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Japan's emissions target, relying on nuclear, seen as unrealistic

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By Yuka Obayashi and Aaron Sheldrick

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Zichi,

You have failed to understand or at least accept that nuclear energy will never generate much of the global electricity demand, which is about 10% because the majority of the countries are unable to afford the vast costs of building an atomic plant. Besides the supply of uranium deposits decreasing if the demand is doubled and the extraction of uranium from sea water is expensive, higher than other fuels.

You have failed to understand or at least accept that many nations can fund multi-year projects, which make the vast costs of building big projects manageable. Besides, with any decrease in uranium deposits extraction from seawater will become more economically possible - see fracking for example. As for the cost of extraction, you fail to understand that much less needs to be extracted, as atomic fuel is very power-dense.

The current costs of building 40 new reactors would be ¥30 trillion to ¥50 trillion, a very high cost no matter which one you are selective in quoting and as in the past, as shown by the building of the atomic plant in Finland those costs will double before a single volt of electricity is generated.

Not so high a cost in a multi-decade project. And on the topic of Finland, this quote is from your OECD link above:

Generally reactors which are first-of-a-kind are more expensive to build than those which are built in a series with previous experience of construction.

As for trained personnel to build the atomic plants I suggest your lack of any kind of construction work experience leads you to conclude that complex plants like atomic ones are built by mostly unskilled labour.

Actually, my conclusions were reinforced by yourself:

I'm a former electrical engineer and instrumentation and control engineer. I have built and worked in huge complex plants like heavy chemicals, power generation, huge hospitals and data centers to name a few. Millions of highly skilled workers across the globe who first enter training via years of study in uni's or enter into years of apprenticeships. It takes thousands of highly workers to build these complex plants.

So, we have highly skilled workers to build heavy chemical plants, power generation projects, hospitals, data centres - but none to build NPPs, and no sign of them? Do you know Japan can realise highly complex projects? Super-Kamiokande, Shinkansens, Advanced Warships, Advanced Aircraft, Space Launchers and Space Probes? Do you also realise that actually getting the plan done is a massive part of building anything?

And, as an aside, are you saying that there will be no scaffolders, concrete pourers, pipeworkers, electricians, etc. building an NPP?

The government ended the fast breeder rector program with costs for Monju having reached ¥1 trillion. Now Japan also has the problem of how to safely store 150 tons of plutonium.

Point 1: the technology is there. Point 2: I thought the UK was dealing with the plutonium.

The future of power generation in Japan and in the world won't be provided by nuclear energy. We need to advance power generation from renewable energy which can be available to all countries in the world and not just a select few who belong to the nuclear club.

Dogma again. Did you ever consider what would happen to the climate if the 100% renewables happy-clappy dream proves more difficult than the belivers think? More fossil fuels burned, methane hydrates mined, higher temperatures and more violent climates.

Keeping all low-carbon options open would be a plan for the wise. The Green lobby just want to push a dream, and most of the leaders won't be there to face the consequences when it goes belly-up.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Star-viking

You have failed to understand or at least accept that nuclear energy will never generate much of the global electricity demand, which is about 10% because the majority of the countries are unable to afford the vast costs of building an atomic plant. Besides the supply of uranium deposits decreasing if the demand is doubled and the extraction of uranium from sea water is expensive, higher than other fuels.

The current costs of building 40 new reactors would be ¥30 trillion to ¥50 trillion, a very high cost no matter which one you are selective in quoting and as in the past, as shown by the building of the atomic plant in Finland those costs will double before a single volt of electricity is generated.

The Olkiluoto plant in Finland the building of reactor 3, in December 2012, Areva estimated that the full cost of building the reactor will be about €8.5 billion, or almost three times the delivery price of €3 billion. Because of costs, a fourth reactor was cancelled. The construction of the unit 3 began in 2005.

As for trained personnel to build the atomic plants I suggest your lack of any kind of construction work experience leads you to conclude that complex plants like atomic ones are built by mostly unskilled labor.

The government ended the fast breeder rector program with costs for Monju having reached ¥1 trillion. Now Japan also has the problem of how to safely store 150 tons of plutonium.

The future of power generation in Japan and in the world won't be provided by nuclear energy. We need to advance power generation from renewable energy which can be available to all countries in the world and not just a select few who belong to the nuclear club.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Zichi

I'm a former electrical engineer and instrumentation and control engineer. I have built and worked in huge complex plants like heavy chemicals, power generation, huge hospitals and data centers to name a few. Millions of highly skilled workers across the globe who first enter training via years of study in uni's or enter into years of apprenticeships. It takes thousands of highly workers to build these complex plants.

