Quake expert urges Japan to overhaul nuclear power policy


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Ishibashi is right. And I do think that Japan must enact a policy that will lead to the elimination of nuclear power. But a realistic look at the economy and at the technologies available for power generation today, suggest that we are still looking at a 20-30 year time span from now until nuclear power is reduced significantly or eliminated.

In the mean time the government should do two key things. 1. Enact a policy to immediately improve safety redundancies at all nuclear power plants in Japan.

And. 2. Enact a future forward policy to encourage both large and small companies to shift focus to new energy technologies. This includes making it far easier for foreign companies and entrepreneurs to obtain loans and financing to kick off energy related companies in Japan. I believe that Japan can and should become a lead think tank and producer of new energy solutions. It makes sense when looking at the long term opportunities that the world will require. And it makes sense in terms of shifting from an export/information based society to one capable of exporting solutions that will service the world while enriching Japan.

Finally, to the protesters who are asking for an immediate shut down. I sympathize with your objectives, but if you got your way, you would destroy the Japanese economy, put countless people out of work and cause widespread poverty in Japan. You need to have a far more realistic vision of the entire picture. Nuclear power and the risks are on piece of a very big picture that must be changed if we are to achieve our common goals of making Japan safe from nuclear accidents. I encourage you to take more reasonable and realistic view and join us in making change that is achievable and that does not cause more harm.

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A lot of people are not aware of this,because it is being kept very hush hush, but right now some extremely difficult and dangerous work is being undertaken at the Monju reactor in Fukui. If anything goes wrong here it will make Fukushima look like Disneyland.Why? The monju reactor is a plutonium reactor that cannot be cooled by can only be cooled by Natrium.Water would cause an explosion. Unfortunately, when they were trying to replace the natrium coolant they dropped it ONTO the reactor.10 TONNES of it. Problem is, this natrium catches fire when exposed to air. So the workers have to somehow find a crane that can lift this natrium,yet provide a vaccuum-like environment at the same time. Not surprising that this isn't being talked about much. Only by Hiroaki Koide, the assistant professor of Kyoto university's research reactor institute.He is one of the few people who seems to be being realistic about this mess.Good interview here.

Japan has apparently approved the location of 10 new reactors, but there are huge problems at Hamaoka and Monju.Hamaoka is on a big faultline.Let us pray that a big quake doesn't hit Fukui in the near future because what is going on there is just as delicate and potentially more deadly than Fukushima.

oh and Monju already leaked sodium and caught fire in 1995.It has history.

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" a former member of the government’s nuclear safety committee."I respect the mans views and his status as an academic,but where was he when the 55 Nuclear plants were built and did they take into account his views at that time,presuming his views today are the same as when he was on the safety committee.

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I wanna give this seismologist my No duh! Way too obvious award of the century!

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Apparently the Monju operation went without problems.Monju will be online again in Autumn. I am glad for this bit of good news,but the Monju fast breeder has barely worked since they built it.

But antinuclear activists warned Thursday that serious safety questions remain over the condition of the equipment and whether the plant is ready to withstand an earthquake, saying there is no precedent anywhere in the world for restarting a fast-breeder reactor that has been idle for so long.

"Monju has been shut down since December 1995. Over the ensuing 14 years, equipment and piping have aged. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency says there are no problems with Monju's equipment, but visual inspections were carried out on only a small fraction of the inside of Monju's extensive piping," said Hideyuki Ban, codirector of the Tokyo-based NGO Citizens' Nuclear Information Center.

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Any company, or any individual for that matter, who doesn't review their policies on handling an issue that failed, is very very foolish. For example, if a company has a failed JV doesn't consider deeply how to improve itself and make changes for the next time around, they will repeat the same mistakes. Marriage is exactly the same; if two people fail at their marriage, and don't make an effort to improve, they will fail again the next time around. This is what we call "kaizen" in Japan. After all, you don't learn from your successes; you learn from your mistakes.

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This overhaul needs to be done quickly PRONTO!!! According to US scientists, Japan will have another big earthquakes within 10 years.

It has been beyond my comprehension that Japan like Tofu Islands that are so prone to many earthquakes still believe in Nuclear Energy.

Japan needs to shift a long term energy strategy options to solar, wind and hydraulic unless some nuclear scientists come up with an innovative solution to the current mess..

The world is watching what Japan can do for the future energy options.

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Quake expert urges Japan to overhaul nuclear power policy

You don'y have to be an expert to know this. Ir is blatantly obvious!

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Like I have said many times. This is an island country. The moon causes tides. The technology is there to harness this natural energy to produce electric. Why isn't it being done?

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@osakadaz - Monju has not been fixed yet. That is an article from 2010. They've tried twice pull out the bent rod replacement tool, and now PLAN to do it by removing the sleeve, then replacing it. This work has to be done in an argon gas atmosphere, due to the nature of the liquid sodium coolant, igniting on contact with air or water. However, it is not a hush-hush operation at all - there are lots of reports and explanations of the problem, and even a powerpoint presentation showing the stages of the operation.

Monju - 1 hours worth of electricity generated in nearly 20 years of non-operation.

