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Industry minister tries to convince public on need for nuclear energy

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Resource poor nation? Japan has the 3rd largest reserves of geothermal energy in the world, great amounts of sunshine so with the turnover rate of house building - solar on every new house would vastly increase it's solar PV potential. And with over 70% of land wooded - great potential for biomass energy. REALLY? a resource poor nation?

15 ( +20 / -5 )

Yeah, Japan uses only 3% alternative energy. As I've said before, Japan has a chance to become a world leader in alternative energy, but they just keep whining about fuel costs and how much the need nuclear power. The only reason they need nuclear power is because they have invested billions of dollars in it and refuse to let it go. Now, they have put a 'token'' woman in charge of gaining public support. It's pretty pathetic really.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

Japan is very human resource poor, as this Minister mother's comment shows. The country totally lacks political leaders with creativity, compassion and a concern for future generations. How can any highly earthquake prone country with a terrible nuclear track record keep going down this deadly road? Ifd66 is spot on about Japan being sustainable energy rich. When will the sun finally rise in this nation?

11 ( +14 / -3 )

“It’s an issue difficult to explain in short phrases ...." - so give it a try with a lengthy explanation. People still won't understand why nuclear energy is needed. I fully agree with everything that has been written so far. As always... it is just a money question and big companies supporting the government (as well as vice versa).

2 ( +6 / -4 )

So, Abe's plan is to put a woman out there to deliver his tired old message of nuclear energy because he thinks the public will swallow this pill much easier if a chick says it?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

the world’s strictest safety guidelines...

Sounds great in theory, but people know that they won't be applied, and indeed are not being applied. The 2 reactors in Kyushu that have been approved to start have no proper evacuation plans in force, and many of the required safety improvements are just promises written on pieces of paper.

It will take more than employees being told to write glowing accounts to influence votes and large brown envelopes to local politicians to regain the trust of people. The myth of 'Safe Nuclear Power' has been destroyed...

11 ( +13 / -2 )

read the book "green illusions" before u start touting wind and solar.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Can anyone tell me how many people are proved directly killed by the radiation in Fukushima Disaster? How many people are killed by airpollution and mining ? Countless! Wind and solar energy are not stable at all. That means you should rely on weather to use the eletricity. PUBLIC SHOULD RELY ON NUMBERS TO SEE THE FACTS. Nuclear reactors are not nuclear bombs. They never explode. The public should not be panic because of the rumors. Do your reseach, then you can talk. And Japantoday, do not delete my comments again. If you guys really care about the casualties, do not drive or walk outside, they are far more dangerous than nuclear energy.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

"anti-stupidity" ... how many people got killed directly by the Fukushima accident? Why not ask: how many people will die in the future because of Fukushima! Nuclear reactors don't explode? Right ... but nuclear reactors can (and did) cause meltdowns. Nuclear reactors are NOT safe! And if you were able to understand German, this would be eye-opening: http://www.zdf.de/zdfzoom/zdfzoom-taeuschen-tricksen-drohen-32073914.html?tabNo=1#. An interesting report about wht's going on, with highly qualified people (Kyoto University, former Prime minister etc.) talking about the facts. Of course you will never get to see this in Japan!!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@klausdorth, German will regret. We can bet $1000 on that.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Anti-stupidity - Are you aware of the 50% increase in thyroid cancer of children in the areas effected by the fallout? Of course, there is no direct evidence to support that it was a result of the meltdowns. The government was very quick to eliminate those facts. Are you also aware of the 100+ suicides that have occurred in the 100,000+ people that were displaced by the meltdowns? And, how about the handful of workers that have worked themselves to death at the plant with their clean up operation? No direct deaths is a false statement.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

"Anti_stupidity" ... German(y) will regret what? Providing a report that contains facts about Fukushima? Bet $1.000 on what? Facts are facts and can't be denied.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

harvey pekarSep. 22, 2014 - 08:22AM JST So, Abe's plan is to put a woman out there to deliver his tired old message of nuclear energy because he thinks the public will swallow this pill much easier if a chick says it?

