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Japan's 'long war' to shut down Fukushima nuclear plant

33 Comments
By Mari Saito, Kiyoshi Takenaka and James Topham

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© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.

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33 Comments
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war ? why using this word is japan will to do war in with china . and making mind of peoples of japan by using this word . . . very sad.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

"Front-line workers, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, complain about working in the stifling protective gear, the relatively low pay, loneliness - and stress."

Yet amazingly,nobody is concerned about the high levels of radiation?

3 reactors that have had meltdowns and are still so dangerous that it is impossible to enter the buildings.

The resources needed to adequately deal with this is more than Japan can muster....

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Why spend millions to only develop crawling robots that might or might not work? There are drones the size of small birds in use now that would be perfect for this situation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Wow, doesnt sound good at all. Shut those reactors down and encase in lead and concrete, forevermore...!!!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The reactors were declared to be in a stable state called cold-shut down in December 2011. But now Japan faces an unprecedented clean-up that experts say could cost at least $100 billion for decommissioning the reactors and another $400 billion for compensating victims and decontaminating areas outside the plant.

TEPCO said in November the costs of compensation to residents and decontamination of their neighborhoods might double to 10 trillion yen ($107 billion) from a previous estimate. That did not include a forecast for decommissioning.

The Japan Center for Economic Research, a Tokyo-based think tank, has estimated that decontamination costs alone in the Fukushima residential area could balloon to as much as $600 billion.

Interesting, since JCER said nothing of the sort, unless people are ignorant enough to add an extra zero. They state 6 trillion yen in cleanup, which comes out to 65 billion dollars, not 600 billion (http://www.jcer.or.jp/eng/research/pdf/pe%28iwata20110425%29e.pdf). TEPCO's payouts are currently almost entirely as compensation, not cleanup. The only places stating over a 200 billion dollars are from a single political activist that is demanding TEPCO buy all "contaminated" lands even if they are legally habitable and viable for cultivation, at nearly ten times the actual value of the land.

The article focused on length rather than quality I am guessing.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

And in another article today, Mr. Abe wants to showcase the recovery effort to the world through the Olympics. What a joke.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Melted fuel debris is to be removed from the reactors from 2021 and the entire project wrapped up within 30 to 40 years

In other words, kids born at the time of the quake will be middle-aged, and still paying through the nose in taxes and high utility rates, for this disaster. Sure hope their parents enjoyed all the "cheap electricity" they got from all the nukes. Their children are just going to suffer the consequences of their willful neglect of safety concerns.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I think a more accurate title would be something like...

"Japan dragging its feet to shutdown Fukushima nuclear plant"

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The article focused on length rather than quality I am guessing.

Please tell us more why you feel this way.

I'm interested to know, because I think it's a highly informative article.

Thank you in advance.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

It's interesting to note that, they openly state they are lacking skilled engineers and physicists to complete the work. How about they pull their heads out of their butts and get some international professionals in to get it cleared ASAP? Wouldn't that make better sense instead of just dithering around and expecting sympathy for their hard task? I really get so sick and tired if hearing all these apathetic excuses coming from the Japanese government and bureaucrats. I have no sympathy for self-inflicted wounds. You did to yourselves, so stop whining about it and get it cleaned up!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

How radioactive do you want Japan to be??? Tepco, pay the people you displaced, and do the honorale thing.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Clean, Cheap, Reliable - Myth Busted.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

SquidBertMar. 07, 2013 - 04:00PM JST

Clean, Cheap, Reliable - Myth Busted.

Yes, the natural gas and oil now being used are none of those. Not to mention that they are expected to kill an extra thousand people a year through their pollution.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Oh look a straw man, oh it is on fire to. What shall we do?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Disillusioned

get some international professionals in to get it cleared ASAP?

Who? You are just dreaming "professionals" who do not exist. Keep dreaming.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

CH3CHO - Who? You are just dreaming "professionals" who do not exist.

There is a team of French engineers that have been offering to come in take over the clean up since the week after the meltdown, but I guess you missed that. Try reading other newspapers and not just this tabloid.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

A key reason for the belated effort to develop such technology was Japan’s reluctance to acknowledge the possibility of atomic disasters. Doing so would have contradicted a decades-old myth of nuclear safety. Robots developed after a 1999 nuclear accident at Tokaimura near Tokyo ended up in science museums after research was abandoned.

