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Japan to shut down last nuclear reactor

44 Comments
By Aaron Sheldrick

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Years ago I read a science-fiction book in which Japan had gone nuclear ( "clean" nuclear ) while the United States was still relying on dirty coal and oil, and Japan was in far better shape than the U.S. because of this.

Japan's nuclear industry is in complete shambles.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Buckle up!

Government scaremongering about to hit thick and fast!

3.....2.......1.....

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Whats Next ??????? Now its time to shut down TEPCO......more than 80% Japanese population will be happy....!!!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Serrano - shambles?

Every nuclear plant was working ok before 3-11.

How is a 100% operational rate a 'shambles'?

Even now, almost every plant in the country works.

Admittedly, oversight needs an overhaul, but everything else?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If the atomic reactors and associated plant with safety based on possibilies rather than probabalities we would have be having the current story. The cost of building atomic power plants that could withstand earthquake, tsunami, typhoons, whatever, would not have been much more than the original cost. Certainly cheaper than it will now cost the taxpayer to clean up Fukushima. 30 trillion yen over 30 years, but Fukushima could take 100 years?

The country was sold a bad design by General Electric of America.

If the atomic safety agencies had been designed and enpowered to ensure that the operators of the atomic power plants did so with the highest safety standards, we would not be having the current story. Instead, they were the bed fellows of the nuclear industry with many of the high ranking officials not even qualified in nuclear science or engineering.

The country was given ineffective atomic safety agencies.

There are many nuclear experts and leading officials against the restart of the reactors, at least until the safety standards have been improved. The power companies have started to improve the safety standards but could take 5 years to implement.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Along with most people, I didn't have air conditioning at home for my first 10 years in Japan. Nor was it available on commuter trains or in subway stations. Now I can't imagine living without it. It's quite amazing what a difference a 2 or 3 degree rise in the ambient temperature can make. Let's hope for cooler summers until Japan can get its energy demands worked out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can't imagine the cost to decommission all of these NPP. Must be a fortune...and who is going to pay? Us. So how much higher do our utility rates have to go up?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Renewable energy plants take time to build - years not days. Until they are built and put online, and with all the nuclear power plants shut down, Japan has no choice but to ramp up production at their oil and gas generated power plants.

Like I said many times before, thousands of people will be getting sick from the pollution generated by these types of power plants. If they don't run them they'll be massive black outs and more people will die.

The ideal solution is to turn on all the existing nuclear power plants and start shutting them down one by one when renewable energy plants are built and come on line. Isn't this obvious?

The government needs to set a deadline. Replace one nuclear power plant every 5 years with a renewable energy plant - geothermal, wind, solar, tidal. If the companies don't, then fine the utility companies. This project will create jobs and technical innovations that Japan can sell to the world.

This may be an opportunity for Japan to get out of it's current economic slump by developing more efficient and high output alternative energy plant technologies which they can market globally.

3 ( +6 / -4 )

The head-in-the-sand attitude for atomic power plant design and safety by all the officials, the governments, the safety agencies, and the power comapnies, who all believed a nuclear disaster could never happen in Japn.

Harumi Madarame was on route by helicopter with then PM Kan on Mar. 12 when he informed the PM, " don't worry, there'll be no structural damage, that's impossible.

Finally he admitted to the Diet,

Nuclear Safety Commission Chairman Haruki Madarame told a parliamentary inquiry in February 2012 that "Japan's atomic safety rules are inferior to global standards and left the country unprepared for the Fukushima nuclear disaster last March". There were flaws in, and lax enforcement of, the safety rules governing Japanese nuclear power companies, and this included insufficient protection against tsunamis.

Still are those who blame the tsunami for the nuclear disaster, calling it a once in a 1000 year event. Well it only took once to cause the worse nuclear disaster in the history of the country.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I think the overall problem here is that the Japanese government and TEPCO are way too close. I remember Kan saying something about how they might have had to evacuate Tokyo and didn't know how they could move that many people. Considering the fact that the government hasn't given us solid numbers on the radiation levels in Fukushima, I highly doubt they are forming plans for the next, god forbid, worst case scenario. Instead TEPCO is more worried about their profits and the government will assist with their scare tactics, when the scariest thing is leaving these two in charge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Last summer a lot of factories shut down and never reopened. The running at night stuff is a lie. This summer the numbers of factories closing will be at a record. The power shortage makes a great excuse. So as Japan becomes a falling economic power, where will the government get the money for all of those seniors?

What will Japan do when the economy stalls, unlike Greece nobody will bail out Japan. No money, no energy imports and no food. It is just as well the population is falling, the truth is Japan does not have the resources to maintain the current population. We will see what the summer brings.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Convert to thorium and even I will support reopening it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

But, shutting them down does nothing towards making them safe. They are still just as volatile as if they were being used. You can't just turn off a nuclear reactor. They are still vulnerable to the same set of events that took down the Fukushima plant, so nobody should feel any safer until they are dismantled and all the fuel rods are removed, which takes years to achieve and the radioactive rods will still need to be stored in the same way they are at present. The only thing that shutting them down achieves is, buying a bit of public support, but it does bugger all to make them safe. Nuclear power never was and never will be safe.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Peanut66, you are spot on!

