politics

DPJ's Sengoku compares closing nuclear plants to 'mass suicide'

78 Comments

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, who is also a senior member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), came under fire Tuesday for saying that if Japan leaves all its nuclear reactors offline, it would be tantamount to the nation committing mass suicide.

Sengoku, a close ally of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, made the remarks during a speech to supporters in Nagoya on Monday. "We have to consider what it means to try and live without nuclear reactors. In a way, failing to restart the reactors is like committing mass suicide," he said, according to Fuji TV.

Fifty-three of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors have now been closed down for routine maintenance and none have been restarted. The 54th reactor, in Hokkaido, is scheduled to go offline for maintenance on May 6.

The official DPJ line is that Japan needs to reduce its dependency on nuclear power, which once provided 30% of its electricity, but that two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture should be restarted, as it is the minimum required for Japan to avoid power shortages in the summer.

Sengoku is no stranger to controversy. In November 2010, he hit the headlines when he was pressured into apologizing after dubbing Japan's Self-Defense Forces "an instrument of violence."

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..more like leaving them on is a risk of mass mass suicide.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

saying that if Japan leaves all its nuclear reactors offline, it would be tantamount to the nation committing mass suicide.

I think what he meant to say was:

Leaving the nuclear reactors offline will for the politicians be like committing suicide by cutting of their political funding and slowly bleed to death.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Drama queen much?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Rather shortages than another Fukushima... deal with it government, the answer isn't always easy.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Nobody wants nuclear power. We're done with it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ah, good old Sengoku... he hasn't put his foot in his mouth publicly for a few months now. Good to see him 'helping the cause' again. I wonder if the other politicians cringe when they know that comments made by idiots like this guy actually go AGAINST what the man wants to do and make all the other politicians that want the same thing look equally ridiculous.

Please do tell us how it would be like committing 'mass suicide', Sengoku, in a nation where suicides top pretty much every other nation in the world without nuclear power playing a part, and where not restarting the reactors really only affects the pockets of politicians with vested interests and the electric companies.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Nuclear radiation: No Thanks.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Mass suicide" minus the dying part.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"DPJ's Sengoku compares closing nuclear plants to 'mass suicide'" as opposed to leaving them open, risking mass murder and genocide through radioactive contamination. Or by mass suicide, is he referring to politicians and the nuclear industry's bank accounts?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One thing that puzzles me and I have said so here on JT before, to resounding silence. Why did they all choose to shut down 'for routine maintenance' ...all at the same time? To stagger maintenance shutdowns would seem to be more logical. No?

Is there no cooperation between them? Just coincidence? Did they want to prove to the nation that they are indispensable? Did they feel guilty about something? Were they shocked by the earthquake and tsunami? Did they suddenly sense that they might actually be accountable for their lax and shoddy management one day?

Or is there another quite different reason that they all shut down together?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Doesn't seem to have affected anything much though.

The nation has rescheduled a few things and life carries on as normal, as far as I can see.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

One thing that I do not understand for the life of me is that up until now all 54 reactors were working pretty much at the same time prior to Fukushima. Now they are nearly all off line and there is still enough electricity for the current climate.

Could it be that there always was pretty much enough production without the reactors in the first place?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A totally way-overboard comment! Shut down the nuclear plants and figure out how to solve the ongoing current crisis in Fukushima!! It's an emergency for G's sake.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

if Japan leaves all its nuclear reactors offline, it would be tantamount to the nation committing mass suicide.

I don’t know the long term effect, but if we talk about power shortage this summer, I don’t think we will all die because of a couple days of blackouts.

[KEPCO supply capacity] according to KEPCO Facebook on February 14. (all NPPs are stopped)

27,600,000kw

http://www.facebook.com/kanden.jp

The number of days when peak electricity demand exceeded supply (27,600,000kw) in 2011

1 day [August 9, 2011 for 4 hours (demand: 27,850,000kw)]

If this summer is as hot as last summer, blackout possibility would be one day (out of 365 days). That’s what the government is talking about possible blackouts. They want to restart controversial Oi NPPs because we would have blackout for just one day (out of 365 days). Which would be more serious damage, one day blackout or nearly forever contamination of Lake Biwa (where Osaka get 90% water from)

Besides, the government is breaking the law (Atomic Energy Basic Act). The safety of NPPs has to be determined by the Nuclear Safety Commission, not by the government.

