Tohoku Power Electric Co's Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant in Onagawa town, Miyagi Prefecture Photo: REUTERS file
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Nuclear watchdog approves restart of Miyagi reactor hit by 2011 tsunami

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Slowly but surely they have to turn these back on.  Economics and climate concerns all push in that direction.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Nuclear watch dog? Haven't really done a good job. Thinking......

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Its operator, Tohoku Electric, expects to spend 340 billion yen on the measures, ....

Over 3 billion dollars...how long do they want to keep this aging plant going to just recoup all the costs ....what happened to the 30 year limit and restarts only in " exceptional circumstances"....oh thats right , the LDP mafia thats in bed with the N industry got back into power. Just imagine all those cushy " advisor" amakudari jobs for retired LDP and bureaucratic fatcats. Can,t loose that, can we.....and if s&%t hits the fan?...Oh well just utter something about " nobody could have foreseen this" , investigate yoursleves , find nobody is responsible for making any decision whatsoever and in the worst case scenario take a golden parachute and enjoy luxury retirement. Lets restart more of these rusting reactors.... Japan couldnt possibly survive without them...Oh wait..just ignore that it largely did since 2011.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

marcelito, the costs of the extra LNG that Japan has had to buy to cover the shuttered nuclear reactors runs to between 10 and 15 trillion yen per year, 30 to 45 times the total Tohoku Electric will spend.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The tsunami topped the seawall last time around, I seem to remember, so this time they have made it 95 feet high in order to counter possible 75 foot waves. Good luck, and I mean it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yeah, sure. What could possible go wrong?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Star-viking

marcelito, the costs of the extra LNG that Japan has had to buy to cover the shuttered nuclear reactors runs to between 10 and 15 trillion yen per year, 30 to 45 times the total Tohoku Electric will spend.

Compared with the eventual costs of dealing with the nuclear disaster site will be more than ¥100 trillion not including the costs of the nuclear waste storage for tens of thousands of years.

Or the costs to decommission 24 reactors , ¥60 billion each and again does not include the cost of nuclear waste storage.

In future, the available reactors can only generate about 15% of total power. About half prior to the 3/11 disasters. Renewable energy could be upped to supply 30% and coal burning replaced by LNG. But the power companies all signed long term contracts for Australia coal.

Spot prices for LNG and coal have fallen but the power companies are tied in to contracts.

The full costs of all imported LNG is about ¥4.5 trillion per year for  approximately 83 million tons (2018) 1% less than 2017.

https://www.export.gov/article?id=Japan-Liquefied-Natural-Gas-LNG

I think the highest level of the Tohoku tsunami was 46 meters.

The No2 reactor became operational in 1995 so in 2011 was 16 years and now technically, 23 years. 825 MW capacity with about 60% for 60% of the time. That means the reactor generates 495MW for 14 months out of the two year reactor cycle. Then shuts for about six months for refuelling.

¥20/kWh. 495000 kWh x ¥20¥-costs =¥6 = ¥14. profits for the cycle = ¥7 million pre tax.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Start looking for an alternative folks

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Over 3 billion dollars...how long do they want to keep this aging plant going to just recoup all the costs ....

Its not about recouping costs, its about profit! These reactors are cash cows for the investors, and they cant turn off the public spigot!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The UN should step up, and not just for the sake of Japan, but the world. They need to, if necessary, threaten sanctions against Japan, if they DONT let outside inspectors certify the safety of these reactors first!

Do it for the world!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Capital costs take 20 years of running to recoup. With the Miyagi reactors they have run for

Reactor No1 22 years (until 2011)

Reactor No2 11 years (until 2011)

Reactor No3 9 years. (until 2011)

The nuclear power plants are visited by the UN IAEA and issues reports. It also issued its investigation of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

marcelito, the costs of the extra LNG that Japan has had to buy to cover the shuttered nuclear reactors runs to between 10 and 15 trillion yen per year, 30 to 45 times the total Tohoku Electric will spend

But then you are comparing LNG imports for the whole country , not just Tohoku Electric which as the article says spends 35 billion per year...so thats 10 years operation for them. If we were to compare apples with apples we would need the cost of restarts for all the idled plants vs the total cost of Japans imports.....then again as zichi rightly points out, that doesnt even begin to describe the picture of the total clean up fo Daiichi mess, future decomissioning and storage etc....as we all know, the taxpayer will be hit for those.... profits to the power companies and future expenses to the taxpayer...what a sweet deal for the N village.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The costs of decommissioning a reactor by law in all countries must be paid by the power company owner and not the taxpayer. When applying for a license the owner must deposit the full costs into an account required to complete the work even if the owner goes bankrupt.