And .... pretty sure it's going to work...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you guys pay me, I can live in the exclusion zone of Fukushima. The fact is this level of radiation would only increase the cancer rate slightly to a small portion of people. Of cousre, one should better avoid drinking the local milk.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Is Industry Minister Obuchi insane? Fukushima Daiichi is already the worst nuclear disaster in history and promises to become a whole lot worse if Building Four collapses. Japan should emulate Sweden and look at ECAT cold fusion http://hydrofusion.com/news/wanted-pilot-customer-for-ecat-1-mw-plant , accelerate solar to microwave power from satellites or lunar stations, expand its geothermal program or build a hypersonic transportation system using 6-passenger capsules traveling through vacuum tubes to replace its passenger rail system at a tremendous reduction in energy costs.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@anti_stupidity

You really don't need the "anti" before your pseudo...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Invest your time and money into something safer, look to iceland who produce so much energy from natural sources

4 ( +5 / -1 )

anti_stupiditySep. 22, 2014 - 09:23AM JST If you guys pay me, I can live in the exclusion zone of Fukushima. The fact is this level of radiation would only increase the cancer rate slightly to a small portion of people.

You understand that asking for money to do something you try to defend doesn't help your case right ?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Industry minister tries to convince public on need for nuclear energy

Do not envy this poor woman at all. An analogy would be to a spouse who gets caught cheating trying to convince their partner that they should take them back and trust them going forward. Everyone knows the nuclear industry acted for years in a totally selfish manner and ignored all the numerous warning signs and calls to put safety first. But now, they "have the world's strictest safety guidelines", so let's forgive and forget.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

In the future, yes, Japan should invest more into renewable energy. However, we are not at a point where renewable energy sources are reliable enough to replace standard forms of energy generation.

Furthermore, the problem a lot of people also seem to ignore is that transferring to another energy source (that would fill the gap that nuclear energy occupied) would take another decade, and Japan's energy needs are pretty desperate now.

These reactors have to come back online for the time-being, and they need to come back online sooner rather than later.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I think the issues is two fold, one nuclear power is scary and as the nuclear accidents have occurred, and are continuing to occur, you can't blame anyone but I think in Japan there is another issue..

People have realised they can't trust pro-nuclear government setup safety regulation and industry.. The Japanese public has had a lack of transparency throughout the buildup of 50 something plants, and the self regulating industry put profit before safety and even till today make legitimately independent inspections and regulation difficult.

I think they are going to have a very hard time convincing anyone until they first convince people that they actually have peoples best interests at heart.

As pointed out.. Japan could have taken advantage of this disaster and boosted the manufacturing and electronics industry by adopting other forms of power generation.. however the amukudari old boys network is only interested in protecting themselves.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

oh yes geothermal and wind- if there was true geothermal that could be controlled they would be using it- it would mean free money to the corporations- charge people for only the cost of sinking a shaft. but it is not so. as for Wind- sure you can line the whole coast of japan with wind turbines farms, all the mountains all the plains. - also watch all the tourists leave..... - and then start replacing the turbines every 12-15 years or so

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japan has the 3rd largest reserves of geothermal energy in the world, great amounts of sunshine

the biggest problem with geothermal is the risk of earthquakes. digging so deep into the earth can potentially cause more earthquakes and also surface subsidence. Also, japan may be too mountainous to effectively build and tranport geothermal energy.

sunshine isn't the problem. it's the vast amount of land required to make solar energy viable. also, at most it only produces energy for 12 hours a day and no possiblity of storing the unused energy created.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan has a chance to become a world leader in alternative energy, but they just keep whining about fuel costs and how much the need nuclear power.

What is the reason some enterprising person or persons haven't taken the chance yet? Is there some stubling block such as cost-efficiency getting in the way?

The only reason they need nuclear power is because they have invested billions of dollars in it and refuse to let it go.

