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Summer power-saving period ends in three regions

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The government on Friday ended a two-month campaign in the Kansai, Shikoku and Chubu regions to conserve electricity.

The campaign was implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on July 2 to avert a power shortfall. A 10% reduction target was set for areas covered by KEPCO and Kyushu Electric Power Co, while the goal was a 5% reduction in the area serviced by Shikoku Electric Power Co, Sankei Shimbun reported.

In Kansai, the restart of two nuclear reactors at the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture helped avert a shortfall there, Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) officials said, according to Sankei.

The ministry said the nation got through the summer months without any blackouts.

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What happened to all those predictions back in June by the pro nuclear gang who informed us it would be a summer of rolling black outs and industry packing up and heading off to China?

Guess they can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time.

Both the governor and mayor of Osaka have called on the central gov't to shut down the Oi reactors since it was only suppose to help with the summer peak demand. Won't happen.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Good job to the people of Japan. We all proved that 54 nuke plants are not necessary. TEPCO and the Gov. of Japan, iIt's time to permently shout down the plants on dangerous fault lines.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The ministry said the nation got through the summer months without any blackouts.

Therefor, the only reason to restart the nuclear power plants is financial, right? Yet, there was the J-Gov telling us lies about how there would be an electricity shortfall during the summer months. It was just economically motivated bovine excrement! LIARS!!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Guess they can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time.

No. They will just do what they want to do and we all saw it coming a mile off. But if you're Japanese you just say 'shoganai' and if you're not, and you can't...you know what to do.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Even thought the politicians in the Diet managed to keep their ties and jackets on, I did my best by getting out of the country and didn't use the air con for two weeks -I guess that must have been enough to tip the balance.......

0 ( +1 / -1 )

On Thursday, the gov't announced zero nuclear energy by 2030.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

On Thursday, the gov't announced zero nuclear energy by 2030.

Translation: 'All existing nuclear plants operational plus another 10 under construction and 3/11...what's that when it's at home?.'

Enjoy that comment before the mods delete it. They only like positive comments even though the articles provoke otherwise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not 1, not even 1 blackout! So why the need for 50 odd reactors ... Mmmm corruption and greed. Next they will build roads sewage and bridges in a no go zone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good job to the people of Japan. We all proved that 54 nuke plants are not necessary. TEPCO and the Gov. of Japan, iIt's time to permently shout down the plants on dangerous fault lines.

While I am personally in favor of eventually shutting them all down when replacement energy sources are online, and I agree that the reactors may not have been necessary this year, my questions are this:

How much more damage was done to the environment due to the huge increase in greenhouse gasses due to the increase in use of fossil fuels to produce electricity?

How much was the economy adversely affected by the increase in petroleum costs.

How much were the economies of the cities, towns, and villages affected by the shutdown of the reactors in their communities?

This summer has not been as hot as previous one's, thus less energy was needed, plus added awareness and public service ads pushing for more conservation have helped tremendously I am sure, but and a huge but at that, is the general public willing to keep putting up with the cuts and increased costs?

Only time will tell.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I love how people say "oh no blackouts" and then ignore the fact that KEPCO had 4GW attributable to nuclear and almost a week 1GW above maximum non-nuclear capability. They also clearly never leave their houses in the mountains, since anyone who's been to Tokyo or other major cities has seen the impact on commutes. Even near the night the trains have no lights, leaving women at greater risk to perverts. Many trains are not even running, and a good deal of others get so hot you could get heatstroke even underground. The air quality all-round is also lower, especially in underground areas where the ventilation systems were shut down in areas not designed for passive ventilation.

Lets also not forget that many dams that are normally very full even this time are the year are dangerously low on water, including some with only 4% reserves. Many of the fossil fuel plants are overdue for repairs, and other companies are lowering their electrical export to KEPCO.

Japan scraped by without most nuclear plants operational, but it did NOT "do just fine" without them. The damage to people's health, financial stability, and future ability to produce electricity have all been far too great to say it was successful in any way.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Zichi,

"What happened to all those predictions back in June by the pro nuclear gang who informed us it would be a summer of rolling black outs and industry packing up and heading off to China?"

Nice try, champ, but your disingenuous attempt to say, "I told you so" kind of falls flat when placed in the proper context of an energy industry that was forced to mitigated powere shortages by vastly ratcheting up fossil fuel-based power production to offset shortfalls.

You continue time and time again to make it sound like the power produced and used by Japan's nuclear power plants is all extraneous fluff that Japan could take or leave. And you continue time and time again to pretend -- based on nothing empirical -- that alternative renwable energy sources are just a button-push away from solving all of Japan's energy requirements.