So, all these highly skilled workers to build everything else but NPPs?

Nuclear power plants cannot run non stop 24/7, which seems from your calculations. Nuclear reactors don't actually generate a single volt of electricity. What they produce is steam from water which is then fed into steam turbines and generators to turn them and then generate the power. This huge beasts are highly mechanical pieces of equipment with many moving parts which wear out and break.

I know that.

I know of no nuclear power plant which can just run 24/7. The cycle here is 13 months and then it must be shut down for inspections. That is usually 3-4 months.

I never said they did. The 3-4 months is much longer than that in other countries because regulation do not allow maintenance to be undertaken when power is being produced.

I know of no 1500MW reactors under construction

The EPRs have around 1600MW output and are under construction in China, Finland, and France. The ESBWR has been licenced by the NRC, and is rated at around 1600MW.

¥750 billion x 40 reactors, = ¥30,000 billion or ¥30 trillion. Construction time 5-7 years.

That's a much better figure.

That is not known unless a survey is made and the permission of the local community obtained which again is unlikely. But not a good idea to decommissioning of reactors and the building of new ones at the same site. If there were a major nuclear event from the decommissioning then it would be the end of the new site too.

And what possible 'major nuclear event could occur at a defueled and deactivated plant?

Thanks for the SciAm link:

According to the NEA, identified uranium resources total 5.5 million metric tons, and an additional 10.5 million metric tons remain undiscovered—a roughly 230-year supply at today's consumption rate in total. Further exploration and improvements in extraction technology are likely to at least double this estimate over time.

Using more enrichment work could reduce the uranium needs of LWRs by as much as 30 percent per metric ton of LEU. And separating plutonium and uranium from spent LEU and using them to make fresh fuel could reduce requirements by another 30 percent. Taking both steps would cut the uranium requirements of an LWR in half.

That's 460 years at current use.

Two technologies could greatly extend the uranium supply itself. Neither is economical now, but both could be in the future if the price of uranium increases substantially. First, the extraction of uranium from seawater would make available 4.5 billion metric tons of uranium—a 60,000-year supply at present rates. Second, fuel-recycling fast-breeder reactors, which generate more fuel than they consume, would use less than 1 percent of the uranium needed for current LWRs. Breeder reactors could match today's nuclear output for 30,000 years using only the NEA-estimated supplies.

Wow! 90,000 years with only currently estimated supplies!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Star-viking

As for your "highly skilled work" angle. I'm sure some of it is. A lot of it is just construction-grade work. There's a lot of highly skilled work designing turbines, new panel designs, geothermal plants, and hydro dams.

I'm a former electrical engineer and instrumentation and control engineer. I have built and worked in huge complex plants like heavy chemicals, power generation, huge hospitals and data centers to name a few. Millions of highly skilled workers across the globe who first enter training via years of study in uni's or enter into years of apprenticeships. It takes thousands of highly workers to build these complex plants.

Nuclear power plants cannot run non stop 24/7, which seems from your calculations. Nuclear reactors don't actually generate a single volt of electricity. What they produce is steam from water which is then fed into steam turbines and generators to turn them and then generate the power. This huge beasts are highly mechanical pieces of equipment with many moving parts which wear out and break.

I know of no nuclear power plant which can just run 24/7. The cycle here is 13 months and then it must be shut down for inspections. That is usually 3-4 months.

I know of no 1500MW reactors under construction?

However, a typical cost for construction of a Generation III reactor between 1400 - 1800 MW in OECD countries "might be" in the region of USD 5 - 6 billion. (¥738,390,000,000)

¥750 billion x 40 reactors, = ¥30,000 billion or ¥30 trillion.

Construction time 5-7 years.

https://www.oecd-nea.org/press/press-kits/economics-FAQ.html

In a highly stressed credit market, the price tag for nuclear construction— at least in the Western world—is too high. The latest overnight cost esti- mates for a dual-unit nuclear plant with an aggregate capacity of 2,236 MW is $5700 per kilowatt,28 a doubling in estimated overnight costs over the last 3-4 years. The investment community has shown an increasing interest in SMR designs because of these escalating costs and related financial challenges.

