no way to avoid the nuclear meltdowns.

I suggest you read this article,

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120418a4.html

6 ( +6 / -0 )

General discussion on nuclear plants is fine, but this article is about Kashiwasaki Kariwa which is the world's biggest I believe.

It was struck and trashed by a huge earthquake about five years years ago but the damage was quite successfully covered up, with the complicity of the IAEA. A kind of mini prelude to Fukushima. (See Wiki)

Subsequently they have repeatedly tried to fire up some, but not all, of the damaged reactors, with mixed results.

The earthquake shocked the plant, but more so the operators and local citizens when they discovered that it had been sitting on a previously 'undiscovered' (underestimated?) fault line.

I can understand why the authorities might push to restart some of the vital reactors there, but I can better understand the citizens' very real and legitimate concerns over serious problems that have not yet been addressed in public.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The emergency generators at Fukushima are located below sea level and were swiped out by the tsunami. The five 660,000 volts incoming power supplies were destroyed by the earthquake. Fukushima lost all power and water for reactor cooling and had no way to avoid the nuclear meltdowns.

That's my point. Correct those mistakes and you are good to go.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I read the report

There was an air-cooled diesel engine sitting atop a hill close to Reactor No. 6. Its airfins were too big to fit into the basement and was luckily placed outside, and as such, this engine started to generate electricity. With a pump brought in from outside, it started to cool not only Reactor No. 6, but had enough power to cool Reactor No. 5. Of the 13 emergency generators associated with the six plants, this was the only one of the three air-cooled backups, and hence not dependent on water as the heat sink. This air-cooled diesel engine was the only one not entirely submerged in water, but in fact at one point the water level did reach up to half its height. A few weeks later Reactors No. 5 and No. 6 were brought to a cold shutdown.

So the lesson is that if Fukushima had more external power generators the disaster could have been averted.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

2020hindsights

That's my point. Correct those mistakes and you are good to go.

You make it sound so simple when it's anything but that. Once reactors are built it's near impossible to modify them but the safety standards could be vastly increased if the power companies are willing to spend the billions it would take and an average time span of about 5 years per reactor.

The Chubu power company at Hamoaka closed their NPP while they build a new sea wall which will take about 2 years and will cost ¥200 billion.

KEPCO's Oi reactors passed the dangerous stress tests. I say dangerous, because the stress tests were computer models based on probabilities rather than possibilities. Dangerous because they'll give people a false sense of security.

Since these reactors passed the stress tests the government issued a further three safety points which KEPCO have stated will take five years to implement but in the meantime, if KEPCO and the government have their way, those reactors will be restarted before those three points are put in place.

Unlike the reactor at Chernobyl, the Fukushima reactors have containment vessels made from steel and concrete. The purpose was to contain fuel in a melt down and stop dangerous hydrogen gas from escaping. Those containment vessels cracked open by the earthquake, and melted fuel has escaped and hydrogen which lead to the explosions destroying the 1-4 reactors.

So the lesson is that if Fukushima had more external power generators the disaster could have been averted.

Again, it's more complicated than that. When reactors go into shut down because of a disaster they need to be cooled to prevent nuclear meltdowns. They need power but they also need a heat sink, like water of even sea water in extreme case to cool the reactors. They also need pumps and electrical systems. The pumps and the electrical control panels at Fukushima were located below or at ground level.They were all swamped by the tsunami.

Reactors 5&6 and 4 were in cold shutdown prior to the 3/11 disaster.

Before any reactors are restarted, they need to be made safe which will cost the power companies ¥billions and 5-10 years to achieve it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

2020hindsigths

Another dangerous safety point highlighted by the Fukushima nuclear disaster is the use of open pools to store spent nuclear fuel. The No4 pool which contains the most amount of spent fuel came very close to collapsing from the earthquake and the explosions. if it collapsed the nuclear disaster would have probably needed the evacuation of Tokyo. It has been reinforced by TEPCO but the danger of collapse remains especially if the plant is struck by another powerful earthquake before the spent fuel is removed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The irradiated spent nuclear fuel in the Fukushima pool contains about 80 times more cesium than the total released at Chernobyl. Exposure to a irradiated spent fuel assembly would kill you in about one second.TEPCO have stated it won't be able to remove the spent fuel from No4 pool until early 2014, in the meantime....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think that the Japanese industries (the sector that consumes the majority of electricity supply) should just learn how to cope and conserve energy. And since many Japanese industries are losing money anyway, maybe conserving energy will help them instead. Yes that is just kind of a joke, but honestly, it's better than having yet ANOTHER nuclear accident. And we haven't even solved the Fukushima nuclear crisis yet.

If these industries were smart then they would invest in renewable solutions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The irradiated spent nuclear fuel in the Fukushima pool contains about 80 times more cesium than the total released at Chernobyl. In the meantime... it leaches into the sea! Industries don't bank enough on the come. they bank on what they have invested in and reap as much profit as possible out of existing equipment/plants! It's always about the money! Chernobyl is screwed for a long long time! How many close calls or disasters will it take to say, " Well maybe we shoulda rethought what we were thinking"? Aren't we as a human race given some level of intelligence to bite the bullet and do what's right! I think the owners of the nuke plants know full well they want to milk all they can before considering new technology! They would have to reach deep into their pockets for a time before they are able to scoop up profit! If it ain't broke, don't fix it! If its broken, patch it and keep her rolling! That's the mentality it seems! Geeez!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Personally I think Niigata has had and continues to have too many big quakes for reactors to be as safe as they can be up there.I would be worried living anywhere near them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All should understand the gigantic nuke explosion magnitude surge waves at work through the crust of the earth because of the sudden surges in water demand by various needs of modern civilization. Read the horror terror nuclear by demoniac dams always at work at: http://glaringlacuna.blogspot.in/2012/04/close-nukes-they-are-subject-to-beyond.html Its the Mitsui chemical complex exploding this time. Next it may be a nuke somewhere fortuitiously located on the globe agine a la Fuku. Be forewarned. There is no pure reason for the non harmonised Nor for the non harmonised is there an appreciation of truth And for such there is no peace And for the unpeaceful how can there be happiness?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There's still no new atomic safety agency as promised last year by the gov't.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And let the blackouts begin! When summer hits, with all the reactors offline, there will be widespread blackouts when people start using air conditioning. I lived in Nagoya, Japan during the summer and I believe lots of people, especially the elderly and the sick will be dying of heat exhaustion. And until a cleaner form of mass electricity generation gets enabled, a lot more people are going to get sick and die of air pollution.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japanese officials are concerned that if all of the nation’s nuclear power plants are shut down, that the rising sentiment in the island nation will prevent any of the commercial reactors to start once again.

“They want to avoid setting a precedent of the country operating without nuclear power because it will create a huge barrier in terms of restarts,” said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University’s Tokyo campus.

“People will question why we need it,” he has stated

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's only springtime now. Wait til the temperature stays above 40 with high humidity this summer, with high temperatures all over Japan and with no nuclear power plants to generate enough electricity to run all the AC units in Japan, the factories, the stores, the hospitals, refrigeration warehouses for food, etc. then you will experience reality.

There will be blackouts. A LOT of people will be dying - the elderly, the sick, and young children. That's what it means when you don't have an alternative power source ALREADY running BEFORE you turn off the power plants. This year will be the year of stupidity. And who will be to blame? The media and the reactionary public who acted out of fear rather than science.

Talk with an engineer, not a Asian Studies person for reality checks.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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