politics

Hosono meets Fukui governor to discuss restarting Oi reactors

36 Comments

Nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono met with Fukui Gov Issei Nishikawa on Monday to seek support for the central government's provisional decision to restart two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant.

Hosono explained to Nishikawa that the government will strengthen oversight of safety measures by experts from the nuclear safety commission and that experts from Fukui will also be invited to monitor the plant's operations, Fuji TV reported.

Nishikawa told a news conference after the meeting that he was still unconvinced. He said that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has not satisfactorily explained to the public why it is necessary to restart the reactors. He questioned whether restarting the reactors was just a short-term measure or whether it was really necessary for the Japanese economy, Fuji reported.

Nishikawa also criticized Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto for changing his stance and approving the restart of the reactors.

Opponents of restarting the reactors have come under intense pressure from the central government and business groups, citing expected power shortages in July, August and September.

Oi plant officials say that once approval is gained, it will take about three weeks for the two reactors to become fully operational.

© Japan Today

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36 Comments
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It is impossible for nuclear reactors to be 'safe'

By their operational nature in an earthquake prone country as Japan the evidence suggests the opposite!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Saw all the street lights still on again this morning at 8:00 in Akashi City area. Can't be too worried about shortages or even saving money for that matter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@zichi,

You say KEPCO have given a number of 6-8 weeks to restart, the article says 3 weeks to become fully operational. Ebisen has commented a couple of times earlier stating that it takes only a day or two, possibly three.

The different number especially in Ebisens case must be for a reactor that is already fully fueled and ready to go (like a restart after auto SCRAM ) . Which I don't think is the case at Oi, but I am not sure what their current status is.

Anyway, if you have some source for that 6-8 weeks number that you can remember, I would like to take a look. As always, it is not that I doubt your information, I am just trying to evaluate the discrepancies in the information.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

vending machines, moving escalators, tokyo sky tree, pachinko parlors, night time baseball games... lets start here first and THEN see how much electricity we need!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You say KEPCO have given a number of 6-8 weeks to restart… Ebisen has commented a couple of times earlier stating that it takes only a day or two, possibly three. I am not sure what their current status is.

On June 1, Edano and KEPCO said it takes 6 weeks to restart Oi NPPs

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXDZO42125100S2A600C1EA2000/

Yesterday, KEPCO used only 59% of it's total power available. KEPCO have stated it will take 6-8 weeks before the reactors are producing max power. If they are not restarted before July, they won't be much use for the summer peak demand?

Summer peak demand is not a big issue concerning restarting Oi NPPs according to chief cabinet secretary Fujimura.

At a press conference on May 21:

REPORTER: I believe that Mayor Hashimoto of Osaka mentioned a proposal to restart the Unit 3 and 4 reactors during the peak summer period only. What is the Government's response to this proposal?

FUJIMURA: A temporary restarting of operations that only considers the stringent supply and demand situation is not a scenario that we are contemplating.

http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/tyoukanpress/201205/21_a.html

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thanks Blair! That was exactly what I was looking for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But, the problem is, these reactors have been off-line for getting on six months and they have done bugger all about improving the safety, so how can they expect anyone to support it? I also have no doubt the mayor of Osaka received a brown paper bag or other 'incentives' to do a backflip on his stance.

3 ( +4 / -0 )

the government will strengthen oversight of safety measures by experts from the nuclear safety commission

Note that it only mentions oversight of safety, not actual safety! The actual experts and inspectors from the regulatory authorities, a great number who are either ex-utility staff, do not have an impressive track record so far...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@kurisupisu, it is impossible for airplanes to be safe. By their operational nature as flying machines they have a tendency to crash is something goes wrong. Just recently one did in Nigeria. Will you stop flying?

@zichi

Yesterday, KEPCO used only 59% of it's total power available.

Where do you get this data from?

I still back an international team of experts to scrutinize reactors prior to starting them up again. It won't avoid those brown paper bags - it's human nature -, but at least it'll mitigate it.

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm liking this Nishikawa more and more, and am glad as hell he's not kow-towing to the central government like even the mighty Hashimoto has done (and greatly hurt his reputation). I hope he continues to fight this tooth and nail. It'll be interesting to see how the government plans to restart them not only without the public's support, but without Nishikawa's.

"Hosono explained to Nishikawa that the government will strengthen oversight of safety measures by experts from the nuclear safety commission and that experts from Fukui will also be invited to monitor the plant’s operations, Fuji TV reported."

Here's an idea -- strengthen safety measures FIRST, THEN talk about restarting the NPPs!

Vesperto: "I still back an international team of experts to scrutinize reactors prior to starting them up again. "

Unfortunately, the Japanese government won't. Hell, they'll barely invite the governor of the prefecture in which they want to run the things to check them out. And we all know how, in the wake of the 3/11 Fukushima disaster, the government turned down US inspectors -- they want complete deniability.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hosono meets Fukui governor to discuss restarting Oi reactors

Why not put it to a national referandum? it affects everybody!!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@zichi,

Yesterday, KEPCO used only 59% of it's total power available.

