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Power companies warn of summer shortages of up to 20%

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The people do not want nuclear power plants turned on.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

that much shortage should be manageable.

9 ( +12 / -4 )

I (the person) want the nuclear power plants turned back on so I can crank up my a/c..!

-13 ( +7 / -22 )

Kansai Electric Power, which supplies mid-western Japan, including the commercial hubs of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, said Tuesday it could face an electricity shortfall of almost 20% if temperatures soar in July.

We can easily spend 20% of the days of July doing the siesta. 20 years ago, most shopping centers in Kansai would close at 8 p.m. Now, so many open till midnight, others 24/24. Great, they just need to close from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Factories are already scheduling activities to match energy supply. If they need volunteers to unplug the vending machines, tell me, I can do a few dozens everyday on my jogging.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

If they need volunteers to unplug the vending machines, tell me, I can do a few dozens everyday on my jogging.

That is so thumbs up and true. Power killers here...

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Thumbs up on that. Those things drain the country of power and I could never understand why the Japanese cannot see that... It may be because they grew up with them on every block...

3 ( +7 / -5 )

But critics of the technology point to continuing efficiencies that have allowed the world’s third largest economy to all but shrug off previous dire warnings of shortages.

another key throwaway at the end of the story not explained or investigated further by a very lazy and obedient press.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Maybe no more outdoor night games for professional baseball and soccer, just day games. The residents of Tokyo and companies should install more solar panels on top of the roof. The J-goverment should offer greater tax benefits to encourage people of the benefits. The price of solar panels from China has decreased substantially from five years ago.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Not to discriminate against any company but if they cut the hours of game centers and pachinko parlors, I'm sure a lot of electricity will be saved.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Last year, there was only a sinlgle day out of the whole year when power consumed almost equalled power generated. It would be Aug/Sept which would be the problem months and only day time peak demand between noon and 3 pm.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

"For decades, the power companies have made ¥billions and ¥billions from nuclear energy. TEPCO became the largest power company in Asia, and the fourth largest in the world. If the power companies were able to make such huge profits why wasn't the cost of power less than what they actually charged? Last year, TEPCO admitted it had overcharged all it's customers by 10%, but no refunds coming.

On mainland Japan, electrical power is generated and supplied by nine power companies, which makes it one of the most powerful groups of companies in the country.

It's time to separate companies that generate power and new companies which supply power, which would reduce the cost of power to the customer. For decades, those nine power companies have resisted any major changes to the power industry, and any loss of control like preventing none power companies from generating power. That changed last year.

Many new companies, and even the likes of KEPCO, are making huge investments in solar and wind plants. The country needs to move away from the idea that power can only be generated by these nine companies with their huge power plants, whether it's gas, oil, coal or nuclear.

There needs to be local generated power, individuals and companies generating their own power with a variety of available technology including solar, wind, cells, and greater use of nanotechnology."

10 ( +13 / -3 )

"Before restarting any reactor, the minimum safety standard should be, the reactor is capable of instant shutdown and the cooling systems with it's heat sink, pumps, pipes, power supply can be maintained no matter what has happened, be it an earthquake, tsunami, flood, fire, terrorist attack, airliner crash.

While all reactors are designed for instant shut down none have the capability of maintaining the cooling system, no matter what."

7 ( +10 / -3 )

20 percent shortage will equal more closed factories. The people who post here are not the working Japanese who will lose their jobs. A lot of companies are just looking for an excuse. So when these jobs are gone forever and the tax deficit keeps getting worse, something will have to give. So Cos, what gives you the right to ruin a person livelihood?

-9 ( +13 / -22 )

Does this mean I'm going to have to walk up and down the steps alongside the non-moving escalators again?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

We can easily spend 20% of the days of July doing the siesta.

I fully support siestas, power or no power.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

That is a lesson for the environmental nuts right here. Last summer we had setsuden, escalators, aircons, neon-lights etc turned off, while a large part of Japanese industry was shut down and some nukes still in operation. Now, consumption is in full force again, and yet the anti-nuke fanatics want to keep all nuclear power turned off. They will have to learn that you can not have your cake and eat it.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Yuri: dramatic much. Yes, some companies may feel pressure, but a lot of them are re-arranging their schedules to match demand. What Cos was mentioning wouldn't be killing people's livelihoods unless vending machines are really that great of a business...if so, I should invest in them.

This is just a way for the power companies to try to push us into restarting the plants that are ''more or less'' safe. Most people are willing to sacrifice a little in their daily lives to get by without restarting. Some will take it to an extreme so that the ones who don't do any power saving measures (Kansaifun) can have their precious A/C on full. I know that I will only have the A/C on for a max of 2 hours between 11pm-1am just to make it comfortable enough to fall asleep on the hottest of days.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

sfjp330:

" Maybe no more outdoor night games for professional baseball and soccer, just day games. "

A drop in the ocean. Just a nother feelgood measure without a realistic impact. Japan has real-life power plants, it is time to stop dreaming and turning them on again.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Many vending machines provide a much needed profit to small shops and business.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

YuriOtani Nothing will be decided by posts on JP it's just not part of the decision making process, it's only a forum, and one I doubt the PM has even heard of.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The people who post here are not the working Japanese who will lose their jobs

Yuri, just because many of us here are not Japanese WE work here and live here too! We lose jobs as well and it affects us and our families equally.

Electricity can not differentiate between nationalities, you might know that if you actually lived here. Everyone is a part of the problem and everyone is a part of the solution as well, but some have bigger responsibilities than others.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Let the blackouts begin! The elderly and the sick will die from the heat. Emergency services will all go down without electricity. Start burning gas, oil, and coal to generate electricity and hundreds of thousands will die from lung diseases for decades. For an advanced nation, shutting down the nuclear plants was the most stupidest idea ever. If you want to shut down nuclear power plants, then you should have some type of alternative electrical generation source running BEFORE you shut them down. It's like stupid people who quit their jobs before getting another one. In this world economy, you better have a new job waiting before you quit your old one. The same with power plants. You better have one running before you turn off the old ones. This is real life, not some hippy fantasy dream.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

And for people saying that Japan should move to solar power let me tell you something. If every square inch of Japan was covered in solar panels, that would generate about as much electricity as 2 large nuclear plants can generate. Solar power is expensive and doesn't generate the amount of electricity you think it generates. Plus they don't work at night.

0 ( +8 / -9 )

Everything in Japanese society is electrified. Yet energy conservation is key, but no one on this board mentions it. .

In the washrooms at my office, every single function has recently been electrified, from flushing to drying to running taps, etc. And this was introduced during setsuden!!! The awareness just isn't there. De-electrification of millions of simple tasks/functions would easily cover the 20%. Too bad no one wants to do it.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Of-course the electric power companies that own and operate nuclear power plants are going to say that they are facing shortages, no surprise there really. I would like to see some independent numbers.

I would also like to see the government step in and make sure that sharing excess power between producers in different areas is encouraged.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/AJ201204100065

(The article is behind a pay-wall, but if you haven't reached your daily/weekly limit I guess you'll be able to view it for free)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What is sad is the foreign residents of Japan can go back to their home countries leaving behind a ruined Japan. This is more than your AC and what about people that need that AC? Not everyone can take high temperatures. There is another death toll.

JeffLee, I disagree with you. Japan is #30 on the list at 6,847.11 per person. American number 10 use twice as much at 12,364.64 and Austrailia number 11 is 10,199.06 per person. So a 20 percent reduction would put it at Greece #48 or 5,416.29 per person.

So tell me where all of the "fat" is located?

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Yuri: Not all foreign residents can just go back to their home countries...a lot of them have thier homes and families here in case you didn't know. In fact, I am one of those people and I take offense to the idea that I would just up and leave if there was a hardship.

Everyone needs to try to save power but of course within reasonable limits. If someone is sick or eldery and wants the AC on...all the power to them! However, there are a lot of people who needlessly have the AC set on 18 and just so they can lounge about comfortably while playing video games or watching dramas. Those are the people that need to loosen up on their usage. A great way to save power, I think, is to spend time at the shopping center. That way I am not using my AC at home :)

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Last year, the big earthquake and its aftereffects were fresh in people minds, amongst other factors, the TV coverage was still fairly bland and restrained and hence no-one really missed. This year, in the peak of Summer, there will be the London Olympics with some sports hitting prime time TV. You will have more people sitting at home with A/C on and watching TV's. Alos more factories in Tohoku are back on their feet and hopefully more housing will have been completed, raising the amount of consumption. In that sense, I don't think it is totally reasonable to compare last years consumption with this years. They will be different, and will be a case of how do we balance that? If TEPCO says there will be brown outs in residential areas to protect the business areas then that might force efficiency by concentrating more people into one area to share electricity.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Without enough power to provide air conditioning in the summer months, people are going to die. Yet, the politicians drag their feet over providing us with enough power in order to score political points.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Since the history of Nuke power plants there have been three major accidents that resulted in significant release of radiation and the contamination of the surrounding area. Since this spans back to the early 70s, it would seem to be a good safety record. The inconvenient truth that the No- nukes –no –matter –what crowd likes to forget and totally ignore is that the cause of the Fukushima disaster was poor design and management of the plant. Nuclear power is clean and safe if properly managed, but there is that contingent of people that rant about poisoning the world if one nuke plant is left in operation. Solar, wind and wave power is just not there now, and won’t be for decades. The time and efforts of the no nuke crowd would be much more beneficial to society if it was focused on ensuring the SAFE operation of nuclear power plants than just clamoring for the instant banning of nuke power. There has to be acceptable risks in everything that is inherently dangerous, let’s mitigate those risks and get back to living our lives.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

WilliB Apr. 25, 2012 - 08:14AM JST A drop in the ocean. Just a nother feelgood measure without a realistic impact. Japan has real-life power plants, it is time to stop dreaming and turning them on again.

A drop in the ocean? A growing number of private firms are joining in the energy-saving campaign as oil prices are expected to rise for years to come. Here is a comparison of energy use from 30,000 seat Jamsil baseball stadium in Seoul, Korea. The baseball stadium consumed average of 3,120 kilowatts (KW) of electricity on night games. Given a household consumes an average of 500 KW a month, the ballpark used the same amount of electricity that a household can use for more than six months in only four hours. If you have 126 games scheduled for the entire year, nighty percent are night games. And more than 700 night games will be held at seven pro-baseball venues across South Korea this year. If all outdoor Japanese stadiums can reduce the night games by fifty percent or more, this alone can reduce energy use substantially. Look at how many teams of different sports are in Japan and multiply by number of night games in 2012 and you can see it's alot more energy use than a drop in the bucket. The excess energy can be used by companies and elderly residence in Japan. Every little bit helps.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Does Japan need nuclear power in the short to medium term? Yes. Should nuclear reactors be restarted without the safety precautions being put in place FIRST? Hell no. I'd also recommend legilslation fixing the energy price and that the energy companies commit to a timeline for replacing all the nuclear power generators with renewable energy sources within the next 2 decades (by which time the current nuclear power plants will be out of date).

