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Nuclear to remain key Japan energy source, gov't panel says

52 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Nuclear energy should be replaced by 2030 and the country needs to continue to invest in renewable energies and other technologies. More than 60% of the population are opposed to nuclear energy.

It's no longer profitable to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and the country's current stockpile sitting in spent pools around the country is large and a long term storage solution needs to be decided by the gov't but no prefecture wants a long term nuclear storage depot.

The nuclear disaster site and the decommssioning of other reactors will produce tens of thousands of highly radioactive waste and hundreds of thousands of low level waste. The country still hasn't started to dismantle the first reactors itclosed down because of the problem of the nuclear waste.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Nuclear energy should be replaced by 2030 and the country needs to continue to invest in renewable energies and other technologies.

Climate scientists disagree.

More than 60% of the population are opposed to nuclear energy.

If that as the case then the current government would never have been voted in, never mind by the landslide that they were won by.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Well, I guess with the new secrecy law I guess we can't protest this.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

With new secret law, from now on, everything what you hear from J. government will be filtered before they reach us, and there will be no truth in them. Japan moving backward, sigh.

Japan without democracy is almost like a marrying to woman with plastic breasts. All fakes.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@Heda_Madness

If that as the case then the current government would never have been voted in, never mind by the landslide that they were won by.

In the last General Election the LDP won a large number of seats but only 43% of the District voters and 28% of the Block voters supported them. That leaves room for 60% of the population to be opposed to the use of nuclear energy. Since the nuclear disaster the opposition to nuclear energy has remained high and now ex-PM Koizumi has become vocal in his opposition to nuclear energy, along with ex-Kan.

Nuclear energy only generates about 11% of total world electricity! less than that generated by renewable energies! which is about 25% and a figure which is increasing year-on-year. The majority of countries can't afford to build the expensive nuclear power plants.

But for the current post which is about Japan rather than the world situation, its a country which shouldn't have nuclear power plants unless they are constructed to withstand all the various types of powerful natural disasters, which hasn't happened with the current 50 or so reactors.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Actually smithinjapan, with the new secrecy law this is probably the last we will ever hear about the government's future energy plans.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So everyone who didn't vote was anti nuclear which is where the 60% came from?

Sounds like someone picked a number out of the air and stuck with it.

The world needs to move away from fossil fuels. The world needs to drastically reduce CO2 emissions. Nuclear is needed with the support of renewables. At least that's what the experts say but what do they know?

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Just like the secrecy bill. Who in LDP gives any toss about a public opinion? What were all those numerous public opinion about that time after time showed public,s overwhelming preference for gradually shutting down the N industry ? Obviously LDP holds public opinion in contempt and its corrupted ties to the N industry and its money are just too strong ( not that there was ever any doubt ). And if some people start making noise about this issue ? The true info about the state of affairs can be hidden under the new dictatorship like secrecy bill and the protesters can be labeled terrorists and a threat to public order and dealt with. Well done Japan , well done....this one week in politics seems to have pushed this country back decades.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Heda_Madness

Climate scientists disagree. The world needs to move away from fossil fuels. The world needs to drastically reduce CO2 emissions. Nuclear is needed with the support of renewables. At least that's what the experts say but what do they know?

Some climate scientists and environmentalists support the use of nuclear energy but its far from 100%. But the post isn't about the world situation. Its about nuclear energy in Japan which is sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire with a long history of powerful earthquakes and tsunami and other natural disasters. Should Japan continue to use nuclear energy when it failed to build safe nuclear power plants? Japan, by your own admission, is a country you no longer live in.

The gov't will find it very difficult for any of the prefectures to accept the building of new nuclear power plants. Some of the current reactors failed the stress tests while others are coming to the end of their life cycle. Building nuclear power plants is very costly and can only be achieved if supported by the gov't.

The current laws limit the amount of money set aside by the power companies in case of a nuclear disaster. I think that current limit is about ¥100 billion, and in the case of a nuclear disaster, the liability of the power companies is limited to ¥120 billion.