[June 4, 2012]

KEPCO used 82% of it's total power available.

max supply capacity: 23,420,000kw

max demand: 19,410,000kw

http://www.kepco.co.jp/setsuden/graph/index.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

zichi, even if your 59% is true (highly unlikely, but it may be true for a Sunday without much activity), it is not even that hot yet, nor has the transport schedule ramped up. The difference between a regular spring day and a very hot summer day can be 75% or more, with peak use in 2010 being almost three times the average use for five days straight. If we encounter a string of days with temperatures above 37C, and the power goes out, we will see hundreds die. Even with power on we see a few dozen deaths that could have been avoided with proper air conditioning. If they used 82% peak as Blair said, we are looking at frequent rolling blackouts, not just sporadic ones.

As for the reactors "up in 3 weeks", as a mechanical engineer who studied power plants including nuclear power, give me a break. They might be able to start warm up procedures in three weeks, and commercial power two months after that, assuming that no subsystems have been changed and the fuel rods are still at optimal ratios. These reactors have been off so long that you can't do a quick restart, and instead have to start from step one to ensure safety.

As for "safety cannot be assured" comments, that's like saying that cars are deathtraps waiting to happen, and airplanes are flying coffins. Sure you can't assure 100% safety, but more people die every year in car accidents and airplane accidents than all the deaths caused by all the nuclear accidents of the world so far. Statistically speaking, nuclear is much safer than any mode of transportation, and will contribute to less deaths than the alternative energy source for Japan (fossil fuels including coal, which is known to have caused many more health issues than nuclear power, before including coal mining deaths)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What kind of discussions are these?

Discussing whether or not to restart? No.

Discussing whether to keep them off-line? No.

The title says it all. They are 'discussing' restarting. This means the government pushing for a restart now, regardless, without addressing any more safety concerns, and without any further concessions.

Actually we can sense that those in the power industry just want to get back to how it was before. Pretend nothing happened. Back to business without any extra work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Conspiracy theory: wouldn't it be in the interest of KEPCO to inflate the electricity consumption levels in order to facilitate the restart of their own reactors?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zichi,

It's hass accurate as it gets?

That's the whole point of it being a conspiracy theory. Wouldn't KEPCO benefit from inflating those values? Or is that company a pinnacle of integrity? Can that data be obtained elsewhere for cross-checking?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If they are convinced that it is probably safe to use the reactors I am of the opinion that they should use them. If safety is in question you should deactivate reactors if there is reason to not be afraid you should activate it. Not out of some absurd obsession with exploiting any and all tools at your disposal. No to prevent your country from falling apart. Producing enough elektricity and selling it to stabilize the economy is more important than some fear of the all consuming earthquake monster that is going to bite you in the ass.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@zichi, try to reply to a post just once. Your number of 59% was flat out wrong (only possible way to get anything near that was including the idled nuclear plants), rather the right number for usage was listed at 85%, likely due to low flow conditions into hydro dams (KEPCO uses a few, mostly in the hundreds of MW region). And that was with just 24C peak temperature, the average temperature in the second week of August is over 32C. If you are an engineer, you should be able to see that the largest increase in energy is yet to come, since right now AC is minimal.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

They have three numbers available at that site, two which change day to day, one that changes hour to hour. The current use at KEPCO right now is 72%, even at 10pm they are very high. Where I used to live in the USA in comparison, typically had about 30% use around this time of the day. Unless the Fukui Governor is smart enough to do simply math, they will have a very difficult time in the hot summer months.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Has an electrical engineer, I'm more than capable of reading the daily power chart provided by KEPCO. I am also able to understand the difference between power capacity and actual power output, transmission loss and the amount of power used. So butt out

Then I would suggest using the figures during the anticipated peak demand usage instead of some % during nightime when most of us are in bed, thank you.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Nigelboy, You don't seem to know what you are talking about or what I commented on was the daily power figures provided by KEPCO and has nothing to do with "anticipated peak demand" which I assume you mean during the summer peak period?

No. The anticipated peak demand usage refers to the anticpated usage during the peak time (2~3pm) which is forecasted on a daily basis. The 50 percentile you got was a usage % during the non-peak hours which typically falls during the night time when the majority of population is asleep. Perhaps I would stop the insults if you stop using deceiving figures to make your point.

Since you've mentioned the peak period, during The summer, KEPCO without nuclear power will have a power shortage of 5.8%, in July, and 6.4% in August. The gov't have requested Chugoku, Chubu and Hokuriku power companies to supply KEPCO with 5% of their generated power.

That's the assumption that KEPCO customers will reduce 15%. This is also subject to Chugoku, Chubu, and Hokuriku customers to reduce consumption thereby allowing these companies to send power to KEPCO. We discussed this before, zichi.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

zichi, most of the public have no clue how power production works, nor how much they really used. For example, what uses more electricity, charging up your electric car (fifty percent charge left), or using an electric heating unit (hokkaido has many)? How about using a 1500W microwave to heat your water vs using an electric water heater? Or better yet, what uses more electricity, a department store AC system or a car factory door assembly line? Last i checked, the Japanese parliament has less engineers than the US congress even though they have more members.

As for anticipated peak demand, as nigelboy and myself stated, they are daily AND hourly values. The power company actually cannot react to demand, they must anticipate it and have enough power to supply the proper voltage. Their equations are quite accurate, and actual power use generally falls within 5% (below supply), if not, you would have brownouts or even blackouts. From the numbers right now, they will have power shortages late July, and possible blackouts in August. That also means that Tokyo can't rely on them to transfer power like they did last year.

If companies in the KEPCO service area are to be expected to produce (i.e. make money, taxes, and jobs), they need stable and cheap power. The only way for that is to get that extra 30% back online.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

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