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Japan puts two reactors on shortlist for restart screening

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By Mari Saito and Kentaro Hamada

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What happened at Fukushima isn't an "If" but rather a "when" type scenario...There are no preperations adequate enough to deal with the basic fact that Japan is in a geographic location plagued with a string of consistent and powerful natural disasters. Why is there never any news about insights into making these plants more structurally sound? Shouldn't the Fukushima disaster BE THE NEW BENCHMARK of safety standards??? at the very basest level???

6 ( +9 / -3 )

(Hand gestured down and along three times) Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Ain't gonna happen.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

unfortunately I'm afraid you are right YongYang

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Substandard industry, substandard standards, substandard management, substandard over site, massive profit all good, dozo what could possibly go wrong.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The thing that heaves me about this whole process is that there is no sense that Japan has to move beyond nuclear power. What about the research into other power sources? Lots of earthquakes, but also lots of geothermal power opportunities. Then again, instead of thinking outside the box (for example, what happens if a "once in 10,000 year tsunami" happens to occur tomorrow"), it is just back to business as usual ("imagining that nothing worse than the last time" could occur). And what happens if the unexpected does occur? It instantly becomes headless chicken derby time. Not good enough. Instead of buggering around with nuclear power, Japan should be massively investing in R&D to come up with viable clean energy options.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

the gov't will do what the gov't wants to do. just look at okinawa as proof.

that being said, i really think fukushima was a once-in-a-lifetime that is being blown out of proportion because so many people died as a result of the tsunami. if there were no tsunami, the fallout from the radiation would not have killed that many people, and there would not be such a strong fear of nuclear power. In the end, i think all these "screening" will make the nuclear industry safer until an alternative source of energy can be found.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

This isn't going to win me many friends, but provided that these Kyushu reactors are being managed responsibly, I see no problem in turning them back on.

Imagine you're a director of a nuclear plant in Kyushu, and you follow safety regulations to the letter, and international regulators visit your plant and find everything in order. Then the central government shuts you down. Why should you (and your customers) be punished because some slipshod buffoons up north at TEPCO were irresponsible?

When BP had its colossal oil-drilling disaster a few years ago, in which 11 workers were instantly killed by a gush of molten oil, we didn't see every other oil-drilling firm shut down.

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that TEPCO is benefiting from the current public sentiment that demonizes nuclear power as a whole rather than demonizing the incompetents who caused this disaster.

Let the safe reactors continue to provide power until safer alternatives can be developed. The current situation, in which fossil fuels are imported (and their health problems swept under the rug), is no more sustainable than nuclear dependence is.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Picking at the weakest point to get your way, aren't you Tokyo nuc village?

Still nucs forever, and lets sell the geothermals to the Indonesians, wind turbines to the US, solar to ... Ohh we can't sell this any more, biogas ....giving power to the farmer, o no.

Back to money and power, concrete and vested interests. Just like the others in the neighbourhood.

So I live in Kagoshima Pref. and do my own electrics with Chinese solar and an Oregon water turbine. But that is just my house, another island. Probably I never get out of my freak existance.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

ThonTaddeoMar. 13, 2014 - 04:56PM JST This isn't going to win me many friends, but provided that these Kyushu reactors are being managed responsibly, I see no problem in turning them back on.

Well then it is my sad duty to inform you that these reactors are not being managed responsibly. I've heard this from specialists operating in the field, but here's the public-domain information that you can check to see that I'm not just some anti-nuclear fanatic, and that there really is wide-spread mismanagement in the nuclear power industry in Japan:

Almost all of the nuclear reactors were operating well past their safe operating age at the time of the Fukushima crisis. The safe operating age is regarded as 20 years, with 40 years being the absolute outer limit. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant was started up in 1971, and was exactly 40 years old at the time of the accident, with no plans to shut it down. The Oi reactor, which they restarted, started up in 1979, and is now 35 years old, another reactor that they plan to run well past any reasonable safety period. These two reactors they want to restart in Kagoshima were built in 1984 and 1985 respectively, and are 30 and 29 years old. Before you shrug this point off, think back to the 1980's, when the walkman was the height of hi-tech and 1985 was the first year that a computer with a CD drive was released. In technological terms these reactors are unimaginably old. If they were a car or a computer you would have stopped using them decades ago... but these companies would have you believe that they're perfectly fine for the precise and incredibly dangerous task of managing a nuclear reaction that could contaminate huge portions of Japan for generations to come.