We can see from the Fukushima nuclear disaster that those sums are not high enough. In the coming decades it will take many ¥trillions to deal with the nuclear disaster, and the eventual cost will be more than ¥50 trillion. The power companies are required to set aside funds for decommissioning their reactors at the end of the life cycles but the power companies have failed to do that and are now claiming the lack of funds to decommission the reactors, and also, the money to update the safety of the reactors they still want to operate. That is likely to cost about ¥200 billion per reactor.

The cost of nuclear energy is no longer the cheap source of energy it once was and is now on par with other fuels. Prior to the nuclear disaster, nuclear energy generated about 27% of total power but following the introduction of new safety standards probably that power generation figure will be reduced to 15-20% with less than 25 of the current batch of reactors able to operate. Quite a few need to be shut down, especially those that failed the tests and any which are on active fault lines.

Nuclear energy, if continued to be used, can't supply all the power the country needs and will still to use large amounts of fossil fuels. Coal will continue to be used because of its price. Investment is needed to update the fossil fuel power plants so they produce less pollution and greenhouse gases. Modern coal plants can remove 90% of all pollution. Investment in renewable energies must continue.

Like really all other countries with nuclear power, Japan has not come up with an answer to 1,000+ years needed for the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel. Only Finland has found its solution for the storage problem.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The main reason they want to keep nuclear power is to have access to nuclear technology to balance power against China and North Korea. This is a direct order from the US and Japanese government has no power to act differently. If you want the US support (let's be frank, you need it badly), keep this nuclear fuel running in your system but watch carefully not to spill it on your own land, period.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Zichi - it's the leading climate scientists - those at the forefront who wrote the letter. Not just 'some'

Secondly 64% of the word's power comes from Fossil fuels.

The UK is building new nuclear power plants. Germany has increased it's Co2 emissions and is building more coal power plants. If we follow the German model the world is doomed.

The reasons why nuclear fuel was invented are no different to the reasons we need nuclear today. Had London not spent a fortune on building a barrier to prevent storm surge much of it would be underwater today. If we continue to heat the planet in the way we have done they will need a bigger and better barrier. The UK is relatively rich, many other countries don't have that luxury.

Nuclear and renewables is the way forward for the planet.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

But real disission has to be taken by people of Japan

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Heda_Madness

The UK is building new nuclear power plants. Germany has increased it's Co2 emissions and is building more coal power plants. If we follow the German model the world is doomed.

The post, and the people making the comments are not discussing the world situation but what is happening in this country and whether nuclear energy should be a part of its long term energy plan. The majority of the people living here, disagree with your opinion on that. We are not discussing what is happening in the UK or Germany, both countries without the kind of powerful natural disasters experienced here. The UK is not on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Does not have volcanos, powerful earthquakes and tsunami. The UK are also building or proposing to build new nuclear power plants because the deal is being financed and built by Chinese and French companies. I wouldn't want a foreign company controlling the nuclear power plants. If they are so good for the country why isn't the British gov't building them?

All of the country' nuclear reactors, about 48 of them, have been shut down since about Sept. The country has been in a zero nuclear energy state since then.

This is because the general will of the people is strongly opposed to nuclear power.

Japanese people want no more nuclear power, it has overcome the resistance of the government, the bureaucracy and the business community, and it continues to realize an actual zero-nuclear society.

Public opinion surveys since the Great East Japan Earthquake show a steady level of support at around 70 percent in favor of getting rid of nuclear power. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/opinion/AJ201312040007

6 ( +9 / -3 )

What the UK does is no more off topic than your comment on global energy use. The vast majority of people who live in Japan are not anti nuclear or the government wouldn't have changed. Only one party was massively pro nuclear and that's the party that was voted in by the electorate.

The country has been nuclear free since September and as a result more people will die from the added use of fossil fuels than nuclear. The leading cause of lung cancer is pollution. But still, that's better than nuclear isn't it? Because we know that nuclear is really dangerous and kills. Yet kills millions fewer than the other forms of energy.