Ah. So whose money would be going down the drain if they do let it go? Who invested this money?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think the English speaking world understands the trend in the world to move from nuclear to sustainable energy - but the key issue is if those in the country who understand only Japanese (and only watch NHK) do. As most readers of JT understand the traditional media in Japan is controlled.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan is caught between a rock and a hard place. For years the population was fed the myth that nuclear power is safe. Recent events have proven that this is not the case. Furthermore, the previous DPJ government established some pretty ambitious greenhouse gas reductions that were not based on fact. What can the country do? Is it to impose economic ruin on itself to placate the vocal minority who will have nothing to do with nuclear power? On the other hand, is it to go back to business as usual despite being faced by a population who is now uneasy about nuclear power? I don't envy the minister trying to balance all these issues....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The government should turn the lights off by allowing a blackout to occur. It would convince the population very very fast that the nucleat reactors are so much needed.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Obuchi has a long way to go. She should have done this from the beginning:

Get the nuke agency to create a cute mascot. Have the mascot outside all the major stations with good looking chic tarento handing out pamphlets titled "Nukes are kawaii".

Then have all the schools next month teach the kids that nuke energy is cool and Japanese nuclear waste is special and all the foreigners in the world do not understand this fact. Have the kawaii mascot at the schools to reinforce the nukes are kawaii message, and nukes are not dangerous - see the mascot is kawaii. Have NHK and the newspapers run specials each Saturday that Japan is a special country and patriots would want Tokyo to restart the nukes.

Have a special day next month where all the dramas on TV deal with blackouts because the nukes were not restarted. During the commercial breaks the kawaii mascot is at a different plant saying "It is so unfortunate the plant is running to power your job and home."

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan is caught between a rock and a hard place. For years the population was fed the myth that nuclear power is safe. Recent events have proven that this is not the case.

Not really. First, no one has officially died as a result of the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima. Or, if you want to believe that they just aren't reporting deaths, then number is till relatively low as compared to the millions who die as a result of burning fossil fuels - the alternative to nuclear energy. On top of this, the problem at Fukushima was a human failing - they didn't want to spend the money to make Fukushima safe, and ignored the safety warnings.

Nuclear power can be safe, it just done safely. Of course, that human failing may still exist, it's hard to have faith in the Japanese government.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@kyushubill - probably thats the general way of convincing the public of anything in japan ;-)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

RickyVee - sunshine isn't the problem. it's the vast amount of land required to make solar energy viable. also, at most it only produces energy for 12 hours a day and no possiblity of storing the unused energy created.

Another misnomer! The rooftop of every apartment building and commercial building is ample space to supply huge amounts of solar energy. Also, geothermal energy does not require deep drilling in japan nor is it a huge earthquake risk. Every onsen in Japan can generate electricity. Do onsens create earthquakes? I don't think so.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Nuclear power can be safe, it just done safely. Of course, that human failing may still exist, it's hard to have faith in the Japanese government.

That may be true elsewhere just not in Japan which is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and has a long history of powerful earthquakes and tsunami plus all the additional problems of many active volcano's, typhoons and other natural phenomena. Even the NRA, have stated that no reactor in Japan can be considered 100% to be safe.

The problems of making the reactors safe don't stop there. There's also the problems of reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel and it's longer term safe storage. There's the problem of the near full capacity of the nuclear fuel in the cooling pools located at the 18 atomic plants around the country. There are about 20,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel in those pools.

The design of the cooling pools might not have been the best idea. The Fukushima No 4 cooling pool located about 100 feet above ground came very close to collapsing from the earthquake.

There's the problem of how and where to store the 150 tons of plutonium already produced from reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel.

Prior to the 3/11 disasters, nuclear energy was a major part of power production generating about 27% of total power from 54 reactors. According to the NRA, once the reactor safety inspections are complete it's unlikely that in future no more than 20 reactors will be used to generate about 7-10% of total power, a such smaller figure. Nuclear energy will never again be a major part of power generation. The building of new atomic plants will become almost impossible with people refusing to have them in their communities.

