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The Japanese gov’t says nuclear power remains essential, saying the economy cannot afford the mounting costs from importing gas and oil, resulting in utilities hiking rates. Do you agree?

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"....the economy cannot afford the mounting costs from importing gas and oil, resulting in utilities hiking rates..."

I agree with the above part.

I don't agree that "nuclear power is essential".

Solar, thermal and wind energy can replace nuclear.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Nuclear power, in a country with the seismic instability of Japan is really NOT a good idea.

In addition to this, there is the problem of what to do with the waste?

Can't dump it off the coast of Somalia for ever!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I agree with the beginning, but I think the conclusion about nuclear power is incorrect, so I voted "no". I think this poll is going to produce nonsense results since it contains two statements, not one, and people seem to be voting their response to different statements.

As for nuclear power in Japan... Japan has a major seismic event about every 30 to 40 years. These make that area of the country move significantly and there simply is absolutely no way to protect a reactor from even a 2mm crack being created in certain critical systems.

Add to this the absolute stupidity of the layout of nuclear power in Japan. Instead of concentrating the nuclear power stations in one area they've spread them across the country.

Bear with me here. If I throw a dollar coin randomly on the road there's a good chance that it won't be hit by a car for quite some time. If I throw ten dimes randomly on the road it is virtually guaranteed that a car will hit one of them very soon. The same logic applies to nuclear power in Japan. Spreading reactors across Japan virtually guarantees that the next earthquake/volcano/etc will hit ONE of them somewhere.

But wait! Wouldn't a dozen reactors being hit be much worse? ... well, actually, no. Of course now you're thinking about reactors being hit, and that's the right way to think. And that's the real problem with nuclear power in Japan. Even the best, concentrated, scenario is highly risky... so why have nuclear power at all?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Add to this the absolute stupidity of the layout of nuclear power in Japan. Instead of concentrating the nuclear power stations in one area they've spread them across the country.

That makes no sense. They should be as close as logistically possible to where the power is needed due to transmission loss. The same is true for any power station. It would be "absolute stupidity" to build stations so far from where they are needed.

so why have nuclear power at all

There are no good alternatives. Fossil fuel based power generation is horrible for health and environment (yes, demonstrably worse than nuclear) and renewables don't have the energy density to full supplant what this country needs right now. In the future yes, and we should move towards more renewables as a goal, but it's not possible now.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Never a word about conservation and sustainability anymore.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"...or utilities might have to hike their rates"

Ummm... they did that. But show me where on the paper that 'nuclear power is essential' does it say that when the NPPs are turned back on, against the wishes of the majority and despite the main criteria being public approval, the same companies will lower the ALREADY hiked rates? Where does it say that they will no longer get any government bailouts while still not having compensated the majority of the victims in their pursuit to return to the black? Where does it promise that when the next 'unforeseen' disaster hits and there's more NPP trouble that the people will not have to pay anything and it will be the companies that pay it all? Where has the promise to make a single national grid gone to?

Nowhere does it bother to address any of those things, and until it does nuclear power is not needed and not wanted.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

PandabelleNov. 10, 2014 - 03:32PM JST

Add to this the absolute stupidity of the layout of nuclear power in Japan. Instead of concentrating the nuclear power stations in one area they've spread them across the country.

That makes no sense. They should be as close as logistically possible to where the power is needed due to transmission loss. The same is true for any power station. It would be "absolute stupidity" to build stations so far from where they are needed.

It depends on what you're optimising for. If you're optimising for lossless power transmission then you're correct. If you're optimising for not dying then I'm right. Personally "don't die today" is higher on my "to do list" than "avoid transmission loss". Of course my priorities may not be yours.

so why have nuclear power at all

There are no good alternatives. Fossil fuel based power generation is horrible for health and environment (yes, demonstrably worse than nuclear) and renewables don't have the energy density to full supplant what this country needs right now. In the future yes, and we should move towards more renewables as a goal, but it's not possible now.

This is where you and I disagree again. Fossil fuels has yet to irradiate a large portion of the country and render it uninhabitable, whereas nuclear power demonstrably has done this very recently.

Pro-nuclear advocates point out how it hasn't done so in other countries, but honestly that's completely irrelevant since those other countries have demonstrated the absolute minimum of common sense in NOT building their nuclear power stations over active faults, next to active volcanoes, etc.

As for making renewables not being possible right now that too is false. The cost of the nuclear cleanup in Fukushima would have covered the cost of buying sufficient renewable energy equipment to make Japan's changeover in a year or two at the outside. They found the money for the nuclear cleanup because it was a crisis. Until the voters make converting to renewable power a crisis it won't happen. ... and in the next 30~40 years another cleanup will be necessary.

So moving to renewable energy straight away is not only a sound health and safety decision, but also a sound long-term economic investment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think Japan should seriously invest in safer forms of nuclear power.

There's a reactor type called the molten salt reactor, where the fuel is thorium-232 dissolved in molten fluoride salts. Unlike conventional nuclear reactors, MSR's don't need expensive pressurized reactor vessels, are effectively meltdown proof, easy to power down in case of an emergency (just dump the liquid fuel from the reactor), and best of all, the nuclear waste generated is very small in amount and only has a radioactive half-life of under 300 years. As such, MSR's are well-suited for earthquake-prone Japan.