The power companies are allowed to charge their customers a small monthly charge for the purpose of the decommissioning.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

T

Patricia YarrowToday 06:00 pm JST

Yeah, sure. What could possible go wrong?

Well, under the worst possible conditions, nothing went wrong.

The Fukushima Daichi Plant was an example of how not to build a nuclear generation plant in an earthquake/tsunami area.

The Onagawa Plant was an example of how to build a nuclear generation plant in an earthquake/tsunami area.

Through and after the disaster it operated as required and is a model of sound design, construction and management.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onagawa_Nuclear_Power_Plant

Gary

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

marcelito, the costs of the extra LNG that Japan has had to buy to cover the shuttered nuclear reactors runs to between 10 and 15 trillion yen per year, 30 to 45 times the total Tohoku Electric will spend.

Also, a recent research paper found that over 20,000 additional deaths have resulted from the increased use of fossil fuels in Japan since the reactors were all shut down, mostly due to increased air pollution.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Without Nuclear power Japan imports more fossil fuels and spends more which is not good for the environment.

Security wise importing large amounts of oil is also dumb and a potentional security risk which many don't like to talk about.

Remember the two ships owned by Japan who got hit with missiles in the middle east.

It can happen and it did happen.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan's nuclear watchdog? I think that should be, Japan's nuclear lapdog. This is an agency created and employed by the nuclear power ministry of Japan. Would anybody be daft enough to expect a different outcome?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Because of the lack of proper safety requirements 22 of the reactors according to the power company owners need to be decommissioned because the costs to update them will be more than the profits to be made.

The eventual reactor fleet will only be able to generate about 15% of total power demand. The remaining 85% will need use other fuels. Coal should be reduced and replaced with LNG.

Oil imports have little to do with power generation but remains the prime energy import at 40% of the total. Oil is mostly for vehicles but those can be replaced with EV's and other vehicle types reducing the oil need.

The UK most days burns zero coal for power. Renewables about 20-30%.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Also, a recent research paper found that over 20,000 additional deaths have resulted from the increased use of fossil fuels in Japan since the reactors were all shut down, mostly due to increased air pollution.

I call BS on that ..20,000 additional deaths in Japan since 2011 due to Japan,s use of extra imported LNG / fossil fuels... who funded the researchers " for this paper?

Bet it was some research tank / university expert with a grant that can be traced to N power interests as usual.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

340 billion yen spent for refitting which, as pointed out, will take at least 10 years to pay off. Add to that all the costs of running the facility since 2011 (did they lay anyone off?) and what you have in 2030 is a very old reactor that you still have to decommission and no return on investment.

Hokkaido has huge wind resources and plenty of space for windmills. It makes essentially all of its energy burning coal! That 340 billion should have been used building wind power in Hokkaido and a better connection to the Tohoku Electric grid to supply its surplus to. Britain, Holland and Germany have managed this, why cannot Japan?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I disagree with this endless building of higher walls. Reactors should be designed to be walk.away safe. Modern Gen 4 designs are that, the outdated designs they talking about here are not,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Gen 4 reactors won't be available until at least the 2030's

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Coal imports have remained the same since 2000, about 200 million short tons including 50 million short tons of coking coal.

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=39853

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All I know is that I absolutely loathe everything nuclear. Nuclear waste. I don’t know anything about it except it seems to be common knowledge that it’s a mess to dispose of.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I call BS on that ..20,000 additional deaths in Japan since 2011 due to Japan,s use of extra imported LNG / fossil fuels... who funded the researchers " for this paper?

You can call BS on anything you want. But doing so based on zero evidence shows you have a massive bias.

The underlying paper is from The IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn Germany funded by the Deutsche Post Foundation.

Bet it was some research tank / university expert with a grant that can be traced to N power interests as usual.

And you would be wrong, as usual.

Nuclear waste. I don’t know anything about it except it seems to be common knowledge that it’s a mess to dispose of.

And common knowledge, as is often the case, is wrong.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

GyGene:

>    All I know is that I absolutely loathe everything nuclear.

So you loath the sun? Because that is a giant nuclear reactor.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Also, a recent research paper found that over 20,000 additional deaths have resulted from the increased use of fossil fuels in Japan since the reactors were all shut down, mostly due to increased air pollution.

Provide links when you make statements of facts like this. Or do you expect people to believe everything you write?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Pro nuclear here.

