politics

Gov't under fire for handling of public hearings on nuclear energy policy

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By Linda Sieg

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Everybody knew the corruption behind these nuclear public hearings. I am thrilled they have been busted

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Then on Monday, a Chubu Electric employee spoke out for the same option, arguing: “Not one single person died as a result of radiation from the (Fukushima) accident.”

The Fukushima disaster forced some 150,000 people to flee their homes, many never to return. Some committed suicide after seeing their homes and livelihoods destroyed.

Typical Japanese thinking here, blame the person and not the cause.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Except there are no more political parties to go to that are not already in the nuclear association pocket. So what is Japan going to do? Actually vote for real people instead of the good 'ol boys and girls?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Sooner or later, the Noda government will collapse like a domino falling down one after another.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

but it could provide an opening for new smaller parties—such as that led by populist Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto—that are springing up ahead of a possible election.

Aren't there any other smaller parties, not run by a crazy attention whore, that could benefit from such an opportunity?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I don`t think the government is mishandling the case. Noda and the government is trying hard to protect the true national interest under overwhelming anti-nuclear sentiment of the nation.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Me think too many hands in the till to change utilities policy. Got to change the way the industry goes about doing its business.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Noda's government will not collapse soon enough. He will damage this nation beyond repair before he is removed. He should be removed immediately. Unlike other Prime Ministers who recognized their own faults Noda refuses to step down. He loves POWER!! With people like Ozawa behind him it proved that birds of a feather flock together. Of course Ozawa is now out but soon Noda will have a new apprentice.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

“Not one single person died as a result of radiation from the (Fukushima) accident.”

And yet quite a few have died as a direct result of the Fukushima 'accident', though it's not proven from radiation.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

“This gives the impression that they haven’t learned anything,” said Koichi Nakano, a professor at Sophia University,

But that's the whole point, Japan Inc. NEVER learns, or changes. They know only one model and they will adhere to it until Japan's future is completely destroyed. And the people have no one to blame but themselves, since they sold their souls to Japan Inc. decades ago.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Fraud is the only thing that the nuclear mafia are good at.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The currently government will get kicked out and the next one will be even worse.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

“The anti-nuclear people are calling for the Democrats to be voted out,” Nakano added.

Then choose who??? The LDP guys??? They are far more pro-nuclear. They are the ones who have made so many nuclear reactors. They are the ones who have made this nation so hooked on those nuclear reactors. Shall we go for the Communist Party then???

I have nothing against the demonstrators, but one thing they haven't been honest about is that THEY are also electricity users. I see them marching up and down the street, using their mobile phones and taking photos. They must have had the electricity from somewhere. All right, shut the reactors down now, and where would be??? Are they claiming that the whole nation should give up electricity for the summer??? No. They should, if they want to match what they claim to the reality.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

I don't know why the government bother with this farce of pretending to listen to the people. They don't listen and have no interest in what people have to say. They have already made their decision and nothing that is said in any of these meetings will change it.

It's exactly the same at this university: we are asked for our opinions, which are then ignored. Even when 100% of the faculty were against something proposed by the bureaucracy they went ahead with it anyway.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Hiroicci: "All right, shut the reactors down now, and where would be???"

They'd be using electricity from alternative sources. Seriously, you needn't live in a cave without power or plumbing to protest your thoughts on nuclear power. I'm willing to bet a LOT of the protestors are doing their best to conserve power since 3/11 of last year.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

But, it is not just the Noda government. It is the whole system of government in Japan. They have bee robbing people blind and filling them with total BS for centuries. It is only now because of the world's second largest nuclear disaster and all the BS and lack of action that the people are arcing up. I'm afraid it is too late. If their is a federal election called and the noda gov is voted, you can bet the opposition will win on a bunch of hollow promises that will never be kept. Does anyone remember Hatoyama's BS promises?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Please cut the nuclear funding by 100%, and fire each and every people in the Nuclear Village.

It's ridiculous that Japan spends $2.8 billion a year on nuclear energy R&D alone (over 70% of Japan's energy budget, and more than twice the amount of what US and France spend on nuclear energy R&D combined).

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Noda, though, has made clear he thinks reactor restarts are vital to prevent blackouts and keep rising electricity costs from hurting the world’s third biggest economy. Many experts say a decision to opt for 15% by 2030 is a done deal.

When the HECK were there blackouts, EVER? This guy is 100% lying for the interests of the nuclear industry.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Disillusioned - "It is only now because of the world's second largest nuclear disaster and all the BS and lack of action that the people are arcing up"

And that's after 6 decades of safe and cheap power being supplied from Japan's  nuclear energy industry that no one complained about and many, many people took for granted.

It's also the same industry that helped to power Japan's emergence from the war into a global superpower, that built the economy, and that likely keeps the lights and air con on at your place.

Six decades. No complaints

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Thomas Anderson - "Please cut the nuclear funding by 100%"

And replace nuclear energy with what, exactly?

Oh, I know - let's surround Tokyo with hundreds of coal plants!

Seriously, when people talk about shutting down the nuclear industry, to stay credible, those same people need to offer an alternative, one that can come on line quickly and not result in massive pollution.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

I think they lied about Japan being a super power.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And replace nuclear energy with what, exactly?

It's called renewables, and yes it's possible, so stop asking.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

SushiSake3

And that's after 6 decades of safe and cheap power being supplied from Japan's nuclear energy industry that no one complained about and many, many people took for granted.

It's more like 6 decades of spending trillion of dollars for 24% of the energy in Japan that it never needed in the first place.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Thomas - "It's called renewables, and yes it's possible, so stop asking."

Sure it's possible, but will renewables plug the energy gap?

No.

Next bright idea?

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Sure it's possible, but will renewables plug the energy gap?