There's the problems of decommissioning so many reactors, which by law the power utilities are suppose to pay for, and where to store all the high level nuclear waste that will be produced.

There's the cost of the total of the nuclear disaster and when business loss is included will amount to more than ¥50 trillion and will take many decades to try and make safe, if ever.

Nuclear power can be made safe, just not here in Japan.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

“It’s an issue difficult to explain in short phrases—we have to take seriously voices of concerns after the accident in Fukushima,”

So, she says she understands how dangerous nuclear power is, being a mother and having visited the Fukushima plant, and that it needs to be considered slowly, but we need to stop being stupid and quickly accept nuclear power?

This woman's paradoxical statements are so see through she's an open door. Hopefully she's shown it soon. She'll never get the public on her side, and they'll restart the plants anyway. She's just the scapegoat for when someone needs to apologize for ignoring their own promises to not do it without the public consent.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

no wonder prior to the climate summit in NY this week starting today,,and with all the marches going on in major cities around the world to convey the message of climate change or climate justice, nothing is happening here in japan (as long as i am concerned). and as the saying goes, the hardest thing to do is to change the stubborn status quo.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

at most it only produces energy for 12 hours a day and no possiblity of storing the unused energy created.

What makes you think this? I know people with solar homes here, and they pipe their unused power to the power companies, and get paid for it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i did find one article somewhere talking about solar islands in japan built since last year..

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2550618/japan_solar_islands_replace_nuclear_power.html

i hope that gives hope for more (new stuff like these) in future.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I guess the gift shop in Fukushima isn't working. And all the children there who now have thyroid cancer. Might as well celebrate cancer.

Japan is so much better than this, can and has been off nuclear for years by using fossil fuels, but can get off or reduce the fossil fuels too. There is plenty to do, when you start doing it. I remain hopeful for a nuclear free Japan. For a country full of engineers I know it's possible

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Industry minister tries to convince public on need for nuclear energy

Squint, and you can see con twice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ifd66,

Resource poor nation? Japan has the 3rd largest reserves of geothermal energy in the world, great amounts of sunshine so with the turnover rate of house building - solar on every new house would vastly increase it's solar PV potential. And with over 70% of land wooded - great potential for biomass energy. REALLY? a resource poor nation?

Japan has approximately 1GW of easily exploitable geothermal energy - not a lot. The amount of solar you propose would need massive storage capacity, grid updates, cost a lot, and the solar cell production would probably generate great amounts of waste. As for the proposal to use the trees of Japan to power Japan - there's complications over ownership of the trees, maintaining the woods in a sustainable way, and releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The country has arrived at its energy crisis because for many decades it invested ¥trillions into nuclear energy without the same levels of investments in other energies, like renewables. Since the shut down of all the reactors it has been trying to play catch-up.

Even with the restart of the safe reactors, it will only reduce the fossil fuel imports by about 10% or ¥1 billion per day. There will still be a need for fossil fuels regardless of whatever other energies are being used.

As well as investing in renewable energies, the country need to build better cleaner safer fossil fuel power plants.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

StrangerlandSep. 22, 2014 - 12:42PM JST

at most it only produces energy for 12 hours a day and no possiblity of storing the unused energy created.

What makes you think this? I know people with solar homes here, and they pipe their unused power to the power companies, and get paid for it.

I think he meant that the power companies have no real way to store the energy you will produce during the day to provide it back to you on night. So you still need another production mean on night time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If an independent body declares a power plant safe and not along a fault line then why not allow it to operate? I just believe any new technology is costly. Are the rest of the consumer aware of bearing the brunt of rising taxes and prices just to pave the way to a greener earth?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

safety guidelines

These two words sum up all the reasons for not using nuclear power in Japan.

Japan doesn't have safety REGULATIONS. It has safety GUIDELINES.

A regulation is something you HAVE to follow, and normally has pretty severe penalties if you don't follow the rules.