I have not noticed any difference in air quality.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Provide links when you make statements of facts like this. Or do you expect people to believe everything you write?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2019/10/31/shutting-down-japans-nuclear-plants-after-fukushima-was-a-bad-idea/?fbclid=IwAR0lk6rYmIcvoX4FInR7DKno75aiiP2XJZlR5QNxIDj36NW5LQO93fADG30#1258ea1d19a4

http://ftp.iza.org/dp12687.pdf

Now you will complain everytime anyone, including those you agree with, doesn't provide a link to facts to support any claim they make, right?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Read the linked research paper which appears to be non peer reviewed.

No mention of 20,000 additional deaths from increased use of fossil fuels. It does state due to higher power prices

"the higher electricity prices resulted in at least an additional 1,280 deaths during 2011-2014". It reports no deaths from radiation exposure but does not mention the 3,700 people who have died from the nuclear evacuation. The figure stated by the paper is 1,232 deaths from the evacuation.

It claims power charges have increased 10% for prefectures without nuclear reactors and 40% for those with reactors.

It does not mention that the price increases were not solely for the additional import of fossil fuels. The increases also include a charge for using the FIT for renewable energies and also a charge for dealing with the nuclear disaster.

I have lived in Kansai prior to the 2011 disasters and remain there today. Our power charges did not increase 40% from 2011.

The cost increases of power generation increases are greatest for TEPCO who own the nuclear disaster.

In 2010 the price was ¥20.4/kWh. In 2016 the price was ¥22.4/kWh, an increase of about 10%.

https://www.enecho.meti.go.jp/en/category/brochures/pdf/japan_energy_2017.pdf

The report also claims fossil fuels increased by 62%-88% which is not correct. The import of coal has remained the same since 2000.

In 2010 fossil fuels generated 81% of power. In 2016 that increased to 89%.

Fossil fuel have decreased since 2011.

https://eneken.ieej.or.jp/data/8293.pdf

About 40,000 people die prematurely every year from air pollution. An increase of about 10,000 since 2000.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/935022/number-deaths-air-pollution-japan/

Air pollution live map. Today, is nearly 100% good for the whole country.

https://aqicn.org/map/japan/

I use a smartphone "Breezometer" which give the quality of the air.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Causes of Air Pollution

Particulate Matter. Air pollution is characterised by the presence of particulate matter in the air of the atmosphere.

Poisonous Gas. ...

Emission from Vehicles. ...

Combustion of Fossil Fuels. ...

Pollution From Air Conditioners. ...

Dust & Dirt. ...

Household Pollution. ...

Pollution from Natural Events.

Deforestation

Factories

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Now you will complain everytime anyone, including those you agree with, doesn't provide a link to facts to support any claim they make, right?

Nice try, but when someone makes an off the wall statement like you did, it helps to have something to back them up!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

marcellito,

But then you are comparing LNG imports for the whole country , not just Tohoku Electric which as the article says spends 35 billion per year...so thats 10 years operation for them. If we were to compare apples with apples we would need the cost of restarts for all the idled plants vs the total cost of Japans imports.....then again as zichi rightly points out, that doesnt even begin to describe the picture of the total clean up fo Daiichi mess, future decomissioning and storage etc....as we all know, the taxpayer will be hit for those.... profits to the power companies and future expenses to the taxpayer...what a sweet deal for the N village.

What are you taking about? The article says that Tohoku Electric expects to pay 340 billion yen on the countermeasures.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

marcellito,

I call BS on that ..20,000 additional deaths in Japan since 2011 due to Japan,s use of extra imported LNG / fossil fuels... who funded the researchers " for this paper? 

Very conspiracy-theoresque response there.

There have been a few papers on the issue of avoidable deaths from knee-jerk government reactions to the Fukushima accident:

"Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle: Evidence from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident", Matthew Neidell, Columbia University; University of Chicago; Shinsuke Uchida, Shinshu University; University of Maryland; Marcella Veronesi, University of Verona, Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper No. 12687

Summary: Rise in electricity prices after the NPP shutdowns lead to increased mortality during cold weather - they suggest 1,280 extras deaths over the 4 years 2011-2014. Note, this is a preliminary discussion paper.

"Implications of energy and CO2 emission changes in Japan and Germany after the Fukushima accident", Pushker A. Kharecha, Makiko Sato, Columbia University Earth Institute, Energy Policy Vol. 132

Summary: Post-Fukushima CO2 emission rises in Japan and Germany were limited despite major cuts in nuclear power. This was due to record-high renewable power levels and lower/steady total energy use. However large amounts of emissions and deaths were avoidable if coal and gas were reduced instead of nuclear. These avoidable impacts will make it harder to meet near-term national mitigation targets. Major energy users should reduce fossil fuels instead of or before nuclear. 

Bet it was some research tank / university expert with a grant that can be traced to N power interests as usual.