But the truth is Japan needs all of the power it produces to continue functioning as the the third largest economy in the world. It needed that energy before the quake, and it'll still need it long after the anti-nuclear gang stages its last hysterical rally.

If the power doesn't come from nuclear, it has to come from somewhere. And now, not 30~60 years from now when pie-in-the-sky alternative fuel sources presumably begin to produce the same sort of energy output that nuclear can and does produce consistently and reliably.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Does the gov't and the country want to run reactors, which in the light of nuclear disaster would now be considered unsafe or not as safe as they should be? Some reactors, like the one in Tokai failed the reactor stress test which didn't cover all the safety features of the atomic plants.

It was surprising to learn that some atomic plants like the Oi plant didn't have emergency backup generators when I would have thought that would have been the norm. The Oi plant does not have an earthquake and radiation proof offsite emergency control center. KEPCO has increased safety levels by installing temp generators but the offsite emergency control center, according to KEPCO will take about 5 years.

How many of the atomic plants are lacking in these safety features and also water tight doors on reactor buildings, water tight electrical and control systems. Better disaster training for plant operators. Clear levels of commands.

Some atomic plants are being investigated by NISA for possible fault lines like at Oi and Tsuruga. One of the most dangerous atomic plants seems to the one at Hamaoka and even though the height of the sea wall is being increased, it may not be high enough to withstand the predicted Nankai Trough earthquake and tsunami. The No5 reactor at Hamaoka has become seriously contaminated with sea water.

Some atomic plants are older than 40 years, and last year the gov't induced a bill to increase the life of those plants to 60 years.      

At the Fukushima atomic plant there were many design defects like the containment vessels surrounding the nuclear fuel reactor. They were suppose to be able to stop radiation leaking in a meltdown and suppose to be able to contain melted fuel. They have failed to do both. There was no hydrogen detection equipment inside the reactor buildings.

Now, the 1-3 containment vessels are leaking 400 tons of highly irradiated water every single day. TEPCO installed storage tanks to hold 200,000 tons which are almost full and is now installing tanks to hold a further 170,000 tons but those will be full by late next year. After that, there will be no more land space at the plant.

How many other reactors are like the ones in Fukushima?

Then there are the local political problems, like the governors of Niigata and Fukushima stating they won't give their permission for starting any reactors in their prefectures.

Following the nuclear disaster, how many prefectures would be willing to have new atomic plants built, even if they were safer reactors with all the latest safety features. Only last week, the newly elected governor of the very conservative Yamaguchi prefecture refused to issue a license for a new atomic plant.

Prior to the nuclear disaster, 35 reactors were generating about 30% of total power. About 55% to 64% was being generated by fossil fuels.

Prior to 3/11, TEPCO had shut down 3 hydrodams in Niigata but after 3/11 was forced to open them again. Why were they shut down?

Even if the country continued with nuclear energy, I doubt at this time, 30% of power generation could be achieved. Probably, less than 20%, leaving the bulk of power generated by fossil fuels and renewable energy. About 10% of power is generated by non power companies.

There are, like in all countries, serious issues with using fossil fuels and the issues need to be resolved. They can't be fully resolved by using nuclear energy and I strongly believe that a country like Japan should not be using atomic power plants. No atomic plant should be located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, or in any location which has powerful earthquakes.

The use of fossil fuels in the near future will still be needed, with or without nuclear energy. Fossil fuel plants need to be using the latest technology to ensure the minimum amount of greenhouse gases and pollution is being released.

The amount of fossil fuel burnt can be reduced by a greater use of renewable energies, solar, wind, geothermal and biogas. Japan could produce one million tons of biogas every year.

I read an article this week, if spinach is used in the manufacture of solar panels, the power output is increased by 2.5x.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

LFRAgainSep. 08, 2012 - 12:51PM JST

If the power doesn't come from nuclear, it has to come from somewhere.

Many forget this exact point.

For example, everyone's favorite pink unicorn is solar panels, which require three year's worth of electricity to manufacture, as well as dumping 230kg of CO2 per 150W panel, meaning 15 million tons of CO2 per percent electrical energy production. That's the same as running four large coal burning plants, or installing several dozen nuclear plants. Solar lets off 70g/kWh in best case scenario for Japan, nuclear is just 2-59g/kWh (closer to 10g since many on the high end are the variable power reactors in France). Even CCS for fossil fuels is less than solar, at about 50g/kWh released.

