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Court revokes permits at 2 reactors over quake safety

33 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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33 Comments
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Good! Use the money elsewhere, and invest more in green energy!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It's nice to wake up to some good news, for a change.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

and invest in green energy

Nuke is green energy, it just negates the need to buy carbon credit certificates so the environmental bankers don't like it.

The father of climate Jimmy Lovelock is all for nukes.

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

@Sh1mon

You make a very good point.

However, the specific issue with these 2 reactorsis that when designing and then retrofitting the plants there was a failure to postulate a large enough magnitute of seismic event when performing the seismic Proabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA). The consequence would be a loss of coolant accident or release of fissionible material.

The same issue occured at Fukushima where the tsunami which occurred on 3/11 was not considered a credible event. However some evidence of a similar sized tsunami existed (that tsunami occurred perhaps 800 years ago).

Nuclear power can be a very good alternative to reduce carbon emissions. It can be a bridge to meet energy demands until a realistic alternative source of energy is found and renewables can be used more extensively.

These reactors are also very old and should be decommissioned. A better alternative would be to restart Kashiwazaki 6 and 7 for a period of time which allows alternatives to be developed. KK6 and 7 are a newer ABWR design with a much more robust safety system.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Sometimes the courts get it right.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

the regulatory authority gave permission to the utility to restart the reactors without fully taking into consideration the magnitude of earthquakes in calculating the necessary quake resistance at the plant

Of course it did. What did you expect. This is Japanese culture. The revolving door keeps on spinning. Regulatory capture or complete incompetence? Whats the difference?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Not used to waking up to good news!

i always carry two masks 24 hr a day. Not for the virus, but because there are 4 dangerous NPPs on the big faultline near my prefecture. Depending on wind direction and power, I will only have 3-4 hours before I am drenched in Iodine, Cesium, strontium and plutonium.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good! Use the money elsewhere, and invest more in green energy!

Energy should become 100 % green.

But did you count how many hectares of forest have been destroyed here to promote green energy, especially solar energy?

Nuke is an important part of the mix. The energy created is massive, no dIrect CO2 emission , and the footprint small compare to other energies. It must be used as part of the transition.

Fossil based power plants must be stopped first.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

In my prefecture no trees are cut down. Disused rice paddies are used.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is good news for a number of reasons. If there is a genuine problem with earthquake resistance then we need to face that and deal with it, not smooth it all over on the surface. It shows courage by the court in the face of what we can imagine to be huge corporate and governmental pressure to back down and give in, as so often in the past.

When the earthquake and tsunami hit the three reactors in Fukushima, the effect of the earthquake was quickly covered up and all damage was finally assigned to the tsunami. In the beginning we heard stories and saw photos of broken cooling pipes, from the minutes before the tsunami struck, but a wall of silence descended and no more was spoken of damage mentioned by workers there. It became an unspoken rule not to voice any possibility of there having been earthquake damage.

Something similar happened with Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, one of the world's largest NPPs, mentioned by Tokyo-Engr above, in 2007 when the M6.6 Chuetsu earthquake shook the plant beyond its design basis. We saw photos of some of the damage, including a solid steel fuel rod lifting crane/cradle sheared off at the base, but these subsequently disappeared from the public domain. The whole place was shut down for years while earthquake proofing was upgraded. If reactors 6 and 7 can be used in a bridging action, then I guess that's better than nothing.

Personally I believe that the more 'green' renewables we can put into the mix the better, but realistically we cannot switch overnight. Sadly I see little evidence of any great push to develop the various obvious potentials here in Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Tokyo-Engr

yeah, I was just emphasizing that Nuke is green. No issue with the court decision, which is based on safety standards.

The court decision is refreshing, because in the past operators have been able to convince regulators that cutting corners is 'sustainable', whereas it's simply shifting liability down the road, and partly picked up by government. "The club" benefit.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

yeah, I was just emphasizing that Nuke is green. No issue with the court decision, which is based on safety standards.