Atomic Energy Basic Act, Chapter II Article 5: The Nuclear Safety Commission shall plan, deliberate on and determine the matters related to ensuring safety among the matters related to the research, development and utilization of nuclear energy.

http://www.nsc.go.jp/NSCenglish/documents/laws/1.pdf

But still the government ignores NSC; Haruki Madarame, chairman of the NSC, said the first-stage “stress tests” at nuclear reactors were insufficient to determine their overall safety.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I endorse nuclear reactors in Japan. Nothing is 100 safe in this world and nobody died in the Fukushima accident. It was a tsunami not an earthquake that caused the accident. Remember how hard it was for workers who had to work in sweltering summer without appropriate uses of airconditioners last year. My neighbor came back from work very exhaused because of heat and used her airconditioners in full to sleep. I don't want it happens again that trains run intermittently, streets were dark, escalators halted etc. It is a matter of balance economy and safety. Japanese industries cannot survive without enough powers.

-11 ( +5 / -17 )

Or is there another quite different reason that they all shut down together?

The thing is that they actually did not shut down all together.

A number of them (I forget how many) went into automatic shutdown (SCRAM) as a consequence of the earth quake. After this they need to go trough the whole approval process again before they can start again.

The rest of them have gone into shutdown over the year in "staggered" sequence. They need to shut down every 12-13 months for regulatory maintenance and refueling. The average shutdown is something like 45 days vs. 30 days for the U.S ((I think, memory a bit shaky on this part).

One reason for the longer maintenance break in Japan is because it does not allow refueling with the reactor "online" so everything need to be completely shut down.

So in fact a Japanese nuclear power plants only generate power for on average something like 75-77% of the year (including also unscheduled down time).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Please do tell us how it would be like committing 'mass suicide', Sengoku, in a nation where suicides top pretty much every other nation in the world without nuclear power playing a part

agreed, so let them close down all nuclear plants.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Blair Heron,

Balanced, well thought through and backed up by sources. I don't always agree with what you are saying, but mostly your posts are a joy to read. Thanks!

I do believe Kanden will be able to buy some energy from the other producers if worst comes to worst. But if that somehow would prove impossible, then I agree with you. Much rather have a couple of short "brown outs" or rolling black outs than a contaminated Lake Biwa

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Schopenhauer, instead of making boohoo comments, how about facts: people died at the plant because there was earthquake and tsunami. People will die because of leaked radioactivity. The accident was caused by blatant disregard to basic safety procedures because they were deemed "expensive". Nobody needs as much electricity as Japanese use, not even Japanese themselves. Last summer was NOT particularly uncomfortable (the MOST important thing for people nowadays, it seems) in Tokyo.

Shut them all off.

0 ( +4 / -3 )

Foolish pride and hubris is the justification for the politicians pressing for the need to continue the use of this dangerous industry.

Schopenhauer is right in his comment that nobody has died BASED on J government information!To date the government has covered up any deaths related to Fukushima, but it will not be able to cover up the still births and the forthcoming cancers that will manifest in the future.

The Fukushima accident has caused many people to relocate from Tohoku (I have met refugees in Kansai) to other parts of Japan. Maybe Mr Sengoku should meet them too?

0 ( +2 / -1 )

@nandakandamanda:

They have to have routine shutdown at least once in every 13 months. Thus, since March last year, each and every one had to go through it at least once. And the safety situation does not allow a restart. Some were already in shutdown in March. Some went into emergency shutdown. The rest regularly.