Another nonsense thing I heard was that some professor in the USA touted that there's an extra 28GW worth of hydro power that can be built. Interestingly, Japan AND THE REST OF THE WORLD are going against huge dam projects that are needed for those 28GW due to soil erosion issues and salt balance killing fish downstream, as well as being potential quarter million live risks (Banqaio collapse that killed 250 thousand and made 11 million homeless). While the only risk for nuclear is a few hundred cases of cancer on top of the hundreds of thousands already there each year, the risks for dam collapses are hundreds or thousands of lives lost overnight and tens or hundreds of thousands more affected by it directly and indirectly.

So what do people plan on replacing nuclear with? The yellow power of fear? Hopefully not, since we all know that just makes things go horribly bad.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

In 2009, according to the IEA, renewable energy accounted for 19.5% of global electricity generation, while according to the NRI, in 2010 total global electricity from nuclear energy was 13.5%.

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The future of nuclear energy in Japan won't be decided by foreigners on this forum, hopefully in the next general election, the public will have some chance to vote on the issue.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Lights on, no blackout. N-industry superfluous. Cash in envolopes can't negate this anymore.

Perhaps the tax payers should fund the building of MORE N - power stations, what could possible go wrong?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The problem I have with most of the pro nuclear energy people is that they don't offer a total solution to the problems of power generation. At best, they only offer a part solution.

They state, use nuclear energy, fossil fuels are expensive and deadly, renewables are deadly, expensive and useless?

Prior to 3/11 nuclear energy was generating 30% of total power. Today I think the power companies would struggle to generate 20%. That would still leave 70% to 80% being generated by other fuels.

Even France has only achieved a level of 70%.

34 reactors were generating 30% of power. To generate 100% would take more than 150 reactors. Not sure Japan is even big enough to have that many reactors.

Some of the pro nuclear people are willing to run the atomic plants even if they are not the safest because the nuclear disaster didn't kill anyone with radiation, and anyway, what does it matter if the next nuclear disaster kills even a couple of thousand, because according to them, that would be less than people who die because of fossil fuels.

Japan needs a total solution to the power problem not just the part solution offered by the pro nuclear people.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Given that the new ones under construction are not being built on faults, etc., and that some of the newer plants (say, less than 15-20 yrs old) are better-situated than Fukushima, I think they should be restarted.

Also, for all the trouble at Fukushima, the Onagawa plant survived the quake pretty much unscathed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And while I offer my comment about letting the newer ones restart or continue to be built, anything older should be left "off" and decommissioned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichiSep. 08, 2012 - 02:56PM JST The future of nuclear energy in Japan won't be decided by foreigners on this forum, hopefully in the next general election, the public will have some chance to vote on the issue.

I usually do not say much on nuclear power topics, but I follow closely. I must say, that I fully support your stance on nuclear power, and clearly, the position of many Japanese politicians with the same point of view. I consider this topic to be very sensitive and indeed solely for the Japanese public to decide.

Not everything is purely a question of profit, and the key point here is, if the developed and rich countries WILL find a way to partially or completely substitute the use of nuclear energy, then there is a chance that the rest of the world will follow. If they will not, there is no chance, and we will see other Irans in the future. By putting effort into development alternative sources, Japan (as well as Germany, Italy and many other countries), make a huge favor for future generations. If the idea is to make a better world, that is.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"It's really a gas and wind world today... When I talk to the guys who run the oil companies they say look, they're finding more gas all the time. It's just hard to justify nuclear, really hard. Gas is so cheap and at some point, really, economics rule," he said. Jeff Immelt, CEO General Electric.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world's leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations, said that if the full range of renewable technologies were deployed, the world could keep greenhouse gas concentrations to less than 450 parts per million, the level scientists have predicted will be the limit of safety beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/09/ipcc-renewable-energy-power-world

0 ( +7 / -7 )

zichiSep. 08, 2012 - 08:00AM JST

What happened to all those predictions back in June by the pro nuclear gang who informed us it would be a summer of rolling black outs and industry packing up and heading off to China?

Please, people were talking about risks, not certainties. I don't think anyone was talking about industry heading off to China, it's actually heading off to Thailand.

Guess they can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time.

Slapping down your own strawman? Very easy to do.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

zichiSep. 08, 2012 - 01:39PM JST

There are, like in all countries, serious issues with using fossil fuels and the issues need to be resolved. They can't be fully resolved by using nuclear energy and I strongly believe that a country like Japan should not be using atomic power plants. No atomic plant should be located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, or in any location which has powerful earthquakes.