Japan has only guidelines, which nuclear companies regularly ignore, and one just has to look at the huge number of nuclear power plants running outside of the government-industry agreed "guideline" age of 30 years to see that guidelines just don't cut it.

Until Japan puts in place hard REGULATIONS the nuclear industry in Japan will continue to be unsafe, because the guidelines cost more to implement than the non-existant fines and penalties for not following the guidelines.

In short, Japan has no stick, no carrot and that means no change.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the only way solar will become mainstream here is if the gov makes it mandatory that all new homes must carry say a 3KW system on there roofs. my father has a 9KW system on his roof and hasnt had an electricity bill for the last 3 yrs, will pay for itself within 6-8yrs

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan doesn't have safety REGULATIONS. It has safety GUIDELINES.

Japan has many safety regulations for the nuclear power plants and the likes of TEPCO were prosecuted in the past for breaking them. Since the formation of the new Nuclear Regulatory Authority what has been issued have been called guidelines instead of law abiding regulations. That is unfortunate, but the previous regulations remain law and in force.

Another unfortunate is, in the past those regulations weren't always enforced as strongly as they should have been. In about 2006 TEPCO was warned its Fukushima seawall was too low for a predicted tsunami. TEPCO ignored the warning when instead the regulations should have forced TEPCO to increase the height.

Regardless of regulations or guidelines, the nuclear energy companies should have built and maintained their atomic plants to the highest of safety standards. Japanese companies are not the only ones which have failed in that respect.

Another major nuclear disaster will happen again in another country because profits are put ahead of safety. For many, human life is cheap!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Another misnomer! The rooftop of every apartment building and commercial building is ample space to supply huge amounts of solar energy. Also, geothermal energy does not require deep drilling in japan nor is it a huge earthquake risk. Every onsen in Japan can generate electricity. Do onsens create earthquakes? I don't think so.

that is simply not economical and feasible to place solar panels on all houses and buildings. a large building wouldn't even be able to run the AC on one floor with solar panels on the roof.

you're talking about supplying warm water for onsens. we're talking about supplying a major source of energy for whole cities. that would require a massive geothermal plant which would need to be drilled deep into the earth, much like fracking.

i think solar is a big waste of money for an island nation. it's too unrealiable and current panels are still inefficient.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yeah. Nice one love. I saw a picture of her on another news site, visiting a reactor site somewhere. She had a gas mask, full protective clothes, and the whole kit. Looked pretty darn far from safe from what I could see, so I doubt many folk would have been too convinced by that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of course safety of nuclear power is a huge issue, but an even bigger issue is the tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste that will leave a black legacy for thousands of years to come. Japan is already struggling with storing nuclear waste from its existing plants without adding the hundreds of thousands of tons from the Fukushima disaster. All nuclear power is not and has never been a viable substitute for fossil fuels. The legacy of nuclear power is just as bad as (or worse than) the effect on the global environment the fossil fuels have. Yeah, fossil fuels are causing a slow death to the planet, but leaked radiation causes a fast death to anybody or anything that is exposed to it. Burying nuclear waste in deep earth faults around Japan has to be the stupidest idea ever! Fault lines move and open up. It's just another disaster waiting to happen and it will make Fukushima look like a day at the beach!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

“After the Fukushima accident, the cost of fossil fuel imports jumped by 3.6 trillion yen, or 10 billion yen per day.”

