politics

Nearly one-third of DPJ lawmakers urge Noda to be cautious about nuclear restarts

37 Comments
By Linda Sieg

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37 Comments
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I fear Noda realizes the gig as PM is nearly over, and has decided to focus now on securing the flow of brown envelopes for the future.

2 ( +2 / -1 )

Guess he'll e firing one third of the law makers too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Drat, Disillusioned beat me to it!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

and more than two-thirds aren't urging him to be cautious about it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese democracy. Disagree and you are ostracized. Sounds a bit more like totalitarianism to me.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No no, 99% of them are safe. Only 2 experienced problems.

Talk about paranoic tar brushing ......

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Noda will deal with this how he deals with other challenging policy decisions: "hmmm, now what would the LDP do in this situation...?"

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The only reason anyone is even talking about this is an act of God.....

All the reactors were fine up to that point.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I don't understand why it is so difficult to restart the nuclear power stations in question. The earthquake was the cause of the stations failure as supposed to any technical problems within the nuclear power plants themselves. Surely Japan is always going to be prone to these kind of natural disasters regardless. The nuclear power stations are no more than inevitable colateral damage in these circumstances. It is not realistic to expect Japan to source its power anywhere else.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The only reason anyone is even talking about this is an act of God.....

If that was true and you believe in God, it would seem that God does not like nuclear reactors, and we should try not to piss him off by restarting them?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Hikozaemon

hmmm, now what would the LDP do in this situation

I smell a bumper sticker in the making here. :D

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The reactor complex in Fukushima was junk built by American corporation GE ages ago, and should have been upgraded but weren't.

The reactors i question, while not fullproof (or foolproof) are much better than those were, and the safety issues have by and large been taken under consideration and would seem to be being acted upon.

So the smart thing to do would seem to be restarting the reactors.

Maybe it's the only thing Noda can pull off before he becomes a footnote in history.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

With the little transparency about that matter, restarting them is a bargain like poker. Only him knows his hand. It can be a 2A or a 3+9. I tend to believe this is the second possibility. Thus I will bet a lot that he is doing a mistake.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

the safety issues have by and large been taken under consideration and would seem to be being acted upon.

Fukushima TEPCO management were taking lots of reports of tsunamis, earthquakes and reactor faults into consideration over the last 25 years, and we saw the result of them.

Parking a generator truck on a hillside near a nuclear plant, connected to nothing, is not an integrated back-up power system.

So far it would seem that the utilities are reluctant to act upon anything that costs money, and are are just playing a waiting game...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Still there are companies that force staff to wear ties and jackets to work. The need to conserve energy and encourage a new fashion trend is unfortunately lacking in the mindset here. Back in May I ditched my tie and I am busier than ever with new customers. I have also spent many a summer here with no air conditioner at home.

Still, trends take time and as a pioneer I am setting an example.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ José Simón: Luckily due to favorable winds "only" 8% of Japan has been heavily contaminated for decades. Winds in opposite direction would have resulted in 2-3 times more. I do not think Japan - or any other country - can afford being ripped of such big pieces of its territory. Is the bargain worth? That's the only question to be answered.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Of course they should take into consideration people's safety concerns, but that includes the concerns of the non elite, non Goyo gakusha (government mouthpiece scientists) like Koide Hiroaki who tell us what the media still avoids talking about re the dangers to #4, the terrible safety standards, the coverups of past incidents, the lies that this was an act of god, etc. Meanwhile, a video getting wide circulation now is about a hearing last winter on whether to restart one of the idled reactors. It notes that residents were locked out at the last minute, but rushed in to confront government mouthpieces such as Dr. Koji Okamoto, chair of the meeting and one of 3 recipients of bribes ("donations" is the polite word, he used to work for them) from nuclear-related company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. You might remember Okamoto in the days after the nuclear explosions telling NHK audiences everything was ok. Most of the politicians in the DPJ are probabloy just going through the motions because they will fail to take their protest very far. many of tese politcians are like Edano, himself a recipient of dirty Trpco money. Here is the video, with English subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hLYrZsCQsko

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@"Open Minded", I would love to see some peer reviewed journal or conference papers stating that. The exclusion zone, of which almost all shows less radiation than the worldwide average background radiation, is only 0.3% of Japan. Areas outside of the exclusion zone (as well as almost all of the exclusion zone as well) show less than the worldwide average background radiation.

What this article gets wrong though, is that nuclear actually accounted to much more of the average electrical supply than it's capacity, mainly because nuclear is a base load and base power supplier. Japan had gone from being able to supply 50% more energy than needed at peak (if the coal plants that shut down were used) to being able to supply just 80% even with all the mothballed coal plants operational and 15% energy reduction.