Every country tries to have sufficient energy supply to cope with failure of parts of it. And Japan reduced its dependence on fossil fuels by building nuclear plants. However, since the companies in principle know about the lack of reliablity of nuclear power, they could not afford to remove their old fossil fuel plants, which would be required in times, where nuclear energy is not available. I think this is applicable to electricity companies globally.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah, good on ya knob head. It will only take a slightly more serious event than what happened in Fukushima last year for it to be called mass murder! Japan is surviving quite well without nuclear power.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Desperate words from a man desperate from pressure from his paymasters.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sengoku = Senpuku

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The alternatives to nuclear power are considerably more expensive. Keeping the nuclear plants turned off means higher bills to industry at a time when many of the formerly money making Japanese firms, that paid the taxes are reporting losses and some re going bankrupt. And yet the Japanese want everything to so very be safe, safer than anywhere else, safer and safer.

Safe is good when you can afford it, but Japan is up to its eyeballs in debt. Everything is becoming so safe that it costs so much more than the we can afford, so that if not actual death (which would be unsafe), we may see mass economic suicide. I don't radiation, but as Erica Jong said, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The question is does it matter what a politician says when one is dying of some nameless disease as a result of radioactive contamination?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

India deals with their power shortages so we can too. Nicer to be alive and have 2 hours of less power a day. We are so spoiled.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

With the hollowing out of Japanese industrial production (all the flyjin J companies who have established factories in SE Asia and elsewhere), they don't need so much electricity; ergo, they don't need nuclear!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Fukushima accident has caused job loss, businesses to fail or be wiped out and how much is it going to cost the public in the end? They are feeding TEPCO cash on a massive scale. The govt. is more worried about profits for corporate banks and the nuclear industry like Hitachi etc. Everyone looks at the power generators like KEPCO as the problem when it is likely the companies that supply the technology are more to blame for the business as usual push to restart and ignore reality.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

the Japanese want everything to so very be safe, safer than anywhere else, safer and safer.

Japanese NPPs are not safer than NPPs of other countries.

*Japanese NPPs do not have vent system with filters attached in order to reduce the risk of the release of radioactive substances in the event of a severe nuclear accident. Why Japanese NPPs do not have the filters? Because they think accident will never happen.

*There is no nuclear regulatory organization functioning right now. The government was forced to abandon plans to replace NISA with the new agency on April. NISA failed to prevent the accident in Fukushima NPPs. The government ignores NSC.

*There are no earthquake-proof accident management facilities at Oi NPPs. In case of severe accident, these facilities will be very important for all the workers’ protection and communication with outside.

*Oi NPPs are surrounded by ocean and mountains. There is only one road in the mountains and along the ocean. In case of landslide and the road was damaged, there is no way people can get in/out the place.

*There are three active faults near Oi NPPs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Could it be that there always was pretty much enough production without the reactors in the first place?

Shhhhhh!

Mike, as someone who had their spouse switched to different hours and days because of this, I would rather than than another disaster. And to be honest, Japan has a LONG way to go with electricity conservation. Honestly, where I live, I didn't see much in the public for this. AC on, doors open. Grocery stores still have open fridges that waste energy like crazy. Plenty of needless lights on, families running their AC when they could open a window and the front door to get a breeze... The ONLY place I really noticed it were at my universities and to be honest, I don't think it had anything to do with saving energy for anyone. Shutting off escalators and turning down the AC saved THEM money. And funnily enough, the escalators are still turned off and the heat was minimal in the winter. Save the money and use "setsudan" as the reason. We don't own AC and managed not to die. Others can to. I get needing AC in offices and the like but home? No, not really.