If the nuclear industry in this country has a consistent talent it is denial. Denial before the disaster and denial after the disaster, up to the present day with the Abe-LDP government denied a WHO report that there was a small danger of more cancer in Fukushima. Even this modest estimation was too much for the nuclear mafia.

Now we can only hope that there will be technology to deal with this mess to the end of this century.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This isn't just a long war to clean up the disaster, its on of the biggest, most difficult to fix, man made industrial accidents in modern history. Its 2 years into it and we still don't know the state of the melted fuel (corium), where it is, and if it's "contained". We still don't have the technology to even get close enough to find where the melted fuel is...

To Japan's credit extremely smart and dedicated people will be working on this for their entire professional careers. In 50 years time there will be masters and Phd students who would have recently graduated, and possibly retired their professional working careers only working on cleaning up the Fukushima reactors.

The future of of nuclear power is over, its done, its toast, and its for purely economic reasons. The only people championing nuclear power now are those who are heavily invested in it, and have the most to lose from its downfall. For medical and defense purposes it will always have a place, but as an economic and environmentally safe form of power, its proven itself as a failure because its too expensive to use and maintain, and when things go wrong, its too expensive to clean up!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

For a very basic overview of why nuclear power is finished, the Economist Jeremy Rifkin was asked if nuclear power would, or would not, be a solution to the climate crisis as some people like to use a very basic argument that it doesn't emit CO2 (even though they forget how we have to mine for uranium).

Jeremy is an extremely influential economist who advises the European Union and its member states, the sovereign Wealth Fund, and many major institutional investment houses and economic bodies in the US and Europe. If people like him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Rifkin are saying Nuclear power is over, there is a reason.

If anyone would like an explanation of the economic principles of nuclear power and why it is much more expensive, much more risky, and is not a viable energy source, watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwIvGJJ_dtU. Its honest and to the point. I would really like responses to what he is saying.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SquidBertMar. 07, 2013 - 04:00PM JST

Clean, Cheap, Reliable - Myth Busted.

Really? Cleaner than fossil fuels, probably cheaper when environmental impacts are considered, and yes - reliable: the Japanese NPPs were shut down by mandated checking procedures - not reliability**** issues.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

dontbelievethehypeMar. 07, 2013 - 10:32PM JST

The future of of nuclear power is over, its done, its toast, and its for purely economic reasons. The only people championing nuclear power now are those who are heavily invested in it, and have the most to lose from its downfall. For medical and defense purposes it will always have a place, but as an economic and environmentally safe form of power, its proven itself as a failure because its too expensive to use and maintain, and when things go wrong, its too expensive to clean up!

Expensive? Compared to the fossil fuels we've been burning to make up for them? Environmentally safe? Compare to the CO2 that's getting pumped into the atmosphere?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

dontbelievethehypeMar. 07, 2013 - 11:25PM JST

For a very basic overview of why nuclear power is finished, the Economist Jeremy Rifkin was asked if nuclear power would, or would not, be a solution to the climate crisis as some people like to use a very basic argument that it doesn't emit CO2 (even though they forget how we have to mine for uranium).

Yet even the IPCC report on Renewables, the SSREN, put Nuclear on par with Wind for CO2 emissions.

Jeremy is an extremely influential economist who advises the European Union and its member states, the sovereign Wealth Fund, and many major institutional investment houses and economic bodies in the US and Europe. If people like him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Rifkin are saying Nuclear power is over, there is a reason.

How can you claim that because one "smart person" says X, then X must be the case? Sounds like confirmation bias.

If anyone would like an explanation of the economic principles of nuclear power and why it is much more expensive, much more risky, and is not a viable energy source, watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwIvGJJ_dtU. Its honest and to the point. I would really like responses to what he is saying.