Consider the fuss that nuclear power companies made when they were made to sign off that regular maintenance was being done. Japan Today actually covered this a few months ago. You would think that this would just be standard and basic quality management and good engineering practice. Walk down a production line in Toyota and you'll find clipboards filled with documents stating who checked what and when, and if someone says they checked something and it malfunctions before the next scheduled preventative maintenance check then they know who to go to and ask. The simple fact is that engineers in the nuclear power plants don't want to sign off on these checks because they're not being done, and by signing for work that isn't being done they're making themselves scapegoats the next time there's an accident. In Western companies you'd have workers quitting because of this, but Japan's very small nuclear power company monopoly and bias towards only hiring new workers fresh out of university (mid-career job changes are rare and difficult) has made it incredibly difficult for the engineers at these companies. I've heard this from the mouths of some people working at these plants, and basically they're forced with either signing or committing career suicide... and working internationally is not an option with Japan's current nuclear power reputation. If regular maintenance was being done then there'd be no fuss about signing the documents.

Profit over safety seems to be a common theme in nuclear power in Japan. TEPCO has recorded huge profits for decades, but couldn't spend a little extra to install a backup generator higher up the hill. Companies are running reactors far past their safe operating timeframe because it is expensive to build new ones. Companies are pushing for their reactors to be restarted even though they're over active fault lines (Tsuruga reactors) because they're losing money every day those reactors are offline. I could go on, but the pattern should be clear to even the blindest individual.

When BP had its colossal oil-drilling disaster a few years ago, in which 11 workers were instantly killed by a gush of molten oil, we didn't see every other oil-drilling firm shut down.

It is true that coal and oil companies also have accidents, but the key difference is that when a coast-line gets coated in oil it takes months to a year or two to clean up. It doesn't take 20~50 YEARS. Another key different is that a "colossal oil-drilling disaster" is 11 people dead. A moderate-scale nuclear power incident (e.g. Fukushima Daiichi) means hundreds of thousands of people evacuated, which means they lose their jobs, their homes, their stuff, everything. There have been 573 deaths to date certified as related to the incident, hundreds more suicides, and WHO estimates that 1% of the children in the area at the time will develop cancers in their life-times as a result of the incident. Every life is precious, but seriously, to compare 11 people dead from a "colossal ... disaster" to hundreds dead from a moderate-scale nuclear accident is... well, a poor comparison that just highlights the relative risks.

Let the safe reactors continue to provide power until safer alternatives can be developed. The current situation, in which fossil fuels are imported (and their health problems swept under the rug), is no more sustainable than nuclear dependence is.

There are no safe reactors in Japan.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

It is true that coal and oil companies also have accidents, but the key difference is that when a coast-line gets coated in oil it takes months to a year or two to clean up. It doesn't take 20~50 YEARS. Another key different is that a "colossal oil-drilling disaster" is 11 people dead. A moderate-scale nuclear power incident (e.g. Fukushima Daiichi) means hundreds of thousands of people evacuated, which means they lose their jobs, their homes, their stuff, everything.

Since the inception of nuclear power, it has saved over 1.8 million deaths and prevented 64 gigatonnes of C02 to be released in the atmosphere Kharecha/Hansen, 2013

There have been 573 deaths to date certified as related to the incident, hundreds more suicides,

Source?

and WHO estimates that 1% of the children in the area at the time will develop cancers in their life-times as a result of the incident.

Source?

