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Japan may be 'momentarily' without nuclear power: Edano

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© 2012 AFP

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@smithinjapan: Totally agree, and some good suggestions there. I'm sure businesses and individuals could come up with much more. The Japanese public has the momentum now, and that should not be lost!

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That's right, the Japanese have been "worker bees" for too long, stagger the vacations for private companies and useless bureaucrats, give them a month off, impose usage restrictions to cut the gargantuan waste of power and Japan can be a ZERO nuclear country. This will spike research and major investment into alternative energy which has been throttled by archaic laws and powerful lobbies.

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Ah, so Edano is not pleased about people showing a little backbone for a change and so he's starting with the veiled threats. We all know that with no NPPs online things may be more expensive, and there may be a strain on power grids (although the threats of it being so in winter never panned out, did they?), and I think pretty much everyone is willing to sacrifice here and there. But this whole "we need them back on" stuff is just garbage, and clearly just the electric companies and government in cahoots with one another and desperate to keep the money rolling in.

Here's a couple of ideas:

1) I know this has been debated at length, and is quite a hard idea for many in Japan to swallow, seemingly out of pride more than anything else, but adopt daylight saving's time and put the clocks ahead an hour. This would save a LOT on electricity if companies actually followed through with their no sa-bisu obataimu rules.

2) Push for companies to finish early, and to reduce energy consumption on top of the Cool Biz they play up in the media all the time.

3) Praise convenience stores and other businesses that have been reducing power consumption since 3/11 (turning off refrigerator backlighting, etc.), and encourage them to continue doing so, while encouraging those who do not to start.

4) Fine any department stores and/or businesses that leave their doors open in summer with the air-conditioning blazing inside (and therefore going outside). I used to love that sudden rush of cool air on sultry summer days in Osaka, but it's not necessary and is a complete waste.

5) Make an NHK program about new trends in energy saving at home: re-using bath water for laundry, catching rain water for gardening, not leaving the water running CONSTANTLY while washing dishes (and then putting them in a dishwasher!), changing light bulbs to more eco-friendly ones, etc., and say it is the newest trend -- people will be sure to follow.

Anyway, there are heaps of other things people can do as individuals, and that companies can do in order to save power, and so long as we make each other aware and work together we don't need to 'suffer' through the summer, nor do we need to restart the NPPs. They are hell-bent on restarting them regardless of public opinion, but I hope that opinion does not waver and in fact gets stronger so they cannot.

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So, we have a NPP that is shut down for maintenance. Is it safe? I mean, sure the reactor core is not burning hot but are the rods safe? If the "shut down" plant is subjected to a similar scenario as Fukashima's plant was last year don't we still have a problem? The quake ruptures the storage ponds. Cooling water is lost. Hydrogen builds up. A hoist crane falls into the spent fuel pool. The tsunami takes out the backup power. A valve gets stuck and a pump falls off the wall. Seems like the same thing all over again. Without constant cooling water flow these plants just self destruct.

So the only really safe NPP is one that has had all its spent fuel and active fuel removed. One that is only shut down for maintenace is still a threat if attacked by natural forces. Do I have this right?

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YuriOtaniAPR. 16, 2012 - 12:45PM JST smithinjapan, the government does not care what the public approves. Second most of the savings has been done by closing factories. Another year of shortage will close more factories. What you write is good too, better would be to raise rates and use the money for new geothermal power plants. Nothing else will get people to use less power than higher rates. Basic supply and demand stuff.

We should get rid of these nuclear plants for the public good instead of worrying about forcing airlines to fly into places other than Narita.

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The government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced on Friday that it was safe and necessary to restart the reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in western Japan,

If nuclear power plants are safe, then why are they not located smack dab in the middle of Tokyo? That way they could easily save 10-15% on the distribution costs.

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Oi is just the first of many that will go online with the bare minimum of safety measures being met. The govt and industry wants it to be so and it will be so. The yes men are already coming out in Fukui.

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I've no data on the present situation but how many reactors were on in January, 2012. Was it three perhaps? Japan suffered a loss of only 2.6% in electrical production from January 2011-12. We can do this mates, and we can do it without nukes.

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Roger Goetz,

My question is though, if Japan shuts down all Nuclear power plants, what will cover the load? Gerbils in a wheel??

So far the slack has been picked up mostly by burning LNG in thermal power plants, but also by bringing dormant hydro online. Burning LNG is not a good long-term solution, but considering Japans normally very low Co2 contribution (about half that of the U.S per capita) it is something that can be allowed during a transitional time.

Apart from this, burning LNG is quite clean and not causing the type of environmental and health problems that our good friend Yuri is talking about.

Anyway there was an article here on the Japan Times just the other day about geothermal energy potential under Japan for providing twice the amount of power that Nuclear ever did.

Additionally Japan should at least catch up with the rest of the world on other "green" energy such as wind, hydro, solar and energy recovery on incineration stations and so on. Preferably they should become the world leader in this area.

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Let's take a month off in the summer to conserve energy....

Finally, Japan has a chance to become normal!

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smithinjapan, the government does not care what the public approves. Second most of the savings has been done by closing factories. Another year of shortage will close more factories. What you write is good too, better would be to raise rates and use the money for new geothermal power plants. Nothing else will get people to use less power than higher rates. Basic supply and demand stuff.

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@smithinjapan

5) Make an NHK program about new trends in energy saving at home: re-using bath water for laundry

Two things associated with this: 1) According to many posters here, no one watches NHK. 2) Reusing bath water for laubdry is extremely common plance. Energy saving is quite prevalent in Japanese homes with use of fluorescent lamps, etc, now switching to LED. Where they fall down is insulating the home against heat and cold.

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I am a bit ignorant about Power sources here in Japan, as I am in the States with the knowledge of both Coal and Nuclear being used with Wind and Solar gaining ground. My question is though, if Japan shuts down all Nuclear power plants, what will cover the load? Gerbils in a wheel??

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@zichi

It has nothing to do with power shortages, it's all about profit loss. The power companies makes billions of profit from nuclear energy.

How so? Power Companies income is based on what they sell, and ultimately what gets consumed.

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Maiko_Toyama, I agree they need to be replaced but something has to replace them first. Still say that the fossil fuel plants are much more deadly. Go into any hospital and you can see the people dying from disease. The public has latched onto the dangers of atomic power. Why, because the "experts" say it is dangerous. You are much more likely to get cancer from the air you breath, the water you drink and the food you eat. Remember this fact, there is nothing such as "radioactive" free. The health studies are based on statistics. They do not know for sure this causes that.

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warnerbro, that was during the winter months. The summertime is a very different thing. Demand is down but so are jobs. A hotter than normal summer means Japan will be in real trouble.

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