If I have the time over the weekend I will have a look. From his wiki page though, I guess Rifkin is one of those who boost renewables without taking into consideration the costs, and denigrates nukes without acknowledging the advantages.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

One thing to take into consideration is that at the moment renewables are good investment prospects as they can be sliced up into penny packets and funded privately - NPPs cannot be sliced like that, and so from a free-market economic point of view are not very investable. Same goes for health services, social services, and a whole lot of other things we take for granted.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

$400.. billion?!

oh dear...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Disillusioned

There is a team of French engineers

Are you talking about AREVA? Japan hired them, but they proved to be goofies who make more troubles than solve.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The nuclear disaster earlier called into question Japan’s vaunted reputation for bureaucratic competence and leading edge technology.

The words "Japan" and "bureaucratic competence" do NOT belong in the same sentence together.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Star-vikingMar. 07, 2013 - 11:46PM JST

If I have the time over the weekend I will have a look. From his wiki page though, I guess Rifkin is one of those who boost renewables without taking into consideration the costs, and denigrates nukes without acknowledging the advantages.

Don't bother, the guy is completely unqualified to discuss the scientific, engineering, and even economic (despite his economist background) aspects of energy policy. S.J. Gould, "Integrity and Mr. Rifkin", Discover Magazine, January 1985 should be enough to rest the issue, where a Harvard scholar pokes holes in Rifkin's credentials large enough to fit a power plant in.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

sighclopsMar. 08, 2013 - 12:16AM JST

$400.. billion?!

oh dear...

That's mistaken, should be 60 billion according to JCER, and even the mistaken number is still chump change compared to the $1 trillion in fossil fuel costs over the next 10 years (not to mention another $500 billion in power plant production)... And lets not forget that's all assuming the 80 yen/dollar rate, which now gives the cleanup and compensation a nearly 20% discount and fuel prices a 15% increase (when also including decreases in fuel prices with the assumption of shale gas)

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Oh look a straw man, oh it is on fire to. What shall we do?

It's too late. He's on fire because of all the extra CO2 that's been pumped into the atmosphere since 3/11 to manage the shortfall in energy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nuclear vs. CO2 is a false dilemma.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

SquidBertMar. 08, 2013 - 08:31AM JST

Nuclear vs. CO2 is a false dilemma

And talking about burning straw is a pointless unless the mods like fanning the flames.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

dontbelievethehypeMar. 07, 2013 - 11:25PM JST

If anyone would like an explanation of the economic principles of nuclear power and why it is much more expensive, much more risky, and is not a viable energy source, watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwIvGJJ_dtU. Its honest and to the point. I would really like responses to what he is saying.

Ok, I watched the video. He says that in order to make an impact on climate change Nuclear would have to be at 20% of the global power supply, from what he says is 6%. Now I have to say this is rubbish - even 6% counts, as the goal is to minimize CO2 emission. But he goes on that this means that the 400 existing plants have to be replaced by 1600 new plants - and by his calculations that would require a nuclear plant to be built every 30 days.

First, 20% divided by 6% and multiplied by the 400 old plants gives 1333 new plants needed - not the 1600 figure Rifkin seems to pull out of the air. Not a good indicator of his attention to detail.

Second - is 3 reactors every 30 days impossible as he suggests? In the 80s a new reactor was coming on-line every 17 days, and in the case of France they quadrupled their nuclear power from 1980 to 2000. It does not seem an impossibility to hit a 20% target.

Thirdly, Rifkin says that even if they did that it would take 40 years to reach 20% of world energy needs. Let's leave aside the fact that this gives 1460 reactors - again, not the 1600 he says are needed, what power would they produce? If we are conservative we're talking about 1GW per reactor (and that is very conservative), but what that gives is 1460 GWs. To get the amount of energy this produces in a year we multiply by 8760 (hours in a year) and get 12789600 GW hours of electrical energy, dividing by 1000 get the more convenient figure of approx 12798 TW hours. The world electricity production in 2009 was approx. 20,300 TW hours (from the IEA/OECD), so Rifkin's figures give nuclear producing over 60% of the world's electricity in 40 years. Sure sounds better than 20% - or maybe we can hit his mythical 20% target earlier?

The man sounds authoritative, but he can't even make his own figures add up. I advise disregarding him as a source of information.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

SquidBertMar. 08, 2013 - 08:31AM JST

Nuclear vs. CO2 is a false dilemma.

Really? You must expand on your statement. Why is it a false dilemma?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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