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@zichi

For decades, the power companies have made ¥billions and ¥billions from nuclear energy

TEPCO have pulled in billions because they charge customers fro consuming the electricity they produce. That production costs money. The ratio of revenue per employee is something like 3 times the industry average. But given their huge client base in Kanto, with 30 mio people in the Tokyo/Saitama/Kanagawa/Chiba area alone and associated economies of scale, that isn't too surprising. But even their highest P/E ratio over last 5 years is just a quarter of the industry average - that isn't good.

It's time to separate companies that generate power and new companies which supply power, which would reduce the cost of power to the customer.

You often mention this, and I think it is a worthy concept. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the people supplying to consumers should be free to source electricity from any generation firm they choose, right?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Riffraff @Frungy Thank you. at least some people can see the world is not black and white and do not jump on every fear mongering band wagon.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@Hojo Soun

Without enough power to provide air conditioning in the summer months, people are going to die. Yet, the politicians drag their feet over providing us with enough power in order to score political points.

The human race has survived the most varying conditions during 200,000years without AC. If you young'uns don't know how to survive without AC I think another summer of setsuden will do you some good. - Alright I am kidding here, but there is a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

On a more serious note, If you worry, then just help your local power company out and keep your AC of during peak hours on weekdays.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Turn off the vending machines and pachinko machines... no problems.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

WilliB

large part of Japanese industry was shut down that is incorrect!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

gyouza,

yes, a separation of companies which generate power and new ones which supply power. The power would continue to be generated by the 10 major power companies plus the new companies which are installing solar and wind energy plants.

Supply companies buy their power from those within their grid system, basically West or East Japan and resell it to their customers. Like in Britain, I could live in London and buy my power off any of several supply companies. This benefits the customer domestic and industrial with lower charges.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

So Cos, what gives you the right to ruin a person livelihood?

First, Yuri, I'm not Tepco that ruined the livelihood of how many in Fukushima ? Then I probably depend economically on Japanese industry more than you posting from... Alabama ? and having never had a business nor employed anybody in Japan. How many Japanese person's salaries have you ever paid ? I've run my business with minimal use of energy (and packaging, etc) for years, before that became an urgent necessity. I see not all my neighbors do the same. Many do like me now, I'm far from being a case. There is room from improvement if we change our habits, everybody.

What is sad is the foreign residents of Japan can go back to their home countries leaving behind a ruined Japan.

You're the one that is not here. It's not you that work here in Summer, it's us, whatever our nationality. We owe nothing to you.

20 percent shortage will equal more closed factories.

Not in Kansai, as all our factories are in Shenzhen already. The problems of Japanese industry started a while ago, nice that you discover than now, Yuri. The factories requiring lots of energy also require lots of resources that Japan lacks too and the yen is strong, which makes the higher energetic cost a very relative inconvenient. As I said, they won't have black-outs as they always organized with the Kepco and equivalent to plan their consumption and many big companies have their own power plants.

what about people that need that AC?

They will have it. It's not about cutting the AC in the hospitals and the rojin homes but changing the opening hours of the Daimaru and the banks.

Many vending machines provide a much needed profit to small shops and business.

And well those soft drink machines are just a symbol of something that made sense when electricity was plentiful and no longer does. That was the thing yesterday, OK, but their cycle is over. In the future, they can adapt to other styles like mujin yatais they had before and that are doing a coming back, or more likely with machines less greedy in electricity.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Americans use twice as much electric as Japanese and Australia is right below on the list. So Japan already saves a lot of power. Now there is more suffering being demanded. No night time baseball, rolling power shortages.

sakurala, you are easy to offend. Anyhow there is no AC or TV when the power goes off. So a older person on 02 needing AC has their power go off. What happens if it does not come back on in a reasonable time? Nobody is going to check on them, in a few months the news will be about all of the elderly found dead.

zichi, my friend there is no time. It takes time to build these plants and money. In America I am down wind of a coal plant putting mercury and other toxins in the air.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Love the fuzzy language of the power companies - there "could " be shortages in "some areas"..yeah ...what happened with the dreaded Tokyo blackouts during last summer s heatwave after all the scaremongering?..I think we all know the answer to that. Agree with all the posters saying conservation is the key over the upcoming summer season - from pachinko parlors to vending machines, from outdoor stadiums and shopping district night lights to ice cool department store ACs blasting while their front doors are open. businesses and factories adjusting their production and work schedules ( they did a great job here in Kanto last year ) ..to super cool biz :) with T-shirts, shorts, sandals and hell even the giveaway paper fans with AKB 48 pictures on them :)...It was done in Kanto last year it can be done in other parts of Japan this year also...isnt that what the overused govt. slogan of "Kizuna "should be about?...Govt preaches about it - OK, lets see it at work as the nation makes efforts together to get through the summer without Npower.

To all the posters posting about how N power plants should be restarted , let me ask you - how many of you live near a nuclear power plant that is located near a faultline? .It is easy to advocate for them from a safe armchair distance away...your perception of reality would no doubt change if you lived near them like some of us...The 3 aftershocks we had in North Kanto ( where I live ) last night are a powerful reminder of the ever present danger

@ YuriOtani - case in point - I dont doubt you are a patriotic Japanese but as you said in your previous posts - you live in the US now and only come to Japan to visit sometimes - so while its fine for you to say foreigners can go back to their countries leaving behind a ruined Japan - you dont even live here now, so why the soap box? @zichi, Cos - good posts ..

5 ( +6 / -1 )

YuriOtani: "What is sad is the foreign residents of Japan can go back to their home countries leaving behind a ruined Japan. This is more than your AC and what about people that need that AC? Not everyone can take high temperatures. There is another death toll."

It's always worth a bit of a chuckle to hear people get upset and try to blame foreigners and or foreign nations for unrelated things whenever there is criticism of Japan. "Leave behind a ruined Japan", eh, Yuri? Who ruined it, if it's ruined? The foreigners? I daresay if there is any problem with power and potential power shortages we all know the reason (ask TEPCO, hint hint!). Are foreigners to blame for the cementing over of Japan and the resulting heat-island effect?

Anyway, the power companies warned of the same thing before winter, and it was fine. People are just going to have to cope, and not listen to the fear-mongering by these companies.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

According to the Federation of Power Companies, 30% of domestic energy is used for heating of water. It recommends the installation of eco heat pump systems the total power for heating water would be reduced below 10%.

Finland, another nuclear energy country generates 30% of it's total power from renewable hydro while Denmark, a non nuclear country generates 20% of total power from wind and has a policy to increase that to 50%. Iceland is the only country in the world to generate 100% of total power, and 90% of all heating from renewable geothermal. America and China, both nuclear countries are generating 50,000MW from wind energy. That's equal to 50, 1000MW nuclear reactors. Although America only generates about 11% of total power from nuclear energy.

Japan could generate at least 20% of total power from geothermal. I favor off shore wind plants which produce compressed air instead of electrical power. This would make the wind turbines cheaper. The compressed air is stored in bags on the sea bed and because of the pressure a small bag can hold a large volume of compressed air. The compressed air is used in peak demand to drive turbines to produce power. The compressed bag system can be used inland in deep caverns. It could also be used to turn some wasted over night power into compressed air, again to be used during peak demand.

There's also cell technology developed by the likes of Bloom Energy. Bloom boxes use solid oxide fuel cell technology to generate power. Each Bloom Box provides 200kW of power, enough to meet the baseload needs of 160 average homes or an office building... day and night, in roughly the footprint of a standard parking space. For more power simply add more energy servers.

http://www.bloomenergy.com/

7 ( +8 / -1 )

From a cost point of view, power cost per kWh generated from LNG, coal and nuclear energy is about the same.

"Kaneko, the Keio University economist, has stated there is no economic rationale to continue using nuclear power instead of renewables. He noted that factoring in distribution, wages and storage of radioactive waste puts the cost closer to 20 yen per kWh, and says switching to renewables would stimulate the economy and job market."

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Any power shortages will affect businesses, whether manufacturing or other, and will also affect the populace. Some may have reduced work hours(and reduced income as a direct result) or even lose employment. No one wants either. Reducing wasteful electricity usage would go a long way toward preventing shortages. Cutting night sports games, turning off escalators, unplugging vending machines, closing down pachinkos, etc. all sound good, but are only stop-gap measures. They do have true merit, though.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The only thing I find interesting are all the posters saying we have to practice "setsuden". But I wonder would the US or European countries give up their electricity or A/C in a siliar situation? I think not!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Herve Nmn L'Eisa

the critical period is only peak power demand which is usually noon to 3 pm. Evening and night time is not a problem. This is were solar power can help because the power is available when needed. KEPCO have been installing new solar and wind power plants.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

YuriOtani

zichi, my friend there is no time. It takes time to build these plants and money.

Well the sooner they start, the sooner they'll be built. Even to increase the safety standards of nuclear reactors to a minimum acceptable standard will take about five years and will need billions of capital. Chubu Power Company is building a new sea wall at Hamaoka which will take 2 years and cost ¥200 billion.

Many company are installing new wind and solar plants including KEPCO.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Michael J. Morris: "But I wonder would the US or European countries give up their electricity or A/C in a siliar situation? I think not!"

Some of the nations you group into the entire Western world in an attempt to take away that more can be done IN JAPAN do indeed waste power on the same level if not moreso, while others consume a lot less and are far less reliant on NPPs (again, some, like France and the US, are much more so). The thing is, for the time being anyway they have that power and those resources to waste, whereas Japan does not. And some of those nations in the groups you mentioned have very strict recycling and environmental measures in place. You ever heard of a 'low-flow' shower head in Japan? How much energy do you think it takes for the oidaki (reheating the bath water) every night, not to mention the volume of water?

Back to your statement, though, in a similar situation the nations you mention would indeed practice setsuden. Why wouldn't they? There would, of course, be arrogant individuals and companies who refuse, but I think most people would do their best to conserve. I can tell you said nations certainly wouldn't put up with the blundering of electric companies and government insistance on doing what the people DON'T want like people here put up with (and the people here are even objecting more than normal!).