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Why Indeed, Japan has a great many natural resources for energy production:

Tidal Wave Energy(as you said) Ocean Wave Energy *Geo-thermal Energy (Look at Iceland, with similar geological properties)

*Biomass (Fast growing trees and brush that can be used as fuel in existing Coal plants, same amount of carbon is released as is absorbed during the lifetime of the plant, making it a zero-result in emission)

*Wind Energy (Existing and new designs, and by new I mean think out of the box)

Solar (photo electric) Solar (thermal power)

One of the most common arguments against some of these resources, is that they are not consistent in the amount of energy produced. I think this can be countered in a number of ways.

Innovative energy storage

In the case of solar, it tends to produce the most power when the Japans need for energy is the greatest (Hot summer days)

And maybe most importantly improve the Energy Grid, so that energy can be produced in different regions with the method with the highest efficiency in that region. And allow electricity to be transported to areas where the production is currently lower. I.e. Sun might be shining somewhere, wind is blowing in another area, waves might be plentiful in another.

Japan has to go back to it's innovative past and do new things. If they would spend only a fraction of what has been spent on Nuclear on these technologies of the future, I am sure that "green" energy could become a major contributor of energy for this country.

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Japan doesn't listen to its experts-that is why we are in this mess!

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Which experts should we (japan and general) listen to?

Similar reports are also coming out of other countries and they are simply rehashing stuff that has been known for decades.

Look at the report. An outdated reactor 40km from NY(which is know to lie on top of 2 fault-lines, the big one goes through manhattan).

Those experts give me real confidence that they can fix the issues in japan.

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Look at the report. An outdated reactor 40km from NY(which is know to lie on top of 2 fault-lines, the big one goes through manhattan

Zenny11 -- as is often the case, your only defense of the J-nuke industry is to try and throw in a meaningless red herring. So what if NY may have a plant that is at similar risk? Japan has dozens. Can we focus on that, and the fact that it appears we have a bunch of amateurs at the helm of many of the companies who own and manage them? And that Japan is at least two decades behind in putting proper safety and over-sight in place.

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This overhaul needs to be done quickly PRONTO!!! According to US scientists, Japan will have another big earthquakes within 10 years.

Probably the same scientists that have been predicting the big "imminent" San Andreas quake for the past 20 years or so.

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You don't get it, I am not defending Tepco. But the WHOLE nuclear power industry is the same worldwide. Which you don't want to see or acknowledge.

To me you are just a J-basher and nothing more, refusing to see the rest of the world for what it truly is. In short no better/worse but just the same.

Hint, reread the article it don't just talk about ONE plant but the whole Industry.

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Wanderlust- yes it has been fixed. Sorry the Japanese news link was on Mixi so I couldn't paste the link. Still, fixed safe and operational are hard to put in the same sentence as Monju. :)

At any rate the sodium feeder or whatever had dropped Was replaced without event.

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They were told they needed to take more precautions LONG before this disaster occurred and TEPCO chose simply to ignore it (or worse yet, falsify data after yet another blunder). They'll nod and say they agree for the next little while and may even make like they're doing something, but it'll probably be ignored again.

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There is a fantastic book that is available for free on the internet in PDF format that anyone can download. The author takes a detailed look at all of the potential "alternate energy" sources, and converts everything into comparable numbers that are easy to understand. The book is called "Sustainable Energy - without the hot air" by David JC MacKay. The latest edition is Version 3.5.2 November 3, 2008. It is exceptionally written and really gives all of us laypeople an excellent eye-opening understanding of the amount of space we would need to replace current energy systems with alternate sources. A very famous person in the world (a name that everyone knows) recommended this book, so I took a chance. It is big, and has a lot of calculations in it, but it opened my eyes in ways that regular sources on the net never could. I highly recommend it. - Cam

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We know nuclear power has to go. But we also know, with equal certainty, the the alternatives do not add up to the anticipated energy production needs of Japan, and that they are expensive to implement.

That said, Squidbert is dead on. We have to leverage every alternative that is out there and use it to full potential. But that will only result in stable energy IF we also move forward on technologies for energy transmission and storage. Both must be better to offset the current waste of power lost to poor transmission or inadequate capacities to store power.

The grid must become universal for Japan wide coverage. Local home use generation from solar grids must be done as well to help reduce demand on the overall grid, and to supply additional energy during peak production days.

All of this will take time and considerable investment. Taxes are not a viable option as the burden will already be significant on working Japanese. So the key here is to encourage the private sector to take on these challenges and to solve these problems. Something that I believe incentives and the removal of barriers will help make possible.

Japan should be marketing itself as a global test case for energy re-invention. Something that could be big for participating companies and could create a Silicon Valley like concentration of cutting edge energy companies. All of this later available for export as expertise, as products produced by companies here and perhaps even the ability to sell teams from Japan to take on this problem elsewhere.

We need to be visionary with the opportunity for energy re-invention that this disaster has provided.

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@Zenny11 -try reading the current news more and the history of the nuclear industry........

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If I haven't been reading the news over the last few decades I wouldn't have post what I did. Again the news I posted is nothing new and common knowledge as was report on JT, CNN for decades.

I do recall Chernobyl as it hit the place where I lived as do million others across many countries. Where you in those affected areas?

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@osakadaz - thanks for the update - also read that now they'll have to check what actually caused the malfunction, whether any bits were broken off and left in the liquid sodium, a rather opaque and dangerous liquid, and then maybe retrieve any pieces that have fallen off.

Except for the politicians, researchers and employees vested interest, it sounds like a project that should just be discontinued.

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