Page 18, <https://www.amacad.org/pdfs/nuclearReactors.pdf

1500MW (1,500,000kw) x $5700 = $8,550,000,000 ($8.5 billion) (¥1052,547,750,000) One trillion yen per reactor x 40 would cost ¥40 trillion.

As for new sites - many old sites have space for expansion.

That is not known unless a survey is made and the permission of the local community obtained which again is unlikely. But not a good idea to decommissioning of reactors and the building of new ones at the same site. If there were a major nuclear event from the decommissioning then it would be the end of the new site too.

There is a lot of uranium on earth, loads of thorium, and breeder reactors which can supply fuel for millenia.

Uranium (2009) 230 years at todays level of consumption used to generate 10% ot total global electricity. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-long-will-global-uranium-deposits-last/

commercial thorium reactors are not available. Japan has ended its fast breeder reactor with the failed Monju project.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Star-viking

As for your "highly skilled work" angle. I'm sure some of it is. A lot of it is just construction-grade work. There's a lot of highly skilled work designing turbines, new panel designs, geothermal plants, and hydro dams.

I don't mean to insult but you don't know what you are talking about on this point. I'm a former electrical engineer and instrumentation and control engineer. I have built and worked in huge complex plants like heavy chemicals, power generation, huge hospitals and data centers to name a few. Your comment is an insult to the millions of highly skilled workers across the globe who first enter training via years of study in uni's or enter into years of apprenticeships. It takes thousands of highly workers to build these complex plants.

You also seem to think that nuclear power plants can run non stop 24/7, which seems from your calculations. Nuclear reactors don't actually generate a single volt of electricity. What they produce is steam from water which is then fed into steam turbines and generators to turn them and then generate the power. This huge beasts are highly mechanical pieces of equipment with many moving parts which wear out and break.

I know of no nuclear power plant which can just run 24/7. The cycle here is 13 months and then it must be shut down for inspections. That is usually 3-4 months.

I know of no 1500MW reactors under construction?

However, a typical cost for construction of a Generation III reactor between 1400 - 1800 MW in OECD countries "might be" in the region of USD 5 - 6 billion. (¥738,390,000,000)

¥750 billion x 40 reactors, = ¥30,000 billion or ¥30 trillion.

Construction time 5-7 years.

https://www.oecd-nea.org/press/press-kits/economics-FAQ.html

In a highly stressed credit market, the price tag for nuclear construction— at least in the Western world—is too high. The latest overnight cost esti- mates for a dual-unit nuclear plant with an aggregate capacity of 2,236 MW is $5700 per kilowatt,28 a doubling in estimated overnight costs over the last 3-4 years. The investment community has shown an increasing interest in SMR designs because of these escalating costs and related financial challenges.

Page 18, <https://www.amacad.org/pdfs/nuclearReactors.pdf

1500MW (1,500,000kw) x $5700 = $8,550,000,000 ($8.5 billion) (¥1052,547,750,000) One trillion yen per reactor x 40 would cost ¥40 trillion.

As for new sites - many old sites have space for expansion.

That is not known unless a survey is made and the permission of the local community obtained which again is unlikely. But not a good idea to decommissioning of reactors and the building of new ones at the same site. If there were a major nuclear event from the decommissioning then it would be the end of the new site too.

There is a lot of uranium on earth, loads of thorium, and breeder reactors which can supply fuel for millenia.

Uranium (2009) 230 years at todays level of consumption used to generate 10% ot total global electricity. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-long-will-global-uranium-deposits-last/

commercial thorium reactors are not available. Japan has ended its fast breeder reactor with the failed Monju project.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No Zichi, these are not Gen IV reactors, they're Gen III. Many of them are being built now.

As for your "highly skilled work" angle. I'm sure some of it is. A lot of it is just construction-grade work. There's a lot of highly skilled work designing turbines, new panel designs, geothermal plants, and hydro dams.

I took the power output figures for a 1500MW reactor from a one that was working. It generated about 5,000 GW/year.

And I did the math.

At current costs of more than ¥50 trillion and what will the costs be by 2030-2050? not economically possible. Since the Gen IV reactors won't ve available until then makes it both physically and technically impossible. The very important point you didn't mention was the refusal of the communities to have new nuclear plants and the problems of finding at least 20 new sites.

As I pointed out above, Gen III are available now. As for the costs, I am sceptical of those you quote. As for new sites - many old sites have space for expansion.