Last year, the World Health Organization reported a “7% higher risk of leukemia in males exposed as infants, a 6% higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants and a 4% higher risk, overall, of developing solid cancers for females.” The WHO also reported that, for girls exposed as infants, 1.25 out of 100 will develop thyroid cancer, compared to the previous rate of 0.75 out of 100.

Every life is precious, but seriously, to compare 11 people dead from a "colossal ... disaster" to hundreds dead from a moderate-scale nuclear accident is... well, a poor comparison that just highlights the relative risks. 1.84 million

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Heda_MadnessMar. 13, 2014 - 05:50PM JST Since the inception of nuclear power, it has saved over 1.8 million deaths and prevented 64 gigatonnes of C02 to be released in the atmosphere Kharecha/Hansen, 2013

And the number of people killed by hydro-electric plants? Or geothermal plants? And the CO2 prevented by green power sources?

The point of your argument seems to be that nuclear power is safer than fossil fuels, so we should call it a day and pack up shop, stop all progress and go and watch TV. This sort of attitude is just staggering. The fact is that we have safer and better alternatives available, but the big power companies don't want to go with them because they'll reduce profits temporarily. At least they have an excuse, profit. What is your excuse for a profound lack of vision?

I also notice how you skip past the ENTIRE first section of my post, pointing out that the nuclear industry in Japan is operating well outside of international safety guidelines has somehow skipped your attention. Silence normally means consent, so it seems that the article you quoted, which uses INTERNATIONAL figures to justify lives saves is entirely irrelevant to the situation in Japan. If Japan were conforming to international safety standards then you might have a point, but it isn't, so you don't.

As for quibbling over the precise level of risk, I quoted the overall figure for all types of cancer. You decided to quote the more detailed breakdown for various specific types of cancer and seem to think you have a point. Again, you don't have a point. Both set of statistics agree that a higher percentage of people are going to get cancer, and some of them will die... a figure that I note that Kharecha and Hansen don't even consider as relevant. Of course this isn't the only problem with Kharecha and Hansen's paper. They're comparing a power source that we started using around 2000 years ago with a 1960's power source and going, "Ahah! See, the 1960's power source is better and safer!!". That's not groundbreaking research, that's idiocy. Compare the 1960's power source to the 2000's power sources and you'll also see improvements. Its a little thing called "progress". Although apparently there are still people out there who'd like us to continue walking around wearing walkmans and using typewriters.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

And the number of people killed by hydro-electric plants?

Over 170,000

You quoted nothing. You made a statement of a 1% increase of cancer in children. I asked for a source. You haven't provided it. You claim over 500 have died as a direct result of Fukushima. I asked for a source. You haven't provided it.

I love it when JT members call experts idiots. It really does reinforce your argument that you know everything and they don't.

On the basis of global projection data that take into account the effects of the Fukushima accident, we find that nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 420 000–7.04 million deaths and 80–240 GtCO2-eq emissions due to fossil fuels by midcentury, depending on which fuel it replaces.

Compare the 1960's power source to the 2000's power sources

Exactly. Finally you agree that Japan should bring in new generation nuclear power plants that have very little waste and are substantially safer than a nuclear power plant that survived a 9.0 earthquake.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

I would never want to by land anywhere near a reactor. I live in Sai Village, 10 kilometers from Oma Reactor (still incomplete) and the WHOLE village has been bought out by J-Power. Its like an invasion. They walk around town with their brown jackets like ambassadors of peace and good will, but you know they are just there as undertakers for the community. It is a real miserable place but the money they give to the village and the large number of elderly means that no one really complains. Young people just move out quietly. In 30 years time, northern Shimokita Penninsula will be 3 ghost towns belonging to J-Power. I can only imagine that other reactor communities are similar.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well, I didn't go through the first half of your post because, quite frankly why do I need to.