Sengoku is an idiot for this. Japan's government has been slowly squeezing the public in a suicide death anyway.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

timtak: in my humble opinion it is better to die for 2-3 years than for decades or much more. We are not talking about basic safety but about the existence itself of Japan and Northern Hemisphere. None can afford the risk of self-destroying its own country for generations. Business is an important thing but keeping a livable environment for the future is not negotiable. Nuke power is not cheap and if there has been the mistake to build 54 (!) NPP in Japan, it is just time to think about stopping that right now. Other countries might continue for a while and help Japan to get off of that due to the prone quake situation here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

lol DPJ

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan existed 35,000 years ago. The first nuclear plant was commissioned only 39 years ago! Scare of mass suicides due to lack of nuclear energy and its associated ills such as environmental destruction, nuclear radiation and waste, is misplaced and innappropriate.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Restarting the reactors without support from the people will be DPJ mass suicide come the next general election.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nono, that would be the sales tax. DPJ getting its politically suicidal policies mixed up again...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks to those above who answered logically my question about staggering the shutdowns.

Squidbert, don't forget that Japanese NPPs have a habit of removing all fuel rods from their reactors when they shut down for maintenance. They put the hot rods into the pools among the spent fuel rods; just a Japanese custom. (No 4 at Fukushima is just such a pool, packed with old and new rods.)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Honestly, at this point, I can only think that the DPJ has taken out some kind of insurance policy that pays out when they lose the next election, and are doing this to themselves intentionally.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the posters have nothing to lose if the Japanese economy sinks. The SOFA Americans should say nothing at all. The Americans will extort unlimited electric out of Japan. Anyhow when their tour is done they can return to America. Even though I live in America now, it will not always be so. Will return to Okinawa after his retirement. I do have some cousins living on the mainland. One of them not far from the exclusion zone. The problem is Japan can not do without the plants now. Shutting them down will have the effect of killing the economy and making it impossible to build new plants. The fossil fuel plants are OLD and the extra cost will be another factor in the demise of our economy.

The best we can do now is to make the plants the best possible.

-7 ( +2 / -8 )

YuriOtani

The fossil fuel plants are OLD and the extra cost will be another factor in the demise of our economy.

That's incorrect. There are moth balled coaled fired plants which are not used but there are many modern stations. You are forgetting nuclear power only generated about 25% of total power.

It would be easy to reduce power consumption by 10% by using power more efficiently and an increase of 15% in geothermal power would already cover the loss of power from nuclear plants. And don't tell me nuclear energy is cheaper when it will cost the taxpayer ¥30 TRILLION just to clean up the Fukushima plant.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

zichi, nuclear power is a tool on the road to using renewable power. At this TIME, there is no other choice than to restart and then start working on the replacements. Do not think it is easy to reduce power consumption 10 percent. How many factories will have to be relocated to China to make this happen? In another thread, I wrote about using not only geothermal but the other sources. I can see windmills on top of Japans mountains providing safe clean electric. The thing to do is to get past the NOW and not let the politicians go back to sleep again.

As I write the atomic plants are a point on the road Japan travels. Why should Japan commit economic 切腹 seppuku? While the rest of the world watches, laughs and keeps their plants.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'm interested in knowing why Sengoku compared the shutdowns to mass suicide. What does he know that we don't? Is Japan on the brink of an economic collapse? or is it something else? I'd really like him to state the reasons behind his outburst.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think many people are overreacting to what happened. I'll explain myself. Suppose the earthquake brought down the Mori Building in Roppongi Hills. Would you people object to any more high rise building being built in Japan? Or would you rather think that maybe, just maybe, the Mori building had not been built with adequate safety features to withstand an earthquake? To compare this what Fukushima, have you thought that maybe most of the other 54 reactors are actually safe and they have been built with appropriate security features in mind? Rather, Fukushima was the result of a freak combination of events: a poorly built reactor (right next to the seashore) and a giant tsunami that happens once every few hundred years. It seems to me that you are so easy to polarize as a mass. I imagine how a cunning politician could use sneaky arguments to steer the entire mass of you people in the direction he wants. One last example to make my point clear: many street pavements in Japan are one with street's concrete - no step stone to separate them from the traffic flow. Let alone a barrier between people and cars. If tomorrow someone got hit by a car would you campaign for safety barriers to be installed at ever street pavement around the world? Or would you rather say that "shit happens". Because that's what happened at Fukushima.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

YuriOtani

there have been recent reports by experts showing that even without nuclear power the total power generated will be at least 10% more than the forecasted power needs.