Plants should be built to resist unexpected earthquakes, as is possible as we saw with the Onnagawa and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plants.

The use of fossil fuels in the near future will still be needed, with or without nuclear energy. Fossil fuel plants need to be using the latest technology to ensure the minimum amount of greenhouse gases and pollution is being released.

True.

The amount of fossil fuel burnt can be reduced by a greater use of renewable energies, solar, wind, geothermal and biogas. Japan could produce one million tons of biogas every year.

But is the biogas production sustainable?

I read an article this week, if spinach is used in the manufacture of solar panels, the power output is increased by 2.5x.

Sorry, this article on Sciencedaily states that the power output of the Biohybrid Solar Cell is 2.5x that of the next most powerful Bio-Cell, but that the output is still minimal - they think a 2-foot square pane could output 100milliamps at one volt. There is also degradation problems. More details at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904121108.htm

3 ( +7 / -4 )

zichiSep. 08, 2012 - 03:29PM JST

The problem I have with most of the pro nuclear energy people is that they don't offer a total solution to the problems of power generation. At best, they only offer a part solution.

And it seems that most of the anti-nuclear crowd offer no solutions at all. Particularly telling is a general lack of knowledge of the intermittency of many renewables, and the expensive storage solutions that are needed for these.

They state, use nuclear energy, fossil fuels are expensive and deadly, renewables are deadly, expensive and useless?

That's not me then - nuclear has it's place, as do renewables.

Prior to 3/11 nuclear energy was generating 30% of total power. Today I think the power companies would struggle to generate 20%. That would still leave 70% to 80% being generated by other fuels.

Build more then.

Even France has only achieved a level of 70%.

Only 70%? You have high standards.

34 reactors were generating 30% of power. To generate 100% would take more than 150 reactors. Not sure Japan is even big enough to have that many reactors.

Modern reactors generate more per reactor, and who insists on 100% power anyway?

Some of the pro nuclear people are willing to run the atomic plants even if they are not the safest because the nuclear disaster didn't kill anyone with radiation, and anyway, what does it matter if the next nuclear disaster kills even a couple of thousand, because according to them, that would be less than people who die because of fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are seriously messing up the planet. We are seeing a dramatic melt in the Arctic ice this summer. This will have an impact on global climate - and probably serious consequences for Japan.

Japan needs a total solution to the power problem not just the part solution offered by the pro nuclear people.

Or the wishful thinking of the anti-nuclear crowd.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

zichiSep. 08, 2012 - 04:48PM JST

"It's really a gas and wind world today... When I talk to the guys who run the oil companies they say look, they're finding more gas all the time. It's just hard to justify nuclear, really hard. Gas is so cheap and at some point, really, economics rule," he said. Jeff Immelt, CEO General Electric.

Yup, GE-Hitachi Nuclear is feeling the pain of their biggest market clamming up.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world's leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations, said that if the full range of renewable technologies were deployed, the world could keep greenhouse gas concentrations to less than 450 parts per million, the level scientists have predicted will be the limit of safety beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

No. From the IPCC http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/press/content/potential-of-renewable-energy-outlined-report-by-the-intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change

"Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

The upper end of the scenarios assessed, representing a cut of around a third in greenhouse gas emissions from business-as-usual projections, could assist in keeping concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450 parts per million.

This could contribute towards a goal of holding the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius – an aim recognized in the United Nations Climate Convention's Cancun Agreements."

Also, the report is not a study per se, but a review of the renewables literature. The best case scenario comes from Greenpeace.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Star-vikingSep. 08, 2012 - 09:43PM JST

Sorry, this article on Sciencedaily states that the power output of the Biohybrid Solar Cell is 2.5x that of the next most powerful Bio-Cell, but that the output is still minimal - they think a 2-foot square pane could output 100milliamps at one volt. There is also degradation problems. More details at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904121108.htm

So 5W per sq m is pathetic. It would require 50 thousand sq km minimum (about 150 thousand normally, that's literally half of Japan) to replace nuclear, which is impossible considering it would require more framing material than Japan has the ability to produce in a half century. I think you could generate more power using hamsters running around, and far cheaper to manufacture. Certainly not able to power KEPCO's demand after power savings.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Star-Viking,

you have expressed many times concern about climate change and in your comments on this post you have suggested building more atomic plants which I have already stated in my comments that following the nuclear disaster its very unlikely there will be many prefectures now willing to have new plants.

Your answer is very elitist since the climate change is a global problem and not one just being produced by Japan.