Nuclear power plants are not 100% green. Massive amounts of raw materials needed to build them. Uranium mining. Transports across the globe for making fuel rods. The massive problem of tens of thousands of years of storing the nuclear waste. The dangerous production of plutonium.

Originally nuclear power was touted has safe, cheap and clean. Then along came Fukushima. Cost to date ¥25 trillion. Eventual cost ¥100 trillion.

The main problem is the overnight generation of the load power, the minimum needed, about 25-50 GW which previously was mostly nuclear but now coal. Solar can't generate that much power nor overnight.

Gas fired system is probably the only way.

Japan uses about 250GW of power. Probably 50GW could be generated from current renewables.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In light of the sorrowful Fukushima incident, this is a right decision, whether one likes it or not..

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The nine power companies can no longer afford the costs of building a nuclear power plant safe enough for powerful earthquakes and tsunami. The taxpayer can no longer afford to pay for a nuclear plant meltdown. The nuclear liability law limits the cost of a nuclear disaster to only ¥120 billion for the power companies. Fukushima has cost ¥25 trillion to date.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@zichi - go to your nearest investment bank and ask for a prospectus on investment in carbon certificates.

You will read that:

Every form energy generation has indirect adverse consequences, and/or perception of adverse consequences. That is why it's a sure bet to invest in carbon certificates.

The media is behind it, politicians are behind it, and banks are the masters. Those who resist will be subject to massive campaigns against them, just look at Australia. It has just announced it won't reuse old credits worths tens of billions on today's market, instead it will buy new ones to meet target.

In terms of indirect adverse effects, solar is the worse because of the chemicals involved. Gas???? communities everywhere are totally against fracking, and gas also produce emission, like coal. Wind?? Australia Greens leader just opposed a wind generation proposal in his backyard, why???

Fukushima could have been saved IF government had mandated higher safety standards 'at the time'. The 'club' ensured the standard was too low so TEPCO et al can save a bit of money. Storage of nuclear waste is not that big of an issue, other than the NIMBY psychological opposition.

If you want to save the planet from carbon emission/global warming, there's no other comparable intensive energy generation method like nuclear. If you want to redefine what 'green' means, then it's a different kettle of fish altogether, but don't be surprised if nuclear still comes out on top.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nuclear energy in Japan will never again return to the pre 3/11 levels generating about 27% of total power. The most with the reactors which pass the new NRA regulations will be about 15%. When their life cycle ends they won't be replaced.

The nuclear village killed nuclear energy here.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@zichi,

Great comments as always.

I fully agree with you.

Also......and I must thank you again because it was such a terrifying time...... your updates after the meltdowns after the big quake in Tohoku were truly awesome and such a great resource for the expats who were in Japan at the time.

I wonder if all of those posting on here advocating restarting the NPPs were here during that touch and go time getting on for 10 years ago?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Spitfire

thank you. People have already started to forget how bad the nuclear disaster could have been. The country got lucky that most of radiation blew out to sea. Had it gone south to Tokyo would have a whole different story.

The problem remains the fossil fuels especially coal and how best to generate the base load, the overnight power or minimum generation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Zichi,

You are spot on.

Many thanks for everything and Japan Today is very lucky to have you have a resource.

Much respect......I can hardly believe the 10th anniversary is fast approaching.

Your reasoning was the only one I looked for that near decade ago.

The J-government,much like now,was found astoundingly wanting during those desperate times.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The current fleet of legacy reactors are all intrinsically unsafe requiring massive and expensive safety measures to mitigate the problem. And even then it does not make them safe, just less dangerous if all goes well. Building more reactors based on the same outdated technology still won’t get rid of the hazards nor the long lived (hundreds of thousands of years half life) and highly radioactive waste.

That does not mean that nuclear will not be part of the future low carbon energy mix just that different technologies need to be used (which are being developed or are available) which can’t produce weapons grade material as a by product, burns most of the fuel (current systems burn only about 5%), doesn’t leave long life highly radioactive waste (some can burn the waste left by legacy systems) and are intrinsically walk away safe.