The UK is building nuclear power plants because they do not believe that nuclear is the answer and other countries have the expertise. Pretty sure that's a good thing, to use the experts.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

@Heda_Madness

The people of the UK have never experienced a LEVEL 7 nuclear disaster. Never had to flee from their homes and communities in the dead of the night because of clouds of radiation coming at them. The people of the UK have not lost vast areas of their land to radioactive contamination. Even following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, in the UK it never reached the proportions of the nuclear disaster here. The UK people don't have to fork out ¥trillion to clean up the mess of the nuclear disaster. There are only about 9 nuclear reactors in the UK compared to about 48 in this country and none of those UK reactors are located on fault lines or near to the likes of a Tokai epicenter, like at Hamaoka.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

All of that is very true. But more people have died in Japan since March 11 from Fossil fuels than died during the evacuation or from any radiation. People have died from stress but that's been created by fear, not an understanding of the effects of radiation.

And it's ludicrous that was a level 7. 7 is as bad as it can get and it wasn't Chernobyl. And it wasn't anywhere near the worst it could get. In fact, even now experts are using this as an example as to why nuclear power is the only option.

But you won't listen because you'd prefer millions of guaranteed deaths from fossil fuels than any form of nuclear power because nuclear is bad. Despite all evidence to the contrary.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

"Well, I guess with the new secrecy law I guess we can't protest this."

seriously you can all be the dense? Don't you see? This is the ENTIRE reason the secrecy law was written and passed so easily.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan was practically free of nuclear with most of them shut down, and just had to embark on a renewable greener direction. One that would engage the population and inspire young and old towards a change and a more prosperous future. But nope, unfortunately this was against all the vested interests and thus has been brought back. What a tragedy.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

You have to step up your game. I expect more from Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hopefully Mother Nature and terrorists will cooperate and there won't be any more Fukushimas.

That still won't solve the problem of the plutonium stockpile...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Heda_Madness

At least that's what the experts say but what do they know?

Ah yes! the experts. The same kind of experts who told us nuclear energy was safe, cheap, clean but became a busted urban myth following the nuclear disaster. Or the experts who said that the Fukushima nuclear power plant wouldn't be destroyed by a powerful earthquake and tsunami?

The leading cause of lung cancer is pollution.

Not according to the experts? According to the leading health authorities including the WHO, smoking is the major cause of lung cancer in 80-90% of all cases.

All of that is very true. But more people have died in Japan since March 11 from Fossil fuels than died during the evacuation or from any radiation. People have died from stress but that's been created by fear, not an understanding of the effects of radiation.

Instead of sweeping statements how some links to scienific reports showing how many people in Japan have died from fossil fuels since the nuclear disaster and how many have died from stress. I have not seen any reports on those two possible issues.

Whatever, however you don't live in the country. The current gov't should hold a referendum on the future use of nuclear energy in this country, which in itself shouldn't be a problem if they are confident of their position.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Not according to the experts? According to the leading health authorities including the WHO, smoking is the major cause of lung cancer in 80-90% of all cases.

According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of WHO, the leading cause of lung cancer is from Air Pollution, October 2013

I don't have data on Japan. But I do have data on the number of fatalities from fossil fuels. So unless you think Japan is unique then they should be sufficient to prove the point.

Your preference is for renewables and fossil fuels. You state that renewables provide more energy than nuclear, which is true. However 18.3% of all energy produced in 2008 was from renewable, 16% of all energy produced was from hydro. So your hope is that the remaining 2.3% can make up for nuclear (14.8%) and fossil fuels (66.9%).

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Japan should be celebrating everyday they are off nuclear, have a parade, and start working with the public on making their country based on renewable sources. That's no small feat, would take decades, and not only would it help reduce fossil fuel usage over time but also give people a goal and dream to work towards. Do something positive on a national scale. Give people hope towards the future.

I've met Japanese solar researchers in Canada, as well as lots of engineers and scientists. Japan has the ability, more than most, to put kaizen to renewables and see where it goes. I think it can happen, but sadly it can't until the oyagi's who sold out the country are eventually taken by time.

It's out there though, ask young people. They're waiting. I for one will always cheer them on!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The "government panel" named in the above article should have pointed out that they were probably selected by Abe's people .... which means they voiced their opinions on the same way that Abe thinks.