YuriOtani, you are also spot on. I grew up without AC. Yes, it was hot and sticky. The fact is people today have become so soft and spoiled by luxuries.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

But, shutting them down does nothing towards making them safe.

I don't think there is an exact definition of shut down. But if they remove the fuel rods from the core a meltdown cannot happen, and a meltdown is the biggest concern.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it will take till around 2100 to actually dismantle the Nuke Plants even with them all in cold shut down today. I say start building natural gas generators next to the plants and swap the nukes out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I say start building natural gas generators

And get the natural gas from where?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Cwhite were will this "natural gas" come from ? .. this is the reason why japan have a trade deficit ..

The power issues are more complex than just providing power, japan has to look at the power grid, separating the grid from the power companies and getting rid of the monopoly of the Tepco etc .. allowing smaller companies to provide power to the grid.

Making the grid smarter and allowing better use of local power

For the moment they should be looking at turning on the Nuclear plants that have passed the safety check and have been international verified - this will reduce the deficit and help the local economy

In the longer term looking at Thorium,Geothermal (if safe) and new tech like the Traveling Wave reactors and fission power to provide the base load that wind and solar simply can't provide

Also one useful side effect of Thorium use is it can provide neodymium which is used for electric motor etc .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lies, lies, lies presented in an alarmist fashion, Dr Gobbles would approve! Just one incident Just one has poisoned the food chain , the environment. We have 54 and really only need 2, at most. It's an abomination this argument, there is no argument, can replace the energy in a safe fashion, the corruption and pathetic over site, politicians just have to rort a new sugar daddy that results in a minimum down side. Tell the lie enough and it will be believed. 3 eyed fish and lecemiya riddled children..that's progress??? Thats the future.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Some of the ideas here on JT (eg peanut666) are better than the government's explanations as to why they need to restart the reactors.

The J govt's arguments so far have been unconvincing and full of holes and blind-spots, leading to quite natural mistrust among the population. There could be a case to be made, but who is making it? They need to do a better PR job, not treating the people like idiots. Please, don't try to push the reastarts through with scare tactics, and don't try to paint pretty pictures, either!

Are they afraid that they might have to carry the can when the next disaster hits?

One thing we can say is that we were lucky the quake and tsunami hit Fukushima. With the prevailing winds and the sea currents, much of the crap got taken out eastwards.

If it had occurred on a different fault, they might have hit Hamaoka, and then Tokyo would have been turned into zombieland. Russian Roulette anyone?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

One other lucky factor is the high yen exchange rate. All these 'extra' energy imports are being paid for at a time when the Yen is king.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

nandakandamanda: "The J govt's arguments so far have been unconvincing and full of holes and blind-spots, leading to quite natural mistrust among the population."

No kidding! Edano himself said only in January that Japan would be fine in the summer without any NPPs online (which he quickly flip-flopped in favour of fear mongering). It's no wonder they are unconvincing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What will Japan do when the economy stalls, unlike Greece nobody will bail out Japan.

Yuri if you haven't noticed from where you are at the economy here has been stalled for over a decade.

Next you ask who will bail out Japan? The same people who have been bailing out all along, the Japanese people themselves who own the overwhelming majority of the Japanese debt, hence Japan being able to keep it's bond rating as it is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lots and lots of suffering caused by reactors, to say the least.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There was a news story on this topic on TV last night and all the people from the town in Hokkaido where this reactor is were VERY concerned about it being shut down. Most of the people interviewed strongly believe that their town exists as it is BECAUSE the reactor is there and the huge amount of money that comes into the town because of it.

If it shuts down their town will literally die. That is not something anti-nuclear folks really think about when they protest against the reactors either. Who is going to take care of these people and the town? The government? Hardly.

Private sector investment into alternative sources of energy is necessary but in that town there is little if anything that could or can be done other than the reactors there. It provides jobs and cottage industries that support the employees of the reactor along with facilities that would not have existed had the reactor not been there.

I personally believe that the reactors need to stay on-line until new facilities are built.

One does not cut off one's own head just because you stubbed your toe.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Making the grid smarter and allowing better use of local power

This is so true! Japan has to be one of the only countries in the world that has a power grid that differs from one end of the country to the other. It's mind boggling that it was ever allowed to occur in the first place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubara

If it shuts down their town will literally die. That is not something anti-nuclear folks really think about when they protest against the reactors either. Who is going to take care of these people and the town? The government? Hardly.

Equally so there are people living in communities based around NPP's which oppose restarting the reactors even if it means loss of employment.

The country's energy policy and the role of nuclear power must be based on what will benefit the whole and not just a single part of it.