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I don't have the usage breakdown by KW cost, but a coke machine uses average 4500 yen per month in the summer and 5500 yen per month of electricity in the winter. The higher cost in the winter is due to more hot drinks that have to be heated in addition to the cold ones. The average coke machine generates about 10,500 yen monthly for the person who hosts it. The company that owns the machine makes more than twice the amount of the host. The average coke machine costs about 600,000 yen.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nobody in Oklahoma would give up their AC and zichi it is not the cost. The electric companies say may because they do not have the guts to say it will happen. They are just as gutless as the government. They will do nothing and hope it will go away.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

YuriOtani

and zichi it is not the cost

for some on this forum it's about the costs and how it will impact the economy although the cost is the same and the economy this year will expand by about 1.7%.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Riffraff:

" The time and efforts of the no nuke crowd would be much more beneficial to society if it was focused on ensuring the SAFE operation of nuclear power plants than just clamoring for the instant banning of nuke power. There has to be acceptable risks in everything that is inherently dangerous, let’s mitigate those risks and get back to living our lives. "

Ditto to that. The fanatical ranting of the "close all nuclear plants now" crowd are annoying and counterproductive.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Vending machines are a US $50 billion a year business in Japan. Not so easy to just shut that part of the economy down.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

According to 第三者委員会(government panel),

[power shortage(><)]

Hokkaido Epco 3.1%, Kyushu Epco 3.7%, KEPCO 16.3%

[excess of supply over demand(^_^)b]

Tohoku Epco 2.9%, TEPCO 4.5%, Chubu Epco 5.2%, Hokuriku Epco 3.6%, Chugoku Epco 4.5%, Shikoku Epco 0.3%.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20120423/k10014649401000.html

I would also like to see the government step in and make sure that sharing excess power between producers in different areas is encouraged.

Some experts say it’s possible and we can go through this summer without any NPPs. Besides, it would be only a couple days for 3~4 hours of power shortage. We can always check でんき予報(electricity forecast) on their website.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/forecast/html/index-e.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The only thing I find interesting are all the posters saying we have to practice "setsuden". But I wonder would the US or European countries give up their electricity or A/C in a siliar situation? I think not!

Most European countries (especially countries like Germany) actually conserve a lot. It's only countries like America, Canada and Australia that consume a ton of energy (just because they can and the electricity is cheap).

6 ( +6 / -0 )

WillB I have been commenting for months on the safety standards of the nuclear reactors. Before any power company is allowed to restart a nuclear reactor they should answer a very simple question.

If the event of a powerful earthquake, tsunami, flood, fire, typhoon, terrorist attack and even an airliner crash can the reactor go into automatic shut down and maintain the cooling system even with the total loss of external power and water supply?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Riffraff,

There has to be acceptable risks in everything that is inherently dangerous, let’s mitigate those risks and get back to living our lives.

But acceptable risk should be based on possibilities and not on probabilities which what was the design and planning at the Fukushima NPP.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

" The time and efforts of the no nuke crowd would be much more beneficial to society if it was focused on ensuring the SAFE operation of nuclear power plants than just clamoring for the instant banning of nuke power. There has to be acceptable risks in everything that is inherently dangerous, let’s mitigate those risks and get back to living our lives. "

The Fukushima nuclear crisis isn't even resolved yet, and yet you're already talking about "safe" reactors? That's a joke, right?

Ditto to that. The fanatical ranting of the "close all nuclear plants now" crowd are annoying and counterproductive.

Because having nuclear plants on one of the most earthquake-prone islands is such a good idea, right? Do you suggest that we should have another Fukushima? The fact is that the possibility of having another nuclear can no longer be ruled out.

That is a lesson for the environmental nuts right here. Last summer we had setsuden, escalators, aircons, neon-lights etc turned off, while a large part of Japanese industry was shut down and some nukes still in operation. Now, consumption is in full force again, and yet the anti-nuke fanatics want to keep all nuclear power turned off. They will have to learn that you can not have your cake and eat it.

Pro-nuclear fanatics caused the Fukushima nuclear crisis, so they're much worse than the anti-nuclear fanatics. Had we listened to the "anti-nuclear fanatics" instead, then Fukushima would have never happened and we would not even be talking about power outages now.

The only reason that these power companies are whining about restarts is because they don't want to lose any more money by not restarting even though they hold a complete monopoly over their regions.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Most of the train and railway companies generate their own power so I don't understand why they would increase the ac temperature on their services?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What they forgot at Fukushima is that you are supposed to design for the worst possible scenario. They designed for most probable scenario. They didn't even play for M8 and only the worst probable tsunami. In any event, if they just put some of the emergency generators above the plant, this whole think may not have happened. They also didn't have a plan for to reconnect power. There is not thing as a safe nuclear plant nor does a shut down plant means it's safe. What the government should do is find the relatively safest plants and try to get them operating and find solutions to replace all them. Germany is planning to shut all nuclear plants and have plans to replace the power so they can. The bridge is the currently operation plants and/or go to coal until enough renewable come on line. I see no plan from Japan to do anything but try and keep the status quo. If the problem is 9-3 have most factories work 3:30-12M or 5-2. Nothing says you have do 9-5.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thomas Anderson:

" Pro-nuclear fanatics caused the Fukushima nuclear crisis "

No. Faulty emergency specifications did. If they had not relied on outside power, or if the emergency generators had been arranged so that they can not be swamped, none of this had happened. The reactor itself met and exceeded its specifications.

You rectify the problem by changing the specifications, and not by hysterically abandoning a whole energy sector.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

zichi:

" If the event of a powerful earthquake, tsunami, flood, fire, typhoon, terrorist attack and even an airliner crash can the reactor go into automatic shut down and maintain the cooling system even with the total loss of external power and water supply? "

That is an entirely reasonable question, and there should be an engineering solution for that. I said many times that I was flabbergasted to learn that Fukushima Daiichi relied on outside power for emergency electricity. (And that emergency communication between the plant and the government consisted of one fax line, and other absurdities...). All these things can and should be rectified.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

WilliB

The reactor itself met and exceeded its specifications.

No they didn't. Reactors 1-3 were damaged by the earthquake. The containment vessels were cracked open by the earthquake and following the melt downs allowed some of the melted fuel to escape. Hydrogen also escaped from the containment vessels which led to the huge explosions.

http://pr.bbt757.com/eng/

7 ( +8 / -1 )

WilliB,

The Fukushima plant has five 660,000 volt off site power lines used for normal operations. All five were lost by the earthquake. The plant relied on the emergency generators located in the basement of the turbine halls and not even water tight, so they were swamped by the tsunami. There was also a limited battery system which was also swamped and operators ran around the plant collecting car batteries. There was also total loss of the water supply and no system in place to pump sea water. We don't need the stress tests when a mvisual inspection by trained engineers would reveal much more.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Lots of good comments here Either way I think its going to get uncomfortable in summer, in the offices, factories, shops and even worse for me working hard in a gym!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zichi:

" http://pr.bbt757.com/eng/ "

Do you ever stop to read your own sources? The above report (which is interesting) says about damage from earthquake: "No major damage from earthquake" (in apdx_applicability_to_pwp.pdf),

Sorry to pop your bubble. The report goes on the say pretty much what I pointed out: faulty communication, faulty measures to assure emergency cooling. Also they criticize the Mark 1 reactor, which is outdated anyway. This plant was 60 years old, and this type is not used anymore.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Another safety point highlighted by the nuclear disaster is the use of open pools to store highly irradiated spent fuel. The No4 pool contains about 1500 fuel assemblies and came very close to collapsing from both the earthquake and explosions. Had it collapsed the disaster would have been much worse including the evacuation of Tokyo. That pool contains more cesium than the total released at Chernobyl.

It's currently open to the environment and TEPCo have stated it will take until autumn of next year before a temporary cover over the reactor will be put in place and the beginning of 2014 before the fuel can be removed. In the meantime the pool remains in danger of collapse from another powerful earthquake.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

WilliB Yes I do read the reports. It does state that the five off site power lines were lost and so was the water supply and no system to use sea water. It also states the melted fuel burnt its way out of the containment vessels. The containment vessels and or the suppression rings must have been damaged for the hydrogen to escape?

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120418a4.html

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Reading the J news I see more horror stories on the way. In yesterday's news for example, Tsuruga nuclear power station is said to be sitting bang on top of a previously 'unknown' fault. Yet more stories will be in the pipeline. This kind of revelation will be just another one of many, ...of that I am sure.

What happens when a string of unthinkable human omissions (Japan's track record) meets that one-in-a-lifetime OTT natural event?

JT readers are generally split between staunchly pro- and fiercely anti-nuclear, with a few moderates in the middle struggling to get the facts together and hoping this will make the picture clearer either way.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

20% less power in summer peak months you say? Well this doesn't have to happen if those idiots at the pachinko establishments will turn off all of those signs. And that goes for most lights in Akihabara - really love the millions of TVs going in unison. There is so many unneccessary electricity used for reasons I can't think of as I walk the streets in Japan. Anyway it's so expensive - if businesses didn't use so much maybe customers' costs wouldn't be so high. Thanks TEPCO and other companies for selfishness! No more Nuclear power!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

WilliB from the report

My analysis takes a totally different point of view. It shows in documented detail (pr.bbt757.com/eng/) that if you want to operate a nuclear reactor, then you should not assume anything about potential disasters — be they earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorists or a plane crash. No matter what happens, if you are operating a nuclear reactor, you must find a way to bring it down to a cold shutdown in any type of emergency. We now know from the Fukushima disaster that this will require electricity and heat sinks. It is a pretty simple principle.

But there is also another important lesson to be learned, and it applies to all operating nuclear facilities around the world: If you have to assume something, then you are not prepared.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Blackouts will be a baseball bat the the back of the knees of the economy cause suffering and death.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Sounds like another lame excuse for rate increases that will be passed on to consumers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What is sad is the foreign residents of Japan can go back to their home countries leaving behind a ruined Japan. This is more than your AC and what about people that need that AC? Not everyone can take high temperatures. There is another death toll.

Yuri just the same as you can leave the US and return to Japan whenever you choose too right? If I leave who is going to make my house payments? Who is going to pay for my kids education? Life is not so simple as to make the assumption that people can just pull up their roots and move.

You talk about the US and electric consumption compared to Japan. Keep this in mind, the US is nearly 3 times larger than Japan, population wise, and uses different sources for it's electricity.

People there die too in the heat, if not more than in Japan. You can't make justifiable comparisons as the two country's are so varied.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Zichi:

" WilliB Yes I do read the reports. It does state that the five off site power lines were lost and so was the water supply and no system to use sea water. "

Yes. However, it does NOT say that there was structural damage to the containment vessel from the earthquake, as you originally claimed. Instead, it says: "No major damage from earthquake" (in apdxapplicabilityto_pwp.pdf),

You might want to read your sources before quoting.

About the need for independent power supply, I said that long ago. You said that. Your source says that. Why repeat that when everyone agrees.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

You can bet your last aluminum one yen piece that all the people who are clamoring for the immediate shutdown of all the reactors, will be the first to howl in indignation at the government for depriving them of their precious air conditioning when the sweat begins to trickle down the crack of their a$$.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Chill at the beach

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Chill at the beach

I understand where you are coming from but this line always cracks me up! It's more like fry at the beach down here!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Summer shortage of 20%? The summer is short enough in Hokkaido without this!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Since the 3/11 nuclear disaster there have been no new laws governing safety standards at atomic power plants. Last year the gov't promised a new atomic safety agency but there's still not one. Any restart of the nuclear reactors will be overseen by the same atomic agencies which were part of the chain reaction which led to the worse nuclear disaster in this country.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

And if we don't have enough power, so what?