Nuclear energy from uranium is not a renewable and the future for the whole plant needs to be based on renewable energy.

Ah, dogma. "The future is renewable, and nuclear power is not renewable, so it must stop"

There is a lot of uranium on earth, loads of thorium, and breeder reactors which can supply fuel for millenia. You just want to say "case closed", let's burn fuel on our way to our renewable future, and pray that the hype works out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Star-viking

The 1500MW Gen IV reactors you are proposing won't even be commercially available until the period 2030-2050 so construction of any of them would not even be complete until at least 2040.

And yet to festoon Japan with solar panels, wind turbines, more dams and geothermal plants requires not a lot of people?

Yes it does but the skill required to install solar panels does not match even a small percentage of the skill required to build an atomic power plant. Highly trained and skilled labor needed at the nuclear ground zero, same for decommissioning the reactors and same for building new nuclear plants. Some universities have cut back on their nuclear energy courses because of the lack of students. Many young engineers are moving overseas especially to Korea and China.

I took the power output figures for a 1500MW reactor from a one that was working. It generated about 5,000 GW/year.

Physically possible. Technically achievable. Economically possible

At current costs of more than ¥50 trillion and what will the costs be by 2030-2050? not economically possible. Since the Gen IV reactors won't ve available until then makes it both physically and technically impossible. The very important point you didn't mention was the refusal of the communities to have new nuclear plants and the problems of finding at least 20 new sites.

Nuclear energy from uranium is not a renewable and the future for the whole plant needs to be based on renewable energy.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hi Zichi.

48 reactors would take about 60-72 years total.

Really? So the 60-odd reactors which Japan built before the disaster were started in the time range of 1939-1951?

There would be a problem forging the 48 reactor vessels since only five companies in the world can make them, one of them being a Japanese company. There would be a problem securing the work force with the skills to build new nuclear power plants since a large labor force is needed for the nuclear ground zero, and a further large skilled labor force needed to decommission the current reactors.

And yet to festoon Japan with solar panels, wind turbines, more dams and geothermal plants requires not a lot of people?

A 1500 MW reactor actually generates about 4,000-5,000 GWh/year, not including the 17% downtime required with Japanese law. Every 2 years the reactor must be shut down for inspection and refuelling which takes 3-4 months.

Really? Lets look at the maths.

There are around 8760 hours in a year. You say there is 17% downtime. That leaves around 7270 generating hours.

1500 MW x 7270 hours gives 10905000 MWh/year.

That's 10905 GWh/year.

The capacity factor of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant before the nuclear disaster was 48%, not 80% like you claim.

It might be an idea for you to actually read what I wrote: "One 1500MW reactor running at 80% capacity factor will generate 10.5 TWh per year". I made no claim about the K-K NPP. It is interesting that you chose a NPP which was shut down for repairs to earthquake damage and then faced inordinate politically-enforced delays to pluck a CF out of the air.

Your nuclear pipe dream for Japan isn't going to happen.

Ah, I see. Something which passes muster on the following points, in order of importance:

Physically possible. Technically achievable. Economically possible.

Is a pipe dream because of (variable) public opposition?

But your wish, for 100% renewable power - which may not be physically possible, which faces large technical hurdles, and faces enormous economic challenges - is an easily achievable goal because it has positive public approval?

I guess we need to throw out the laws of physics...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Star-viking

You forget the building learning curve - the first anything takes much more to build than those later in the build line. Also, Japan needs about 1,000 TWh of electrical energy these days. One 1500MW reactor running at 80% capacity factor will generate 10.5 TWh per year. That works out to 48 new reactors to hit 50% of national supply - not 150. I think you must be using old data.

Building a nuclear power plant was about 8-10 years which prior to the nuclear disaster Japan had reduced it to about 5-6 years. 48 reactors would take about 60-72 years total. The current costs are about $10 billion/reactor, total $480 billion. (¥59,318,880,000,000). Added to that would be the cost of the nuclear disaster, ¥50 trillion. The cost of decommissioning the current fleet of 48 reactors. The cost of the long term storage for spent nuclear fuel, plutonium and high grade nuclear waste. The costs of the reprocessing plants.

48 new reactors, setting aside the impossible task of finding new communities, would need 12 new nuclear power plants and to be completed and up and running by 2050, if it were started by 2020, would require one completed plant every 2.5 years. There would be a problem forging the 48 reactor vessels since only five companies in the world can make them, one of them being a Japanese company. There would be a problem securing the work force with the skills to build new nuclear power plants since a large labor force is needed for the nuclear ground zero, and a further large skilled labor force needed to decommission the current reactors.