What would happen if a panel of common citizens were asked to voice their opinions on this subject? They would undoubtedly give a deafening NO to Abe's and the Liberal Democratic Party's plans to restart the nuclear power industry here in Japan in the near future.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer in a press release dated Oct.17, 2013, outdoor air pollution is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.

The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking. Some air pollutants have natural sources, as well.

It said that in 2010, 223,000 people worldwide died from lung cancer caused by air pollution.

In 2010, 4,000 Japanese people died from lung cancer caused by all forms of carcinogenic air pollution. While in 2008 there were about 61,000 cases of lung cancer.

High exposure in Asia, South Asia, eastern North America, some places in Central America and Mexico, as well as North Africa.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, accounting for 1.3 million deaths annually. Cancer accounted for 13 percent of the 58 million total worldwide deaths in 2004. Many more people die from lung cancer caused by smoking than the 223,000 cases from air pollution. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22% of global cancer deaths and 71% of global lung cancer deaths.

(World Health Organization. Cancer. Fact Sheet No 297. February 2009. Accessed on November 17, 2009.http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/index.html)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A first world country with third world corruption and lack of foresight. The opportunity is there to be a world leader, but instead will become the planets poisoner.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The radiation levels inside the exclusion zone remain up to 150 microsieverts/hour, which is about 1300 millisieverts per year, in the area of the nuclear disaster site and up to 20 microsieverts/hour in the area around the nuclear disaster site. 1300 millisieverts is 65 times the legal limit allowed in Fukushima and 1,300 times the limit in the rest of the country.

People won't be allowed to live in these areas for many decades. The billions spent on decontamination work has failed to produce a reduction in radiation levels first hoped and the work is taking much longer than first estimated which will go on for many more years, costing many more billions.

One of the major problems about promoting nuclear fuel is that power generation can only be generated by huge central plants costing many billions and must be under the control of power companies.

We need to move away from the idea that only power companies with their huge power plants whether nuclear or fossil fuels are the only ones capable of providing all the power we need.

Since the nuclear disaster and the problems with nuclear reactors many major companies have installed their own methods of power generation, usually gas turbines or gas turbines with renewable energy and are now able to generate 20-30% of their total power needs. Gas turbines run on imported natural gas but they could also use biogas, and the country could be producing about 20 million tons of biogas every year. They can also run on the various forms of biofuel.

Major companies can produce 20-30% of their total power needs which reduces the eventual number of centralised power plants needed.

Whether the country decides to return to using nuclear energy or not fossil fuels will still be used to produce power. The technology for cleaner fossil plants needs to be installed which it is in new plants being built.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Zichi is correct - using arguments about what UK is doing is simply irrelevant to this discussion as those countries have not experienced Fukushima Daiichi kind of accident and do not have N power plants in some of the most seismically active places on Earth as Japan does. Do you live anywhere near a N power plant Heda? One located in an eathquake prone area where another strong quake is just a matter of time, like a lot of us here do? No I didn't think so.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Zichi, where did you find the 25% world wide renewable energy numbers. Does that include like wind power and the failed corrupt solar industry in the US (less than 5 %), geothermal less than that and the fact that Germany is restarting coal because wind power is just not trust worthy enough and highly restricted due to no wind, too much wind and power generation that cannot be stored or diverted . Also remember the UK had a very serious nuclear accident many years ago as did the US. I realize Japan has a history of natural disasters but realistically also has very few options other than importing at great cost oil and LNG from abroad. . Nuclear is in the long run one option that Japan has. So to go fear mongering after this disaster is not good. Rather than learning from it,... all you are doing is stopping your country from growth.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Should Japan continue to use nuclear energy when it failed to build safe nuclear power plants?

I'd only partially agree with that. I'd say that they failed to operate them safely. Might sound petty, but I think a lot more could have been done on March 11-15 IF they put emergency generating capacity at a higher level (roof, etc) and IF they had retained power. I know it sounds like a weak argument, but so much more if they had just put those generators up higher.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd say that they failed to operate them safely.