Nope.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zichi,

Star-viking

"marcelito, the costs of the extra LNG that Japan has had to buy to cover the shuttered nuclear reactors runs to between 10 and 15 trillion yen per year, 30 to 45 times the total Tohoku Electric will spend."

Compared with the eventual costs of dealing with the nuclear disaster site will be more than ¥100 trillion not including the costs of the nuclear waste storage for tens of thousands of years.

Which has nothing to do with Onagawa.

Or the costs to decommission 24 reactors , ¥60 billion each and again does not include the cost of nuclear waste storage.

Nuclear plant operators do have decommissioning funds that should, at least, offset some of that cost. There is also the increasing use of SAFSTOR to consider: closing the reactor concerned, defuelling it, and then keeping it under observation as the radioactivity of contaminate parts reduces over the 60 years of the programme.

In future, the available reactors can only generate about 15% of total power. About half prior to the 3/11 disasters. Renewable energy could be upped to supply 30% and coal burning replaced by LNG. But the power companies all signed long term contracts for Australia coal. 

Disregarding the fact that we want to end all fossil fuel use to avoid disastrous climate change, there is no guarantee that prices will not rise for LNG.

The No2 reactor became operational in 1995 so in 2011 was 16 years and now technically, 23 years. 825 MW capacity with about 60% for 60% of the time. That means the reactor generates 495MW for 14 months out of the two year reactor cycle. Then shuts for about six months for refuelling.

¥20/kWh. 495000 kWh x ¥20¥-costs =¥6 = ¥14. profits for the cycle = ¥7 million pre tax.

Where you are getting your stats? From the IAEA*, Onagawa 2 has supplied 81.16 TWh over its lifetime, with an availability of 48.6 % - however this includes the shutdown years - at pre-shutdown the availability was 73.9% - 588 MW. Per year that is 5153 GWh, or 5,153,017,440 kWh.

At ¥20/kWh, that's ¥103,060,348,800 - 100 billion yen per year, neglecting costs.

Working with your stats:

495 MW for 14 months is 495,000 kW x 10220 hours - 5,058,900,000 kWh

Multiplying that by ¥20/kWh gives 101,178,000,000 yen - 101 billion yen per year

So, our basic stats match.

3 years and 4 months of Onagawa 2 operating would pay off the costs of the updates - and also reduce fossil fuel costs enormously.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Star viking - What are you taking about? The article says that Tohoku Electric expects to pay 340 billion yen on the countermeasures.

What Im talking about is that TE expects to pay 340 billion , and it pays 35 billion per year in additional fuel replacement cost as the article states ( vis below )....so thats roughly 10 years of the extra fuel costs saved just to recover the countermeasures spending as it is today , that what Im talking about...

Tohoku Electric applied for a safety screening for the No. 2 reactor in December 2013, and its restart would save the utility 35 billion yen annually in fuel costs.

@Don Palmer The underlying paper is from The IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn Germany funded by the Deutsche Post Foundation."

Well....on the first page of the paper you quote it has a disclaimer that states -* Any opinions in this paper are those of the authors and not IZA and IZA takes no institutional policy positions....so the paper is not IZA official opinion paper but merely as it says "preliminary work circulated to encourage discussion " by the authors ....also containing another nice disclaimer "citation of such paper should account for its provisional character*** " which of course you conveniently don,t mention.

Tellingly, , the author researchers "*acknowledge support from Ministry of Health ,Labour and Welfare of Japan ***"** in providing figures for the research and also " *acknowledge financial support from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science,** ( a quasi government agency aka amakudari hotbed that used to be under auspices of Ministry of Education,Culture,, Sports , Science and Technology till 2003 and*

*Murata Science Foundation**, ( run by Murata Electronics, a major J-Inc player company ).*

So much for impartiality.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Don Palmer

Bet it was some research tank / university expert with a grant that can be traced to N power interests as usual.

"And you would be wrong, as usual."

Except that Im not since your linked paper acknowledges "financial support " from Japan Society for Promotion of Science and Murata Science Foundation - aka Japanese Government and J -Inc....we all know what their position on N power is, don't we?

Nuclear waste. I don’t know anything about it except it seems to be common knowledge that it’s a mess to dispose of.

And common knowledge, as is often the case, is wrong."

Really?....If its not difficult to dispose of why is Japan having such a hard time figuring out a solution?...Be it the contaminated water in Daiichi tanks or waste from the other reactors?  Perhaps you could offer your serices in enlightening the J govt and industry and providing an easy solution?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The No2 reactor 825 MW capacity with about 60% for 60% of the time. That means the reactor generates 495MW for 14 months out of the two year reactor cycle. Then shuts for about six months for refuelling.