Yes, well, fossil fuels were expensive, but having the yen go from 75 yen to a dollar to 109 yen to a dollar was a big chuck of that as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

guys japan is not Iceland or Sweden where the population is massively low. Japan has subways, trains and huge cities to power, geothermal or solar wont do much, especially to heavy industries. coming from industrial electrician i know nuclear its a huge help to businesses and industrialization. Dont forget electric cars too

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Taiga_123 - You should not forget that nuclear energy only ever supplied a third of Japan's energy needs when all of the reactors were running. Japan only uses 3% alternative energies. If they set a target to increase this amount to around 20-25% their electricity goals would just about be met. This latest push to the reactors back online is only about the money they have invested and not about saving on fossil fuel bills. If they were serious about cutting the cost of fuels they would be pushing renewable energy sources for the long term in Japan, but they are not promoting renewables at all. They just keep pushing nuclear power so they don't have to admit they wasted billions of dollars on a failed technology.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A classic opening strategy for selling dirty nuclear energy: 'After the Fukushima accident, the cost of fossil fuel imports jumped by 3.6 trillion yen, or 10 billion yen per day' ~ Yuko Obuchi ~

Yuko Obuchi's pitch selling the 'climate of fear' to her gender, the most vulnerable to feelings of insecurity.

It will be interesting to see just how naive reactionary female voters will prove to be.

Particularly as they are the mothers and grandmothers of future generations. Who are custodians of the Japanese fertility and most responsible for the cultures DNA at risk from insidious man made radioactive material and toxic unspent fuel.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan has approximately 1GW of easily exploitable geothermal energy - not a lot.

The Wikipedia entry on Japan Geothermal energy quotes the Japanese Ministry of Environment reporting in 2011 that Japan has 19GW of exploitable thermal energy. The article also states Japan is only currently tapping on 500MW of geothermal energy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We're experiencing a similar problem in Australia. Back in 2012, the government introduced a carbon tax. $20 (like 2,500 yen at the time) per cubic tonne per household. On top of that, a mandate was passed to hit a 20% target in renewables by 2020, so various private equity firms invested in solar & wind.

EThe government that came into power late last year has decided that coal & gas are the future (cue: oxymoron) , so is abolishing the carbon tax law & 'reviewing' (newspeak for 'planning to drop') the 20% renewables targets (which will probably disappear altogether).

I don't think it would take a rocket scientist to see why both governments have the, ahem, 'motivation' to keep the old guard alive & well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If they use modernized nuke reactors and materials, than they will far better for energy production. I was in the nuclear navy and the technology is very safe, but econuts have made it difficult to upgrade, recycle, and maintain the existing sites.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Industry minister tries to convince public on need for nuclear energy

Yeah, well. Good luck with that.

After Fukushima, even the most dedicated right wing dipsh%ts in Japan are looking at green tech with longing eyes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Everyone here that touts solar energy thinks that it's the wave of the future - I do agree, but they need to be more efficient. Solar panels/power generation in its current state isn't scalable. It sounds good on paper, but the massive energy needs of Japan can't be solved by just solar/wind, but rather a combination of a multitude of alternative energy sources and traditional sources.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Need?..I don't think so Appropriate for Japan?...Absolutely NOT!!! There will be another Fukushima soon or later in Japan if we keep building Nuclear stations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Current nuclear power systems (BWR) have many safety drawbacks. For the sake of the future need to modernize, e.g., Thorium system which is (reportedly) safe even if left unmanned and without power - no meltdown. Pay now, save the future rather than get now and sacrifice the future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if the push for nuclear has anything to do with rising gas prices?

Anyway, for those so down on Japan, everywhere I go these days I see solar farms going up. Might be just where I live?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In some country, even resource riv=ch, nuclear energy is out of dated. She currently had signed with Alaska. US has 50 states differently. She ought investigate what California doing to increase energy resource cheaper with help of Japan Inc. She should check Calif before promoting out of dated Nuclear Energy. Safety comes first.Just because Japanese people live long do not mean stop preventing cancer.

I suggest she go on her own and stop supporting nuclear energy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have stated this before................ this should not be that hard to figure out a road to proceed on from here, the early simple choices are:

all nuke plants that have exceeded or are within 10yrs of the expected lives MUST start de-commissioning, no if ands or buts!

the remainder of nuke plants need REAL over sight, if they can pass they can re-start BUT they MUST be only allowed to run another 10yrs or to their expected life, THEN decommissioned!

various alternative energies need to be implemented & tried even though early costs are high.