No, they ignored GEC engineers advice to house backup pumps and energy above flood level in case of a Tsunami. TEPCO in it's arrogance ignored such sage advice and GEC walked away leaving the idiots in control of the project, this in the construction stage of the Fukushima plant.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Whack-a-mole is here to stay.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Wow, I can't believe after the Fukushima accident and how the people protested against nuclear energy, they still want it to be the main energy source. Why don't they make investments in renewable energy projects? I bet they are probably forced to use nuclear energy.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I think Japan would make out better with more waste to energy power plants.

http://www.industcards.com/wte-japan.htm

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I just wish TEPCO and J Govt would stop glossing over the truth. It is common knowledge that the initial blasts at Daiichi caused 80% of the contaminates to be blown out to sea. But the other 20% blew around Japan. Since the accidents inception billions of Bq have been released everyday. I wish that J Govt will eventually see that knowledge is power and that to empower the people will empower the nation. Glossing over events of this magnitude will only destroy a country as the truth pitters out.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ahh yes, a record number of negatives yet no-one apart from Zichi is capable of trying to respond. So let's go for an even bigger number of negatives....

As has been mentioned, the UK did have quite a major fire at Windscale in the 50's and more contaminated food entered the food chain than did from Fukushima. Don't recall the massive fatalities from that.

Secondly... for every fatality from nuclear... over 2300 people die from fossil fuels

300,000 die annually in China alone

But still. that's a cleaner, better option isn't it? Never mind the fact that it causes global warming. Or sea levels to rise or all of the other wonderful stuff that's associated with it. But, for Japan it's a better option. It's better to have hundreds of thousands to die than for worst case. Which hasn't happened. Has never happened. And if Fukushima tells us anything. It's highly unlikely to ever happen.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@ heda, thanks I forgot the Windscale name also you forgot to add the tens of thousands in the USA that die in car accidents but then I guess the greens would say if they were driving electric cars that would not happen either.LOL

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

After the windscale fire (1957) the hill farmers noted that they were walking over soot on their pastures. After Chernobyl (1986) it was discovered that food in this area was higher than the legal limit and so banned from consumption. The ban stayed in place for over 20 years.

After the fire, nobody checked the lamb, and it's safe to assume that heavily contaminated food entered the food chain. With, well, no noticeable results.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Heda_Madness

As has been mentioned, the UK did have quite a major fire at Windscale in the 50's and more contaminated food entered the food chain than did from Fukushima. Don't recall the massive fatalities from that.

Like at Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Windscale 1957 fire happened because of the lack of safety standards. At the time, scientists and experts warned the British gov't about Windscale. Windscale was constructed to produce the radioactive materials to make hydrogen bombs, and the gov't and the military wanted no interruption in the program. The Windscale plant operators put out the graphite fire by using water.

The Windscale accident released 740 TBq of Iodine-131, compared with 1,760,000 TBq at Chernobyl and 130,000 TBq at Fukushima. Windscale released 22TBq of Caesium-137 compared with 79,500 TBq at Chernobyl and 35,000 Tbq at Fukushima. Windscale released 12,000 TBq of Xenon-133 compared with 6,500,000 Tbq at Chernobyl and 17,000,000 TBq at Fukushima.

Sine the 1959 Windscale fire, followed by the disaster at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima, gov't's and power companies have failed to built nuclear power plants with enough safety features which would prevent a major nuclear disaster because profit is always put ahead of safety. Windscale was operated by the military not a commercial power company.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster has contaminated about 8% of the total land mass of the country. Radiation levels inside the exclusion zone remain up to 150 microsieverts/hour. Too high to allow people to live there again for many many decades in the future?

Secondly... for every fatality from nuclear... over 2300 people die from fossil fuels. 300,000 die annually in China alone

These are figures you keep misquoting. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which also released a press release on Oct.17, in 2010, 223,000 people worldwide died from lung cancer caused by air pollution.

The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking. Asbestos. Some air pollutants have natural sources, as well. Its not just fossil fuels causing the deaths? The rates vary according to geographical zones.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, accounting for 1.3 million deaths annually. Cancer accounted for 13 percent of the 58 million total worldwide deaths in 2004. Many more people die from lung cancer caused by smoking than the 223,000 cases from air pollution. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22% of global cancer deaths and 71% of global lung cancer deaths.

