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Nuclear power still key to Japan's energy mix: officials

21 Comments

Nuclear power is set to remain a key part of Japan's energy profile despite the safety concerns raised by the Fukushima disaster, senior Japanese energy officials predicted Monday.

"The Japanese government still considers nuclear as an option for the energy mix. It must not be excluded from the overall energy mix," said Zengo Aizawa, Vice President of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) which operates the stricken Fukushima plant.

"The government has rethought the idea of abandoning nuclear energy," Aizawa told a session of the World Energy Congress being held in Daegu, South Korea.

Japan shut down all 50 commercial reactors in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant.

Two reactors were restarted in July last year, but were taken offline again last month for inspections, leaving the country without any nuclear power.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has openly backed a return to the widespread use of atomic energy, but the Japanese public remains divided, with opponents citing continued safety fears.

Makoto Yagi, chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, told the gathering of energy officials in Daegu that Japan should remain committed to nuclear power in the medium and long term.

"It is important to resume nuclear power plants as soon as their safety can be guaranteed," Yagi said.

He stressed the importance of regaining public trust by explaining the post-Fukushima safety measures that were being put in place.

"It is a Japanese responsibility to help improve nuclear safety standards worldwide", based on the lessons learned from Fukushima, he added.

Nuclear power supplied about one-third of Japan's electricity before the 2011 tsunami.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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but the Japanese public remains divided, with opponents citing continued safety fears.

The two officials are both representing power companies, so they say what power company folks say. Nukes make money, so people who stand to gain will support them.

The Japanese public, according to recent surveys, is divided only as to whether they want nuclear power phased our gradually or immediately. Very few want to see everything restarted.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

“It is important to resume nuclear power plants as soon as their safety can be guaranteed,” Yagi said.

However,that cannot be guaranteed-the people of Fukushima were told that nuclear power was safe and no doubt 'guaranteed' it also. Now there are hundreds of thousands in Japan living in contaminated areas and ingesting contaminated food. Thousands of people are living in shelters with no hope of ever regaining their own home again.

Mr Yagi should understand that nuclear energy is prone to failures with the most dire consequences.............

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Nuclear power is the only viable form of energy for resource-deficient Japan. What happened at Fukushima was an act of nature.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Nuclear power is still needed in Japan for the short term but economists and engineers should make future decisions about it's scale, NOT political and industry insiders.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Jeff, sorry mate - the earthquake and tsunami on 3/11 were an act of nature, the lax safety standards, inept managment, corner cutting and ignoring safety recommendations in the hope that an accident would never happen - that was all TEPCO made. Only viable source ? No...it may be somewhat necesary to tie Japan over in the short term, but the country should make greater efforts towards a speedy transition to other sources before another " act of nature " results in a another " oh, we could not have predicted it " disaster. Ufortunately, givent the strong ties of the LDP to the Nuclear village that appears unlikely now. Money matters , little people don`t....thats is the current reality.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Good idea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It should be made clear that, the reactors were not 'shut down' as stated in the article. They were only taken off line. I understand Japan's reliance on nuclear energy just because of the huge amounts of money they invested in building them in the first place, but if they are serious about keeping them they have to ensure the Fukushima scenario can never happen again. Unfortunately, they are failing to do so. They have not addressed the issue if ensuring back up generators and electrics are waterproof and safe from another tsunami. I also think they need to prove they can manage nuclear power by getting that mess cleaned up in Fukushima. This article does nothing to convince people how necessary nuclear power is. It only states a few well known facts and the opinion of a representative of TEPCO. Would you expect the article to be anti-nuclear? Of course not!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Honestly, Jeff. Simply brushing off the danger that nuclear poses by saying that nature was involved is below moronic. The fact that such events occur and set off this disaster is a very strong argument against usage of nuclear. The only thing that is ultimately behind nuclear is the lust for immediate fiscal gains by those entrenched in its interest. Let's not lose sight of the human loss brought about by the "accident" less than three years out.