A 1500 MW reactor actually generates about 4,000-5,000 GWh/year, not including the 17% downtime required with Japanese law. Every 2 years the reactor must be shut down for inspection and refuelling which takes 3-4 months.

The capacity factor of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant before the nuclear disaster was 48%, not 80% like you claim. The annual power generation 34,000 GWh. For 1000 TWh that would need 29 of these power plants with 7 reactors each or 205 reactors.

Your nuclear pipe dream for Japan isn't going to happen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The first reactors were built in the 1960's but to be more accurate on the number needed to generate world power demand would take about 5,000 reactors from the current fleet of around 435. But many of them like in the USA and Japan are getting to the end of their life cycles and will need to be replaced by 2030.

I'm not talking about generating the world's power needs by just nuclear.

Technically speaking, many reactors could be run for many more decades than the usual 4.

As for your number of reactors, as I noted 15,000 would provide over 4 times the world's power needs. 50% of world power would need about 1800 reactors.

To achieve your 50% of total power demand would need more than 150 new reactors at a current cost of $10 billion or in total, $1,500 billion.

You forget the building learning curve - the first anything takes much more to build than those later in the build line.

Also, Japan needs about 1,000 TWh of electrical energy these days. One 1500MW reactor running at 80% capacity factor will generate 10.5 TWh per year. That works out to 48 new reactors to hit 50% of national supply - not 150. I think you must be using old data.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Star-viking

Now, as for your reactor figures:15,000 reactors would be equivalent to around 22,500,000 MW, or 22.5 TW. That's over 4 times the world's electricity consumption. Do you have 3-and-a-bit extra planets you need to power?

The first reactors were built in the 1960's but to be more accurate on the number needed to generate world power demand would take about 5,000 reactors from the current fleet of around 435. But many of them like in the USA and Japan are getting to the end of their life cycles and will need to be replaced by 2030. That's just not going to happen here in Japan.

To generate 22% of total power demand would need 35 reactors but by 2030 there won't be 35 reactors unless the life cycles are extended. The Greenpeace claim is therefore not a fantasy like you said. To achieve your 50% of total power demand would need more than 150 new reactors at a current cost of $10 billion or in total, $1,500 billion.

America generates the most power from nuclear energy but it hasn't built a new reactor for decades. About 19% while France generates the highest percentage at about 80%. But the total power demand in France is about 50% of that here in Japan.

There are many other problem trying to build so many reactors like only five world companies have the technology and skills to forge the reactor vessels. There are not enough uranium deposits to fuel the number of reactors to generate the total world power demand.

Even at 50% world power demand would need at least 2,500 reactors costing $25,000 billion. Or $25 trillion. Most countries cannot afford to even join the nuclear club.

Renewable energies can be achieved by every country and will be the long term future for all.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Switching the goalposts zichi?

we were talking about Japan's power-mix - not that of a world which is completely industrialized. The examples of France and Sweden show 50% is technically achievable in a decade.

Your "switcheroo" also relies on some fuzzy logic, as for the vast majority of the nuclear reactors were built over two decades.

Now, as for your reactor figures:

15,000 reactors would be equivalent to around 22,500,000 MW, or 22.5 TW.

That's over 4 times the world's electricity consumption. Do you have 3-and-a-bit extra planets you need to power?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Star-viking

My 50% nuclear wish may be "crazily high", but at least it has the benefit of being technically and scientifically achievable - at least 5 countries have achieved that goal.

You are not even close with your comment. It took more than five decades to build less than 500 reactors generating less than 10% of total world power demand. How long will it take to build 15,000, 25,000 or even 50,000 reactors?

at least 5 countries have achieved that goal

Out of how many countries in the world. In 2009 the number of people without access to electricity (all forms) was 1.3 billion or almost 20% of the world's population. 1 billion people no access to safe water. According to the WHO, 2.6 billion people or 39 per cent of the world’s population live without access to improved sanitation.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

jerseyboy,

Star-viking -- huh? I did read it. Since when does the word "abititious" have anything to do with time? LOL. Even "idiots" know that it doesn't. And, respectfully, as Zichi points out, your 50% goal of nuclear is clearly a "crazily high percentage".