(World Health Organization. Cancer. Fact Sheet No 297. February 2009. Accessed on November 17, 2009.http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/index.html)"

In so many ways, the country was lucky in the immediate days following the reactor meltdowns because the wind was mostly blowing out to sea. Had the wind been blowing south towards Tokyo it would have needed the evacuation of more than 30 million people. Will the country be so lucky next time when the powerful Tokai earthquake happens. The Hamaoka nuclear power plant is located near the possible epicenter?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The actual numbers of deaths in China from coal use exceeded 300,000 last year since they have ramped up coal so fast in the last decade and they usually do not install exhaust scrubbers.

Forbes, 2012 How deadly is your killowatt

Not a misquote.

There have been four major nuclear incidents which have resulted in substantially fewer deaths than from coal in China on an annual basis.

President Obama's top science advisers turned to Livermore to determine the extent of the peril to the Japanese archipelago. After days of high-intensity analysis and numerous computer runs, the scientists concluded that radiation in Tokyo would come nowhere close to levels requiring an evacuation, even in the event that Fukushima Dai-ichi underwent the worst plausible meltdown combined with extremely unfavorable wind and weather patterns.

Slate.com Much of What You’ve Heard about Fukushima is wrong. Lots of quotes in there from experts but you've previously said you don't believe experts.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Tying the activities of man to global warming is unproven. Linking that to the promulgation of nuclear power is disingenuous.

In a country with 3-4 times the amount of sun as Germany, Japan should have a massive push to place solar panels on every roof in Japan!

Of course, allowing energy self suffiency is not in the interests of the government nor the corporations, so it isn't happening ......

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Heda_Madness

numbers of deaths in China from coal use exceeded 300,000 last year

First, Japan is not China and the post once again is about nuclear energy use her but you've been all around the mulberry bush with your facts and arguments. There's no way to directly attribute the deaths of 300,000 Chinese solely because of fossil fuels when there are so many other factors in play too like smoking, industrial pollution, airborne pollutions of many types.

Probably number of Chinese dying prematurely from air pollution is at least three times what you quote.

Japan is building new coal fired power plants which remove 90% of air pollution.

Even if the country, resumes the use of nuclear energy which may not happened until at least the middle of next year, it unlikely in future that nuclear energy will generate no more than about 15% of its total power from it, leaving the other 85% to be generated by fossil fuels and renewable energy.

The power companies across the globe will go on using coal, including America, because its cheap and available and the power plants are cheaper to build than nuclear ones.

I maintain my first comment made that the country should try to end the use of nuclear energy by 2030, which is 16 years from now. Much progress in the field can be made in that time.

Ex PM Koizumi, who supported nuclear energy during his time in office, 2001-2006 is now calling for the end of nuclear energy now, and not waiting until 2030. The LDP members and its partners are not united on the use of nuclear energy.

Another ex-PM, Morihiro Hosokawa has also called for an end to nuclear energy. He stated, "I can't understand why they want restarts of the nuclear plants when there is no place to discard the nuclear waste,"

Experts have questioned whether earthquake-prone Japan can safely store nuclear waste under any scenario.

Yuki Ban, secretary-general of the Citizens Nuclear Information Centre, no consensus exists on whether an official phase-out should happen quickly, over 20 years or by natural attrition.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Zichi - you accused me of misquoting so I showed you the quote.

Let's look at your figures... according to the WHO there are 230,000 deaths a year from air pollution. So it's fair to assume that since Chernobyl there have been 6,325,000 deaths from air pollution.

Now using the figures from the same organisation which said, in 2005, A total of up to 4000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) accident nearly 20 years ago, an international team of more than 100 scientists has concluded..

So I think it's fair to say that nuclear is substantially safer than fossil fuels.

So how are we going to be nuclear free by 2030. It's not going to be from renewables so we need more fossil fuels.

As an environmental policy it's absurd.