I walked around the city today and the pachinko places had their lights on, a few companies had spotlights on, "clubs" with their lights on... at 1:00pm. Why? They don't do anything on a nice, sunny day except take up power.

Yuri, you really need to get over the foreigner bashing. WE live here. You don't. YOU already ran away. WE pay taxes and actually have more of a "right" to say anything we like about Japan, the government, the power issues... You aren't here. WE are. Grow up and stop making everything "us" vs "them". Stop crying about the US and making comparisons where none need to be made.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

With those comments regarding the ill who need machines and the like, really, what kind of life do you think they live if they can't survive a few hours off a machine? This is where medicine has gone too far. Sorry, hate to say but perhaps letting them go would be for the best?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

ka_chan:

" Germany is planning to shut all nuclear plants and have plans to replace the power so they can. "

In case of Germany, replacement for the shut down German nuclear plants will come largely from nuclear plants in neighbouring France and Poland.

Firstly, that is not an honest solution, only feelgood appeasement for an anti-nuclear electorate. Secondly, this would not even be an option in Japan, which is an island nation.

So please spare us the references to Germany.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Summer shortage of 20%? The summer is short enough in Hokkaido without this!

I see what you did there.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yuri, how about my case, i am a pesky foreigner who runs a business from home, i employ my brother in law who is Japanese. Shall i work in the garden while he keeps cool under the ac? i don't want to use japanese poeples precious electricity even though i pay tons of taxes.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yeah, we don,t need references to nuclear plants in France, Germany or Poland...because they are NOT located on active faultlines...Japanese N plants ARE. THAT makes one hell of a difference to the population living nearby.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

WilliB states,

In case of Germany, replacement for the shut down German nuclear plants will come largely from nuclear plants in neighbouring France and Poland.

This is not true, Germany was a net exporter of electricity to these countries during last year.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

WilliB I feel for you 3/4 of the posters here have no science literacy at all ... zichi you make some important points (like the breakup of the 9 conglomerates) but you need to learn the definition of a strawman argument cause that is exactly what you do to anyone who says that Japan isn't in a position to take nuclear power off its power generating repertoire... No one here on the forum is advocating for TEPCO or saying they didn't mismanage their plant or that changes need to be in order for them to come back on line...all we are saying is let's not throw the baby out with the bath water... a 20% loss of power generating abilities is significant no matter how you dice it up. With Japan completely dependent on its manufacturing base to maintain its economic stability gambling that it can do it without nuclear power is mighty risky bet....

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

ThreeDogsF:

Thank you! So nice to see some common sense in this forum for a change.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

With those comments regarding the ill who need machines and the like, really, what kind of life do you think they live if they can't survive a few hours off a machine? This is where medicine has gone too far. Sorry, hate to say but perhaps letting them go would be for the best?

My oldest child was born premature, and could not breathe for herself. They needed 3 months of a machine pushing air into her lungs - nasal cpap, an incubator, and other machines to keep them alive. For 3 months. Without them they would have died. As it is, they recovered, went home with us, and is now a healthy young lady. I find the idea we should let people die who need "machines" to breathe for them etc, utterly beyond the pale. These are people's loved ones you are talking about, people who may well get better and go on to have lives. Sickening, utterly sickening.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

ThreeDogsF

Thank you for your assessment of my training and vast experience has a highly qualified electrical engineer with more than a basic understanding of power generation. The country needs to move away from nuclear energy because basically its not a country which should be using it. But what I'm stating is that no nuclear reactors should be restarted before safety standards are made to ensure that another Fukushima can't happen. That will take many years, at least five, and because of the life cycle, some reactors need to be closed down rather than spending billions to improve safety standards.

KEPCO wants to restart its Oi reactors while also stating it will take five years to implement the safety standards requested by the government. There are many experts who oppose restarting the reactors before safety is improved, and there are even some experts totally opposed to restarting.

Companies need to install their own methods of power generation be it solar, wind or cell technology from Bloom Energy. This won't replace nuclear generation but it will help to reduce the demand. Many companies have started to install solar power.

The country needs to move away from the idea that power can only be generated by power companies with their huge plants.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@orange, I wont even try to comment on tmarie's thoughts. It is bound to stir up a hornets nest that is better left alone I think.

But any civilized society has mitigation and backup measures to make sure that hospitals and other Important infrastructural and tactical services will receive power even in situations where power is in shortage.

This is on top of all the security measures implemented by the hospitals on their own.

(That is, if we will even see any power shortage this summer)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Do you think turning on nuclear power for those 75-90 year olds hooked up, with no real life is worth the risk? Indeed, they are loved ones but is that any reason to jeopardize a huge population? I certainly don't. Someone made this as an example, I am giving a reason as to why it shouldn't be a reason to restart the power plants.

So I guess now you want to play God and decide who lives or dies?

I hope for your sake that you are never faced with having a loved one in a situation where a machine is necessary to keep them alive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zichi I wasn't questioning you qualifications to comment, (but I have my doubts anyone advocating that solar and wind power alone could replace the cost effectiveness of in place nuclear reactors: see that was a strawman of your argument) I was questioning your way of framing of the problem... and painting anyone advocating not shutting down the reactors as apologists for the complacent officials at TEPCO...

But seriously a nation with no coal deposits of its own and very limited natural gas and oil...(in places that may require them to fight with either China or Russia to defend them) add to that the fact that the price of oil only going to climb higher ....I dare say there isn't a more perfect country where nuclear power is called for. It being a fault line obviously complicates matters and maybe Japan should be investing more money into geothermal electricity production since this is obviously a resource they are blessed/cursed with...but for a government that spends already more than takes in I dare say they are in any position to throw money at future payouts in technology that is still in its infancy stage. In medicine it's called triage... As for those experts that you claim clamoring for the shutdown of nuclear power in Japan only a very small number are actually nuclear engineers... and in total they are still a minority of all those qualified to offer an opinion.... I rest my opinion with the scientific consensus and that consensus says despite all the fear mongering from a small minority opinion of scientists, nuclear power is still pretty damn safe.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I don't think it's necessary or wise to state without proof that those commenting in opposition to nuclear power have no scientific backgrounds. Some of us do have degrees in some field of science or health care. Japanese astronomers are saying sunspot activity suggests abnormally cool temperatures on earth for a number of years. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201204200075

Predictions of shortages are based on a year of record high temperatures. I wish the nuclear village people had used the same extreme cases in planning for emergencies. Even now, there are no emergency evacuation plans for the vast majority of people living within 30 km of a nuclear plant. Tokyo reduced electricity use last summer over 15%. TEPCO and the government soon realised that blackouts were not necessary and went so far as to implore people to use their air conditioners. The great majority of deaths from heat occurred from outdoor exposure, which are unrelated to energy conservation or blackouts. I have seen no evidence that as a result of the blackouts more people than usual died last summer from indoor heat exposure. If they died because they were trying to conserve electricity, then they were in a sense killed by TEPCO and the government having exaggerated the threat of power shortages.

I would not oppose the continuation of a small amount of nuclear power in the short run if were even a hint of evidence that the government understands the severity of threats against Japan's reactors. But the government has not even been able to create an independent monitoring agency in over a year. It has not drafted evacuation plans. All that has been done is the placement of a few generators near reactors. In some cases, these generators are vulnerable to the same natural disasters that could hit the reactors themselves. Generators need fuel, for example. Some plants are in isolated areas with limited access. How would a stable supply of fuel be possible if access were cut off due to an earthquake? The government has done nothing to address or even admit the obvious fact that the earthquake itself resulted in severed cooling conduits and breaches in the containment vessels. All the power in Japan will not provide coolant if the pipes are severed. It has become obvious that many of Japan's reactors were built on gross underestimates of threats from seismic events. The village people will not address these issues unless the Japanese people force them to do so.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Zichi-san is working really hard today to fend off the misperceptions of people who wish this would all go away. Other good posters, too.

As totally strange as it is to read people saying that we should turn the npp back on, I guess we have to do deal with these poor deluded folks. Why do they not ever LEARN anything? It seems to me people like Yuri have not changed their position one iota since 3/11. I wonder if it is even worth sword-fighting verbally with them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

ThreeDogsF

I have not stated in any comment that solar or wind power could replace the power loss from not using nuclear energy.

As for those experts that you claim clamoring for the shutdown of nuclear power in Japan only a very small number are actually nuclear engineers... and in total they are still a minority of all those qualified to offer an opinion.... I rest my opinion with the scientific consensus and that consensus says despite all the fear mongering from a small minority opinion of scientists, nuclear power is still pretty damn safe.

So I suppose you would equally believe that some one could only have a correct opinion on a crime if they held a degree in criminology? The majority of Japanese seem to be against the idea of restarting the reactors and in the end the decision will rest with them than anyone on this forum.

If the government does not take note of the wishes of the people they'll find themselves out of office come the next general election.

I suppose you must also be a qualified nuclear scientist or engineer to arrive at your opinion that nuclear energy is safe. But you are very misguided even if you are qualified because what is not currently safe is the actual atomic power plants and are not able to operate at an acceptable minimum level of safety standards which are in place in many other nuclear energy countries.

I would like to see KEPCO publish it's power demand predictions for every 24 hour cycle for the months of July, August and September so we can all see when there's likely to be the highest demands. Prior to the disaster KEPCO generated 50% of it's total power from nuclear energy, the highest rate in the country.

Solar and wind energy can certainly help reduce the power needed from the power companies especially during daytime peak demand. A combination of technologies could replace nuclear energy entirely within the very near future, Those technologies include wind, solar, geothermal, cell energy and more efficient use of the power generated.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Up till March 2011 the nuclear power industry in Japan had a pretty spotty track record, but no real major disasters, so the public generally bought the basic line that nuclear is safe and cheap.

Since March 2011the mood in this country has changed and the populace is no longer in such a generous mood.

20% is probably an exaggeration in order to frighten people into accepting some restarts. Do they mean 20% off last summer or 20% off a 'normal' carefree year. Either way I think the population is willing to go with 20% less and no nuclear generation, at least until it becomes clear who was responsible for allowing last year's quake and tsunami to cause so much unnecessary destruction and stress. Some places like Oi will probably start up again in due course.

In the meantime let's concentrate on seeing how many ways there are of bridging a shortfall.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The lights do need to be turned down, but the country's reliance on air conditioning needs to be addressed. Perhaps they need to be fitted with usage monitors that charge even more for aircon. Ceiling fans use a fraction of the cost.