By Greenpeace wanting everything now I mean they want to roll out 100% renewable energy programmes without any substantial scientific backings for them. "Build them and it will happen seem to be their mantra".

My 50% nuclear wish may be "crazily high", but at least it has the benefit of being technically and scientifically achievable - at least 5 countries have achieved that goal.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If ants would behave like Japanese they would stop existing if something is destroyed they rebuild and rebuild but this Fukushima disaster wipe out the will of rebuilding or restarting existing reactors. We should learn from ants not from dinosaurs....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Open Minded

Like skinning a cat there are more ways then one using fossil fuel. One would be just sticking electrodes into the water which breaks the hydrogen- oxygen bond releasing the hydrogen. The electricity can be obtained by either wind, sun and/or nuclear. Another way is like you had see in 3.11 thermal using heat from a nuclear plant. Yet still another way is bio since there are microbes that releases hydrogen as their metabolism. Breaking down methane gas released from biomass decomposition is still another.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan needs to restart their nuclear power plants quickly. The danger must not be minimized, but neither should it be exaggerated. The Fukushima plant survived the earthquake and tsunami easily, the problem was that the backup power equipment was sweeped away and/or flooded, leading to loss of cooling. Had that equipment been protected from the tsunami or replaced promptly, no disaster would have occurred.

Anyway, another thing to consider with these emission targets is that Japan is already doing very good in terms of GHG per capita, being at European levels already. That must be considered in the context that Japan is still a manufacturing powerhouse, and manufacturing generates a lot of GHG. Many countries like to brag of reducing emissions when this only reflects the collapse of their local manufacturing industries. Is it good for the environment when a factory closes in France to re-open in China or Vietnam where it will INCREASE its emissions per unit produced due to lower environmental regulations?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wind turbines (the ones that float in the sky and tethered to a power cable) generate much more wind power than land ones. Ocean currents also provide a great source of energy as well. Geothermal is also viable with the exception of Japan's fault line. Combine it all and not like 100% renewable can't be done, just some nameless fossil fuel companies want to be a mainstay for a long long time until they absolutely cannot make any more money.

Plus it does help to inform the public to do all those minor actions that reduce their energy consumption and be less wasteful.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"relying on nuclear"

Not good.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm still puzzled of why in Japan is a such habit to shut down windows and to artificially light up houses, offices, etc. during day time ... Just a little example of waste of energy, among many others.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You should also have read "ambitious" before targets. For Greenpeace that often means "a crazily high percentage".

Star-viking -- huh? I did read it. Since when does the word "abititious" have anything to do with time? LOL. Even "idiots" know that it doesn't. And, respectfully, as Zichi points out, your 50% goal of nuclear is clearly a "crazily high percentage".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Jerseyboy,

Funny, but I clearly read the word "targets" in there. How can that possibly be construed as "they want everything now"? One should be careful in throwing around a word like "idiots", when the evidence does not support it.

You should also have read "ambitious" before targets. For Greenpeace that often means "a crazily high percentage".

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Triring: how do you produce the hydrogen?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Exactly what I was voted down on yesterday when I made this comment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Typical Abe, and typical of Japan -- announce to the world you are going to do one thing, then when met with obvious skepticism (instead of the expected praise) you go home and tell a domestic group that it's "more than enough" or "none of their business". Where it's typical of Abe is that he presents one thing to the world that relies on snubbing popular opinion at home. He presents to the world the desire to "help out other nations in trouble", but what does that mean at home? changing article 9 of the Constitution, which the majority are against. It's the same here. Nowhere did he say in his presentation that "I plan to turn on the NPPs again to meet my goals, which my nation is against... so actually even this less-than-ambitious goal may not be reached", thinking that no one overseas will know or wonder about public opinion no the issue despite Fukushima still not being under control.

This is a fantastic chance for Japan to get BIG into renewables, particularly geo-thermal, but they won't. They'll say they will START getting into it years down the road, but first they have to restart NPPs 'in order to accomplish gains in renewables'. It's moronic.

So, the world AND the people at home will be against Abe, but he'll do as he pleases all the same.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan can achieve the goal with the transition from carbon society to a hydrogen society by 2030. Japan had already started the move with fuel cell cars which will probably obtain 10% ~ 20% in share for cars before 2030. That alone will cut down the amount of carbon emission dramatically. By restarting the newer nuclear reactors the goal is more then achievable by 2030.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Star-viking

Well, a goal of 30% renewables and 30% nuclear would be good, but 30% renewables and 50% nuclear would be better.