As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems. We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I accept the argument that the majority of other countries with nuclear power don't suffer from lots of seismic events, or have a few volcanoes around. I doubt that even you Japanese wold have considered constructing any NPSs within eyeshot of Mount Fujiyama, though.

Over the past 50 year, the Fukushima accident is, as far as I am aware, the only one to have been affected - but indirectly, please note - from seismic activity. Indirectly because, of course, the actual seismic event didn't cause any damage. It was the following hugely high tsunami which caused all the problems. Whoever in their right senses ever heard of locating such important plant as emergency generators in below-ground basement rooms which could be subject to flooding? If that hadn't occurred Fukushima would have been a non-event, as was being clearly proved before the arrival of the tsunami.

One person has raised the Windscale event and TMI-2 as major nuclear accidents - they weren't. The only radioactivity released from the Windscale "pile" was I-132. That was because, although Christopher Hinton thought of the filters - as an afterthought - which, therefore, had to be located at the top of the exhaust stacks - remember those awful looking stacks? - no one had considered the production of I-132 as a fission product. And with TMI-2, all the filters did their work magnificently, the only radioactivity being released into the atmosphere being radioactive rare gases - and how the Hecuba does one trap them? :Luckily they are virtually chemically unreactive, and don't enter into any part of the metabolism of humans and animals.

The only problem I would have with keeping all your nuclear reactors permanently shut down is the loss for a number of years of all that generating capacity. Like it or not, you can't establish working wind and solar generating facilities literally overnight. And it's not a question of the gradual changeover from one technology to the other, but doing so very rapidly. And that requires a lot of money to be instantly available. Is it?

So, exactly how is Japan managing with all that current loss of its nuclear generating capacity? Is commerce and industry continuing to work at maximum capacity, or is it lowered at the present time because of the world's generally unhappy economic situation, being in a depression?

So my point is: can Japan really manage, as a world power, without that nuclear generating capacity until renewable energy resources can be constructed? And if not where would Japan's economy end up if the general claimed current resistance to continuing with nuclear power is maintained?

But there is so much prejudice against nuclear power, mostly hidden from open comment until an event such as Fukushima occurs, which was nearly disastrous for the nuclear power industry across the world. Ie until it was appreciated that nothing occurred from the earthquake, but all from the tsunami putting the emergency generators out of action.

I would have thought that the pragmatic approach would be to get those nuclear reactors running again, and if resistance to nuclear cannot be subdued, then get those renewable resources on the go, giving yourselves 10 to 15 year to achieve the turnaround, by which time all the existing nuclear reactors will presumably have reached the end of their useful lives. And, yes, I am fully aware of the necessary "stress" tests being carried out, and also make sure there are no other emergency generators, anywhere, but anywhere, located below ground.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Heda_Madness

Let's look at your figures... according to the WHO there are 230,000 deaths a year from air pollution. So it's fair to assume that since Chernobyl there have been 6,325,000 deaths from air pollution.

First off, what I said was,

"According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which also released a press release on Oct.17, in 2010, 223,000 people worldwide died from lung cancer caused by air pollution."

In the 27 years since the Chernobyl disaster you can't just say because in 2010, 223,000 people died from air pollution so 27 x 223,000 makes 6,325,000 because you haven't considered all the factors like, the world population was smaller 27 years ago. There were less cars and trucks on the roads. There were less fossil burning power plants. You also associate all the deaths from air pollution to fossil fuel power plants when the source of air pollution includes so much more.

You say nuclear energy has only killed 4,000 people in the 27 years since the Chernobyl disaster. You don't mention the number of cancer deaths from mining uranium?

Currently, nuclear power generates less than 13% of total power globally. Coal is about 41%, Oil 5%, Gas 21%, Renewables 20%. The countries using the largest quantities of coal in power generation are China (80%), South Africa (93%), USA (45%) Australia (78%). In Japan, coal for power generation is about 34%.

Even if Japan resumes the use of nuclear energy, those major consumers of coal will go on burning it.