Yes. Germany already gets 20%-25% from renewables. Germany now gets almost 5% of their electricity from solar alone, 50% more from last year and doubling every 2 years. There are many countries that are running 50%-100% on renewables. And besides the Japanese population is shrinking, so it's not as if we need more power.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

The Noda government is completely illegitimate. Not only has it not gone to the polls to get a mandate to govern after Noda was chosen as the leader when Kan stepped aside, in the face of public opposition to the government's imposed policies, its only answer is to rig a public hearing process or to use police force to restrict people from gathering in front of his official residence and peacefully and democratically voicing their opinion.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Thomas Anderson,

the yearly grant given by the gov't for nuclear energy R&D is nearly ¥500 billion. On top of that, the gov't pays billions and billions every year to those prefectures with atomic power plants.

Since 1974, the taxpayer has shelled out trillions and trillions to the nuke village. R&D grants, nuclear energy tax, subsidies for building the plants. The Fukui reactors received ¥385 billion in construction costs.

With the nuclear disaster, the taxpayer will shell out trillions and trillions more over the next 50+ years while TEPCO tries to render the plant safe, which may not be achieved unless some new technologies can be invented for melted fuel removal.

All of these grants and payments should cease and be given for R&D renewable energies.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

So Smithjapan, you're saying that we have enough electricity without those reactors, yes??? We have enough alternative energy sources to cover our electricity demand in the summer??? I don't think we do.

You must have been kidding when you said that the demonstrators are doing their best to save their energy. How do they join the demonstrations? How do they go to the venues? Where do they get electricity for their mobile phones??? Their speakers???

I still wish the demonstrators claimed that we should give up electricity for the summer, at least for the daytime. That would be more honest and realistic.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Renewables are fine, and I support that, but they'll be the stuff for the next 30 years. Not today, not tomorrow.

Or can anybody stand up and say that Japan can adopt those RIGHT NOW??? If you can, I'll apologise immediately.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

SushiSake3

And that's after 6 decades of safe and cheap power being supplied from Japan's  nuclear energy industry that no one complained about and many, many people took for granted.

The first reactor was built in 1966, so that's about four decades, not six. Prior to the 3/11 disaster, nuclear energy only provided about 27% of total power. According to the gov't future use will be limited to 30%.

The people didn't complain about nuclear energy because they trusted thier gov't, the thousands of nuclear experts in the atomic safety agencies and from the nuke village. They believed what they were told, that,

Nuclear energy was safe, cheap and clean.

Another busted urban myth!!!!!!

1 ( +9 / -8 )

The next general election, which might happen by the end of this year, will be won or lost on issues of nuclear energy.

The gov't are well aware, come the next election they will get a massive no vote. The real reason behind these meeting is to change the public view on nuclear energy, with polls stating 70% are against nuclear energy or in favor of reducing it.

The people no longer trust the gov't on nuclear energy, or the thousands of those nuclear experts. The trust of the people has been destroyed.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Hiroicci

So Smithjapan, you're saying that we have enough electricity without those reactors, yes??? We have enough alternative energy sources to cover our electricity demand in the summer??? I don't think we do.

Save for the Oi reactors, there are zero nuclear reactors running, and we're doing fine.

I still wish the demonstrators claimed that we should give up electricity for the summer, at least for the daytime. That would be more honest and realistic.

We already save electricity, or at least we should be.

Though really I wish the pro-nuclear advocates would go back to the ice age as they were predicting that we would if we turned off all nuclear reactors ;). Now that all the reactors are turned off, why don't they actually go back to the ice age?

Renewables are fine, and I support that, but they'll be the stuff for the next 30 years. Not today, not tomorrow. Or can anybody stand up and say that Japan can adopt those RIGHT NOW??? If you can, I'll apologise immediately.

Yes, wind farms are usually built within a year, not decades. Germany has installed 7.5 GW of solar panels in 2011.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

All right, shut the reactors down now, and where would be???

Errmm.... the reactors are shut down (bar one).

Please cut the nuclear funding by 100%, and fire each and every people in the Nuclear Village.

If only we could... even with all reactors off line, they still eat money and still need people employed to keep them safe. Nuclear, the gift that keeps on taking.

you're saying that we have enough electricity without those reactors, yes??? We have enough alternative energy sources to cover our electricity demand in the summer??? I don't think we do.

You're so right, that's why we've had so many power cuts already this summer.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The current gov't were only in power for about 20 months when the nuclear disaster happened.

It was decades and decades of LDP gov't's which should be carrying the can for the nuclear disaster. It was decades and decades of LDP gov't's which were bed fellows with the nuke village. It was the LDP gov't's which made the safety standards at the atomic power plants.

Probably, in the next general election, the DPJ will pay the price of the nuclear disaster. If the LDP wins that will be some kind of injustice.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I wish the pro-nuclear advocates would go back to the ice age as they were predicting that we would if we turned off all nuclear reactors ;). Now that all the reactors are turned off, why don't they actually go back to the ice age?

Good one.

Probably, in the next general election, the DPJ will pay the price of the nuclear disaster. If the LDP wins that will be some kind of injustice.

And then we'll all pay, in many, many ways.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

When the HECK were there blackouts, EVER? This guy is 100% lying for the interests of the nuclear industry

Last year, traffic accidents were reported as a result of traffic lights swithced off to save electricity - soon after that the blackouts in those wards were discontinued. In some wards electricity was not supplied in day time for 3 or 4 hours.

Some of my co-workers live in a ward which actually had blackouts (once or twice, as far as I remember) and they complained because it was unfair (which it was) - not all 23 ku's in Tokyo were scheduled for that.