Its elitist, because the majority of countries can't even afford to build atomic plants. 4 billion people don't have enough food to eat and go to sleep with half empty stomachs. Millions die because they can only cook their meals on open fires.

Millions of people don't even have clean drinking water.

The nuclear energy club is very elitist and only a small number of rich countries can join.

Even if Japan was 100% nuclear energy power generation it won't solve the global climate problem.

Even countries like China and India which are building atomic plants will also go on burning billions of tons of coal in plants which are very basic.

What is needed is an energy to generate power which can be made available to even the poorest of countries.

An energy which is cheap, safe and clean which nuclear energy no longer is.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

zichiSep. 08, 2012 - 10:59PM JST

Star-Viking,

you have expressed many times concern about climate change and in your comments on this post you have suggested building more atomic plants which I have already stated in my comments that following the nuclear disaster its very unlikely there will be many prefectures now willing to have new plants.

Sure there is political reality, and then there is physical reality. Political reality, at present, says no new NPPS. Physical reality says: stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and do it now.

Your answer is very elitist since the climate change is a global problem and not one just being produced by Japan.

Please Zichi, using straw-man arguments and now name-calling? I think you are also mis-using the word 'elitist'.

Climate Change is a global problem, of course - but that does not exempt people or nations from acting on it in their areas. If we follow the course of action you suggest then no-one anywhere would be obligated to act on climate change.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Star-Viking

nuclear energy can't solve the problem of climate change. Globally there are about 450 reactors generating about 13% of the world's total power, less than the amount being generated from renewables.

Nuclear energy is "elitist" because so few countries can afford to join the club. Nearly 50% of the world's power is being generated by coal, which is also producing the greatest levels of greenhouse gases and pollution.

Countries using large quantities of coal, Poland 93%, China 79%, India 69%, USA 46%, Australia 77%. Unless cheaper methods of power generation are available, those countries are going to go on using burning coal for many more decades.

If 100% of the world's power it would need more than 3,500 reactors costing more than $35 trillion.

Climate change is a global problem and the solutions must be global too. If Japan was 100% nuclear energy it would only reduce the global level of CO2 by 4%.

The world needs a global power grid system not only linking all the continents but also linking the Northern and Southern hemispheres, linking daytime/nigh-time zones.

Because of the nuclear disaster,the country is now being forced to review its energy policies and methods of generating its power demand. It can come up with answers and solutions which are not only safe and clean but also affordable. It could be a technology which it can export, and replace those coal burning plants with clean energy.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Whether you approve of some nuclear power or are for it being all shut down at once, I hope all will agree that the 20-25 most dangerous nuclear power plants should be shut down for good right away...this includes the Oi #1 and #2 plants, the Tsuruga #1 plant and all of the Mihama plants).

0 ( +4 / -4 )

zichi, China's coal burning plants are killing thousands and making millions sick. There is more than just the co2 and other airborne pollution. There is the mercury and radiation, yes radiation! At this time there is no other reliable source available. Also take note to Japans balance of trade. About China, shrugs they are just a larger Japan in waiting.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Zichi,

"The problem I have with most of the pro nuclear energy people is that they don't offer a total solution to the problems of power generation. At best, they only offer a part solution."

And immediately shutting down all of the nuclear reactors in Japan with no viable alternative other than to return to carbon dioxide-spewing fossil fuel-based resource isn't offering a partial solution? If you could just hear yourself...

Even if the country continued with nuclear energy, I doubt at this time, 30% of power generation could be achieved. Probably, less than 20% . . .

And? This is an utterly pointless observation, unless you are trying to suggest that nuclear is a feeble old horse in need of being put out to pasture. Which would be laughable.

Before the quake, Japan was on course to boost the 30% power produced by nuclear to 40% by 2017. Then to 50% by 2050. This struggle you speak of is non-existent, and had there been no quake, Japan would have easily reached those milestones. The Fukushima plants being knocked out of operation was a matter of circumstance, not of some inability to perform. Other plants throughout Japan provided power with little evidence of this "struggle" you speak of.

Thanks to the quake, for better or worse, Japan has been forced to readdress nuclear safety and is now in a position to implement improvements on current and future reactors that vastly improve their resistance to disasters like a 9.2 earthquake.

Even France has only achieved a level of 70%.

"Only 70%"? Are you seriously trying to forward an argument that a nation that has effectively increased its energy self-sufficiency to greater than 70% is somehow a failure on some level? Your limited grasp of the quantitative value of this 70% milestone is astounding. Thanks to France's nuclear power program, the country has seen a 70% drop in nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions and CO2 footprint that is one tenth that of neighboring Germany.