Well that's not going to happen! Prior to the nuclear disaster Japan was set to achieve 40% of total power demand from nuclear energy by 2050. That's all gone bye bye. According to the NRA chairman about 20 or so of the current fleet of about 48 reactors will be considered safe, after the safety updates, to be considered to restart. The others are not safe or too old to consider updating. The chairman predicted about 15% of total power demand from the safe reactors.

First, the power utilities must pay the safety updates for the reactors or pay to decommission them. That's going to be a strain on their cash flows. By 2030 most of the current fleet of reactors will be ending their life cycles or already ended.

The current cost of building a reactor is about $10 billion and about 6-10 years construction time. The cost of replacing the current fleet of reactors would be, probably in excess of ¥50 trillion. Added to that is final cost of the nuclear disaster, more than ¥50 trillion and still the unsolved problem of storing high level nuclear waste which will increase considerably from the decommissioning of the nuclear reactors. There's also the problem of finding communities willing to have new nuclear power plants when some of the ones with them no longer want them.

The price of uranium increased too so TEPCO plans to sell off most of its stock of nuclear fuel.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Yes they are idiots, because they want everything now, and have no realistic plans to achieve their goals.

Star-viking -- really? Let's look at the exact quote:

“By relying on a fantasy nuclear energy mix rather than setting ambitious renewable and energy-efficiency targets, Japan will fail to meet even the low-bar CO2 reduction goals that Abe announced,” environmental group Greenpeace said in a statement.

Funny, but I clearly read the word "targets" in there. How can that possibly be construed as "they want everything now"? One should be careful in throwing around a word like "idiots", when the evidence does not support it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

zichi,

A recent report from the Minister of Environment concluded by 2030, Japan could be generating 30% of its total power demand from renewables. - See more at: http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japans-emissions-target-relying-on-nuclear-seen-as-unrealistic#comment_1991689

Well, a goal of 30% renewables and 30% nuclear would be good, but 30% renewables and 50% nuclear would be better.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

A recent report from the Minister of Environment concluded by 2030, Japan could be generating 30% of its total power demand from renewables. Others have suggested even higher figures of 50% and up. By 2050, 100% of power demand could be from renewables.

The targets set by PM Abe for nuclear/coal/LNG/oil/renewables won't achieve the emission cuts.

By 2030, about 35 reactors will have reached or reaching the end of the life cycles. PM Abe won't be prime minister in 2030.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I think solar is not as practical as some people think in Japan. We forget that on Honshu, anywhere north of Sendai and most anywhere that are subject to weather from the Sea of Japan can experience intense winter snowfall, which makes solar power not very practical (this is the same problem that affects Hokkaido).

In the end, the best solution is to retire today's pressurized vessel uranium-fueled reactors in favor of the molten salt reactor, where the fuel is thorium-232 dissolved in molten fluoride salts--essentially a liquid nuclear fuel. Unlike today's nuclear reactors, they don't need expensive and dangerous pressurized reactor vessels, and an emergency shutdown is dumping the liquid nuclear fuel out of the reactor itself into a safety holding tank, a lot safer method of shutting down a reactor in case of an emergency caused by a natural disaster.

Solar power is most viable in parts of the world where the climate makes it really viable for solar power on a year-round basis. In Japan, that would be on Honshu on the side facing the Pacific Ocean, Shikoku, Kyushu, and the Ryukyu Islands. (I wonder how many private homes on Shikoku and Kyushu now have solar panels on the roof. Here in California, there's a booming business in installing solar panels on roofs of new and existing homes.)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

jerseyboy

Star-viking -- Yup, those "idiots" who are trying to save the inductrialized world from itslef, so that future generations can live happy, healthy productive lives. The same ones who pretty much started the Climate Change movement. Are those the "idiots" you are mocking?

Yes they are idiots, because they want everything now, and have no realistic plans to achieve their goals.

So is the former climate ambassador for Japan also an "idiot"?

He may be a very smart diplomat - but that does not mean he's a climate genius.

jsa-aerial,

Nope - studies have shown, even using traditional techniques, geothermal alone could cover 100% of Japans current energy needs.