As for comments against Mitsubishi, I think you forget that they also built almost all the coal plants and fuel transport ships used by Japan (which are in more demand, have higher profit margins, and faster to build than nuclear, while polluting much more). Not to mention all the trains they build, car manufacturing equipment, paper mills, medical equipment, and so many more items that all run on (a lot of) electricity. Considering they still produce a lot in Japan, and all their manufacturing and products require a lot of electricity, they would be the first to push for cheap power regardless of there it is from. It just happens to be that the cheapest source of energy in Japan is nuclear (if you ignore straight washed coal, which releases more uranium into the air than a nuclear bomb)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Basroil

@"Open Minded", I would love to see some peer reviewed journal or conference papers stating that. The exclusion zone, of which almost all shows less radiation than the worldwide average background radiation, is only 0.3% of Japan. Areas outside of the exclusion zone (as well as almost all of the exclusion zone as well) show less than the worldwide average background radiation.

According to the gov't, the area near the Fukushima plant is so contaminated with dangerous levels of radiation, no one will be able to ever live there again. This area probably includes the second Fukushima plant, which cam so close to having its own meltdowns. A large area of the no-go zone is contaminated above 50 millisieverts per year and people won't be allowed to return to those areas. The areas between 20-50 millisieverts per year will be advised not to return. Below 20 millisieverts per year, people will be allowed to return once the gov't finishes the decontamination work.

Last year according to the Ministry of Science, the radiation contaminated about 10,000 sq km, across 9 prefectures. I think that must be something like 3% of the total land mass. About one third of that is contaminated above 20 millisieverts per year, and mostly in Fukushima.

Nuclear energy generated about 40-45GW out of the total 250GW.

I guess these dudes are worried about what will happen come the next general election.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ Basroil. According to French IRSN (not especially against NPP!) 24,000 KM2 have been contaminated by cesium only, i.e. 6.2% of total Japan surface. But if you take habitable or cultivable land it is much more. Background radiation and contamination are 2 different topics that cannot be compared. For the rest of your post I believe you replied to another poster.

Having said that I would love that NPP is safe, cheap and clean. But I do not believe into that anymore. The risk is more than real with the around 500 world wide, for only 3% of the total energy output. While we could save easily 10% if USA would do its part of the job.

What are the NPP countries doing with the plutonium stockpile?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The summer peak demand is the beginning of July to the beginning of Sept. and even if the Oi reactors are restarted, they won't reach full power until sometime in August. There's no gov't statement about restarting any other reactors, so I would say the Oi reactors are more about a political gamble than anything else, and at least some of the DPJ politicians understand its a gamble they need to get it right, otherwise, come the next general election......

The public haven't been informed by the gov't which atomic plants passed the stress tests?

TEPCO have stated it will have enough power to supply all of its customers without the need for power cuts or black outs. Strange, how quickly they changed from the position last year?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@zichi

where do those peak period dates come from?

generally speaking, it doesn't get really hot until after the rainy season is over.

and recently it has remained hot through october.

everybody nearby is understandably concerned, but this is largely due to the fukushima calamity, of which the human factor was large, and safety long neglected, though the past history o tsunamis in that area was well known.

it seems that the kansai area power supply is more dependent on nuclear power, with a total of 11 reactors. two of the OI plant reactors came online in 1979, eight years after the fukushima reactors first came on line in 1971, with the other two reactors coming online in the early 1990s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_reactors#Japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's up to the people, and nobody wants radiation plants.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think what needs to happen is to find out from the people who would be affected by another "event", just exactly what THEY would consider adequate precautions prior to a restart. Of course you'll have those who say nothing could make them OK a restart, but there are others who just don't trust the government to properly evaluate things before going ahead. Would an outside entity doing the evaluation make them feel better? Simulating an earthquake is pretty much impossible except for on computer. Maybe a simulated emergency where the conditions at Fukushima get recreated: No outside power, what would happen if another tsunami blew through the first story of the reactor buildings? Does the plumbing hold? Do the backup generators kick-in or are they submerged in seawater (again!)? Can the generators last for 4 days without refueling and then, can they be refueled if the building is blocked by tsunami debris?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TEPCO have stated it will have enough power to supply all of its customers without the need for power cuts or black outs. Strange, how quickly they changed from the position last year?

Last year they hadn't geared up their fossil fuel alternatives yet. Running those gas and oil generators at full-tilt costs much more, but when TEPCO says they need to raise rates to cover the increased costs, the Japanese public says, "Oh NO YOU DON'T! We want ALL our power from NON-nuclear sources, but we want to continue paying nuclear-sourced rates!" Yeah, and I want a Maserati, but if I get what I want on my current salary I'LL go bankrupt, too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fadamor,

The cost per kwh for nuclear, coal and gas is about the same, only oil is higher.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ubikwit,

Those are the months quoted by the gov't and power companies with the highest power demand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Fadamor

i don't know if there is the same history of tsunamis in the area where the Oi reactors are located, which is sort of a bay on the sea of japan coast. it doesn't seem that tsunami waves could have the same direct hit impact as from the open seas in the case of fukushima.

i don't know what the experts have to say about this.

i'm not in favor of haphazard restarting of the plants, and was never a big backer of nuclear power to begin with; however, i don't agree with the fear mongering that is going on where you all of the sudden have an enlightened mass scared to death on a crusade to slay the nuclear power dragon. that basically seems kind of childish.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Actually, the cost for gas has increased drastically in the last five years, and the actual cost of coal in modern cleaning and CCS is actually 30% higher than nuclear.