The use of fossil fuels in the near future will still be needed, with or without nuclear energy.

How magnanimous of you to make that decision for a world that is facing incalculable damage today from rising sea levels and extreme weather systems brought on by global warming -- global warming brought to us by our abundant use of toxin and carbon dioxide-spewing fossil fuels.

Fossil fuel plants need to be using the latest technology to ensure the minimum amount of greenhouse gases and pollution is being released.

And it never occurred to you think that nuclear power plants could also use "the latest technology" to ensure a minimum level of risk associated with potential natural disasters? No, of course not.

The amount of fossil fuel burnt can be reduced by a greater use of renewable energies, solar, wind, geothermal and biogas.

This has been the point of discussion for some 50 years of energy policy worldwide, and the capability still just isn't yet. How many times does this have to be said to see genuine comprehension behind this dull-eyed argument you keep rolling out?

Please read carefully: The tech and infrastructure necessary to see any kind of appreciable reduction in dependence on fossil fuels DOES NOT CURRENTLY EXIST.

Sure, there are plenty of studies that show how things could be . . . if we had a magical reset botton and millions of square kilometers upon which to build these wonderful new machines. But they don't address realities faced in the here and now.

The problem I have with most of the pro nuclear energy people is that they . . .

You clearly have no clue what the pro-nuclear people are about, otherwise you would abandon this largly academic argument you continue to champion, replete with unrelated statistics and underdeveloped musings.

The pro-nuclear folks, as you like to call them -- me -- would be better labeled the "Slow the Hell Down and Take a Breath" folks.

You cannot take a 30% share of a nation's total energy output, nuclear or otherwise, that took some 58 years to develop and shut it down overnight. There will be repercussions in the economy and none of them will be good, particularly when there is estimated to be only 50 years left in proven petroleum reserves worldwide, driving oil prices ever higher in an economy that is still reeling from the 2008 market disaster.

Yes, we still have plenty of coal, but we have been chasing the unicorn of clean-burning coal plants for decades. You might not think people maimed and dying from the respiratory illnesses and birth defects associated with the toxins produced by coal plants is of import, but I do.

Do you know know what it is about your position that is so frustrating? It's that you and people who mirror your views seem absolutely incapable of comprehending the fundamental truth that all of these pie-in-the-sky ideas you present - 100% dependence on renewable energy, global power grids, affordable energy for everyone, all noble and worthwhile goals to be sure -- take considerable time and no small amount of money.

The one can't be rushed and the other, if you've been reading the news anytime over the last decade, is in frighteningly short supply.

Another thig that makes the occasional capillary burst for me is unmitigated arrogance it takes to say with any degree of seriousness something like this in a debate that faces far deeper issues and challenges:

What is needed is an energy to generate power which can be made available to even the poorest of countries. An energy which is cheap, safe and clean . . .

To quote the vernacular, "No freakin' duh." Do you honestly believe you're the only one in the world to realize this? Do you honestly believe the people who develop energy policy haven't wished for the same thing? Do honestly think I don't want the same? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then the credibility of your position is highly suspect.

Here you would have human civilization step back 50 years in order to assuage some primitive fight-or-flight response you seem to feel anytime someone utters the world "nuclear."

Not only does rational civilization not want to pander to your irrational fears, it physically cannot. It does not have the economic, social, or political fortitude to make you feel better about being you.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

LFRAgain, 

guess you didn't read all my comments since last year's nuclear disaster, because I made numerous comments stating that the country would probably have to use nuclear energy until other methods of power generation were available but reactors should only be restarted if the safety standards can be shown to have been improved.

Prior to 3/11 there were 54 reactors with 34 operating and generating about 30% of power. Today, there are no longer 54 reactors available, with the loss of 10 reactors at both the Fukushima atomic plants. The Tokai reactor failed the stress test. The governor in Niigata has stated he won't give his permission to restart any of TEPCO's 7 reactors there. NISA are investigating a possible fault line under the 2 Tsuruga reactors also at the 4 Oi reactors. The 3 reactors at Hamaoka are not currently available, and the No5 reactor has become seriously contaminated with sea water and the reactor core will need replacing. If we minus all the reactors which are older than 40 years, I think that leaves less than the 34 reactors that were operating up to 3/11.

Prior to the nuclear disaster, the country and power companies had made very little investment in renewable energy and even TEPCO had shut down 3 of its hydro dams in Niigata which it was forced to restart following the total reactor shutdown. Other countries are making large investments in renewable energy and Japan has fallen behind on that point.