As for solar power, the problem is that unless you live on Honshu west of Kyoto or on the islands of Shikoku or Kyushu, there aren't enough sunny days to justify its installation financially. The harsh winters parts of Japan experience makes solar power not so useful in northern Honshu, much of Honshu along the Sea of Japan coastline, and in Hokkaido.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I see I'm in the 35% who voted no. Well, Fukushima Daiichi has cost Japan dearly...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Many countries import power and have growing economy, why is is so difficult for the worlds 3rd biggest economy? Could it be vested interests? Lack of vision or leadership.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Cricky,

Many countries import power and have growing economy, why is is so difficult for the worlds 3rd biggest economy? Could it be vested interests? Lack of vision or leadership.

If you mean 'import electrical power', Japan has no nearby neighbors who it can trust to import power from. If you're talking about fuels - there's the cost.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wanna stop the " mounting costs to the economy "? Stop devaluing the yen. Since the currency is has now.lost a third of its value against the dollar in the last 2 years why the surprise about mounting costs? The consumption hasn't increased by a third, it's predominantly due to the currency rate.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Look how feed-in tariffs for solar and wind energy have been slashed.

Renewables threaten the Old Boy network, of which Mr Fossil is an esteemed guest member.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Unable to vote one way or the other the way the question is phrased.

I would add to Frungy's coins and layout analogy the example of Fukushima Daiichi where they built all the reactors in a straight line, and all four got equally hard hit by the Tsunami.

Now with a little thought, if they had staggered the buildings up the hillside a little...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Compressed Air Technology for Energy Creation Wins Hands Down... Get with the Times Dinosaurs .... For Real... it's like I am reading a Poll question from the 1990's or something.... We even have Compressed Air Power Plants in the States... So what happened to Japan being technologically advanced??? Hello, there is a New Energy in Town.. it's called Compressed Air so wake up to the real deal..... Air is Free Duh

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Japanese gov’t says nuclear power remains essential, saying the economy cannot afford the mounting costs from importing gas and oil, resulting in utilities hiking rates. Do you agree? No, the government still can't afford to pay for the clean-up of Fukushima, let alone take care of all the victims. I can promise you one thing, getting nuclear plants back online will NOT cause the utility companies to lower their rates! Lol

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Utrack,

You've mentioned compressed air power plants before, and your points have been shown to be wrong. Compressed air is a potential energy storage technology, not a power technology.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Star-viking the Alabama state Power South Energy Cooperative says I am right... They have a Air Compressor Power Plant there..

http://www.powersouth.com/mcintosh_power_plant/compressed_air_energy

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Some of you have mentioned that inconsistency between the two parts of the question. Because of that inconsistency I voted "I don't know". I think we need to get off of nuclear and coal and oil. To me solar seems the most reasonable, but it will require time. There is no immediate fix. To get all houses or business fitted with solar would take years, which is why I believe we should get started now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You know, nuclear power only supplied a third of Japan's power at it's peak. I don't think the problem is the cost of importing fuels. I think the problem is letting go of the billions of dollars they invested in nuclear power. If they were really so concerned about the cost of importing fossil fuels they would be doing a lot more to introduce renewable energy sources for a long term strategy instead of just whining to get the reactors back online. The facts are, the meltdown was the result of shonky safety standards and a failure to upgrade an ageing nuclear facility. They have been doing a lot of talking about safety standards and improvements, but still, to this day, all the nuclear plants are still susceptible to the same power failure that caused the meltdowns in Fukushima.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Disillusioned Nov. 13, 2014 - 08:51AM JST I think the problem is letting go of the billions of dollars they invested in nuclear power. If they were really so concerned about the cost of importing fossil fuels they would be doing a lot more to introduce renewable energy sources for a long term strategy instead of just whining to get the reactors back online.

In a few years, one-fourth of the Japan's nuclear power plants will be over 40 years old, a operational age limit by Japan's regulators. Another four reactors are stationed only short distance from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant, in a radiation zone that most likely become inoperable. Work to upgrade the remaining nuclear reactors to post-Fukushima standards may cost $10-$15 billion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Utrack:

The CAES plant burns roughly one-third of the natural gas per kilowatt hour of output compared to a conventional combustion turbine,

That's from your link. The plant is producing energy from natural gas, using it to power a compressor and using the compressed air as storage for the energy produced.

Compressed air isn't the energy source - it's the storage medium. It's all natural gas powered.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Utrack,

You should read the article more closely:

"The unit captures off-peak energy at night, when utility system demand and costs are lowest. Compressors force air into an underground storage reservoir at high pressure. PowerSouth uses the stored energy during intermediate and peak energy demand periods to generate electricity."

Captures off-peak energy, i.e. energy produced by other power plants. Uses the stored energy, i.e. it stores energy, it does not produce it.

Disillusioned,

They have been doing a lot of talking about safety standards and improvements, but still, to this day, all the nuclear plants are still susceptible to the same power failure that caused the meltdowns in Fukushima.