It is possible to use power more efficiently without closing down a single factory or even any reduction in the quality of life.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That's easily said Yuri from your armchair over in the good old USA....I,m around 40 km from the Tokai reactor and definately don,t want to see it restarted , the aftershocks that we are still having here in North Kanto and the newly discovered fault lines in Ibaraki are cementing the anti- restart sentiments around here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

marcelito

the Tokai reactor failed the stress test because the entire electrical system is below standard, probably because of the age of the plant. The gov't has called for it to be decommissioned.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

upintheairAPR. 18, 2012 - 12:31AM JST

Suppose the earthquake brought down the Mori Building in Roppongi Hills. Would you people object to any more high rise building being built in Japan? Or would you rather think that maybe, just maybe, the Mori building had not been built with adequate safety features to withstand an earthquake?

You can't even compare the collapse of a skyscraper with a nuclear atomic power plant. But on that point, even though Tokyo experienced a very powerful earthquake, no major buildings collapsed, so I guess the building standards are higher than those for a nuclear plant.

To compare this what Fukushima, have you thought that maybe most of the other 54 reactors are actually safe and they have been built with appropriate security features in mind? Rather, Fukushima was the result of a freak combination of events: a poorly built reactor (right next to the seashore) and a giant tsunami that happens once every few hundred years.

What we do know. All nuclear power plants in Japan are build on the coast so that they can use use water for cooling. The Fukushima No1 plant was damaged by both the earthquake and tsunami and the reactors went into nuclear meltdowns causing the current nuclear disaster. The head of the plant at the No2 Fukushima plant stated that it too almost went into nuclear meltdowns.

At the Onagwaw nuclear plant further up the coast, a fire in the turbine hall was caused by the earthquake. The Hamaoka power plant was considered by the gov't to be too dangerous because the sea wall is too low to deal with even a minor tsunami. The plant is in shut down while Chubu Power Company spends ¥200 billion to build a new sea wall.

The other TEPCO nuclear power plant in Niigata, the largest in the country, was damaged by a previous earthquake and had to be shut down. The very advanced Fast Breeder reactor which is operated by the Atomic Agency has suffered a series of very serious accidents including a sodium fire which killed some of the workers.

The Tokai nuclear power plant failed the stress test because the entire electrical system is unsafe.

The shocking conclusion, following the nuclear disaster, is that the safety standard at all the nuclear power plants is not as high as it could or should be. Prior to the stress tests, the Oi rectors didn't even have emergency power generators.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think this is a bit overly dramatic. Until the plants are certified safe (preferably by a non-Japanese consultant, e.g. the Germans) then we have to deal with the problem of not having enough power. Jump start the geothermal for the long term. Turn out all the freaking lights in Shinjuku and get cool biz cranked up to the men wearing shorts. Another nuclear plant melting down would be a bigger problem, IMHO. Maybe the nuke plants can be re-designed, maybe not. But stop the hysteria and let the engineers (with no hidden agenda or poor management) come up with a report.

If the pols and the poor management hadn't botched the Fukushima shutdown in the first place we wouldn't be in this mess.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Meanwhile, the universities have all increased their semesters to 15 weeks, which means we'll be teaching super-sleepy students in super-hot classrooms into August. Setsuden, schmedsuden!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gelendestrasseAPR. 18, 2012 - 01:32AM JST

If the pols and the poor management hadn't botched the Fukushima shutdown in the first place we wouldn't be in this mess.....

The nuclear meltdowns and explosions happened because there was no working backup systems, electrical and water, to cool the reactors. All the reactors at Fukushima shut down at the time of the earthquake but still needed cooling.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

marcelito, I am often in Japan and lately on the mainland. It is one reason I hate Narita with passion! The flights into Haneda are are weird hours. Yes I have been through my share of earthquakes. Last was in a hotel and was wondering if it had been built to the lowest standards permissible by bribe.

gelendestrasse, Germany is not the country! Anyhow they are closing all of their plants replacing it with coal. Need a country on the leading edge of technology.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

YuriOtaniApr. 18, 2012 - 12:26AM JS. nuclear power is a tool on the road to using renewable power. At this TIME, there is no other choice than to restart and then start working on the replacements. Do not think it is easy to reduce power consumption 10 percent. How many factories will have to be relocated to China to make this happen?