Last year, Tokyo experienced reduced metro operations during rush hours and almost no airconditioning in the trains in the morning and at night (when trains were packed with commuters in the mid of summer.) I withenssed a woman (she was in her 20's) and a man (I guessed in his 50's) faint in the train due to the unbearable heat in the morning so she and he had to be rushed to the hospital from the next station which the train stopped at.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I've been telling folks who will listen to me in the US that something important is happening in Japan. With the recent protest numbers, it would appear change is in the air, and the end of nuclear plants may come quickly as we make a serious shift away to renewables. The US seems to not be paying attention, but I assure all that the industry and funders of this industry are taking heed. If we lost 150,000 homes and nearly a thousand lives due to such an incident it would be a real attention getting event. This is a story that is not going away. It may also get worse before it gets better. I find myself sitting in Kansas City wishing I could have attended the rally. This is not over.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Thomas AndersonJul. 18, 2012 - 12:11PM JST

Yes, wind farms are usually built within a year, not decades. Germany has installed 7.5 GW of solar panels in 2011.

Gemany also had 28GW total last year, (20% capacity), yet they produced just 14.7TWh (2% of capacity). Lets not forget all the Japanese solar production combined is only about 5GW/yr, even including exported panels. To make up 20% of power, you would need 380GW worth of solar panels and no less than 420GWh worth of batteries. Hardly ready to replace nuclear.

As for wind replacing nuclear, it has a better chance of covering all of Japan before the goal is met than actually powering anything. Even assuming 2TW per GW installed (higher than 20% rate normally assumed), you would need 100GW minimum to get 20%, and 250km^2 per GW average density, you are looking at 25000sq km, which is somewhere between the size of shikoku and kyushu.

There are no short term replacements for nuclear, and people simply don't seem to get that simple concept.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Thomas AndersonJul. 18, 2012 - 12:11PM JST

Save for the Oi reactors, there are zero nuclear reactors running, and we're doing fine.

If it wasn't for Oi, KEPCO would be past 98% mark today and start with their rolling blackouts. Hardly "doing fine" from an electrical standpoint.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

The fact that the Oi reactors are running is important, Thomas. Why are they running? To meet the rising electricity demand, I suppose.

You're talking about the ease of installation of wind mills, yes? How about discussions as to where they be isnstalled? Getting consent from the locals? How many? Possible environmental damage (You don't think they are totally harmless on their own, do you?). It will take decades to clear those. Not today. Not next year.

Don't get me wrong. I want to see those energy sources, I really do. I also want to use electricity for the summer too, though.

The LDP are a bunch of corrupt maggot voting for them will make it worse.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Sooner or later Japan has to change its energy mix. However, there are no options which can be implemented speedily this summer or next year. Well, if you do not count coal and oil-fueled plants of course.

Demonstrations are OK but asking for all the plants to remain shut is simply unrealistic.

I wonder how many of the protestors do realize that the stable supply of energy is the basis of everything – starting with the hospitals caring for the sick and injured, continuing with the smooth everyday operations of the public transport system, the industrial output, comfortable everyday life, etc. etc. And it has already been discussed that the alternatives at present – the coal and oil plants – are indeed polluting the environment spewing mercury and radioactive particles causing numerous health problems in addition to the energy production being quite costly. Why don’t people care?

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

JaneMJul. 18, 2012 - 12:42PM JST

I wonder how many of the protestors do realize that the stable supply of energy is the basis of everything – starting with the hospitals caring for the sick and injured, continuing with the smooth everyday operations of the public transport system, the industrial output, comfortable everyday life, etc. etc.

Very easy way to show them, simply revert production to exactly the same as before nuclear was shut down, minus nuclear. And then just ration the power. Of course, manufacturers will get 100% of their demands met, but let the rest feel the pinch as their hot water runs out, their phones go offline, and life grinds to a halt. Just 3 days and people will be holding town meetings on getting plants to restart faster.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

JaneM

Last year, traffic accidents were reported as a result of traffic lights swithced off to save electricity - soon after that the blackouts in those wards were discontinued. In some wards electricity was not supplied in day time for 3 or 4 hours. Some of my co-workers live in a ward which actually had blackouts (once or twice, as far as I remember) and they complained because it was unfair (which it was) - not all 23 ku's in Tokyo were scheduled for that.

Isn't that when TEPCO has forcibly ordered scheduled blackouts even though it was unnecessary.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Last year,.....

Last year there was chaos in the aftermath of one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history followed by the tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The rolling power-cuts were a preventative measure that were later shown not to have been necessary. Let's talk about this year and the future, not about last year when lots of mistakes were made and circumstances were far from normal.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@JaneM/basroil,

the post is about gov't town hall meetings on nuclear energy and not about protestors?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

basroil

Gemany also had 28GW total last year, (20% capacity), yet they produced just 14.7TWh (2% of capacity).

And Germany has produced 14.7TWh in just 6 months this year. 50% increase from last year. And solar panels in Germany already provides for 10%-50% of the peak demands, which is what's the most important here.

There are no short term replacements for nuclear, and people simply don't seem to get that simple concept.

Well obviously we're not saying that we can replace nuclear overnight, but we don't even need to "replace" nuclear with anything, since we're doing fine without nuclear reactors. And solar and wind farms will provide for the peak demands, which will make nuclear absolutely unnecessary and they can no longer use the excuse that "it might cause blackouts"

If it wasn't for Oi, KEPCO would be past 98% mark today and start with their rolling blackouts. Hardly "doing fine" from an electrical standpoint.

No, without Oi, KEPCO will have 26-7GW of electricity. Right now we're using 23GW. Hardly 98%.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Private residents using less than 350Kwh/month need to reduce their power consumption by 20%. I have acheived this for May and June, and I'm on target for July.

Private residents using more than 500kWh/month need to reduce their power consumption by 50%

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

How many of the nuclear power plants have improved the safety standards to a level that another nuclear disaster like last year can't ever happen again?