For nuclear to be valid for the future it needs to be economically viable without public subsidy and without the public picking up the cost of decommissioning or damage.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The amazing thing is that Japan has huge renewable energy resources available to it that it has done next to nothing to utilise.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Another vote for zichi from here. The balanced voice of common sense, backed with lashings of facts n figures. More power to your pen, and your brush, whatever it is that you paint! :8)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Saw a chart today showing that the UK’s wind sector supplies up to 50% of the nation’s energy mix at times during the day.

Japan could surely do more in this respect, especially as they have had the benefit of years of other nations’ experiments to study.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's a UK Grid Watch is very useful to take a look at to see how the UK generates its power. Most days there's no coal burning.

https://gridwatch.co.uk

The UK is about 65 million people compared with Japan 130 million. Total UK power demand less than 50GW and Japan about 250GW. The nuclear output is less than here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nandakandamanda

Another vote for zichi from here. The balanced voice of common sense, backed with lashings of facts n figures. More power to your pen, and your brush, whatever it is that you paint! :8)

Thank you. Too kind. Acrylics and watercolors, landscapes etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zichi, with half the population yet uses only a fifth of the power? Makes you wonder why Japan uses so much, both are advanced first world countries?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Electricity per capita kWh per person per year

Japan 7,371

UK 4,795

The UK is no longer a major manufacturing country. I think it became a services economy.

Electricity demand is lower than prior to 3/11.

Better use of the electricity would help to decrease the demand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@zichi, where does the 250GW figure for Japan come from?

When I look at electricity consumption data by country, I find Japan consumes just under twice per capita as the UK. (But close to the EU average. I'm assuming the UK uses relatively more gas.)

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

Total monthly output for Japan is about 80,000 GWh. I think that comes to an average output figure of about 110GW.

https://www.ceicdata.com/en/indicator/japan/electricity-production

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nuclear energy is very green actually.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maximum installed capacity is 250GW

Electricity demand in 2017 was about 1060 billion kWh or 1060 TWh. 1,000,000 GWh

Peak national demand came to 156 GW.

These figures do not not include solar electricity.

https://www.jepic.or.jp/pub/pdf/epijJepic2019.pdf

In 2020 Power supply was about 170GW and demand about 160GW

https://www.jepic.or.jp/pub/pdf/epijJepic2020.pdf

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks, zichi.

I agree that the 250GW number matches generating capacity.

I'm finding it difficult to find matching data, but the ratio of capacity to demand in Japan seems much higher than in the UK. (I'm seeing figures of a 85GW generating capacity in the UK, which seems not much higher than peak demand.)

Meanwhile, on the nuclear power front, one question I have about stopping or starting existing nuclear plants concerns the situation that in either case the fuel has to be managed. So, assuming operational safety, is it not more practical to operate existing nuclear plants until renewable sources are able to take over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

albaleo

Thanks, zichi.

I agree that the 250GW number matches generating capacity. Yes and the installed GW for the UK is 85GW.

The Japanese installed capacity is 250GW but the production efficiency is about 60%. It varies differently according to the fuel but 60% is the average. A 1000MW reactor actually only produces power 60% of the time, because of the law requiring a shut down every two years and replacing of the nuclear fuel. This takes about 4-6 months. So a 1000GW reactor only produces 600MW. Fire and gas powered plants require periods of shut down for maintenance . This varies according to the laws of a country.

Appox installed capacity of 250GW produces 150GW of power.

The government plan for nuclear power was to use the reactors to generate 20-25% of the total power but the power companies are still struggling to bring their reactors up to safety standards or getting agreement from local communities. 58 reactors prior to 3/11. ten lost in Fukushima. About 20 too expensive to upgrade and will be decommissioned. About 28 reactors would be available.

That would be appox something like 25GW installed producing power 60% of the time would be about 15GW.

Renewables could reach about 40-50GW. The UK is doing much better wth that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So a 1000MW reactor only produces 600MW.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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