In Japan, it's more political and this is a problem. The utilities like Tepco control both the production and distribution of electricity. The operators of wind or solar farms must sell their electricity to these renewable energy middlemen. They have no incentive or obligation to replace any more of their conventional power with alternatives. J-goverment need to separate the existing power utilities into companies that produce electricity and ones that distribute it. Problem is that renewable power producers can’t get a high enough price for their electricity on the wholesale market, where they compete with cheap power from coal, natural gas and nuclear plants. The renewable energy is a struggle in Japan’s current electricity market.

In a long term, both the economy and the environment may benefit from policies supporting renewable energy. Japan lacks fossil-fuel resources, but in 100 years the whole world will be in the same situation. If Japan really pushes for renewables now, it can lead down the road.

Wind is Japan's biggest potential resource. Wind energy has taken the world by storm in the past few years. It’s not only abundantly available, but it blows at night when solar panels are idle. Japan has lots of mountains so turbines are difficult to install. Japan needs more government support, including R&D subsidies, tariff, and a requirement that utilities buy all the wind power we can generate. Even in mountainous Japan, excellent sites exist for installing large solar farm panels.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Off shore wind plants that produce compressed air instead of electrical power. The produced compressed air is stored in bags on the sea floor. The compressed air is released during peak power times to turn turbines to generate power. The same plant can also over night power to produce compressed air. The cost of these turbines would be cheaper than ones generating power.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

30,000+ suicides a year is mass suicide.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I can't take another 28C in the office summer. I'm sure the heat was on in my office on cooler days last year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@YuriOtani I agree.

@SquidBert

I think the myth of cheap nuclear power has been debunked in this forum multiple times and if you don't buy the arguments. Then just consider what the total bill for Fukushima will be?

Good point. Over the lifespan of nuclear power in Japan, and extrapolated assuming a similar rate of (expensive) disaster, is nuclear cheap or expensive? What is the total ongoing bill for fossil fuel power? Road deaths, air pollution, fires, pipeline construction, miners, oil rig workers. Climate change? How about wars: do we include the cost of the war in Iraq in the total fossil fuel bill? I'd like to know which is more expensive.

@ combinibento Very good point. Even three, even one extra suicide....And numbers of suicides are linked to the state of the economy, which are linked to the price of energy. There are very varying estimates of how many people died as a result of Chernobyl for instance. Childhood thyroid cancer may have occurred in the hundreds and every one tragic. How many businesses will fail and how many of their owners will die if the price of electricity goes up say, 10%? How many people will die this summer as a result of not being able to turn on the air conditioning? But then some think that the cost will go down.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The alternatives to nuclear power are considerably more expensive. Keeping the nuclear plants turned off means higher bills to industry at a time when many of the formerly money making Japanese firms, that paid the taxes are reporting losses and some re going bankrupt. And yet the Japanese want everything to so very be safe, safer than anywhere else, safer and safer.

While there have been some rate hikes, overall so far that is they haven't been that bad. Granted once summer comes that will be a different story yet it can be done if there is a will!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Germany is not the country! Anyhow they are closing all of their plants replacing it with coal. Need a country on the leading edge of technology.

And this is doing it wrong too! They are using a finite source of energy. There are options beyond fossil fuels, but governments dont want to invest when big business is still footing their dinner bills.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the posters have nothing to lose if the Japanese economy sinks. Wrong. And what does that have to do with topic at hand. Not having power with affect us. Having another nuclear meltdown with affect us - and the environment of the country that many of us love on here. Please don't suggest that because we aren't Japanese, we have no right to comment. You aren't in the country now. Wouldn't that make it more of a "right" for us to comment?

