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3 Japan PM hopefuls call for maintaining nuclear fuel recycle program

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Nice to see them trying to be more delusional than their competition. Good to see the Nuclear industry once again managing to buy off 3 out of 4, welcome back nuclear money. It’s a race to see what terminal illness will get to be PM. Their combined future visions for Japan a bleak choice.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Being practical is not delusional Cricky.

Japan is an island nation. Limited resources. Limited land. Especially flat land. Mainly mountain country.

If you care about Japan's best interest. About the environment. About climate change, Nuclear should be on the table.

Nuclear technology is already proven. Safety can be improved further. The dirty fuel can be reused in other Nuclear plants in the near future.

Fukushima was an old reactor built 70 years ago. Such accidents are rare. It took a magnitude 9 Earthquake and giant Tsunami to turn it deadly. We can do better. Japan can do better.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

In the Fuji program, Kono and Takaichi said the government should consider acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

This is a call out to the US here, particularly after Australia decided to procure them!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Kono said it will be important to first create an environment where the emperor and heads of state of other countries can visit the shrine. Delusional

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Three of the four candidates running to become Japan's next prime minister called Sunday for maintaining a nuclear fuel recycling program, as they geared up for a presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

I just don't get them calling it future PM very misleading they are trying to be future LDP President to face the elections to become PM. Just Propaganda attempting to trick the country to think elections are done I Ask the Authors of these articles to fix this fake News and report it correctly there is still 1 month before the actual elections for the House of representatives take place.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan needs an energy mix including nuclear.

I have seen too many woods and forests destroyed here for the solar energy development. And it’s keep going on.

Japan does not have the choice, unless it has half of its actual population

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear energy are a bad mix in any case, but continually relicensing plants that are 40 or more years old is insane. There have been a lot of design and safety improvements since they were first built. Try something new, whatever choice is made.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nuclear technology is already proven. Safety can be improved further. The dirty fuel can be reused in other Nuclear plants in the near future.

Japan sits right on top of the Pacific ring of fire....literally the worst place in the world to have nuclear reactors. Safety can not be guaranteed in light of the natural disaster potential coupled with the proven culture of mismanagement, safety breaches, cover ups, lies and incompetence of the N-village here. The dirty fuel recycling program has been unviable shambles for decades. Fact.

If you care about Japan's best interest. About the environment. About climate change, Nuclear should be on the table.

Anyone who truly cares about Japan and its people,s best interests should be supporting a shift to renewables on a massive scale. Japan has the financial resources and technological ability to make the switch, the only thing standing in the way is the corrupt clique of vested nuclear interests. Fact.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@marcelito

I said this before in another article so I will copy paste.

Japan's capacity for solar power is abysmal and its solar energy density the one of the lowest due to its climate and mountainous terrain.

Theonly workable renewable energy source for Japan is wind power. But this will

require deployment of vast arrays of floating offshore wind turbines (Japan's

coasts are deep so fixed support wind turbines are unviable and the windiest

parts are in the deep ocean). Floating wind turbines are more

expensive to construct and maintain. They have a short service life of 15 years

and hence have to be decommissioned due to wear and erosion. Decommissioned

parts cannot be recycled as they are mostly made of fiberglass.

What can be done to deal

with intermittancy of wind power in japan? How will Japan provide

reserve power for the country during the winter months when wind loses more

than half its capacity? Since nuclear power is on the way out I only see coal

and gas plants filling the gap. As Germany found out.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2021/07/28/german-emissions-from-electricity-rose-25-in-first-half-of-2021-due-to-the-lack-of-wind-power-not-willpower/?sh=5484b78f37a2

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/08/15/can-europe-go-green-without-nuclear-power

Compared

to wind farms which will require huge swathes of offshore area, a single

generation 4 molten salt reactor, with a passive safety design, and 10GW

capacity and a more than 60 year service life to supplement wind power seems

more practical and sustainable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Seiko Noda, often appears to be the only sane candidate. However, on nuclear, even she wavers into the dark.

Exactly why, anyone, would propose acquiring nuclear submarines is baffling. They are ungodly expensive to purchase and operate. Violate established accords, as they are literally: attack submarines, a first-strike, so-called deterrence. Advocating for such is to embrace conflict, ostensibly with China (or maybe in the future the candidates envision an attack on he US or Europe). Which is a foolish and quite mad notion. As to why attacking China would require submarines exhibits a bogus stratagem, besides a complete divorce from reality.

Even if acquired, the submarines would arrive about a decade hence. The problems that will mark not just Japan, but worldwide, nuclear submarines will not be a component of any viable solution.