If the nuclear disaster had not happened the country would have continued on its road of using nuclear energy and burning fossil fuel.

One major problem for the future of nuclear energy in this country is its unlikely that many prefectures will now give their permission for new plants. Last week the newly elected governor of the conservative Yamaguchi prefecture refused to issue a license for a new atomic power plant.

I have stated that I don't know what will be the future of nuclear energy in this country and foreigners like me, won't have any say in the matter. Hopefully, come the next election, the voters will have a say, one way or another on nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy can't solve the climate crisis and since its fossil fuels which is mostly creating it there are few answers there. Renewable energy will be the only way to decrease the greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy is just too expensive for most countries and the current number of about 440 reactors would have to be increased by the thousands, as many as 11,000 costing more than $100 trillion or 2 years world of GNP. That just isn't going to happen, and besides there isn't enough uranium to support that number of reactors.

Even if Japan restarts its nuclear reactors it will do very little to decrease the global levels of greenhouse gases. Time is running out on the climate crisis, 35-50 years. Won't matter much after that.

The extensive investigation by the nuclear scientist, Dr Kenichi Ohmae revealed the atomic power plants to be unsafe. The lengthy investigation by the Diet Commission revealed serious safety failures. Nuclear Safety Commission Chairman Haruki Madarame told the Diet Commission in February 2012 that "Japan's atomic safety rules are inferior to global standards and left the country unprepared for the Fukushima nuclear disaster last March".  Recently, a panel of American nuclear scientists criticised the lack of safety standards at the plants. That panel meeting was attended by 2 officials from TEPCO.

Power companies,like KEPCO have stated it will take 5 years to update all the necessary safety features to ensure safe plants.

Nuclear energy will not be able to stop the climate crisis. 

Should the country restart reactors which haven't been updated and risk another nuclear disaster?

Please refine from personal insults.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

zichiSep. 09, 2012 - 01:22PM JST

Star-Viking

nuclear energy can't solve the problem of climate change. Globally there are about 450 reactors generating about 13% of the world's total power, less than the amount being generated from renewables.

Wrong. Renewables exceed Nuclear in installed capacity. However, renewables' availability is much lower than nuclear. Those boosting Renewables overtaking Nuclear don't even use sensible units like TeraWatt hrs - which shows their lack of understanding on the issue. ref: http://cleantechnica.com/2011/09/05/global-renewable-capacity-has-now-exceeded-nuclear/

Nuclear energy is "elitist" because so few countries can afford to join the club. Nearly 50% of the world's power is being generated by coal, which is also producing the greatest levels of greenhouse gases and pollution.

Really? I guess MRIs, Space Telescopes, good health and social services, education, etc. are "elitist" too by your metric.

Countries using large quantities of coal, Poland 93%, China 79%, India 69%, USA 46%, Australia 77%. Unless cheaper methods of power generation are available, those countries are going to go on using burning coal for many more decades.

Nuclear is relatively cheap, over the whole life-cycle. It has large costs at set-up. Governments can cover such costs, but free-market economics theory mitigates against that.

If 100% of the world's power it would need more than 3,500 reactors costing more than $35 trillion.

And with lower life-cycle costs. FYI, world GDP is estimated at $70 trillion per year - so assuming an aggressive programme to convert the world completely to nuclear energy (which I am not proposing), and a 20-year building programme (not realistic, but this is a thought experiment) - we get the NPPs taking 2.5 percent of the world GDP over that period, assuming GDP stays flat. GDP ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29

Climate change is a global problem and the solutions must be global too. If Japan was 100% nuclear energy it would only reduce the global level of CO2 by 4%.

4% is better than nothing, and you assume no other nations would follow in Japan's footsteps. Also, I assume you mean "global production of CO2" when you say "Global Level" - it makes more sense. We sit at around 398 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere now, reducing that by 4% would bring us to 382 - almost one sixth of the way to the pre-industrial level of around 300 ppm. That would be pretty amazing for one small nation.

The world needs a global power grid system not only linking all the continents but also linking the Northern and Southern hemispheres, linking daytime/nigh-time zones.

Superconductors would be needed for this - in massive amounts.

Because of the nuclear disaster,the country is now being forced to review its energy policies and methods of generating its power demand. It can come up with answers and solutions which are not only safe and clean but also affordable. It could be a technology which it can export, and replace those coal burning plants with clean energy.