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Waste to Energy power plants instead of incinerators that wastes energy. Italy is the same way as Japan in assets 6 are not being utilized in Italy 6.7% of waste goes to the aste to energy power plant, Denmark 65% of waste goes to the waste to energy power plant , France 42.3% of waste goes to the waste to energy power plant , Germany 40% of waste go to the waste to energy power plant , Sweden 55% of waste go to the waste to energy power plant. Japan only has 7 waste to enery power plants that may get 1% of the waste.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sorry I messed up, I meant to say

Waste to Energy power plants instead of incinerators that wastes energy. Italy is the same way as Japan in assets are not being utilized in Italy 6.7% of waste goes to the waste to energy power plant

0 ( +2 / -2 )

zichiJul. 18, 2012 - 12:51PM JST

the post is about gov't town hall meetings on nuclear energy and not about protestors?

Please read the article, not the title. It does talk about protestors, and in fact the second half is almost exclusively so. Here's a small bit:

In a sign of the growing discontent, more than 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters marched in Tokyo on Monday, adding to pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, already struggling as his Democratic Party unravels over plans to hike the sales tax to curb public debt.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Thomas AndersonJul. 18, 2012 - 12:55PM JST

No, without Oi, KEPCO will have 26-7GW of electricity. Right now we're using 23GW. Hardly 98%.

"Right now" (still listed as lunch time rate until 2:05 when it's updated to the average rate for 1-2pm) KEPCO lists 24GW use and was at 24.7 GW when the post was made. That is about 98% of the 25GW they normally had, and 97% of their max production of around 25.5GW. Many people against nuclear, both protestors and town hall protestors, likely have no idea how much power they really use, which is why KEPCO had to restart regardless of opposition. In fact, with nuclear on, KEPCO is about the same use as all the other systems south of tohoku (86-90%). Without it we very well could see rolling blackouts, especially considering the 1GW excess used yesterday (and peak shift from 2pm to 5pm). How many at the town halls actually check the numbers?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Not one single person died as a result of radiation from the (Fukushima) accident.

It's really sad how some people think the danger is somehow over. But I guess they will distort semantics, claiming that they will die of cancer or leukemia, not radiation. Pffft! No concept of causality whatsoever...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

cleoJul. 18, 2012 - 12:51PM JST

Last year there was chaos in the aftermath of one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history followed by the tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The rolling power-cuts were a preventative measure that were later shown not to have been necessary.

Last year nuclear still produced 15% of Japan's electrical needs. A lot of people forget that.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

gaijinTechieJul. 18, 2012 - 02:01PM JST

It's really sad how some people think the danger is somehow over. But I guess they will distort semantics, claiming that they will die of cancer or leukemia, not radiation. Pffft! No concept of causality whatsoever...

That's a misconception I hear a lot of, especially from those who were interested in protests and town halls. Even using linear methods shown to be non-conclusive (in fact, most evidence goes against it), only 1300 deaths (3800 cases total) will be expected to be attributed to radiation caused cancer from Fukushima. However, that represents just 0.005% of cases, and is so small a number that you would not only never be able to tell, but that it actually doesn't affect life expectancy by even a day. If life expectancy is not changed, then a lot of people are getting worked up over nothing, since the primary argument used in the article above is that it will shorten their lives.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

basroil

Last year nuclear still produced 15% of Japan's electrical needs. A lot of people forget that.

so if future use of nuclear energy is limited to 15%, it won't be a problem then?

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

KEPCO is currently generating 29 GW of power and the second Oi reactor has not even started, tomorrow probably, which will put power generation at a least 32-33 GW. Higher than originally stated?

Some places in the TEPCO zone have temps of 39 deg, but TEPCO max demand is only around 90% even without a single nuclear reactor operating.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The 15% solution—which most experts expect the government to select—would require all 50 of Japan’s reactors, all but one of which are now idled for safety checks, to resume operations before gradually closing older units, an official at the government’s National Strategy Unit told reporters on Friday.

Prior to the disaster,35 reactors were generating 30% of total power. Don't see why 15% would need 50 reactors.

There are no longer 50 reactors.

Total number of reactors was 54, minus the 6 at the Fukushima 1 plant =48 minus the 4 at the second Fukushima plant + 46, minus 1 at Tokai which failed the stress test = 45, minus 2 at Tsuruga =43, minus 2 at Hamaoka=41 minus the 7 at the TEPCO Niigata plant=36 reactors.

Out of that total of 36 reactors if we deduct all those older than 30 years, I wonder what is left,certainly not 50?

1 ( +8 / -7 )

zichiJul. 18, 2012 - 02:36PM JST

KEPCO is currently generating 29 GW of power and the second Oi reactor has not even started, tomorrow probably, which will put power generation at a least 32-33 GW. Higher than originally stated?

No, they are DISTRIBUTING up to 29GW, they can only produce 22.4GW. The remaining 6.6GW come from secondary companies using mainly coal plants that were supposed to be permanently decommissioned because nuclear is cleaner. The KEPCO plans actually don't show any increase in power even up to Monday, so perhaps not.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

basroil

No, they are DISTRIBUTING up to 29GW, they can only produce 22.4GW. The remaining 6.6GW come from secondary companies using mainly coal plants

which secondary companies and which coal plants, names please!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Let's talk about this year

This year we do not have many alternatives save for the coal and gas-fueled plants.

I remember one of your last year’s posts, Cleo. You stated something to the effect that your granddaughter was living on a nuclear bomb (at the time I gathered that the nuclear bomb you referred to was Japan). Now, since 3/11 there have been thousands of earthquakes, some of which with seismic activity over 5, and we have not seen another major accident with the n-plants.

As long as those proved unsafe are decommissioned and investments are made to further develop new energy and ensure the safety of the plants in use, n-energy is the one which can provide steady electric supply without increasing CO2 emissions.