It should be obvious to everyone but apparently its not, Fukushima SHOULD have been all the world needs to see the dangers of nuke power, but the powers that be have "managed" us all so they can continue as is..............

Japan as a country cannot afford another nuke incident, if there is one the PAIN felt will be vastly higher than what the country has had to deal with so far & ITS PRETTY BAD!

I mean just imagine if the winds after 3/11 were South West instead of out to the Pacific................what in Kanto had to be evacuated................ I mean holy %$##! Just imagine the consequences for Japan if the wind direction blew towards Kanto.................

Nuke power should not be used, especially in Japan the dangers are clear & ever present, should be obvious, but many cant see it still to this day sadly!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Can anyone tell me how many people are proved directly killed by the radiation in Fukushima Disaster?

There are other issues besides that.

Permanent evacuation of 10s of thousands of people. Large area of inhabited land rendered useless. Open-ended cost of compensation, cleanup, and decommissioning. Continued threat, years later, to the heavily damaged Fukushima plant from earthquakes. Economic effect on Fukushima agriculture, fisheries and food products. Badly handled cleanup, by TEPCO, the government and the regulatory agencies. Higher costs for all nuclear power generating companies.

Those are all things that have already happened. A disaster of similar scale cannot be ruled out, and if it occurred, the same consequences could be expected.

After Fukushima, we can't simply contemplate what did happen, but what could happen, and where we were merely lucky last time. A future disaster raises other possibilities: high levels of radiation could travel across a large population centre, requiring a sudden mass evacuation, which would be extremely difficult to achieve. Loss of control could occur at two plants simultaneously. A plant could be destroyed by earthquake rather than tsunami - different damage, different set of problems to deal with.

One consequence of Fukushima, even though people weren't killed at the time, is suck up a huge amount of time, effort, and resources in the hours, days, and weeks following the earthquake and tsunami that should have been available for other purposes. A country should not have to simultaneously face a disaster like the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami and a full-scale nuclear emergency at the same time. Because of the seismic conditions in Japan though, that is exactly the risk they run, and the one that they have (quite intentionally) underestimated in the past.

That luxury is no longer available. "No one died" is not an adequate response to the severity of the threat.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

turningpoint

"Japan has approximately 1GW of easily exploitable geothermal energy - not a lot."

The Wikipedia entry on Japan Geothermal energy quotes the Japanese Ministry of Environment reporting in 2011 that Japan has 19GW of exploitable thermal energy. The article also states Japan is only currently tapping on 500MW of geothermal energy.

And that report goes into costs - a lot of the potential is in the cost range 36-48 yen per KWhr - that's without stuff like profits and distribution put on. It also states that technological breakthroughs will be needed for economical access - and also that most of the resources are in Hokkaido, Tohoku and Kyushu - the rest of Japan does not have much.

The Geothermal 2010 Country Update for Japan by Hiroki Sugino and Toshihiro Akeno give geothermal potential as 23.5 GW - but state that a technological break-through is needed to access it economically.

What can be easily accessed is around 700 MW from utilizing existing hot springs, but that faces local opposition. http://grsj.gr.jp/en/all.pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would only help the image of nuclear power if its cost were more realistically calculated. For example the spent fuel in various temporary pools is now accounted for as "assets", which completely ignores costs and risks of leaving it there. As a result there is no (on paper) financial incentive to move the spent fuel to safer storage, not even to intermediate on site dry casks.

Once the low-cost dogma was abandoned, it would become possible to move nuclear beyond BWR - to pursue a reactor design which could not meltdown even if abandoned in an emergency, and a system which leaves orders of magnitude less dangerous radioactive byproducts.

Many scientists and engineers claim that Thorium Nuclear Power would satisfy these criteria, and that Thorium was only abandoned as a power source 50 years ago in the US because it does not produce sufficient nuclear byproducts for making nuclear weapons. Even if thorium does not live up to expectations, it is worth investigating further.

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