As for the bizarre notion of modular reactors, any who advocate such should be sent off to a better place, so-to-speak.

Nuclear power is prohibitively expensive. Decommission is problematic. If one computes actual costs, in total, nuclear is unaffordable, besides being dangerous and in the end, anything but clean.

Apparently, there are no genuine advocates for so-called clean & green energy. All must be beholden to energy companies that are concerned about their investment in nuclear.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Many here can't understand what is intermittancy of energy production (and thus supply).

Most people have been brainly greenwashed thinking solution is just balck or white.

Soon with nuclear off the grid, more coal and gas will be burned.

Most people forget that energy in enough quantity is necessary to keep the country's hospitals, schools and so on running.

They also forget that coal and gas create way more Green House Gases (GHG).

They again forget that nuclear avtivity has very little environmental impact compare to coal in particular that kills thousands and thousands of people each year, and nuclear has made so few victims in comparison.

Expecting fusion for clean and cheap energy of course but that may not happen before decades. So transition has to go through nuclear and renewable energy development for that transition period.

Be smart, be cognizant in the field of energy management before having an opinion, or leave it to engineers (not the politicians of course).

It shall not be a matter of taste and personal opinion, especially for a limited resources and prone to natural disasters country like Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Besides pushing the N-village and a revisionist agenda did any of them say anything that might improve actual tax payers lives…in anyway?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If we do a comparative generational analysis of planes and Nuclear power plants.

Wright brothers (first flying plane) - Experimental Nuclear power plants (1950s-60s) Gen 1

Bi-planes (radial engine) - Commerical Nuclear power plants (1960s-1990s) Gen 2

Jet aircraft - Advanced Light water Commerical Reactors (1990s-2010) Gen 3

Space aeronautics - Gen IV reactors (HTR-PM Chinese Gen IV test bed reactor: September 12 2021 at 9:35 AM the first reactor went critical marking the first criticality of 4th generation nuclear)

Three mile, Chenobyl, and Fukushima - Gen 2 designs.

Would you fly on a decades old Bi plane or a brand new Jet aircraft? Even better designed with Space aeronautics.

Gen 4 nuclear reactors will be utilizing passive safety protocols. Meaning, no power, no coolent? The reactor seals itself off, and shuts down automatically without any human aid or power requirement. I.e. Molten salt or sodium-cooled fast reactors (sodium fuel automatically expands to slow fission reaction, shutting it off).

When people advocate for nuclear power, no one wants a Gen 2 plant.. more like a upped Gen 3.

Those who advocate against nuclear power, are doing what Thomas Edison did to Tesla. He advocated for DC power, not AC. Meaning Power planets located in the middle of dense population centers. Thanks to Tesla, we don't live in such a reality. No one remembers Tesla though. Technology advances, the argument and its narrative of nuclear power been unsafe is over, in light of the current technology.

Power prices in Europe are rising above and beyond expectation. Power companies in the UK are going bust left and center.

Don't preach environmentalist ideals, while living a lifestyle that compels the destruction of this planet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Gen IV reactors won't be commercially available until 2050 and take 10 years to construct a new nuclear plant by 2060.

They may never become available. Japan abandoned its Gen IV Monju fast breeder reactor. ¥9 trillion. Monju will cost at least 375bn yen ($3.2bn; £2.6bn) to decommission and will only be fully dismantled by 2047.

The power companies have applied to decommission 20 reactors.

"Monju reached criticality in 1994 but was shut down in December 1995 after a sodium coolant leak and fire. The reactor didn’t restart until May 2010, and it was shut down again three months later after a fuel handling machine was accidentally dropped in the reactor during a refuelling outage. In November 2012, it was revealed that Japan Atomic Energy Agency had failed to conduct regular inspections of almost 10,000 out of a total 39,000 pieces of equipment at Monju, including safety-critical equipment."

https://energypost.eu/slow-death-fast-reactors/

The costs of building a new nuclear plant have become prohibitive for the power companies. The cost will be in the range of $5,500/kW to $8,100/kW or between $6 billion and $9 billion for each 1,100 MW plant.

Times that by 20-30 new plants.

https://www.synapse-energy.com/sites/default/files/SynapsePaper.2008-07.0.Nuclear-Plant-Construction-Costs.A0022_0.pdf

At the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the nuclear liability was set at a maximum of ¥120 billion. Most a power company like TEPCO would pay for a disaster. The cost to date is more than ¥25 trillion rising to beyond ¥80 trillion before it's over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Judging how this country cuts costs in any industry especially after inspections to obtain licenses. Which you can see in many industries in Japan. This can be seen in the Tokai Mura Nuclear Accident in 1999. In which three workers two of whom died of intense radiation poising and one who lived. This accident was due to neglect of safety concerns after and cutting costs over safety in the name of efficiency.