I wonder: if the woman who I saw faint because of the heat in the train and was rushed to hospital last year had been your daughter, how would you be thinking now? Or if some of your family had been involved in a traffic accident because of switched-off traffic lights? Painful to think about this? Unwanted questions?

There might be a great number of accidents due to insufficient supply of electricity but nobody actually thinks about this. At least not until they or their family suffer in some way or another.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Two weeks after he said it was vital to rebuild his company, the new chairman of TEPCO admitted restarts of reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture from April was looking difficult.

A number of errors were found in a stress test report submitted in January by the company as part of the restart process, and Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida has taken a cautious stance on the issue.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

I remember one of your last year’s posts, Cleo. You stated something to the effect that your granddaughter was living on a nuclear bomb (at the time I gathered that the nuclear bomb you referred to was Japan).

Then you have a better memory than I do, because I don't remember writing any such thing. I may have written to the effect that I didn't want her to live on a nuclear bomb, which is quite different.

Unwanted questions?

Not so much unwanted as irrelevant. The scheduled powercuts were unnecessary, which means the switched-off traffic lights and the lack of air-conditioning in crowded trains was also unnecessary. There was no need for traffic accidents or people fainting in trains.

As long as those proved unsafe are decommissioned

Decommissioning plants that are proved unsafe is common sense. The problem lies in restarting the plants that are not 'proven unsafe'. Considering all the lies and messing about we've witnessed thus far from the people who want to get the plants running again, are you ready to trust them when they say the plants 'haven't been proven unsafe'? Because I'm not.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Hiroicci: "So Smithjapan, you're saying that we have enough electricity without those reactors, yes??? We have enough alternative energy sources to cover our electricity demand in the summer??? I don't think we do."

Well guess what, you can't prove that we don't because they started the reactors at the Oi plant -- that was part of the reason they were in such a rush... not to meet 'peak summer demands', but to avoid the messy realization that there may not have been any blackouts if no reactors were onlines, meaning we don't need the nuclear power at all. And just as predicted, people are saying that BECAUSE the Oi reactors were restarted we're avoiding blackouts, as though they had proof.

Anyway, this article is about more government plants to promote nuclear power, and it's even more egg on their faces. Quite an embarrassment, this government.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Collusion or "Dango" is a national malaise.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is now a battle head to head with the forces of change versus the forces of corporations. Neither DPJ nor LDP will allow nuclear to be shut down because of their corporate masters. No one can know how this will play out.

If Japan can do it, then other countries can too. This could have great global ramifications and the nuclear industries all around the world will not like it.

This must lead to political change if no party represents the people. A Japan "Spring"?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

zichiJul. 18, 2012 - 04:04PM JST

which secondary companies and which coal plants, names please!

This is actually something that they should state, and that people should demand. KEPCO only states that they buy electricity from third parties. Considering the cost of power plants, we can assume that these third parties are using the old coal plants that KEPCO and others sold about a decade ago as the main source, with gas turbines as the secondary sources (as they are easier to implement) . People should know where their energy comes from, and that is a far more important issue than a few plant workers exercising their rights as citizens.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

basroil

People should know where their energy comes from, and that is a far more important issue than a few plant workers exercising their rights as citizens.

If the gov't moves ahead with the proposed plan to end the power companies monopoly over both power generation and power supply, then the situation will change.

People would not only who they are buying power from, but also how the power was generated. People will have a choice.

1 ( +7 / -7 )

Maybe I do have a better memory, after all.

Not so much unwanted as irrelevant.

Yes, when we do not want to admit something or think about it it soon becomes irrelevant. How do you know that the black outs were unnecessary, at least until people realized that they do have to use less electricity than before?

are you ready to trust them when they say the plants 'haven't been proven unsafe'? Because I'm not.

I do not wait for the government to tell me everything I want to know. I read, collect information, analyze it and think for my self, make informed decisions for my life. There is no plant - nuclear, oil, coal, geothermal, etc. which is 100% safe but we still continue using energy. So all things considered, which plants are polluting our environment the least (if you care to think on a global basis) ? And since we cannot install the necessary green facilities overnight, what options do we have left for the moment?

Or maybe we can keep the n-plants off, continue encreasing the CO2 emissions and wait for the government to waste our tax money by buying carbon emission rights from other countries? And believe me, billions of yen will be wasted in that way in addition to the further pollution and no real benefits for the tax payers in Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Maybe I do have a better memory, after all.

Somehow I don't think so.

when we do not want to admit something or think about it it soon becomes irrelevant. How do you know that the black outs were unnecessary, at least until people realized that they do have to use less electricity than before?

Do not want to admit what? That the blackouts last year were not necessary?

People did realise, and made efforts to reduce the amount of electricity used. Shops turned down their lighting, escalators were turned off or fitted with automatic switches, normally chilly a/c was adjusted to a saner temperature. People can, and will, do the same again and more, if that's what it takes to keep the nuclear plants closed down.

I read, collect information, analyze it and think for my self, make informed decisions for my life. There is no plant - nuclear, oil, coal, geothermal, etc. which is 100% safe but we still continue using energy.

I bow to your knowledge of and ability to analyse all things nuclear; personally I have to rely on the information regarding nuclear put out by 1) the people who have an interest in getting it stopped and 2) the people who have an interest in keeping it going. The problem with nuclear isn't only its safety (or lack thereof); take into account the huge subsidies, tax breaks, research budgets, maintenance and storage costs - not to mention the cost of compensation when a plant spews radiation over half the country - and it's obvious that it simply makes no economic sense. With all 54 plants up and running and providing 30% of Japan's power, electricity bills in Japan were on average higher than in either Europe or North America.