¥20/kWh. 495000 kWh x ¥20¥-costs =¥6 = ¥14. profits for the cycle = ¥7 million pre tax.

I need to correct those figures.

The No2 reactor would generate ¥70 billion pretax profit, on a 2.5 year cycle. 5 cycles or 12.5 years that would equal ¥350 billion the amount to be spent on the updates. But there are a further 2 reactors, but the No1 reactor will be decommissioned.

Reactors in Japan operate at about 60% capacity for about 60% of the time. At the end of each two year cycle they have to be refuelled which takes about 6 months.

The costs are about ¥6/kWh.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Electricity prices per kWh

2010 ¥20.4

2011 ¥21.3

2012 ¥22.3

2013 ¥24.3

2014 ¥25.5

That is a 25% increase from 2010-2014

2015 ¥24.2

2016 ¥22.4

That is only a 10% increase 2010-2016

2017 ¥19.8

2019 ¥19.43

The high prices were because of the power companies monopoly on supply. Sine deregulations the price has lowered.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

marcelito,

Great news!

@Star viking - What are you taking about? The article says that Tohoku Electric expects to pay 340 billion yen on the countermeasures.

What Im talking about is that TE expects to pay 340 billion , and it pays 35 billion per year in additional fuel replacement cost as the article states ( vis below )....so thats roughly 10 years of the extra fuel costs saved just to recover the countermeasures spending as it is today , that what Im talking about...

Tohoku Electric applied for a safety screening for the No. 2 reactor in December 2013, and its restart would save the utility 35 billion yen annually in fuel costs.

If you check my latest post above, you'll see that Tohoku Electric can be expected to get ¥100 billion per year from Onagawa 2's electricity - probably 70 billion with costs removed (according to Zichi's calcs). So, making 70 billion yen, and saving 35 billion yen in fuel costs is 105 billion yen per year - they could, if they wanted to, pay for the countermeasures in a little over 3 years.

@Don Palmer The underlying paper is from The IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn Germany funded by the Deutsche Post Foundation."

Well....on the first page of the paper you quote it has a disclaimer that states -* Any opinions in this paper are those of the authors and not IZA and IZA takes no institutional policy positions****....so the paper is not IZA official opinion paper but merely as it says "preliminary work circulated to encourage discussion " by the authors ....also containing another nice disclaimer "citation of such paper should account for its provisional character*** " which of course you conveniently don,t mention.

Tellingly, , the author researchers "*acknowledge support from Ministry of Health ,Labour and Welfare of Japan ***"** in providing figures for the research and also " *acknowledge financial support from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science,** ( a quasi government agency aka amakudari hotbed that used to be under auspices of Ministry of Education,Culture,, Sports , Science and Technology till 2003 and*

*Murata Science Foundation**, ( run by Murata Electronics, a major J-Inc player company ).*

marcelito, this is conspiracy-theory level stuff. The paper has a proper disclaimer, and we will have to wait to see how the final peer-reviewed paper is.

Of course there is support from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: where do you think the health stats come from.

And as for your animus towards the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, do a Google Scholar search for it, with the words "Grant-in-aid" added: around 129,000 results. All, nasty stuff like:

Physarum solver: A biologically inspired method of road-network navigation

Mutations affecting components of the SWI/SNF complex cause Coffin-Siris syndrome

The use of induced pluripotent stem cells in drug development

The fact is, academic research is supported by a range of organisations, using data from other organisations, with the intent to increase knowledge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Star-viking

marcelito, this is conspiracy-theory level stuff. The paper has a proper disclaimer, and we will have to wait to see how the final peer-reviewed paper is.

You can call it conspiracy if you like but the financial support by pro Jgovt , pro J- Inc foundations ( = pro N- power ) is a fact acknowledged by the authors.

And as for your animus towards the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, do a Google Scholar search for it, with the words "Grant-in-aid" added: around 129,000 results.

Not questioning the fact JSPS disburses a lot of funds at all but my point is it is a quasi govt amakudari agency with ex govt bureaucrats with ties to the Ministry of Science and Technology....so it is hardly impartial when it comes to the N-power debate.

You know its kind of like the conspiracies when tobacco companies used to finance health expert studies that provided no conclusive proof tobacco is linked to cancer...:)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

zichi, quote: I think the highest level of the Tohoku tsunami was 46 meters.

46 meters is over 150 feet! But that was in angles of coves and inlets where the tsunami waves were funnelled and squeezed up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not if, but WHEN it happens again, hope these guys don't try the "How could we have known?" crap again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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