My wife is from Rokkasho Mura in Aomori Ken a recycling nuclear facility in Japan. Having lived there almost all her life and with a father who has worked in the fire emergency industry has heard of many minor accidents occurring at this facility, which is also built under an active fault line. One of the reason why its not entirely completed to this day. I am not entirely sure on how true this is hearing this from what my wife and her family has in many conversations about this facility. However if Japan is still cutting costs over safety in the nuclear industry as they did in 1999, this place is an accident waiting to happen. This is also one of the reasons why we only travel to Aomori from Ishikawa if we absolutely need to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hello @zichi

Can you please show me how Japan can address the intermittancy problem of wind power without the use of more coal or gas plants to make up for lost capacity due to variation in wind speeds?

Becuase nuclear seems to be the only reliable source of reserve power to deal with wind power's intermittancy problem without releasing more CO2.

I have heard people talking about pumped hydro storage but this is only viable for small scale wind or solar projects.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ah, Japan... inching every so slowly towards actually moving in inch, but always backwards. Besides, Japan's current nuclear recycling stance is: "Well, it's a big ocean!"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

mobius217

Hello @zichi

Can you please show me how Japan can address the intermittancy problem of wind power without the use of more coal or gas plants to make up for lost capacity due to variation in wind speeds?

Becuase nuclear seems to be the only reliable source of reserve power to deal with wind power's intermittancy problem without releasing more CO2.

I have heard people talking about pumped hydro storage but this is only viable for small scale wind or solar projects.

I don't have all the answers you want. Prior to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, nuclear energy provided 27% of total power. About 54 reactors if I remember correctly. With ten reactors lost in Fukushima and further 20 at least to be decommissioned probably leaves about 20-25 reactors. If they are allowed to restart nuclear plants could probably only provide about 15% of total power.

Hydro is maxed out and probably provides about 3% of the power. Pump hydro but limited sites.

The best options are to maximize the use of renewables and especially offshore wind and geothermal.

At the same time reduced the electricity demand from centralized power plants by making homes self-sufficient for power.

Gas turbines will be with us for more decades until alternatives can be developed.

The majority of countries do not have nuclear power.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@zichi

So basically there is currently no viable energy storage system in the market for renewables.

Geothermal is tricky to exploit becuase of ecological damage and even if they are fully exploited they still won't be enough. Japan's geothermal capacity is around 23GW.

Gas turbines will be with us for more decades until alternatives can be developed.

Alternatives like nuclear power which already exist?

The majority of countries do not have nuclear power.

Because the majority of countries don't have the money to build expensive nuclear reactors. This is fine becuase these poorer countries don't emit a lot of CO2 anyway. It is those few rich countries like Japan with high carbon footprints that need to build nuclear reactors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

mobius

@zichi

So basically there is currently no viable energy storage system in the market for renewables.

Japan has increased renewable energies from less than 5% to about 20% and can achieve 30% by 2030.

Had Japan's nuclear program continued instead of a nuclear disaster, the electricity generated by 2050 would have probably increased to about 40%. The remaining 60% being generated by non-nuclear energies.

Let's be clear, that the nuclear power companies and the whole of the nuclear village are responsible for the nuclear disaster. They actually brought down on themselves.

Even France which generates the most nuclear energy at 70% has not achieved 100%. 

Japan is a very unstable country on the Ring of Fire and some of the powerful earthquakes in the world. Atomic plants built on fault lines.

Worldwide nuclear energy has only achieved 14% of total electricity.

Japan is the fifth-largest emitter of CO2 (1.1GT) compared with China (9.3GT) and America (4.8GT).

Japan would have to build 50 new Gen 3 reactors at astronomical costs to generate 30% of total power. It would take many decades to achieve. The current fleet took more than 70 years to build. There is another point. Both Hitachi and Toshiba have been running down their nuclear businesses. Many nuclear engineers have left the industry and fewer students go to universities to become nuclear engineers.

There was only one Japanese company skilled and capable of building very precise nuclear reactors and their output was very limited.

The answer going forward for Japan will not involve nuclear energy which will eventually end by default.

The current government target is nuclear energy will produce 20% of total power by 2030, up from the current 6%.

The final point with nuclear reactors following the disaster the majority of the Japanese do not want them.