I've said it before, but if the huge amounts of money poured into nuclear so far had been poured into researching and developing renewable energy, there would be no need at all today to be reliant on fossil fuels.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sorry for the fact that many people do not know that METI has invested great amount of money in renewable energy research for years but they had difficulty convincing people to install solar panels for several reasons which have been discussed before. The research and promotion are ongoing but unfortunately Japan needed an accident like Dai ichi to wake up to the fact that there are alternatives to n-energy, coal and gas. Like it happens so often in such cases, people stop thinking logically and see only one side of the problem.

Life is not only black and white. There are so many colors and nuances and there are so many things to consider.

Be as sarcastic as you may but facts are facts and It is important that everybody does his/her own research before ever relying on something people they have never even met in person say. And before trying to impose their opinion by being sarcastic.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

JaneM

Sorry for the fact that many people do not know that METI has invested great amount of money in renewable energy research for years

But when compared to the trillions and trillions given to nuclear energy.

0 ( +6 / -7 )

With all 54 plants up and running and providing 30% of Japan's power, electricity bills in Japan were on average higher than in either Europe or North America

The electricity bills, like many other bills for goods produced in Japan, were higher than those in Europe and North America due to other economic factors like expensive labor, etc. Yet, thse prices included all maintenance and storage costs. But the electricity and for that matter subsequently all other bills will be even higher very soon with the feed-in tariff and the wider use of "green" energy.

You mention about tax breaks for n-energy but could you please provide a source for this? This is the first time I ever heard of such tax breaks. Rather, the power companies have been ones of the producers paying the most in taxes (I guess you know that Japan has one of the highest corporate taxes in the world, almost 40%) and with the mass output they have been enjoying imagine the amount of corporate tax.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

cleo,

With all 54 plants up and running and providing 30% of Japan's power, electricity bills in Japan were on average higher than in either Europe or North America.

Japanese power charges are 50% higher than America, and even higher than that when compared to British prices.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

JaneM,

since 1974, the power companies have received trillions and trillions in grants and subsidies. Yearly grants for R&D, recently up to ¥500 billion per year. Subsidies to build the atomic power plants. The building of the reactors in Fukui received ¥385 billion. Then there's the indirect grants to prefectures with atomic plants to keep those communities sweet on nuclear energy. Billions and Billions.

Then there's the liability insurance. In the event of a nuclear disaster like the one in Fukushima, the power companies are only liable for ¥120 billion even though the cost of the clean up and making the plant safe will cost the taxpayer, trillions and trillions.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Japanese power charges are 50% higher than America, and even higher than that when compared to British prices.

Thank you, zichi. I didn't have the figures to hand, but I knew they were higher.

The electricity bills, like many other bills for goods produced in Japan, were higher than those in Europe and North America due to other economic factors like expensive labor, etc.

One reason the bills were higher is that the 'value' of assets such as npp were factored into the 'costs' of providing electricity, so that the more npp that were built and operated by the power companies - supposedly supplying 'cheap' nuclear power - the higher the charges.

The tax breaks were not for nuclear energy as such, but for the local communities who agree to accept the construction of a npp; those communities were dredged in public money for public works projects etc that small local communities could otherwise never afford, thus keeping local taxes to a minimum. So it could be said that the corporate taxes paid by the power companies were ploughed back into buying off local communities.

METI has invested great amount of money in renewable energy research for years

The Japanese government spends more than any other government on energy research and development. Nuclear energy receives 64% of this, by far the greatest portion. By comparison, only 8% is spent on renewable energy, while 12% is spent on energy efficiency etc.

If 'a great amount of money' has been invested in renewable energy research, eight times that amount has been spent on R&D for nuclear energy. http://cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit113/nit113articles/nit113cost.html

1 ( +4 / -3 )

JaneM

METI are part of the cause for the nuclear disaster happening.   Kazuo Matsunaga who was the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's top official when the Fukushima disaster unfolded said he regretted underestimating the tsunami danger when METI was reviewing earthquake-resistance guidelines for nuclear plants before the crisis.

He was also involved in revising the guidelines as chief of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which METI oversees, between 2004 and 2005.

NISA, the nuclear regulatory watchdog, didn't force utilities to take tsunami countermeasures despite evidence from the devastating 2004 quake and tsunami off Sumatra, Indonesia, that "affected" a reactor-cooling pump at a nuclear power plant in India.

There was also little reference to tsunami risks in the revised quake-safety guidelines Japan compiled in 2006.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120518a2.html#.UAbQ5mVhiSM

0 ( +8 / -8 )

cleoJul. 19, 2012 - 12:12AM JST

One reason the bills were higher is that the 'value' of assets such as npp were factored into the 'costs' of providing electricity, so that the more npp that were built and operated by the power companies - supposedly supplying 'cheap' nuclear power - the higher the charges.

Actually, those costs have nothing to do with it. The costs for nuclear production currently stand at about 6 yen/kWh, comparable with the US cost for nuclear. We can assume that plant costs are minimal compared to fuel costs, which are nearly double that of US, since Japan has no fuel sources internally.

The second cost is that the government set up prices in such a way as to minimize cost to businesses, and thus large companies buy electricity at an average of 10 yen/kWh even though their use is nearly all daytime. Individuals on the other hand pay more than 25 yen/kWh for daytime, with peak in some places close to 60 yen.

The tax breaks were not for nuclear energy as such, but for the local communities who agree to accept the construction of a npp;

Not entirely true. Every non-fossil fuel power source has income tax reductions, nuclear at 15% along with hydro, solar at 50%.

If 'a great amount of money' has been invested in renewable energy research, eight times that amount has been spent on R&D for nuclear energy.