-1 ( +2 / -4 )

@timtak

Good point. Over the lifespan of nuclear power in Japan, and extrapolated assuming a similar rate of (expensive) disaster, is nuclear cheap or expensive? What is the total ongoing bill for fossil fuel power? Road deaths, air pollution, fires, pipeline construction, miners, oil rig workers. Climate change? How about wars: do we include the cost of the war in Iraq in the total fossil fuel bill? I'd like to know which is more expensive.

I don't understand why you want to include road deaths into the cost of fossil fuel? Do you want to include train accident fatalities in the costs of nuclear power as well?

About wars; Well it looks likely that a new war is about to start over nuclear power in Iran, and when the "civilized" countries of the world are using nuclear power and stockpiling the results. It makes it very difficult to argue on the international scene that nuclear technology should not be available to third world countries and countries with questionable leaders.

And to the best of my knowledge Japan is not a country that has started any wars over fossil fuels.

About the costs, as I said many times before. If nuclear was to carry its own costs no one would still be under the impression that it was cheap. For example , just the cost to get a full insurance to cover the cost of a nuclear accident from any international inssurance company would be prohibitively expensive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gelendestrasse, Germany is not the country! Anyhow they are closing all of their plants replacing it with coal. Need a country on the leading edge of technology.

Yuri, Germany IS a country on the leading edge of technology. It's very similar to Japan in many ways. German engineering is renowed all over the world and like Japan, Germany is a creditor and surplus nation.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't understand why you want to include road deaths into the cost of fossil fuel? In so far as fossil fuel is transported by road - nuclear fuel is too.

War may factor into the "bill" for both fossil fuels and nuclear, as you point out. How do you cost it? Japan sent troops to Iraq and helped fund the US invasion.

"If nuclear were to carry its own costs no one would still be under the impression that was cheap." I am not sure why you say this. Is it on the basis of the insurance? Insurers often prefer to avoid unpredictable risks such as earthquakes, and hijacking. The fact that insurance is prohibitively expensive does not convince me that there fore the cost of disasters is likewise prohibitively expensive. As seen the reticence of insurers to insure against rare and expensive risks it could be more to do with the fact that the (1) the company is aware they will go bankrupt (2) the company does not have the data to predict the risks.

Anyway, I think that you are talking about the cost of disasters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civilian_nuclear_accidents It seems to me that nuclear power does have this drawback, DISASTERS. As a result, areas of land around nuclear power plants become uninhabitable and children die of thyroid cancer. Some employees and fist responders die of radiation posing and other cancers. Yes this is a big horrible cost and it is a particularly difficult to predict. But how big is it, and is it bigger than that of fossil fuels?

How many people have died in the fossil fuel industry in Japan since Fukushima? How many people have died driving/being hit by petrol trucks, or in paraffin stove caused fires, or other house fires related to the use of fossil fuels (I tried to find data but all I could find was mention of 800 gas related fires a year) of the effects of fossil fuel fumes, or digging/pumping it out of the ground? And, in one of the worst time periods for the nuclear power industry, how many people have died as a result of the nuclear power disaster in Fukushima? Have any yet died? I should not be surprised if a person dies every day as a result of the use of fossil fuels but has there yet to be a fatality in Fukushima as a result of the nuclear power station? How big are the areas of land used by oil fields, refineries fuel depots, and other fossil fuel related production facilities as opposed to those related to nuclear power and nuclear power accidents?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

While there have been few if any radiation related deaths yet (future predictions seem to range in the 100 to 1000), among the 140,000 people evacuated, it is estimated that "573 deaths certified as nuclear-crisis-related in Japan" (Yomiuri Shimbun. 4 Feb. 2012). That is a lot of tragedy.

I would very much like to know how safe, or otherwise, fossil fuels are. How much death are they causing, have they caused in the past year.