You mean all the generators are still in the basements, tsunami walls have not been built, and hydrogen recombiners and/or vents have not been installed?

News to me.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The yen is only returning to where it was prior the disaster and prior lehman, once we get back to those levels we can then properly measure things and make informed comments until then you are all speculating , most of who are speculating about what they do not know.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Agree with some above here. If this was really the issue, the government would have made a serious attempt at increasing the efficiency of homes and buildings to reduce energy consumption. Instead, they keep rehashing the same, tired old argument about needing nuclear. Lights are still on everywhere during the day (and overnight). Walls of buildings are still wafer thin with little insulation. Many windows are still single pane. And the list goes on and on. Weren`t we having this same conversation three years ago? Nothing has changed. Increase efficiency, decomission the reactors and use renewable energy sources. I realize this takes time, but there is not even a plan in place. Their answer is simply to continue with business as usual. Where are the people of vision?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_air_energy_storage

The McIntosh, Alabama CAES plant requires 2.5 MJ of electricity and 1.2 MJ lower heating value (LHV) of gas for each megajoule of energy output, corresponding to an energy recovery efficiency of about 27%.[5] A General Electric 7FA 2x1 combined cycle plant, one of the most efficient natural gas plants in operation, uses 6.6 MJ (LHV) of gas per kW·h generated,[6] a 54% thermal efficiency compared to the McIntosh 6.8 MJ, at 27% thermal efficiency.

If the Japanese people are willing to pay extra for their energy in order to not have nuclear power then they should have that choice (What about companies that use electricity?). It is the Gov and Tepco's fault for losing the populace's trust on this issue. The quote is alluding to mounting costs that have not been passed onto the consumer --> I believe this is true and the true costs will be rather shocking.

Right now the choices here are poor and people are balking. What/Where are the choices?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The increase in energy consumption between 1987 and 1995 exceeds the amount of power produced by nuclear at its peak, according to this graph:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-HeyhiYs54YI/TYC-an4TkgI/AAAAAAAAC_E/S-bPGIRDQwU/s1600/japan+energy.png

But since the 1990's, Japan production has hollowed out, so what is the real source of this increased energy consumption? It is reasonable to suppose that it is result of inefficient energy usage: building lots of housing, offices, and shops that will heat to above 40 C if the air conditioner is not on full blast, and other useless uses of energy. A psychology in the populace that says room temperature must be warmer in winter than it is in summer, the abandonment of the electric fan, and so on. Has this increased inefficiency in energy usage resulted in greater happiness for the general population? No - it has just made them prisoners of unsustainable living.

One source of these problems is a public policy of providing cheap energy which led to inefficient usage and attitudes. Cheap energy was provided in part by "bargain" nuclear which defers costs to future generations (or until the Fukushima disaster). You get what you pay for.

What we don't need now is to double down on the bad policies of the past. Safer and long term cheaper nuclear may exist - but the term "nuclear" as used in the poll question has nothing to do with that. Renewables can be expensive, especially at the start, gas and fossil prices are unreliable and will likely rise in the future, long-term feasible nuclear will also have steep start up costs - that fact is energy is expensive. Rising prices will help to shape more efficient energy usage, it is a necessary correction. The increased income should not be used to line pockets, but to fund innovative reformation of energy production which is necessary for Japan's future well being.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We have managed pretty well without nuclear power since 2011 and I think we can continue to do so from now on as well. Before 2011, I would have easily been in the 'we need nuclear power' corner. But, my eyes have been opened and I now would really like to know what the rush is all about. Fukushima is not solved yet by any stretch. Do we really want to open more Pandora boxes? I say, 'No'. Figure out some better way to make power while in the meantime maintaining the status quo of no nuclear power in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it's not a proper comparison. It assumes that nuclear is cheaper than oil and gas, but that's only true at its instantaneous use, not overall. With the taxes and subsidies poured into nuclear it is many times greater than any cost of oil and gas. Also the storage of toxic waste for the next 10,000 years is never costed for either. The question is a canard.

Geothermal can replace nuclear as a baseload, and solar thermal, panel and other means (look up molten salt reactor) can satisfy the intermittent daily load.

This is just a poll to ignore renewables, a conversation that not enough people have data about. But you do; you can use Google and get out of the mindset of puppetting the gov't lines.

Try these: Deep Lake Water Cooling, Molten Salt Reactor, Geothermal Japan, Geothermal Walkways.

Deny all you like but these are the future simply because our planetary pollution production levels are not. The question is, will Japan keep supporting the oyajis that are destroying the country or will a page be turned and a new direction sought? Currently the answer is no way, and not just in Japan. But given enough financial incentives over time that may change. I can only hope

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

sf2k

Geothermal can replace nuclear as a baseload, and solar thermal, panel and other means (look up molten salt reactor) can satisfy the intermittent daily load.

Not enough economically accessible geothermal in Japan. Solar Thermal is unsuited to Japan: it needs lots of flat land and cloudless skies.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is strange that the solar power generated power subsidy will come to end in April 2015. It has been so successful that the powers that be in Japan ie the power companies and the government see solar as usurping nuclear thus depriving the OB network of much appreciated backhanders.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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