Some of the cost of lighting could be addressed by a switch to daily saving in the summer, but we have had this debate sooo many times before, no point in going through it again. If you think it is normal to lie in your futon for 3 hours after it is daylight and then go to be 4 hours after nightfall, that's cool with me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zichi, first let me say that many of your comments have merit. Safer, less harmful energy sources are needed to replace fossil fuels and uranium-based fission reactors. However, that said, I worked as a reactor operator for 15 years so I have hands-on experience. What is problematic about such ancient technology as at Fukushima is that there was no thermal driving head mode of operation, meaning no primary coolant pumps required. Had that been the case, there would have been no disaster. My point is that there are better plant designs which are superior. I'm not familiar with the various designs employed in the 53 reactors in Japan, so I can't speak about them. About peak usage hours, granted that the midday hours have the greatest overall demand, but the power grid requires about a ten percent cushion for surges or fluctuations, and that extends into the evening hours. The country will have about ten to fifteen percent lower total available power compared with last summer. I only cooled my smallest room last summer, set to 28 was tolerable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Herve, you should come on here and comment more often. We need people like you. :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nuclear power is not safe, and nuclear power is not clean, I think it is quite obvious by now. Those who disagree must be waiting for the slap in the face.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Harumi Madarame, chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission, the highest authority in the country, stated to the Japanese Diet Feb. 2012 that the country's atomic safety rules are inferior to global standards. He also wanted to resign due to exhaustion but has since decided to continue, although the country is still waiting for the new atomic safety agency promised by the gov't last year.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Herve Nmn L' Elsa

There are 23 reactors in Japan of the same type as the ones at Fukushima. Mark 1 or Mark 2 BWR, designed by General Electric of America. It was known has far back as 1972, there was a design problem with these reactors which need water for cooling and also a problem vending the reactors when there's a build up of hydrogen. The reactors have no instrumentation to indicate or measure the amount of hydrogen. The reactors need power, and water to reduce the heat of the nuclear fuel even when in shut down. The design also needs an overhead pool system for moving the nuclear fuel into and out of the reactors. The storage pools also need a powered cooling system with pumps since the pools are about 35 meters above ground level. The same reactor design is in use at some of the nuclear power plants in America.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Turn off all pachinkos, pachinkos are evil and wasting too much energy. Also a lot of elevators in the department stores and subway can be safely turned off if there are stairs and not so many floors in the building. But I don't agree that all nukes should be abandoned, we can duplicate all critical systems (several times) and leave the safest nukes. Japan should also think about using its huge geothermal energy resources, that is used only in onsens now.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is a misunderstanding to believe these tests prove that a nuclear plant is safe," says Masashi Goto, a former nuclear power plant designer.

Hiromitsu Ino, an emeritus professor at Tokyo University and fellow member of the nuclear safety agency advisory panel, said the tests should not have been introduced until all the facts of the Fukushima disaster were known.

In Jan., the trade minister stated,

The trade and industry minister, Yukio Edano, said on Friday he believed Japan would be able to cope without imposing power cuts even if all 54 reactors were offline by the summer, a popular move for the public. 

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Even though, Harumi Madarame stated the country's nuclear safety standards are seriously flawed, the NSC still went ahead and gave its permission to KEPCO to restart two of its Ohi reactors. How are we to trust anything from the NSC and the other atomic agencies?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

WilliB I feel for you 3/4 of the posters here have no science literacy at all

Or mathematic literacy. As Blair Herron's post indicates, no company within the 9 are above the 8% abundant threshold required for stable power output with 3 in shortage. In other words, some areas are just a single malfunction away from having a complete blackout throughout the area.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Discussing this now is moot. We should table this discussion until October or November to evaluate a.) whether the Summer ended up being as hot as feared, and b.) was the existing fossil fuel and geothermal power generation enough to keep Japan operational. Issuing warnings now seems early.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In case of Germany, replacement for the shut down German nuclear plants will come largely from nuclear plants in neighbouring France and Poland. Firstly, that is not an honest solution, only feelgood appeasement for an anti-nuclear electorate. Secondly, this would not even be an option in Japan, which is an island nation. So please spare us the references to Germany.

Actually France imports energy/electricity from Germany. Last winter France had to import energy/electricity from Germany because there were shortages. How's that for irony...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fadamor, nigelboy is correct and the fossil plants need downtime and maintenance as well. Losing one of more plants could crash the entire network. It is baka to run on the limits, there needs to be backup power available. We shawl see how the summer goes. It is suppose to be sweltering in America, already the temperature is over 100 F or over 38 C in the western part of Oklahoma. Think it will be a hot one in Japan as well.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

YuriOtani

fossil plants need downtime and maintenance as well.

And so do nuclear reactors. They are required by law to be shut down every 13 months for maintenance and refueling which lasts for 3-4 months. I don't think it's necessary to refuel so often because it produces more spent fuel. Another point of interest, I have tens of Japanese friends, family and hundreds of clients, but I don't know a single Japanese person who even wants any of the reactors restarted, regardless of what it would mean for the future?

3 ( +4 / -2 )

I was wearing short sleeves in my office yesterday without the air con on,had the window open and it was cool. 3 customers came in and complained that it was too hot.... On came the air con. Soon we will learn if the system is really as fragile as they say?

We are living in interesting times……

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Turn down the lights, turn off the pachinko parlours, only light the top of Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower etc (so noone flies into it) and turn down the lights on the Tokyo Gate Bridge (yes I know they use LED`s) and turn off some of the vending machines.....maybe then we could save a bit of power! We saved power last summer and winter and we can all do it again!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wait til the temperature stays above 40 with high humidity this summer, with high temperatures all over Japan and with no nuclear power plants to generate enough electricity to run all the AC units in Japan, the factories, the stores, the hospitals, refrigeration warehouses for food, etc. You will experience reality. There will be massive blackouts. A LOT of people will be dying - the elderly, the sick, and young children. That's what it means when you don't have an alternative power source ALREADY running BEFORE you turn off the power plants. This year will be the year of stupidity. And who will be to blame? The media and the reactionary public who acted out of fear rather than science.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And yet one of the main stories on the tv news this morning was about the illumination of a new bridge in Tokyo. Those interviewed thought it looked really beautiful. People just do not use their brains, that is the problem. Oh, and for some reason all the streetlights are still on this morning where I live. I see this kind of thing all the time. It is infuriating!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Zichi, Ok, so which of the other MK1 or 2's are still operational? And which model(s) are the ones which are likely to be restarted?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese use less electric per person than 29 other nations. The plants need to be restarted now and the old and dangerous ones need to be decommissioned.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Herve Nmn L'Eisa,

I can'y really answer your question. At the moment only one reactor is operational and that will go off line sometime early next month. The only talk of reactor restarts are two KEPCO ones at Ohi, Fukui. Those seem to e some kind of test case for both the government and the nuke industry. They are PWR reactors.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

zichi reread my post I didn't claim that your position was that solar or wind power could replace it I facetiously reframed your argument as a strawman so you could see how it felt maybe comprehend what actually the strawman's fallacy was.... You know get a taste of medicine you like to dish out so often in your comments.... Attack MY position (Japan is not financially in position to take all off its current reactors if it wish to maintain its current economic level of production, plain and simple) Not a strawman of it!

I have tens[sic] of Japanese friends, family and hundreds of clients, but I don't know a single Japanese person who even wants any of the reactors restarted, regardless of what it would mean for the future?

So in your scientific unblinded and uncontrolled survey of the Japanese public N= what? 100? 10,000?

So I suppose you would equally believe that some one could only have a correct opinion on a crime if they held a degree in criminology? The majority of Japanese seem to be against the idea of restarting the reactors and in the end the decision will rest with them than anyone on this forum.

Ummm non sequitar but to answer your question. Why yes those who have a degree in criminology would probably have a much better or educated opinion on crime than the lay public so yeah I'd value their assessment of the nature of crime over the popular opinion, as for it being 'CORRECT' that's a individual value judgment ...there you go again strawmaning my words

If the government does not take note of the wishes of the people they'll find themselves out of office come the next general election.

Hahaha yeah for the Japanese public as whole, they have the greatest track record of electing good leaders... they'll surely give the mob ruled public what they want... like they are doing in Okinawa?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

ThreeDogsF

you forgot to mention your own qualifications in nuclear engineering?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

peanut666, your so-called "science" rant against panic and fear at 08:42 above is full of exactly that, ie hypothetical scare stories intended to induce panic.

Unless Japan has an abnormallly hot summer this year, I do not think the situation will be vastly different from last summer. Last year we had the dire warnings twice, once before the summer and again before the winter. Industry and the private sector managed to pull through.

I am beginning to think that Japan could be pointing the way forward for our planet. No more assumption that human need for energy is an unlimited exponential expansion.

All of the lessons we are learning now should be material to feed innovation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fission-based nuclear power has always been a bit of "grabbing a tiger by the tail". Reactors tread the fine line between supercriticality and criticality. They rely on a known delay in the reaction process to control how "hot" the reaction gets. All sorts of safeguards - both electrical and physical in nature are put in place to prevent the reactor from getting out of control. As Fukushima demonstrated, however, the cooling system is the Achille's heel of the system. A loss of power to the cooling pumps is disastrous.

Even though I'm generally pro-nuclear, I wouldn't be comfortable restarting reactors in Japan until the government can demonstrate that emergency power units could be airlifted to the roof of the reactor and plugged into the cooling pump bus within an adequate time to prevent what happened at Fukushima. This of course will require that they INSTALL that roof-mounted bus access and reinforce the roof to handle the weight of the generators.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

*Achilles'

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unless Japan has an abnormallly hot summer this year, I do not think the situation will be vastly different from last summer. Last year we had the dire warnings twice, once before the summer and again before the winter. Industry and the private sector managed to pull through.

Another example of mathematical illteracy.

How many nuclear reactors were operational in Japan last summer? How many nuclear reactors would be operational if none of the reactors are approved for restart this summer? The answer to the latter would be ZERO.

Hence, your conclusion that "I do not think the situation will be vastly different from last summer" is COMPLETELY IGNORING the reduction of electrical output from last summer.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

The Trade Minister must be another one who can't do maths.

In Jan., the trade minister, Yukio Edano stated,

"Japan would be able to cope without imposing power cuts even if all 54 reactors were offline by the summer".

These figures released by the power companies need to be vertified, and we need to see the predicted figures for July to Sept.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fadamor,

Yes, but in an emergency the reactors also need a water supply, which was also lost at Fukushima, and even a system in place that can pump sea water in extreme cases, again not present at Fukushima.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Trade Minister must be another one who can't do maths.

What did Edano say in April when the numbers started to be come up?

Secondly, you rely too much on the English press when the context of his answer is completely different from what was echoed in the English press.

http://www.meti.go.jp/speeches/data_ed/ed120127j.html

Q:既に、乗り切れるというような数字的な根拠というのはあるのですか。

A:今、正に、その数字も含めて様々な検討を進めているところでありますので、乗り切れると申し上げているわけではありません。乗り切れる可能性は十分にあるということです

Q: Is there a numerical basis for your assessment that we could get through this summer?