Interesting! Could you please provide a link to these studies?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

There is still plenty of room for further significant energy efficiency improvements. New technologies are constantly improving energy efficiency. Smart metering and energy storage devices are other ways to reduce peak energy demand that will also save energy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

yes, but even if japan maxed out all of these "alternatives" it wouldn't solve the energy problem. until god

Nope - studies have shown, even using traditional techniques, geothermal alone could cover 100% of Japans current energy needs. Newer techniques could boost this to 5x-10x, however there are plausible earthquake issues with these in certain circumstances. Costs would be significantly cheaper than traditional nuclear.

Fusion (while still something of a 'Holy Grail'), even with the most optimistic projections, isn't in any remotely foreseeable future. ITER is well behind schedule and likely to become even more so - it's just damn difficult stuff. OTOH, certain thorium cycle liquid salt reactor designs could be a plausible option in places.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ah, Greenpeace assess the easily achievable nuclear section of the energy plan as "fantasy", and then blithely call for "ambitious renewable targets". Idiots.

Star-viking -- Yup, those "idiots" who are trying to save the inductrialized world from itslef, so that future generations can live happy, healthy productive lives. The same ones who pretty much started the Climate Change movement. Are those the "idiots" you are mocking?

But, just so you'll know, it is not just Greenpeace that is questioning Abe's numbers:

“The energy mix is based upon restarting nuclear in a substantive way, which looks unlikely in view of public opposition,” said Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, a former climate ambassador for Japan.

So is the former climate ambassador for Japan also an "idiot"?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

And, just the other day we had Abe spouting off about how he intends to cut emissions by 26% with renewables. I have a better idea: How about you try to cut electricity use by 26%? That would be a more realistic target and make a lot more sense. Nuclear power is not safe nor is it clean. Yeah, it doesn't produce as much CO2, but it does leave tons of radioactive waste for future generations to deal with. And, as for cheap, how much is the one disaster on Fukushima going to end up costing?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are soooo many alternatives- solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal....my god we have alternatives!

yes, but even if japan maxed out all of these "alternatives" it wouldn't solve the energy problem. until god invents fusion, there will always be a shortage of energy in japan. in the meantime, japan still needs a mix of renewable energy sources that include nuclear power.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Minister of Moving Deck Chairs Vice-Minister of Moving Deck Chairs Assistant Vice-Minister of Moving Deck Chairs

staff, offices, luncheons, travel
2 ( +2 / -0 )

If they spent some serious money on R&D for renewables, we wouldn't need nuclear or fossil fuels. There are soooo many alternatives- solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal....my god we have alternatives!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

"Pledges?". How much did countries pledge when they signed the Kyoto protocol? Which countries met their pledges? Are any countries still members of the Kyoto protocol? Are there any consequences if the pledges given at the November climate summit are not met? Of course not. Governments are okay making their citizens cough up cash to fight climate change (squander money on crony projects), but when the governments themselves have to do the paying, well that's different. It's all a bunch of political smoke and mirrors which fools the stupid into thinking that their leaders are "doing something". But then again, climate change is also a bunch of smoke and mirrors which also fools the stupid into giving more power and money to their "leaders".

Back in the 90's when the Soviet Union was gone, and the world was more a or less a peaceful place, global warming was a good way to put fear into people, and get them to part with more of their money. But nowadays we have Russia acting threateningly, a meltdown in the middle east, and tensions rising in Asia. Climate change is slowly fading from political consciousness, and being replaced with other problems which our politicians can use to extort money from us.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

“By relying on a fantasy nuclear energy mix rather than setting ambitious renewable and energy-efficiency targets, Japan will fail to meet even the low-bar CO2 reduction goals that Abe announced,” environmental group Greenpeace said in a statement.

Ah, Greenpeace assess the easily achievable nuclear section of the energy plan as "fantasy", and then blithely call for "ambitious renewable targets". Idiots.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

I see the usual "overwhelming public opposition" line has been upped here to "in the face of public hostility". If after 4 years people actually still believe that an entire industry has been shut down because the Japanese government is scared of the public due to some public opinion polls asking the opinion of old folks and housewives, and that the trillions of yen and 100's of billions of dollars that have been scammed have had nothing to do with anything that has gone on, then I have a nice selection of bridges available for sale to them.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

As usual, Japan's government is behind the curve. Other countries' pledges are still far too little too late and they are only pledges, so we can't assume they won't be met if history is a guide. In Japan the drop in population and decline of industry will by itself cover the 18% target. So this is basically a proposal to do nothing.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Japan’s target would represent a mere 18% cut from 1990 levels.

Government idling.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

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