Major studies from MIT, Commission on Energy Policy and the IAEA agree that about 1,500-2,000 large new atomic reactors would have to be built to make any meaningful dent in greenhouse emissions. Currently there are 440 reactors worldwide. The current number would have to be increased 4-5 times.

The cost of building that many new reactors would run into $trillions. in the 1990's the cost of a nuclear reactor was about $4 billion.

Energy efficiency improvements are seven times more effective at reducing greenhouse gases per dollar spent than nuclear power.

The construction of at least 1,500 nuclear reactors would mean opening one every two weeks, beginning today for the next 60 years. In reality, reactors take 6-10 years to build.

The nuclear waste from that many new reactors would require safe storage the size of the proposed Yucca Mountain dump, every 3-4 years. The State of Nevada remains opposed to a dump.

There's not enough safety at nuclear plants as shown by Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Having 1,500 new reactors plus the current 440 could increase the possibility of a major nuclear accident every 5 years.

Currently Japan has about 45 tons of Plutonium and does not have a safe storage depot for it. 1,500 new reactors would produce thousands of tons of additional Plutonium every year. A single reactor produces about 500 pounds of Plutonium every year.

With the current demands for electricity, by 2050 the world will need about 25-30 TeraWatts which would take 25-30,000 nuclear reactors. In 2006, the demand was 16 TeraWatts. That just ain't going to happen!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

you haven't considered all the factors like, the world population was smaller 27 years ago. There were less cars and trucks on the roads. There were less fossil burning power plants. You also associate all the deaths from air pollution to fossil fuel power plants when the source of air pollution includes so much more.

Speaking of not considering all of the factors you also haven't considered that coal fired power plants were substantially less environmentally friendly than now. So I'd guess more people died of air pollution than I suggested. The great smog of 1952 killed more people than Chernobyl did. All down to fossil fuels pollution.

Sorry, I hadn't seen any figures about the tens of thousands of people who die mining uranium. Which I presume must be the case to be able to compare air pollution deaths and nuclear deaths.

The vast majority of renewable energy comes from Hydro power. Are you now advocating that we build new mountains to help?

Your policy kills more a year than Chernobyl did. At a substantial level. Nuclear is safer than fossil fuels. It was when it was first used and still is today. We do need renewables and we need more renewables but we need nuclear as well.

Scientists get it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Nuclear pollution causes deaths for thousands of years so it is erroneous to compare fossil fuel pollution which can be literally controlled and turned off at a turn of a switch....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Heda_Madness

When it comes to nuclear energy you seem to suffer from tunnel vision. You promote the use of it without trying to address any of the problems it also creates.

Currently, nuclear energy is generating less than 15% of power used across the world. The figure is unlikely to increase by any significant amount in the next 50-100 years and unlikely to ever be more than 25% at best.

Its impossible to build the number of nuclear reactors needed to make a dent in the greenhouse gases.

You have no answers how the other 85% of power from non nuclear sources is generated or how technologies could be improved so that the levels of pollution can be greatly reduced.

The 15% use of nuclear energy you keep advocating won't help save the world.

The simple fact which you also have failed to grasp, the majority of Japanese would like to see an end to nuclear power in their country.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The simple fact which you also have failed to grasp, the majority of Japanese would like to see an end to nuclear power in their country.

Ah yes, the silent voters who didn't vote in the general election which elected the only party which was visibly pro nuclear.

So let's do away with nuclear all together. And destroy the world quicker. What an outstanding policy that you are promoting.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So let's do away with nuclear all together. And destroy the world quicker. What an outstanding policy that you are promoting.

the only policy promoted by you is a 15% one. The LDP only won 43% of the District votes and 23% of the block vote. Nothing silent about that! At the time of the general election it wasn't clear how the LDP stood on the future use of nuclear energy and its still not clear. This post was from a gov't panel not an actual gov't statement of intent? The LDP are far from united on it.

The post and most of the comments, except yours, is about the use of nuclear energy in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pretty sure that the post from Slade 'much of what we know about Fukushima is wrong' is about Japan. But you clearly didn't read that because it disproves pretty much everything you've said.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

zichi and Heda_Madness: thank you - this is a classic debate. Keep it up!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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