A: Right now, the numbers as as well as other factors are being considered at this time. I'm not saying that we could overcome this summer. I'm saying that there exists enough possibility.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Yukio Edano is a well known flip-flopper, from the many statements he made last year when he was Secretary of the Cabinet and stated in those daily press conferences on the nuclear disaster, from "there have been no melt downs in the reactors" and took 3 months to inform the public about the melt downs and also stated "there was no damage to the reactor containment vessels" but flip-flopped on that after 6 months, or "no danger to health".

He is also known to be anti nuclear but this year stated those are his personal views and not the same has the government. Since becoming Trade Minister, he stated that no reactor would be restarted unless the safety of the reactor is ensured, and also the local people don't oppose the restart.

He has already flip-flopped on the first part, we went and see if he does the same on the second part. He was one of two ministers and the PM who met to decide about the restarting of KEPCO's Oi rectors. They issued an additional eight point safety request, which KEPCO stated would take at least three years to implement but then those three decided it was safe to restart the reactors even though the safety can't be ensured.

"I rely too much on the western press?' I mostly read the Japanese press but the western press is often more accurate and don't just toe the government line on the nuclear disaster, which the government have been trying to control since last year.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yukio Edano is a well known flip-flopper, from the many statements he made last year when he was Secretary of the Cabinet and stated in those daily press conferences on the nuclear disaster, from "there have been no melt downs in the reactors" and took 3 months to inform the public about the melt downs and also stated "there was no damage to the reactor containment vessels" but flip-flopped on that after 6 months, or "no danger to health".

On March 12, the official at NISA stated that there was a likelihood of a meldown in Reactor no. 1 On March 14 2011, only three days after the earthquake, Edano stated that there is a high possibility of meltdown in three reactors.

As to the damage to the reactor containment vessels, he was merely answering to the concern that the "explosion" was from the containment vessels.

Again, relying too much on English sources where context if completely omitted.

He is also known to be anti nuclear but this year stated those are his personal views and not the same has the government. Since becoming Trade Minister, he stated that no reactor would be restarted unless the safety of the reactor is ensured, and also the local people don't oppose the restart.

Which I agree.

He has already flip-flopped on the first part, we went and see if he does the same on the second part. He was one of two ministers and the PM who met to decide about the restarting of KEPCO's Oi rectors. They issued an additional eight point safety request, which KEPCO stated would take at least three years to implement but then those three decided it was safe to restart the reactors even though the safety can't be ensured.

Because the debate has been about what this "ensured" requirements are. Face it zichi. The only "stress test" that these anti-nuclear mobs may be convinced to is to withstand the actual repeat of the 3/11 earthquake in the respective nuclear plants. But then again, I have my doubts.

I rely too much on the western press?' I mostly read the Japanese press but the western press is often more accurate and don't just toe the government line on the nuclear disaster, which the government have been trying to control since last year.

Let's be real. Foreign press in Japan can't even translate a simple press conference from a minister let alone trying to analyze the numerous technical terms displayed by the actual experts who made their respective presentations during the press conference. If the above Edano example is your example, I rest my case.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

The Japanese Government did not admit to the meltdown until three months later, nor did they admit to the damage to the containment vessels until a half year later. Our government tried to hide this important information for some reason, though judging from the amount of fission material released and from the size of the hydrogen explosion, the meltdown of the entire core was undeniable for anyone who has studied reactor engineering.

Kenichi Ohmae

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120418a4.html

The stress tests don't ensure the safety of the reactors because they were based on probabilities and not on possibilities. No reactor should be restarted that's on or near a fault line. No reactor should be restarted which can't maintain it's cooling system in an emergency shut down because of an event due to earthquakes, tsunami, fire, typhoon, whatever. That's not the current reactor position, but is a major cause for concern if here's a real need to restart at least some reactors to cover the likely summer power demand.

More than half of the reactor numbers are at least too old, or located on or near fault lines. It will be difficult to find 18 reactors were its worth the capital investment to increase the reactor safety standards to international agreed level, which according to the head of NSC, Haruki Madarame they are not.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Major companies and even new starts should consider installing "Bloom Boxes" from Bloom Energy, a California based company. Although they could not replace the 40GW generated previously by nuclear energy they can certainly help to reduce the power demands especially during the peak summer power demand.

These units might be able to be manufactured in Japan, under license from Bloom Energy which would also create jobs.

The units are a collection of fuel cells which uses oxygen and fuel to generate power with zero emissions. The fuel, like natural gas or biogas is drawn in on one side and oxygen on the other. The two combine to produce a chemical reaction, that creates electricity without combustion or burning. They can also work with solar and wind power but I don't know how that works.

Many major American companies, and Fortune 500 companies have installed them, like, eBay, Google, Wal-Mart, Coco-Cola, American Bank. At one Google campus they have a 400kW unit which over 18 months had 98% availability and produced 3.8 million kW.

They can produce 15% to 30% of the total power need by a major company. They are also available for household use costing about $3,000 which is very good when compared with the price of solar panels. The capital investment is high but those companies have stated the investment is returned after three years, which again is very good when compared with solar panels.

http://www.bloomenergy.com/fuel-cell/energy-server/

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kenichi Ohmae

???? As I stated the high probability of meltdown was stated by both TEPCO and the government officials in a matter of three days. Whether they can "officially confirm" is a total different matter, zichi. As for the damage to the containment vessel, this was addressed by TEPCO in April of 2011

http://www.bloomberg.co.jp/news/123-LJ4IM86KLVR401.html

Not "officially confirming" is not a denial as most foreign press like to twist.

The stress tests don't ensure the safety of the reactors because they were based on probabilities and not on possibilities. No reactor should be restarted that's on or near a fault line. No reactor should be restarted which can't maintain it's cooling system in an emergency shut down because of an event due to earthquakes, tsunami, fire, typhoon, whatever

You forgot the 747 crash into the plant or a meteor strike. (roll eyes) You basically confirmed my point. The only "stress test" that you would accept if for the actual incidents like the 3/11 or others to occur in the area and withstand.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

You forgot the 747 crash into the plant or a meteor strike. (roll eyes) You basically confirmed my point. The only "stress test" that you would accept if for the actual incidents like the 3/11 or others to occur in the area and withstand.

That's what Kenichi Ohmae is also stating in his extensive report on the cause of the nuclear disaster and how another one can be avoided.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Decades of LDP governments, the atomic safety agencies and the power companies have lied to the country and the people, about the safety of some of the locations of the NPP's and the safety standards of the plants which don't even measure up to international standards. Some of the power companies denied that they had built NPP on known fault lines, like the TEPCO plant in Niigata, which suffered extensive damage by an earthquake in 2007 and was shut down for two years. finally, TEPCO admitted they knew about the fault line.

Sadly, this all led to the world's worse nuclear disaster, since Chernobyl, which even ex PM Kan called a man made one, contaminated 10,000 sq km of the country, contaminated the food chain, drove 100,000 people from their communities.

It would have been so easy to avoid this nuclear disaster had TEPCO had in place the proper safety standards to ensure an atomic meltdown, melt-throughs and hydrogen explosions could not happen. The cost would have been much less than the ¥30 trillion it will now cost to clean up Fukushima.

At least those like Kenichi Ohmae who are calling for new safety standards before the reactors are restarted have learnt the lesson from Fukushima, while those who want to restart the reactors without any safety improvements are blind and deaf to the reality of the worse nuclear disaster in the history of the country.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why is the estimate of 16% for August and 20% for July (amount of electricity loss)

WTF, the stor above is assuming July is HOTTER than August?

that shows they are talking estimates, my estimate is go solar like Germany and China

Dr. koide estimates that Fukushima #4 might contaminate Tokyo if its weakened wall cracks and the water in the SFP (spent fuel pool) releases the 2,800 tons of (highly radioactive) spent fule rods.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nigelboy,

So what's your position on the safety of the reactors. Are you stating there needs to be no safety improvements before they are restarted? And what of the NPP's built on fault lines or near dangerous locations?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

zichi Apr. 27, 2012 - 02:28AM JST Major companies and even new starts should consider installing "Bloom Boxes" from Bloom Energy, a California based company. Although they could not replace the 40GW generated previously by nuclear energy they can certainly help to reduce the power demands especially during the peak summer power demand. These units might be able to be manufactured in Japan, under license from Bloom Energy which would also create jobs.

I am not sure Bloom Energy is worth the money because long term reliability is still unknown. One fundamental challenge is making the ceramic tile reliable. It's extremely thin and operates at a wide range of temperatures. The big challenge is thermal stress. All of these different components heat up and expand at different rates. Over time, they can crack as a result. When a system is not working, it can quickly gaining in temperature and lose efficiency. What companies like Bloom Energy need to do is stress-test the technology over long periods of time, trying to find failures and fix them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

20%? That's all?

Great. I think most people think that Japanese could easily use 20% less electricity.

"Now there is more suffering being demanded. No night time baseball"

That ...was a joke, right?

With lifestyle changes it's doable. The trouble is the people who could use less don't, and the ones who need it are disadvantaged.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just get the old guys in the fancy uniforms who work the carparks to do the rounds checking on overuse of electricity. They'd solve the problem!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The best thing to do is to close all the reactors. Make the country use 20% or 30% less. In the short term everyone will grumble and think it's the end of the world. But Japanese being as smart as they are will hate it so much that they will change their lifestyles, and clever people will go crazy to improve machines, batteries, lights, and work on revolutionary types of energy production. Necessity is the mother of invention.

But, if they just start them up again nothing will change. It's like kicking a spoiled kid out of the house.

Yuri, Japanese are brilliant. They can work this out. You underestimate your own people.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The greatest figure is actually from KEPCO which is 16% and some of the NPP's in nearby prefectures but on the same grid could supply some.

But we have not seen any actual figures from power companies like KEPCO just a sweeping statement to get us all worked up and fearful.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

sfjp330

I am not sure Bloom Energy is worth the money because long term reliability is still unknown. One fundamental challenge is making the ceramic tile reliable.

It would appear Bloom Energy have come up their own unique way of making the ceramic tiles. Large companies like Google would not have made large investments if the technology didn't work. Probably like all technologies there will be improvements but it does at least seem like a very good way to generate power and one way the big firms could reduce their power demands.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Plain propagandas to have reasons to start the Nuke power plants. Residentials am sure are not complaining a lot about this. It's the big business companies that uses most of the energy. This companies should be the one saving energy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The government is under pressure from two sides: international organizations like the OECD and World Economic Forum to restart the nuclear facilities, if deemed safe, and popular opinion in Japan, which is consistently opposed. It is really a tough call, and the government is temporizing at the moment, uncertain what to do. As a stop-gap measure, imports of liquefied natural gas are on the rise. But prices will rise, too, and that also will be unpopular. For more on this issue, see https://oildiplomacy.wordpress.com/?s=Japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hippalus, if that is your view, the future looks bleak.