If it was possible to do all that I could agree with you, but until we see hard data and critical discussion of problems instead of handwaving I will remain sceptical of the wonders that the renewable sector claim are achievable.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

zichiSep. 10, 2012 - 12:11PM JST

Nuclear energy can't solve the climate crisis and since its fossil fuels which is mostly creating it there are few answers there. Renewable energy will be the only way to decrease the greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy is just too expensive for most countries and the current number of about 440 reactors would have to be increased by the thousands, as many as 11,000 costing more than $100 trillion or 2 years world of GNP. That just isn't going to happen, and besides there isn't enough uranium to support that number of reactors.

Two points:

1) Look what happens when I swap two words in your first two sentences:

"Renewable energy can't solve the climate crisis and since its fossil fuels which is mostly creating it there are few answers there. Nuclear energy will be the only way to decrease the greenhouse gases."

Pretty silly eh? Most straw-man arguments are. No-one is arguing for 100% Nuclear to solve climate change - but it has a major role to play in concert with Renewables.

2) On Sept 9th you were quoting figure around 3500 reactors and $35 Trillion. How did that inflate to 11,000 and 100 Trillion?

Even if Japan restarts its nuclear reactors it will do very little to decrease the global levels of greenhouse gases. Time is running out on the climate crisis, 35-50 years. Won't matter much after that.

Well if decreasing the Global Annual Production of CO2 percentage emitted by Japan, which you estimate as 4%, by 1.33% is very little then why bother with the 0.8% reduction promised by renewables (20% of 4%)?

The extensive investigation by the nuclear scientist, Dr Kenichi Ohmae revealed the atomic power plants to be unsafe.

Was a nuclear engineer, not a nuclear scientist, became a business and corporate strategist a long time ago.

The lengthy investigation by the Diet Commission revealed serious safety failures. Nuclear Safety Commission Chairman Haruki Madarame told the Diet Commission in February 2012 that "Japan's atomic safety rules are inferior to global standards and left the country unprepared for the Fukushima nuclear disaster last March".

I would agree with that statement on atomic safety rules in general - but whether they would have left Fukushima prepared for an unexpected tsunami I am doubtful on.

Recently, a panel of American nuclear scientists criticised the lack of safety standards at the plants. That panel meeting was attended by 2 officials from TEPCO.

Which panel?

Power companies,like KEPCO have stated it will take 5 years to update all the necessary safety features to ensure safe plants.

Prioritise them and do the work then.

Nuclear energy will not be able to stop the climate crisis.

Nothing on its own will.

Should the country restart reactors which haven't been updated and risk another nuclear disaster?

What is the actual risk, when you consider the robustness of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa and Onnagawa?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Star-Viking I'm not going to respond to your questions because you ask too many at once? There are enough facts that nuclear energy can't solve the world's power generation problems nor can it solve the climate crisis so I'm staying with my position with that.

Dt Kenichi Ohmae has a phd from MIT and worked has a reactor designer so I think that makes him highly qualified and more than an engineer.

The earthquake damaged the covers on the fuel assemblies at the Onagawa plant.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

zichiSep. 10, 2012 - 11:52PM JST

Star-Viking I'm not going to respond to your questions because you ask too many at once?

Or perhaps you cannot respond, or are worried about being corrected?

Dt Kenichi Ohmae has a phd from MIT and worked has a reactor designer so I think that makes him highly qualified and more than an engineer.

According to his site it said he worked on Japan's Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor, so in a way yes. However, that was 40 years ago, so no. References: http://www.ohmae-report.com/pro/bioe.html http://www.economist.com/node/14031208

The earthquake damaged the covers on the fuel assemblies at the Onagawa plant.

Be exact zichi - what type of damage, and was it a threat to the safety of the plant and its surrounding?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Star-Viking

Or perhaps you cannot respond, or are worried about being corrected?

12 out of your last 20 comments were directed at me. That's far to many to expect a respondence everytime.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Star-Viking

did you read the extensive report by Dr Kenichi Ohmae? it was one of the best explanation and analysis made on the situation in my opinion, together with the clear sets of recommendations.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Zichi,

first, you write a lot of posts on a subject that interests me. I write a lot of responses. As for the questions, there are four, but really I'm interested in how your reactor count for 100% world nuclear power which jumped by a factor of 3 from an earlier post.

As for Kenichi Ohmae - is that the one he did at the behest of Hosono, partenred with some Tepco and Kepco people? If so, it looks interesting - though I may not agree with everything in it. His "cover all possibilities" seems a bit pat.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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