Too many hoops to jump through for new reactors.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@zichi

Just to be clear, I am fully supportive of the transition to renewable energy. My worry is that a rushed and poorly planned implementation of renewable power without resolving its major drawbacks can lead to a catastrophic faliure. A faliure that Big Oil execs can hijack to push their own agendas and sabotage the renewable energy revolution. The blackouts in my home state of South Australia come to mind and the resulting political backlash against Australia's wind farms pushed by our Murdoch media.

Even France which generates the most nuclear energy at 70% has not achieved 100%. 

And that remaining 30% gap is being rapidly filled by renewable energy projects. Thereby France is on track to meet its emissions reduction targets while still being able to provide cheap and reliable electricity to its citizens. Compare that to Germany which is still struggling to get rid of its coal plants. Germany increased its CO2 emissions at the start if this year becuase they had to burn more coal and gas to make up for a less windy season.

Both Hitachi and Toshiba have been running down their nuclear businesses. Many nuclear engineers have left the industry and fewer students go to universities to become nuclear engineers.

No the nuclear industry is quite resilient. The greatest strides in Gen 4 nuclear tech is coming out of China and Russia who have not given in to the nuclear paranoia.

Worldwide nuclear energy has only achieved 14% of total electricity.

Because nuclear reactors have a higher upfront cost to build compared to coal and gas plants. But over the course of a nuclear reactor's 60 year life it becomes more profitable to operate compared to a coal or gas plants. But politicians make desicions over the course of their election cycles not over the next 60 years. I am sure that Big Oil execs are watching on with glee as they are the biggest benefactors over the downturn of the nuclear industry.

Japan is a very unstable country on the Ring of Fire and some of the powerful earthquakes in the world. Atomic plants built on fault lines.

Not a problem with upcoming Gen 4 designs that have passive safety designs as countermeasures.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cost of 50 new Gen 3 reactors.

¥50,000,000,000,000.

Gen IV reactors are decades off being commercially available. To date they have failed to produce the results. I hope one day they will but I will no longer be living. Already 70.

No the nuclear industry is quite resilient. The greatest strides in Gen 4 nuclear tech is coming out of China and Russia who have not given in to the nuclear paranoia.

New reactors need trained and qualified engineers and since Fukushima many have left the industry, some have gone to work in other countries. Nuclear engineering is no longer popular at universities because they see no future.

There will be no big program for building new reactors here. The people do not want it.

The Japanese nuclear village cut its own throats by putting profit before safety. The Fukushima nuclear disaster could have been avoided with the right safety in place. I am an electrical engineer with industrial experience and I was shocked by the lack of safety at the nuclear plants.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No new reactors can be built without the permission of the people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese nuclear village cut its own throats by putting profit before safety. The Fukushima nuclear disaster could have been avoided with the right safety in place

So it was the malpractice of TEPCO that brought that disaster. Then we can put forward better regulations. Modern nuclear reactor design's are safer than ever and future Gen 4 reactors will have passive safety systems.

Nuclear engineering is no longer popular at universities because they see no future.

There will be no big program for building new reactors here. The people do not want it.

So people are going to find out the hard way in the future.

Cost of 50 new Gen 3 reactors.

¥50,000,000,000,000.

That cost can be spread out over the span of this century. We dont have to build all those reactors now. The most serious effects of climate change will happen around 2100.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mobius217

I don't know if you live in Japan or were here when the nuclear disaster happened. Fearful experience for many.

The safety malpractice wasn't just TEPCO it was every power company. It was also the entire Atomic Agencies.

The nuclear disaster happened because every responsible person of the nuclear village believed a nuclear disaster was not possible here. Gross misconduct and those senior people escaped prosecution and jail time.

After the new regulations were introduced the power companies have to spend billions to bring their reactors up to safety standards. More than 20 reactors were not worth spending the money on upgrades. They will be decommissioned.

You seem to fail to realize the sentiments and opposition of the Japanese people to new reactors.

Unless the people accept there will be no new reactors. Probably as much as 80% are opposed.

The cost of building new reactors is not spread over a century and that will be too late for the predicted climate change. The money is paid upfront to the engineering and building companies.

You don't seem to know about the Nuclear Liability law which limits the money paid by the like of TEPCO for a nuclear disaster which will cost more than ¥80 trillion.

My single main point is the sentiment of the people. They do not want nuclear energy. All other arguments are irrelevant.

The country would need 50 new reactors. Building 10 every ten years would take until 2080. But its impossible for the country to even build just 10 every 10 years. Not enough manpower and resources.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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