The Japanese government has a history of giving in to 'gaiatsu' ie foreign pressure. In a tight spot they will ignore their own populace and fall into line with what they see as world opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi: "So what's your position on the safety of the reactors. Are you stating there needs to be no safety improvements before they are restarted? And what of the NPP's built on fault lines or near dangerous locations?"

nigelboy doesn't give opinions, only attempts to undermine the arguments of those who question something Japanese, in this case safety standards. He in particular will stay away from an argument when slapped down and cannot provide a retort that will not make his comments look even more 'illiterate' (mathematical -- though he calls it mathematic -- or otherwise). He'll probably provide a retort to this comment because he'll just try to undermine what I'm saying, but he'll never reply to yours because he cannot defend against the facts you provide, nor provide an opinion of his own.

You are absolutely correct in all the things you say about the reactors and the system in general, and you back in up with stats, and best of all continue to make your comments in a rational manner instead of the pop-up-when-angry comments like nigelboy's. Hats off to you for that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So what's your position on the safety of the reactors. Are you stating there needs to be no safety improvements before they are restarted? And what of the NPP's built on fault lines or near dangerous locations?

The stress tests outlined by the cabinet should be suffice for now as Japan is not in the position to completely eliminate nuclear energy from their total energy output needs. For me, it simply does not make sense to enforce a reactor which went off line during the inspection period to have a higher hurdle to resume operation while many on line nuclear reactors were operating after 3/11.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

nigelboy doesn't give opinions, only attempts to undermine the arguments of those who question something Japanese, in this case safety standards. He in particular will stay away from an argument when slapped down and cannot provide a retort that will not make his comments look even more 'illiterate' (mathematical -- though he calls it mathematic -- or otherwise). He'll probably provide a retort to this comment because he'll just try to undermine what I'm saying, but he'll never reply to yours because he cannot defend against the facts you provide, nor provide an opinion of his own.

Smith. Perhaps you should read my posts more carefully. My response to zichi was pointing out the inaccuracies and misleading information that he/she has posted (Kenici Ohmae's assertion). Now perhaps if zichi would of answered the shortage issue, I would of stopped at that but the guy just keeps changing the goal posts.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Smith. Perhaps you should read my posts more carefully. My response to zichi was pointing out the inaccuracies and misleading information that he/she has posted (Kenici Ohmae's assertion). Now perhaps if zichi would of answered the shortage issue, I would of stopped at that but the guy just keeps changing the goal posts.

You make a good case for forced abortion. Go consume drano.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nigelboy

Smith. Perhaps you should read my posts more carefully. My response to zichi was pointing out the inaccuracies and misleading information that he/she has posted (Kenici Ohmae's assertion). Now perhaps if zichi would of answered the shortage issue, I would of stopped at that but the guy just keeps changing the goal posts.

I have not misquoted Kenichi Ohmae and provided a link to an article by him which also contains a link to a very lengthy report on the causes of the nuclear disaster and what actions should be taken regarding the safety of the reactors. I suggest that you take the time to read the report which is heavy going at times.

With a possible power shortage, we haven't see any actual figures from the power companies just generalisations. If there's going to be a serious problem during the summer months some reactors could be restarted provided the power companies make reactor safety a priority.

I have stated mant times Jon other posts that I accept it took take 20 years to end nuclear energy. Following the 3/11 disaster, there were only about 18 out of a possible 54 reactors operating, and not "many" as you suggest.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nigelboy, Harumi Madarame, chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission, the highest authority in the country, stated to the Japanese Diet Feb. 2012 that the country's atomic safety rules are inferior to global standards.

The reactor stress tests were only computer models based on probabilities and not on possibilities. Harumi Madarame stated the stress tests won't ensure the safety of the reactors.

No reactor for the moment should be restarted if older than 30 years. No reactor built on or near fault lines, like at Fukui, Niigata and Hamaoka should be restarted. No reactor which failed the stress test like at Tokai should be restarted. When the maths is done, that probably leaves less than 20. Not including TEPCO, the remaining eight mainland power companies should look at restarting two reactors each provided they also make a commitment to updating the safety standards to provide emergency power and an emergency water supply and a system to pump sea water in extreme cases. Ensuring the electrical systems for the reactors are water tight, like the way it is on ships.

It will take more than five years to update the reactors but once complete the time span for shutting down the reactors should increased from the current 13 months to 24 months. Also instead of refueling at every shut down that should happen on every third shut down.

The government and the nuke industry really needs to resolve the very major problem for nuclear waste storage so that all the spent fuel currently stored in open pools can be removed, as requested by the government last year. The problem kis that the power companies don't want to pay for this 10,000 year storage.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nigelboy,

Another major problem about restarting any of the reactors is that there needs also to be an atomic safety agency which can over see the safety. Harumi Madarame admitted to the Diet, that the current safety agencies, including the NSC had failed the country and the people.

Last year, the government promised a new atomic safety agency would be put in place and under control of the Environment Ministry. It's May 1, and still there's no promised new agency nor is there likely to be one any time soon.

That would leave the current failed safety agencies to oversee nuclear safety. Not a very good situation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nigelboy,

The only reason the country is experiencing the worse nuclear disaster in its history, the worse disaster since Chernobyl was because of a head-in-the-sands attitude when it came to the design and safety of the atomic plants.

The head-in-the-sands thinking was made by government officials, atomic safety agencies and the nuclear industry.

The atomic plants were designed and built on probabilities and not on possibilities. All those involved in the decision making actually believed that a nuclear disaster could never happen in Japan. Can you believe that? Intelligent men thinking like that.

Even on route via helicopter to Fukushima, on Mar.12, Harmui Madarame told the then PM Kan, not to worry because structural damage to the atomic plant was impossible.

This guy remains the highest official of all the atomic safety agencies.

Had the design of the atomic plants been based on possibilities instead of probabilities, we would not be having this conversation now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And they convinced the general public too. A day or so after the earthquake a usually well-informed lady told me not to worry about Fukushima, because Japanese engineering was so good that the plant could withstand anything.

Humans always run into trouble when they say things they have built are invincible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have not misquoted Kenichi Ohmae

I didn't claim you did. Kenichi Ohmae is sorely misinformed or is distorting the scenario since I already provided examples of government/TEPCO confirming the high probability of meltdown (within on day) and a containment vessel damage(one month). The actual "confirmation" took place longer simply because the officials needed visual and/or scientific proof.

With a possible power shortage, we haven't see any actual figures from the power companies just generalisations. If there's going to be a serious problem during the summer months some reactors could be restarted provided the power companies make reactor safety a priority.

Those are "actual" figures provided by nine companies. Generalizations usually are displayed by ranges (i.e. 8~10% etc.). The figure that Blair quoted are dispalyed in 10th of a percent.

Nigelboy, Harumi Madarame, chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission, the highest authority in the country, stated to the Japanese Diet Feb. 2012 that the country's atomic safety rules are inferior to global standards

No. Madarame stated that the country's safety rule and standards were not up to par PRIOR to the incident.

The reactor stress tests were only computer models based on probabilities and not on possibilities. Harumi Madarame stated the stress tests won't ensure the safety of the reactors.

And my point is "probabilities" are enough for now since "possibilities" are endless.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

nigelboy

You are saying Kenichi Ohmae was misinformed or distorted the facts.

He's a highly qualified nuclear reactor scientist who was given full access to all documentation from the government, the atomic safety agencies and TEPCO.

Have you read the report?

No. Madarame stated that the country's safety rule and standards were not up to par PRIOR to the incident.

There have been no changes in atomic safety laws or which agencies oversee atomic power plant safety. In other words there have been no real changes. There's still no new atomic safety agency as promised.

And my point is "probabilities" are enough for now since "possibilities" are endless.

No that's incorrect. What is being proposed by people like Kenichi Ohmae is that the reactors need to go into shut down and maintain the reactor cooling systems whatever the event. The reactors can already go into automatic shut down but has we now know from Fukushima, the nuclear disaster happened because the cooling systems failed, even though all the atomic power plants are located next to large oceans.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All readers back on topic please. The subject is power shortages this summer. Posts that do not focus on that will be removed.

The government stated that no reactor would be given permission to restart that failed the stress test. In the case of the KEPCO Oi reactors which passed the stress test but the government issued a further 8 safety points for the Oi reactors which KEPCO have stated will take at least 3 years to implement.

But regardless of those 8 safety points, KEPCO wants to restart the Oi reactors now and the government has given its permission provided the local people or local government also agree. We don't know the outcome of that yet.

It might be time consuming but not impossible to install new safety standards on the reactors to ensure another Fukushima can't happen, or you don't care about that point.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What I detest about this restarting issue is that it was decided long ago that the restarting of the reactor would be subject to results of the initial stress test and the approval of the locals. And yet, the rules are changing because we have these outside pressures demanding 100% safety when such scenario in any industry does not exist.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

nigelboy,

It's bad that a nuclear disaster was able to happen in the first place, mainly because of a head-in-the-sand attitude by officials on the safety of the atomic power plants. But it will be even worse if at least lessons are not learnt and implemented from the disaster, not only in Japan, but at all atomic power plants across the world.

Secondly, in Fukushima's case, the implications did not reach far beyond the shores of Japan where their livelihood was at any stake. Please spare the exaggerations.

Radiation from a disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima knows no borders and radiation reached parts of America and Europe. The Fukushima disaster also contaminated a very large part of the Pacific Ocean.

What about the local population/business who depend on Oi reactors operating? As it stands, the local area is a ghost town.

Yes there is concern in those communities that depend on the nuclear power plants for their employment or business but the safety of the majority should not be risked because of a minority. The area around the Oi reactors is not a ghost town as you claim and in fact do you even know what the location looks like, you can check it out on Google Earth. It's in an isolated located. There is a poster on JT who lives in Fukui and makes very regular comments about what is happening there. He has never mentioned Fukui becoming a ghost town. Fukui has a population of about 800,000 with about 25,000 employed directly or indirectly by the nuclear plants there.

Some of the communities with atomic power plants have demanded the reactors are not restarted even if it does mean the loss of employe¥meant.

The governor of Fukui, Shiga, Kyoto and Osaka have stated that no reactors in Fukui should be restarted if the safety can't be ensured.

That would definitely be ZERO. I can even state that even if Fukushima didn't happen, it would be ZERO.

I seriously doubt that very much, since Japan complains to both China and Korea on many occasions.

Japan has an international duty to operate it's atomic plants according to the international safety standards. if countries are allowed to operate atomic power plants at less than that, it won't be long before another nuclear disaster happens.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's bad that a nuclear disaster was able to happen in the first place, mainly because of a head-in-the-sand attitude by officials on the safety of the atomic power plants. But it will be even worse if at least lessons are not learnt and implemented from the disaster, not only in Japan, but at all atomic power plants across the world.