As for power production, nuclear accounted for almost 50% of the base power supply, the remainder from hydro/geo, coal, oil, and gas (in that order). The total number of power plants in any country must exceed the base load by no less than two times, you can see it from this nice little graph ( http://www.fepc.or.jp/english/energy_electricity/optimal_combination/sw_index_01/index.html ). The main issue is that most of the plants that they have for peak power are oil based, since those turbines are fast to turn on and cheap to manufacture and maintain. Just a shame they produce millions of times more CO2 than nuclear and more health problems as well. I think the only ones that can benefit from not restarting nuclear power are fear mongering politicians and oil companies.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

basroil,

Nuclear power generation in Japan is about 50 percent more expensive than estimated after factoring in the cost of paying for an accident like the Fukushima disaster, a government panel said.

If the cost of dealing with nuclear waste and storage the price of nuclear energy will also increase.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A gov't panel estimates for every ¥1 trillion spent on the nuclear disaster, will increase the cost of nuclear energy by ¥0.1/kWh. Some institutions have estimated the cost of the nuclear disaster over 30 years to be ¥25-45 trillion, which will add ¥2.5/kWh to ¥4.5/kWh.

The same government panel have said that by 2030, the cost of energy from renewable energy will be less than that from nuclear and fossil fuels.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'd love to see them release studies by actual engineers and industry specialists (rather than bureaucrats) , in english. 2.5-4.5 yen/kWh is nothing, considering that thanks to their stockpiles of fuel the operating costs are very stable. In contrast, other energy sources all increase at a much faster rate.

Solar is dependent on several factors, most notably it's dependence on Chinese contractors for many of the substrate types, and Japan has no resources to produce large quantities internally. Wind has a similar issue of needing neodymium, of which 97% is under Chinese control, which is now in limited quantities due to Chinese interference. Other "renewable" sources are not viable, biofuel would increase food prices several fold (like in the USA), tidal and wave are poor jokes. I can't see the cost of alternatives to nuclear doing anything but increase until a new, radically different method that does not use the same materials.

The only option for Japan is nuclear. That is not to say that new energy sources won't replace nuclear at some point, but for the foreseeable future, the only thing to be cautious about is the number of deaths due to blackouts.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

basroil, just give it up... Japan won't be building any more new nuclear plants. It's impossible.

Nuclear age is OVER.

-1 ( +2 / -2 )

Okay, so a single nuclear accident manages to bankrupt one of the largest electric utilities in the world, and it also manages to shut down the entire nuclear plants in Japan... And yet, somehow, the only option for Japan is nuclear? Hmm... right... Imagine if Japan was 100% reliant on nuclear? Scary stuff.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thomas, the world said the same thing about nuclear bomb tests after hiroshima/nagasaki. For five years, they actually didn't do tests. Ten years later, the number of tests each year was staggering, and they were releasing hundreds of thousands of times more radiation than Chernobyl from then until just a few years ago.

Right now, France is almost 90% nuclear for it's base load, and 75% total. I don't remember anyone complaining about three eyed babies or glow in the dark people.

The single accident did nothing of the sort. The accident shut down a single site and it became recommended to temporarily relocate people until safety could be assessed. People did the rest, freaking out, shutting down everything (including plants that are not able to be in the same dangers, and are much newer and safer), and building this massive evacuation bubble. Then they forced TEPCO to produce electricity at cost, buy from other companies at cost, and pay for a cleanup that will likely not be needed. If Japan was 100% reliant on nuclear (not very likely even before 3/11), people would understand it better, and be much less reactive.

People need to react less and actually study power engineering if they want a say in things. Then learn about coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and less stable power sources.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

France is not located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, nor does it experience mega earthquakes and tsunami or active volcano's. Although flooding is becoming a serious problem in Europe. Following 3/11, Italy cancelled it's reactor building.

France, Germany and Britain are all investing more in renewable energy than Japan.In 2010, Germany generated 17.5 GW from solar power compared with 3.5GW by Japan, and 27.58GW from wind energy compared with 1.97GW by Japan.

The event at the Fukushima plant wasn't an "accident", it's a LEVEL 7 nuclear disaster, the highest scale. The disaster of 3/11 also damaged the second Fukushima plant, which almost, according to the plant manager, came close to it's own meltdowns. The Tokai plant was also damaged and none of those three NPP's can be started. That's a loss of 11 reactors.

The cost of the nuclear disaster which includes dealing with the situation at the Fukushima plant, decommissioning it, paying compensation to all the nuclear refugee's and the decontamination work will be made by the taxpayer and not by TEPCO. The cost alone is likely to reach more than 30 trillion yen over 30 years.

Power companies will have to spend billions to increase safety at its nuclear plants. KEPCO will have to spend 200 billion yen to meet the safety requirements issued by the gov't and will take 3-5 years.

The gov't have already stated, ahead of it's new energy policy due at the end of July, that future use of nuclear energy will be limited to 15%.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The other two-thirds of DJP lawmakers are future presidents and advisers to electric companies.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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