As with any industry which ceases people will need to seek other forms of employment. But even if the reactors are not restarted they will still need a workforce to maintain the plants for many years to come and any decommissioning would take many decades.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

YuriOtani

Last summer a lot of factories shut down and never reopened.

name me just three which closed down?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People living in communities based upon a single NPP put all their eggs in one basket.

Perhaps there should have been some insurance scheme into which everyone pays when times are good...

Tomari by name, and Tomari by nature.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, Toshiba... there are a lot more these 3 were on the tip of my tongue.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Equally so there are people living in communities based around NPP's which oppose restarting the reactors even if it means loss of employment.

And how much do you want to bet that their livelihoods are not directly connected to anything related to the reactors, direct or in-direct and have been brainwashed into believing that their survival does not hinge on the community that they are living in.

I am not against the reactors being shut down in the future. But right NOW it's illogical for a country whose economy has been in a malaise for over a decade, in debt up to it's eye-balls, an ongoing recovery in Tohoku, and a scared population that bases too many of it's decision upon what the press feeds them.

When VIABLE options are online and running sure shut down the reactors, until them why stagnate your economy even further, put more people out of work, destroy industries due to increased power costs, kill your balance of trade due to increased imports of fossil fuels to run older generating stations, it would be easier to just place a gun against one's head and shoot!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, Toshiba... there are a lot more these 3 were on the tip of my tongue.

You can not directly place the blame of these companies on the doorstep of the energy crisis last summer. There are other factors that directly influenced these closings and the problems with the energy crisis were just a tiny part of it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The fact is people today have become so soft and spoiled by luxuries.

It's called "progress".

It's what prods us up and out of the cave, and onward to new and better things.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru

like I have already stated there will be work at the NPP's for many decades even if the reactors are not started. It's not like closing down a toy factory.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm sure you folks that are against restarting the nuclear power plants will be among the first to complain when you can't use your air cons this summer because the power grid can't handle it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

YuriOtani

Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, Toshiba... there are a lot more these 3 were on the tip of my tongue.

I don't know Freescale but the other two are still in business and making good profits.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Zichi ,i hope realises that Nuclear plants are jJust silent killers of mankind and nature.in fact they should be considered as Hitler's Gas - Chambers which were used by Nazi Germans to kill millions of jews,polish and russian prisoners and opposition party workers.in Germany...The vested interests who want to make tonnes of corrupt money by promoting nuclear plants must realise that their thirsty sick minds should not be allowed to commit mass scale murder of people of the world as a nuclear accident in some place is an accident every where in the world as nuclear pollutants do not respect any political boundaries Are the Japanese of modern times becoming so cruel that they want not only to slowly kill their present generations of people but also their future generations who have not voted the present day politicians into power? If Japandese do not realise that promotion of nuclear power amounts to obuilding of Gas Chambers to kill all mankind and natural life systems,the anti-nuclear activists all over the world must unite to get Reactors and Nuclear weapons abandoned in all countries failing which people must demand for economic sanctions against such criminal countries headed by the most corrupt politicians who do not mind murdering their own children and family members to come to power at any cost.Thed pu blic should never beliweve i n any politician in any country including United states because they work to make only illegal money to be spent for the elections to come back to power to make more money,a vicious cycle.for more scientific details read web sites and their links to know how Nuclear plants are just nuclear bombzs in case of unexpexcted accidents as happened at Fukushima and Chernobyl and Three mile island web site: 'DiaNuke.org":under the author,Prof.t.shivaji Rao

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Even if they do manage to restart some of these reactors, there has been a huge drop in the number of young people wanting to go into a nuclear-power-related job. In recent news a 50-90% drop-off in attendees has been reported at the annual job explanation gatherings for university graduate job-seekers held in Osaka and Tokyo. It seems that young people have lost faith in the industry. (J. Yahoo news today)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anti-nuclear activists will celebrate with demonstrations over the weekend.

This should not be an isolated incident of a few so called activists celebrating. It should be a huge Japan holiday celebrated throughout the country. Developed countries such as Australia and Newzealand celebrated such a day long time ago, thanks to wise leadership! Celebrate nuclear free Japan

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It should be a huge Japan holiday celebrated throughout the country.

Today is a National Holiday for "Children's Day!"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yes, let's all celebrate for the REAL winners in this affair - the oil and gas-producers of the Middle East!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Having 54 nuclear power stations in a highly earth quake prone region is frankly a ridiculous idea! Especially when it has access to so much potential geo-thermal energy it could make use of instead. The Japanese people are now so much safer!

0 ( +1 / -3 )

now lets get those robots on those hamster wheels and start running!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's just not needed, the cost of the clean up, cost to families...what price is worth risking? It's well documented how much money those in charge (safety, regulation) benefited from the relationship. They acted in a hinous criminal manner and now want understanding and us to share the pain? While they reel the profits from their selfish harmful practices that put all at risk. Continue to put us all at risk, boo ho those that loose their jobs...they are on par with death camp guards who only followed orders. A profit driven activity that's down side is obscene.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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