Well, Japan happens to own every major reactor design company and most nuclear manufacturing companies as well. It has made them quite a bit more than the amount they put in in income taxes. Additionally, most people forget that Japan not only spends more on nuclear, but spend more on renewables research as a fraction of GDP than any other major country. In fact, it's three times more than even germany.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

KEPCO is currently generating 29 GW of power and the second Oi reactor has not even started, tomorrow probably, which will put power generation at a least 32-33 GW. Higher than originally stated?

Not really.

25.17 GW without NPP (as per their estimation 5/17). The current 29GW is based on +1.18GW (No.3), +0.6GW (Hydro), +2.1 GW (Pumped Hydro thanks to #3)+0.3GW from other companies.

http://www.kepco.co.jp/pressre/2012/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2012/07/13/0713_4j_01.pdf

0 ( +5 / -5 )

But when compared to the trillions and trillions given to nuclear energy.

Pretty much offsets the increase in fuel costs of 2.7 trillion yen/yr if there are no NPP.

http://criepi.denken.or.jp/jp/kenkikaku/report/download/yY5t6t8yNcnQBXffbFYrptXYV73ehetX/report.pdf

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The second cost is that the government set up prices in such a way as to minimize cost to businesses

Most countries do the same, it's no reason for the price of electricity in Japan to be so much more than other countries. Japan charges businesses more for electricity than most members of the OECD.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7215

Every non-fossil fuel power source has income tax reductions

I'm not talking about income tax.

most people forget that Japan not only spends more on nuclear, but spend more on renewables research as a fraction of GDP than any other major country.

According to a report by the Pew Trust, Japan lags well behind other countries in investment in renewable energies; 15th in the G-20, accounting for only 0.7% ($800 million) of total G-20 investment and nowhere near Germany ($430 million).

http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Global_warming/G-20%20Report.pdf

1 ( +4 / -3 )

nigelboyJul. 19, 2012 - 12:41AM JST

25.17 GW without NPP (as per their estimation 5/17). The current 29GW is based on +1.18GW (No.3), +0.6GW (Hydro), +2.1 GW (Pumped Hydro thanks to #3)+0.3GW from other companies.

Page 4 states 5.95 to 6.04 from "other company". From page seven, even with nuclear they only produce 23GW at max. As of right now, if KEPCO had to provide it's own power, it would be under supplying (demand >23GW), and if they didn't have nuclear, since around 8am they would have been under.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

cleoJul. 19, 2012 - 01:15AM JST

According to a report by the Pew Trust, Japan lags well behind other countries in investment in renewable energies; 15th in the G-20, accounting for only 0.7% ($800 million) of total G-20 investment and nowhere near Germany ($430 million).

Last I knew 800 million was twice of 400 million. Perhaps you're mistaken somewhere. Regardless, Japan spend THE MOST (after USA) on RESEARCH for alternative energies. Other countries simply use Japan's research to buy Japanese panels and have no money left over for research (other than mapping their countries for better grid optimization).

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Ooops sorry, yes I was mistaken, that should be 4.3 billion for Germany. Way ahead of Japan.

Regardless, Japan spend THE MOST (after USA) on RESEARCH for alternative energies. Other countries simply use Japan's research to buy Japanese panels

Pity Japan doesn't spend a bit more money buying its own panels.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

cleoJul. 19, 2012 - 10:06AM JST

Pity Japan doesn't spend a bit more money buying its own panels.

It makes much more economic sense to make than use, especially for something as expensive as solar. Germany spends about as much installing solar panels each year as it does feeding it's own people. And even that is only 2% of their total energy needs.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

NISA, the nuclear regulatory watchdog, didn't force utilities to take tsunami countermeasures despite evidence from the devastating 2004 quake and tsunami off Sumatra, Indonesia, that "affected" a reactor-cooling pump at a nuclear power plant in India.

Actually, METI applied for budget to build higher walls at NNPs after the 2004 earthquake but the projects were deemed inreasonable and budget not approved thanks to a pretty-face politician who swore to "fight" the unaccounted spending of public money. Of course, such information has been conveniently forgotten by that "girl" and her party mates and I doubt there is any documentation which can be traced back to that case. Guess who the "girl" is?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The tax breaks were not for nuclear energy as such, but for the local communities who agree to accept the construction of a npp; those communities were dredged in public money for public works projects etc that small local communities could otherwise never afford, thus keeping local taxes to a minimum. So it could be said that the corporate taxes paid by the power companies were ploughed back into buying off local communities.

Tax money was ploughed to the communities surrounding the power plants. If you choose to look at it in this one way, then yes, the communities have been bought. This is HOW YOU CHOOSE to think. But have you ever considered the hundreds/thousands of jobs for the local people and better standard of living, etc. in areas which would have otherwise been depopulated by now? Why is it so difficult to consider a problem from more than one standpoint?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

METI are part of the cause for the nuclear disaster happening.

METI was part of the problem, but as I have said before, I have friends there who are quite different from the old generation bureaucrats. When I hear what they are doing/trying to do at present I cannot but respect them for their devotion and hard work. I know, there has been a lot of negative publicity in the media regarding ministry workers and THERE ARE still issues which have to be addressed. Believe me, many of the young people in METI are aware of the fact that they have to deal with the problems caused by the previous generation and have already shouldered the responsibility to deal with the most urgent matters. Those people are neither deaf nor made of stone. But we cannot get overnight solutions – sorry for repeating myself – life is not so simple and seldom gives us a chance to solve serious problems in the blink of an eye.

I know many people would never agree with the above and will show their disagreement by giving me thumbs down. But what is indeed important is: I hope that more readers will eventually choose to consider problems from more than only one point of view and acknowledge the efforts of those who are actually working to get Japan out of the crisis, which is much more than simply an n-plant crisis.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If 'a great amount of money' has been invested in renewable energy research, eight times that amount has been spent on R&D for nuclear energy.