Get rid of nuclear NOW! We are meeting the energy demand curve, though barely, even now. Other forms like solar and wind are booming and creating a wider margin day by day.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Get rid of nuclear NOW! We are meeting the energy demand curve, though barely, even now

By massively increasing the reliance on fossil fuels.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Hear Ye, hear ye. The only power Japan needs is already here, every day, the Rising Sun. Independent power from solar, bladeless mini wind and water turbines, no dams needed it is all in the spin. But back to radiation, which kills living cells indiscriminately and the curse of nuclear power, the radiation. Pub Med thanks to mostly Japanese authors said seven time, like the seven Samurai, sulfur can protect and repair the damage of radiation exposure. Cool, but why is this unknown in Japan, California, Canada, Russia, and the rest of the inhabited places on Earth being radiated by a failed GE reactor, not a natural disaster The National Institute of Health as reported in Naturalnews.com when radioactive material sulfates it leaves the body harmlessly. Got sulfur? Not in any diet around the world thanks to chemical fertilizers. Where are the planes to dump the mineral sulfur waiting in Hawaii on Fukushima, no evacuation necessary, and into the Sea. We are the 24 minerals of life, none of those radioactive are pro biology, nor are the 68 other naturally occurring elements of the periodic table. Get sulfur! .

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan is so far behind in modern thinking it's not even funny anymore. While many of the world's countries actively try to find new energy sources, this place is schackled by the old mentality of its leaders and an enormous energy dependence. When Japanese think Eco, they see it as putting in a more modern washing machine or switching light bulbs to LED lights. There seems to be nonunderstanding, nor willingness, to evolve and perhaps change ways. No, we need nuclear power. We crave it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's got nothing to do with old mentality thinking. It's all about money! The Japanese invested so heavily in nuclear power they can never give it up regardless of how dangerous it is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Replace nuclear energy with solar, wind, hydro, better architectural designs, durable & efficient products, less wastage, human & animal, integrated ecology, deliberate scalability, etc. If there is a will, there is a way. Nuclear is way too dangerous, too destructive & too costly (many hidden costs) in the long-run.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Replace nuclear energy with solar, wind, hydro, better architectural designs, durable & efficient products, less wastage, human & animal, integrated ecology, deliberate scalability, etc. If there is a will, there is a way. Nuclear is way too dangerous, too destructive & too costly (many hidden costs) in the long-run

So will we have all of this installed by the weekend? Or do we have to use an alternative until we've reached that point. Because the alternatives are nuclear or fossil fuels. And one of them is known to kill tens and tens and tens of thousands on an annual basis around the world. And the other is nuclear.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Most definitely! How else will these Abe politicians be able to save TEPCO after having received out of pocket expenses and gifts?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dis,

It has everything to do with old mentality. That old mentality manifests itself in leaders who wear the figurative horn-rimmed glasses and think that what it's all about is money. The mental evolution of Japan's leaders seem to have stopped around 1970 when the only way people thought they could measure success was how much money they made.

Heda,

Yes. It will arrive tomorrow, didn't you get the memo? Sometimes, to push change, you have to make sacrifices. That means you might have to explain to the consumers of Japan: "Time to slow down. Time to rethink. Time to act instead of consuming the whole damn time." Unfortunately, I don't think the Japanese public is mature enough to understand this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What will they do with all the nuclear waste which is continually produced? Japan is a small country laced with seismic fault lines.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry, I mean regrettably, but I can't get past the head line with "nuclear power "and "skill "in the same sentence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nuclear power still key to Japan's energy mix: officials

The more the small Japan Island sticks to this failed technology in a land of tsunamis, typhoons and dangerous earthquakes, the more people and environment are put to danger and the more expensive and dirty the nuke becomes

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes. It will arrive tomorrow, didn't you get the memo? Sometimes, to push change, you have to make sacrifices. That means you might have to explain to the consumers of Japan: "Time to slow down. Time to rethink. Time to act instead of consuming the whole damn time." Unfortunately, I don't think the Japanese public is mature enough to understand this.

It's not the public that matter. Yes, the shops could and should easily go back to the post March 11 amount of energy consumed but it's factories and the industry that use the vast majority of the power and until Japan has a viable alternative. And they really SHOULD be working towards this. The alternative is nuclear or fossil fuels.

And it's laughable for people to suggest that fossil fuels are better for the environment. Because they're not.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nuclear power is a very broad field encompassing many disparate technologies. Japan should look at developing new nuclear technologies that are a better fit in seismically active areas, like traveling wave reactors, for instance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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