You make the incorrect assertion that a nuclear power plant has a life span of 20 years and 40 years at it's max. Whereas a nuclear power plant has a life span of 30-40 years (source the entire internet) and those in the US have been given permission to continue for another 20 years - 60 in total (scientificamerican)

So when you start with such a gross inaccuracy, why would anyone want to read further? The facts are, well, you haven't actually produced any.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Cleaning up Fukushima is expected to take decades and cost at least 11 trillion yen.

To date, the nuclear disaster has used up ¥10 trillion, and will use another ¥25 trillion over the next 10 years, eventually costing more than ¥50 trillion. Those costs don't include the decontamination work, the compensation to the nuclear victims, the cost of building a nuclear waste storage. the health monitoring of the Fukushima people. The nuclear disaster clean up will go on well into the next century.

Its unlikely, that 30 out of the current fleet of 48 reactors can meet the new safety standards set by the NRA. 13 are too old to retrofit and therefore more likely will be decommissioned. The four reactors from the Fukushima No2 plant won't operate again, that leaves 14 possible reactors. The inspection work of the reactors by the NRA is behind on schedule.

To date, the NRA has received applications to restart 17 reactors at 10 nuclear plants.

The power utilities have spent more than ¥14 trillion on updating the safety of their atomic power plants.

On the anniversary of 3/11, the speaker of the lower house called for an end to nuclear energy.

Even if there are reactor restarts, the total power generated from nuclear energy will be limited to about 15% of total power compared with 27% before the nuclear disaster. That leaves the remaining 85% of total power to be generated by other fuels and energies.

Locked into the current fleet of nuclear reactors and atomic plants is about ¥40 trillion, the amount the power utilities would have achieved if there had been no nuclear disaster. The power companies want to recover as much of that ¥40 trillion that they are allowed to get away with.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan puts two reactors on shortlist for restart screening

Despite massive protests and public opinion to the contrary.

The Japanese electricity agencies have already proven they cannot effectively or trustingly manage nuclear power, so why should anybody let them keep doping so? Oh, that's right! The electricity companies are backed by the government. I feel another arrow coming! These goons could manage a root in a brothel with ni-maan yen!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

According to the Fukushima gov't more than 3,000 people have died because of the nuclear disaster. There was an article on jT a couple of weeks ago.

According to the NRA, the life cycle of nuclear reactors will be limited to a 40 years, without extensions.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Heda_Madness and Frungy, no more bickering please otherwise your posts will be removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I produce facts and figures I get accused of arrogance

You produce incorrect statements and you accuse me of arrogance

Even your evidence doesnt support your assertion that the safe operating plant is 20 years and an absolute maximum og of 40.

You asked a question. I answered it. That is apparently arrogant.

Don't like the answer don't ask the question. But the fact that you have immediately resorted to personal attacks speaks volumes about the sttength of your argument.

You seem to think you have some expertise in this area...yet your knowledge seems to be lacking or you are intentionally. Misleading your readers.

Zichi - I haven't seen a single quote except from you to say over 3000 - there was an article that people had died in temporary housing but as that has happened in Miyaginand Iwate you can't link it to Fukushima.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The way Japan's nuclear plants are run has always been very slipshod. Whatever the reason, corruption, culture, non-transparent way of doing things, organized crime; Japanese have no business operating nuclear plants. They're just not up to it, as history has shown.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Simply, Japan has run just fine withought them all..... the 'stock pile of plutonium' is, at a guess a stop-short in case they have to bury them (reactors) to rest.

The short fall in energy provision never happened. The Country ran well after adapting.... leave them dead....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

They're going to do it, aren't they? No matter how much the people complain and oppose it, the reactors are going to be switched on. And once one plant is up and running, you can bet the others will quickly follow.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sorry Frungy, if you make a statement you say is factual, then you should be able to back it up with a reference.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

*"And the number of people killed by hydro-electric plants?

Over 170,000 " * I find this number very hard to believe - where does it come from Heda?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Madness indeed...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Star-vikingMar. 13, 2014 - 08:47PM JST Sorry Frungy, if you make a statement you say is factual, then you should be able to back it up with a reference.