Is there data on for example the impact of energy costs on the economy, and that upon death by suicide for instance?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@timtak,

I think I am just going to let your straw men and your silliness speak for them self while I go out and by some Astro Round Up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If one google's deaths due to fossil fuels (not in quotes) then there are quite a lot of articles such as this one in NewScientist

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928053.600-fossil-fuels-are-far-deadlier-than-nuclear-power.html

And there is this graph

http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/visualizations/2e5d4dcc4fb511e0ae0c000255111976/comments/2e70ae944fb511e0ae0c000255111976

The latter claim that there are 4000 deaths from coal for every one in nuclear power. If such claims are true, then abandoning nuclear power might fairly and soberly be termed "mass suicide."

-2 ( +1 / -4 )

Timtak, Nuclear energy is also responsible for deaths and cancers. The uranium miners in Australia have been trying to get compensation for cancers caused from working in the miners. Similar woes in Canada and Niger.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ogi, twice in two days I agree with you!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It is interesting how proponents of Nuclear Energy are always arguing the shortcomings of other energy sources rather than the advantages of nuclear.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nuclear atomic power plants were introduced to provide a large source of material to build thousands of atomic bombs, we could even state that the electricity was just a bi-product.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Zichi -a very good and rarely stated point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese economy has been sinking for 30 years already, 29 of them with nuclear power. Nuclear power didn't help then, it won't help now. It is just another excuse to put blame for sinking economy to anywhere but where it belongs.

Proponents of Japanese nuclear power just want to feel comfortable in their exessive power wastage under air conditioners. It's easier, and the damages are somebody else's problems.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Here are some people who very strongly opposes the restart of any nuclear power plants. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120417_27.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Build a large triangular pyramid ramp over the reactors, cut in venting fans at the tops, make it sturdy and lead lined.please comment

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OH! and spring loaded ground supports.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Timtak, Nuclear energy is also responsible for deaths and cancers. The uranium miners in Australia have been trying to get compensation for cancers caused from working in the miners. Similar woes in Canada and Niger.

Zichi, You are saying that the statistics I quoted are incorrect, on the nuclear side only. Try a search for coal cancer (no quotes) on google.

It is interesting how proponents of Nuclear Energy are always arguing the shortcomings of other energy sources rather than the advantages of nuclear.

What sort of advantages might there be, other than being comparatively safe and cheap? Coal provides more jobs, gas cookers heat food more quickly, and paraffin stoves can display a nice orange flame unlike nuclear powered electric fan heaters? Mr. Sengoku only claimed it would be mass suicide to keep the nuclear power stations turned off. The statistics that Google provides seem to support what he had to say.

Is it good or bad that Japan has material to build atomic bombs?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Is it good or bad that Japan has material to build atomic bombs?

It is bad, as they can never use it. Everyone knows that they can never use it so it serves no deterrent purpose. But it can fall into the wrong hands, especially since they aren't very careful with the stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shutting down almost all the reactors by January, 2012 resulted in only a 2.6% drop in electricity production. That's not an insurmountable problem, mates.

http://www.iea.org/stats/surveys/mes.pdf#search='Japan,%20IEA,%20supply,%20January,%202012%20nuclear'

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why restarting the Oi reactors? Why not restoring something else? Oi reactors are too closed to lake Biwa(who gives water to 1 in 10 Japanese + it's a resource of fish), locals fear contamination and they are right. The gov say it's ok to restart the Oi plant on the basis that the company(Kepco) says it's safe but nothing regarding the new revised safety measures have been published that's why local authorities don't trust the move. If you made some research you'd find about scandals that have to do with tepco, kepco and the Tokai plant which don't look reassuring. Japan's power companies had to shut all the companies because little was done for disaster prevention: data have been hidden to the gov(2003 scandal-> check the economist) Tepco failed to report cracks in reactors for years( still 2003) what does make you think that the gov has changed strategies?they think everything is alright as long as they get money. Nuclear power are much safer in countries like France where uranium is not used but Japan instisted with using the same expensive uranium production for years ruining the economy and now the environment

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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