Agreed. But let's put some perspective shall we? How many earthquakes has Japan experienced since their inception of nuclear power? How many nuclear accidents during that same period? How many people died as a result of it?

Their record is by no means perfect but the death toll is far more less than human death toll created by other energy sources.

Radiation from a disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima knows no borders and radiation reached parts of America and Europe. The Fukushima disaster also contaminated a very large part of the Pacific Ocean.

Again exaggerating. The question is how much of radiation did it reach in parts of America and Europe. How much radiation Pacific Ocean was contaminated. Face it zichi. The radiation didn't amout to anything more than a guy farting in a gymnasium or a drop of an ink in a olympic size swimming pool.

Yes there is concern in those communities that depend on the nuclear power plants for their employment or business but the safety of the majority should not be risked because of a minority. The area around the Oi reactors is not a ghost town as you claim and in fact do you even know what the location looks like, you can check it out on Google Earth. It's in an isolated located. There is a poster on JT who lives in Fukui and makes very regular comments about what is happening there. He has never mentioned Fukui becoming a ghost town. Fukui has a population of about 800,000 with about 25,000 employed directly or indirectly by the nuclear plants there.

You have a funny way of confusing local population (which I stated) to the entire prefecture(Fukui)

The recent town meeting in Oi. (Sankei Shinbun April 27th)

大飯原発の定期検査で設備の保全作業を行ってきた建築業、武永武志さん(54)は「この地域の大半は、原子力発電所の関連で働いており、止まったままなら仕事もないため、稼働させないといけない」と早期再稼働を望んだ

According to Mr. Takenaga who works as a construction worker for Oi Reactor maintenance. "The majority of the poeple who work here are indirectly or directly invovled in the nucelar power plant. And if it stops, there is no work. We must restart"

I seriously doubt that very much, since Japan complains to both China and Korea on many occasions

Methinks you don't know much about Japan's foreign relations especially in regards to China and Korea.

Japan has an international duty to operate it's atomic plants according to the international safety standards. if countries are allowed to operate atomic power plants at less than that, it won't be long before another nuclear disaster happens

What are the "international safety standards"? Please provide link.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

nigelboy

Radiation from a disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima knows no borders and radiation reached parts of America and Europe. The Fukushima disaster also contaminated a very large part of the Pacific Ocean.

Again exaggerating. The question is how much of radiation did it reach in parts of America and Europe. How much radiation Pacific Ocean was contaminated. Face it zichi. The radiation didn't amout to anything more than a guy farting in a gymnasium or a drop of an ink in a olympic size swimming pool.

The amount of radiation released into the ocean, according to reports by both French and Norwegian scientists makes it the worse marine nuclear disaster in history. Contamination has shown up in fish caught. A bit more than an ink spot in a pool.

The TEPCO NPP in Niigata was badly damaged by an earthquake in 2007 which caused radiation to leak and the plant was shut down for two years.

To deny the seriousness and extend of the nuclear disaster is to keep you head buried in the sand. That won't help anyone.

At Fukushima the No4 spent fuel pool almost collapsed from the earthquake and explosions. Had it happened, the nuclear disaster would have been worse than the one at Chernobyl. That pool contains more cesium than the total released at Chernobyl. The pool came close to boiling and releasing a vast amount of radiation. Had the pool collapsed it probably would have needed for the whole of Tokyo to be evacuated, which was something the Kan government gave serious consideration too.

If there was a nuclear disaster in Fukui, it would probably contaminate Lake Biwa, the main water source for Kansai. It would also contaminate Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, where I live.

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"It is important for power companies to break away from the myth of [nuclear power plant's] infallible safety and to set a higher safety bar." Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120409003640.htm

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"It is important for power companies to break away from the myth of [nuclear power plant's] infallible safety and to set a higher safety bar." Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano.

What is your point Zichi? One minute you were arguing that addressing the power shortage this summer was possible because Edano said so in January and in the next minute, you're criticizing him for being a "flip flopper"(your words).

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Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada has demanded the central government gives a better explanation of the safety of the Oi reactors. He has also stated that the prefecture can't accept the current explanations and casts doubts over the safety of the reactors. The question of safety isn't just for those who live near the reactors but also those who would be affected by a nuclear event.

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nigelboy, What is your area of expertise with nuclear power plants?

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Too figure out how much electricity is needed. All the government has to do is to ask the utility companies how much electricity was needed to be produced to cover the demand. Then compare those numbers to the amount of electricity can be produced with out all the nuclear power plants online. Find the difference between the two and that is the amount of electricity that will be needed.

I believe that regardless of how much electrical conservation is done in Japan, it will not offset the amount of electricity needed by anymore than 15%, most likely with lots of effort, most likely 8 to 12% at most.

It will be unbearably hot this year. That is my prediction. Wait til the temperature stays above 40 C with high humidity this summer, with high temperatures all over Japan and with no nuclear power plants to generate enough electricity to run all the AC units in Japan, the factories, the stores, the hospitals, refrigeration warehouses for food, etc. You will experience reality. Grocery stores will lose billions of dollars in rotting produce and frozen foods. The seafood markets will be drastically affected since they won't be able to keep their fish cold enough to keep them from rotting. Manufacturing will take another blow either in paying for higher energy costs, or shutdown completely. Same goes with the local bar, the pachinko palaces, everything will shutdown early, causing a mass reduction in GDP. People will get poorer, not richer. By my estimates 20%

If anyone has taken macro economics, and these theories have yet to be disproven.. cheap and widely available energy equals economic growth and cheap and widely available labor equals economic growth.

There will be massive blackouts. A LOT of people will be dying - the elderly, the sick, and young children. That's what it means when you don't have an alternative power source ALREADY running BEFORE you turn off the power plants. This year will be the year of stupidity. And who will be to blame? The media and the reactionary public who acted out of fear rather than science.

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Predictions of summer power shortages may be inaccurate.

In the case of KEPCO which has stated it "might have" a summer power shortage of 16% if it is not allowed to restart two of its Oi nuclear reactors.

The total generated power capacity of KEPCO is 36GW over 164 plants. KEPCO has access to some other power sources not included in the total. KEPCO's maximum power from nuclear energy is 5GW.

Without nuclear energy KEPCO has a maximum power generation of 31GW.

Last summer the maximum peak demand by KEPCO was 28GW. That was only during peak power demand on the hottest of summer days. Even then that still leaves 3GW.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201204070047

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Japan could introduce a new tradition and like in France and Italy, declare the whole of August has vacation month. Works in those countries. Have you ever been in Paris in August, the city is empty with many business closed.

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Zichi. Please. You rely too much on English sources. It's outdated.

Only after the government's Energy and Environment Council releases this summer's national power supply and demand projections in late April or later, will the energy situation for the whole of Japan become clear.

Those figures rely on a compilation of supply capacity and demand data provided by power utilities to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

The data is already provided Zichi.

http://www.asahi.com/business/update/0423/TKY201204230345.html

The maximum power output, as per report indicates, is only 25.35GW. If they experience the same summer of 2010, the shortage is 4.95GW. If they experience a normal summer, the shortage is 4GW. And this is taking setsuden into consideration.

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Japan could introduce a new tradition and like in France and Italy, declare the whole of August has vacation month.

Yes, France's current economic crisis certainly is an example to the world. I can't imagine why Japan has not emulated it sooner.

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Ben Jack

Yes, France's current economic crisis certainly is an example to the world. I can't imagine why Japan has not emulated it sooner.

For so many decades, even before the EU was formed, August has always been vacation month and from a business point of view its more useful if everyone is down at the beach together and certainly the vacation month isn't the reason behind any current financial problems.

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nigelboy, the Asahi is a japanese owned publication.

From KEPCO's site the maximum generation capacity without nuclear energy is 31GW and it has access to some other power sources.

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August has always been vacation month and from a business point of view its more useful if everyone is down at the beach together and certainly the vacation month isn't the reason behind any current financial problems.

I beg to differ. If everyone is down at the beach and no one is working downtown, there is no way that is good for the economy. Sounds like a lot of fun until there aren't any more jobs.

Anyway, a month off for all workers would never work in Japan. Last year, people were suggesting letting people go home for a couple of hours during the middle day to save electricity, until they finally realized that all those people would go home, turn on their air conditioners, TVs and other stuff and probably end up wasting even more electricity.

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Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the ruling Democratic Party of Japan should create a road map on abandoning nuclear energy and use the plan as a plank in the next Lower House election. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201204240093

KEPCO has stated that there could be a power shortage this coming summer if it's not allowed to restart it's No3&4 reactors at it's Oi NPP. But the maximum output from those reactors is only 2.36GW. How would that make up the 16% claimed by KEPCO?

The power shortage figures have not been vetted by a third party.

The hastiness with which the government is trying to restart the Oi reactors shows that it is not taking the Fukushima nuclear disaster seriously. It is highly regrettable that PM. Noda lacks the will and determination to wean Japan off nuclear power.

By May 5, all reactors in the country will be off line. The government is racing to restart the Oi reactors so it can claim at least two are operating.

NISA spent just five hours checking KEPCO's 89-page roadmap for taking safety measures.

It take take three years for KEPCO to install a seismically isolated emergency command center and filters to remove radioactive substances in the case such substances are vented from reactor cores into the atmosphere during a nuclear emergency.

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Ben Jack

Most Germans also take a month long vacation in August.

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nigelboy, the Asahi is a japanese owned publication.

Zichi, please.

Why do you think I linked the Japanese version of Asahi? Do you remember when I told you recently to not rely on English sources too much?

From KEPCO's site the maximum generation capacity without nuclear energy is 31GW and it has access to some other power sources.

Maximum generation capacity is different from output capacity for the latter fluctuates. The explanation is given from KEPCO's site.

An example of the daily fluctuation is summarized below. http://www.kepco.co.jp/setsuden/graph/pop/reference_hendou.html

Daily output and usage from Jan~March

http://www.kepco.co.jp/setsuden/graph/result_2011_winter.pdf

An example of power usage and output capacity per types of electricity which indicates nuclear power output being constant while the other fluctuates. http://www.kepco.co.jp/setsuden/graph/pop/reference_juyou.html

An example thermal power turbines and how the output fluctuates. http://www.kepco.co.jp/setsuden/graph/pop/reference_suiryoku.html

An example hydro and how the output fluctuates. http://www.kepco.co.jp/setsuden/graph/pop/reference_karyoku.html

KEPCO has stated that there could be a power shortage this coming summer if it's not allowed to restart it's No3&4 reactors at it's Oi NPP. But the maximum output from those reactors is only 2.36GW. How would that make up the 16% claimed by KEPCO?

They didn't claim that Oi would "make up" the shortfall. They're hoping that restart of Oi reactors and urging the consumers to save (setsuden) will not result in a blackout.

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