Could you be any more vague? Which statement are you referring to?

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

I can't really comment on Japan's stance on nuclear power because I do not live in Japan (unfortunately). But on the otherhand I think it is a global question as to whether it safe to switch them on. Japan cannot decide alone on this question as it has the potential to affect the whole world. I can fully understand the need for nuclear power in Japan as there is little natural fuel resource available there. Unfortunately Japan is a volatile land for such plants and there will always be global concern..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shinzo Abe has started to ring the death knell for Japan. As he continues to re-open the nuclear reactors outside Tokyo he is going to assure the people living there that everything is going to be fine. But what he really means is that everything in Tokyo is going to be fine. And, why? Because there are no nuclear reactors in Tokyo. So, he and his family and the other LDP members and the rich and wealthy will be fine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a good thing, all nuke plants have made a second look to confirm safety.. we must move forward. Humans are based on learning from the past...That what make us #1

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Every NPP Built in the 50's to 70's worldwide needs to be turned off & Decommissioned.......

0 ( +2 / -2 )

“This has to be remembered — that there are certain accidents that are not preventable,” said Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “The question Japan has to ask itself is: Is the country willing to have another accident? And if the answer is no, then the answer has to be no more nuclear power,” he said Tuesday in an interview with JRT.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Just because one npp survives a strong earthquake does not justify starting up all the others.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Really? So you don't believe in looking at the lessons learned from Onagawa? No issues. It survived a massive earhquake and was actually the place the residents went for refuge.

Let's just state that nuclear is inherently dangerous due to one major accident in Japan that has so far failed to live up to any of the hype or fear spread.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Just because one npp survives a strong earthquake does not justify starting up all the others.

More than one npp survived.

said Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

A political appointee with little if any actual experience.

Every NPP Built in the 50's to 70's worldwide needs to be turned off & Decommissioned.

Nope. The latest listing I could find shows that as of Dec 31st 2012 110 reactors that first went on line in the 70's were still operating and 5 that first went online in the 60's were still operating. Now in the intervening 15 months some of those may have been shut down but not all 115 of them.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

At the Onagawa nuclear power plant, which was built higher above sea level than the one at Fukushima also had a culture of safety which was certainly lacking at all of TEPCO's atomic plants. All the major investigations into the cause of the nuclear disaster have stated the role played by TEPCO, and it too admitted to its lack of responsibility and accepted the nuclear disaster could have been prevented.

http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~meshkati/Onagawa%2520NPS-%2520Final%252003-10-13.pdf

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is excellent news and great for the economy. Japan needs to reduce its dependence on foreign carbon based energy and focus on nuclear power - the clean, safe and environmentally friendly power source of the future.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Remember Japanese voters elected the LDP.

The LDP was very open about this before election, and these voters elected them back knowing the LDP would restart the nuke energy. What do they want? Who are confused? The LDP or the voters?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

in the 5th century, so 1,600 years ago. That's a microscopic fraction of the 100,000 to millions of years required for even the smallest evolutionary change to be established.

I'm with you on most of what you say, but this is just plain wrong. You can get significant (even very large) change in just a couple generations (depending on the selective force). On the other hand, you can have virtually no change over thousands of generations if the selective force cited is, well, irrelevant. Any such candidate force needs to have the ability to significantly reduce the reproduction of those purportedly affected. I've never seen any evidence what so ever that 'high background' radiation effects significant (any?) curtailing of the ability to reproduce (in anything), since any potential effects do not manifest until long after reaching reproductive age.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

6.2 shake down that way this morning, wondered if that has changed their minds?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seismic research in 2011 did show, that the March 11th quake was caused by the simultaneous movement by multiple active faults at the coast of the Pacific Ocean in northern Japan, and on this way a much bigger earthquakes could be triggered, than the plants were planned to withstand, at the time they were built. In February the Tokai Daini Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture and the Tomari power facility in Hokkaido, said that it could not ruled out the possibility that the plant was vulnerable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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