Even though the solar and other renewables were not willingly accepted by the general public (the market was ridiculously small despite all the stimuli at the time), METI continued the research. The n-research continued, too, and it was only logical to invest much in something which was working well at the time and was economicly successful. A market mechanism which is quite common in free market economies.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

JaneM,

all the atomic safety agencies and other agencies mentioned in the report from the Diet Commission which investigated the cause of the nuclear disaster should be abolished.

That would include METI, NSC, NISA

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

JaneM

Actually, METI applied for budget to build higher walls at NNPs after the 2004 earthquake but the projects were deemed inreasonable and budget not approved thanks to a pretty-face politician who swore to "fight" the unaccounted spending of public money.

Why once again, should the taxpayer shell out billions to the nuke village. The power companies should have been ordered to increase the height of their plant sea walls and other safety standards, or face shut down, and at a cost to the power companies, not the taxpayer.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

JaneM,

Tax money was ploughed to the communities surrounding the power plants. If you choose to look at it in this one way, then yes, the communities have been bought. This is HOW YOU CHOOSE to think. But have you ever considered the hundreds/thousands of jobs for the local people and better standard of living, etc. in areas which would have otherwise been depopulated by now? Why is it so difficult to consider a problem from more than one standpoint?

Why should the prefectures which have atomic power plants receive billions and billions in so call nuclear energy tax. The atomic plants were deemed to be safe by METI, NISA, and NSC. The atomic power plants created thousands of jobs the prefectures didn't have before.

Many of these prefectures also got further bribe monies from the power companies, like building a new shopping mall, a new sports stadium, and even giving well paid jobs to local politicans.

All of these kinds of payaments should cease, immediately.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

JaneM,

all those that were part of the nuclear chain and the decision making which led to the nuclear disaster need to be accountable and at least lose their jobs, golden handshakes and pensions. Some of them, like the TEPCO board of directors should be serving time, say as much time as it takes to make the atomic power plant safe.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

all those that were part of the nuclear chain and the decision making which led to the nuclear disaster need to be accountable and at least lose their jobs, golden handshakes and pensions. Some of them, like the TEPCO board of directors should be serving time, say as much time as it takes to make the atomic power plant safe.

This is what I have stated before and I do not see the point of your mentioning it now.

You seem to miss my point yet again that the people who are currently dealing with the problem are different from those who were part of the chain of command in the days and couple of weeks immediately after the disaster. What is unclear about this?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

all the atomic safety agencies and other agencies mentioned in the report from the Diet Commission which investigated the cause of the nuclear disaster should be abolished. That would include METI, NSC, NISA

I am not sure you what you mean by abolishing METI - the ministry is much larger than the agency in charge of NS and also it is in charge of many other matters. You already know the new safety agency will be independent from METI and the government come autumn so what is your point again?

Why once again, should the taxpayer shell out billions to the nuke village.

Please remember that not only the general public pays taxes. The power companies have paid huge corporate taxes so it is more than likely that the budget which METI asked for to build higher tsunami prevention walls would have come from that pool. You might come up with the argument once it is called tax it is public money, true. But yet...

The tax payers were very comfortable using the energy provided by n-plants until they were forced to open their eyes to the reality and get the notion that this country can have other options. It is very easy to blame everything on one organization despite the fact that it was actually doing the renewable energy research and promoting the renewables. Free market economy has rules which cannot be altered or dictated by a single organization (be it METI or the government or any other one for this matter) - if it were possible we would not call it democracy.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

JaneM

The tax payers were very comfortable using the energy provided by n-plants until they were forced to open their eyes to the reality and get the notion that this country can have other options.

The customers of the atomic power companies didn't have a say in the matter. Power from nuclear energy wasn't cheap with the power companies being allowed to overcharge and charge private users twice as much as power provided to companies, and some companies like TEPCO even admitted to overcharging all its customers by 10% for 10 year, sorry no refunds there.

Once money is collected by the gov't it becomes the public taxpayer money. The atomic power companies make billion and billions of profit.

I don't blame everything on your beloved METI, I blame all the agencies which are part of the nuclear chain decision making. All the bad guys managed to escape accountability?

Free market economy has rules which cannot be altered or dictated by a single organization (be it METI or the government or any other one for this matter) - if it were possible we would not call it democracy.

The first duty of any gov't is protection of the people. We have laws against crime, we also have laws based on health and safety. METI, the overlord of NISA didn't apply those laws but instead colluded with the nuke village.

Like I said, all those agencies should be abolished.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

JaneM

you can teach an old dog (METI, NISA, NSC) new tricks, but it's still an old dog.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I see the sock puppets have been set to play again.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is no shortage of electricity for KEPCO's service area, even without any restarts.

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/s/article/2012071890094758.html

KEPCO has so much capacity that it is planning to shut down eight fossil fuel powered plants. http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/e-news/20120707-OYO1T00340.htm?from=main1

Do power companies shut down power plants in the face of a shortage? No. There is no shortage.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

warnerbroJul. 21, 2012 - 01:02AM JST

There is no shortage of electricity for KEPCO's service area, even without any restarts.

Says who, a few newspaper reporters that were proven wrong the moment they published? The power draw last week peaked at over 25.5GW, more than the supply possible at the time (also about 25.5GW, but over-provisioning is needed). This week they expect it to hit almost 26GW, and that would have been impossible to supply before Oi.

KEPCO has so much capacity that it is planning to shut down eight fossil fuel powered plants.

Not shut down, idle. Those plants will still provide peak power when needed, but will not be on 24/7 as they had been. This is a misconception that is common among those who think about now only, and forget about the fact that companies plan for future needs.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Apparently KEPCO has 26.4 GW of capacity without nuclear. Besides if they really wanted, they could buy electricity from other utilities, use pumped-hydro storage, etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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