Voices
in
Japan

poll

Which form of renewable energy do you think is the best alternative to nuclear energy?

58 Comments
© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

58 Comments
Login to comment

All the sources of Energy listed are good so a little of everyone listed above.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It should be a mix, as Utrack says, but massive action as a pillar for Japanese growth.

The nuclear brand is dead.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Fission for the other.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I entered other, as it will be combinations of different tech that will help at least until some form of fission is possible (if it is on production levels).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There should be the All of the Above option to make this a valid poll.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

There should be the All of the Above option to make this a valid poll.

I agree. The pro-nuclear people are always whining, 'Solar/geo-thermal/wind/hydro alone cannot replace nuclear so we have to not only restart the current crop of earthquake/tsunami/human error-vulnerable reactors, but build more!' I voted Other in the absence of an All of the Above choice.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Japan's #1 untapped resource is wind energy.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It seems I'm not the only one to think "ALL of the above"...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It depends on the location

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Definitely need an 'all of the above' option . I voted 'other' as a substitute as well.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wind is unsightly and kills birds ocassionally.

Solar needs huge 'solar farms' and the cost is high.

Hydroelectric is ecologically destructive.

Geothermal exists and its untapped. Iceland does well with it....at a much smaller population.

All of the above and a global effort to improve existing technologies and efficiencies with exploration of new technologies.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan's #1 untapped resource is wind energy

I would think geothermal is at least equal or superior.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I would think geothermal is at least equal or superior.

-Japan has already (somewhat) tapped that. -But for certain areas it could be done more.

None of Japan's commercial wind turbines, totaling over 2300 MW in nameplate capacity, failed as a result of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, including the Kamisu offshore wind farm directly hit by the tsunami.[3] It has been estimated that Japan has the potential for 144 GW for onshore wind and 608 GW of offshore wind capacity.[4]

2.3 of 144 and 608 = untapped energy. =Where did all of this Japan energy come from and why are we burning coal, oil and nuclear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

others : Space-based solar power beaming down to earth.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Its a bit of a meaningless question, obviously some are going to be more suitable in certain contexts than others and a mix of different renewable energy sources is the future. I dont think Ive ever seen anyone seriously saying only one energy source is going to replace nuclear.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The big problem is even if you add all the alternative energy sources it still will not equate to the amount nuclear reactors are able to generate at a stable rate at a low cost.

Japan needs a stable low cost energy source not an unreliable high cost one.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The big problem is even if you add all the alternative energy sources it still will not equate to the amount nuclear reactors are able to generate at a stable rate at a low cost.

Exactly.

Green energy is the way forward, and we need to keep focusing research and development on it. But unfortunately it's not at a point where it can replace nuclear or coal power in terms of output or cost.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I'd say geothermal as there is bigger opportunity for scale and consistency. Until better battery technology is achieved, solar and wind will always be considered inconsistent supplies

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The poll does not have waste to energy power plants as an option. There are about 10 waste to energy power plants in Japan. More trash to steam power plants is an option to consider.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The poll does not have waste to energy power plants as an option. There are about 10 waste to energy power plants in Japan. More trash to steam power plants is an option to consider.

depends on the waste: If organic, you can use plasma (energy) to break materials into C/H/O and that C/H/O can produce extra power. But for old electronics etc it is much harder to refine the core materials = you have a lot of trash/pollution.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All of the above.

Simple technology is best, however a mix is preferable.

Geothermal in Japan is a no-brainer, especially at local levels. WHy it never took off is beyond me.

ANyway, lots of rice fields and also people's vacant-lot carparks in Kochi being turned into mini solar farms. I am not sure why - a rebate, or is selling power to Yon Den (Shikoku's electricity company) more profitable than leasing a few square meters of parking space to people for 3-5,000 yen per month?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Start with solar panels on every house, building, and factory. That will cut down drastically on how much unclean energy we will need.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Unfortunately all of the above mentioned renewables together are not nearly enough to replace nuclear or fossil fuel based energy.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The energy needs of the earth can be net though a mix of solar thermal energy plants and solar electricity stations, wind farms, hydroelectric power stations and the various uses of biomass. In order to restrict growth of the energy requirements, economical energy technologies must come into play. In the end a rapid expansion of a world solar energy industry is an important important step toward preventing wars over scarce resources like oil, gas and uranium.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No single source is enough. Should be a combination as no country / location is the same.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Other.

Coming from a country that has tons of windfarms, it has been proven a long while ago that the costs to build/maintain them overshadows the profit by a large amount. Some people think, just because there is wind you can turn them on and voila, free energy but it simply doesnt work that way. When the wind is too strong the mills are being turned off to prevent blades tearing off, when the wind is too weak they cant move. Then there is the costs of maintenance.

Solarpower, not sure if the efficiency has been improved yet but these too are still too inefficient to really make it worthwile, although now a team in Holland (i believe the same one that participates in the solarpanel race) has managed to make more efficient version of solar panel.

I'm waiting for more buildings to implement vibration energy. I believe one nightclub implemented this type of floor when people dance on it the vibrations create energy or something like that. Implement it in the floors of big stations like Shinjuku, Osaka etc. voila.

Anyway we need a energy revolution quickly and stop hurting the planet.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Short answer: None.

(Geothermal energy is of course a real solution where it is availabe in sufficient amount, but that is not the case anywhere except in Iceland.)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Seeing that we are facing worldwide devastation from climate change, it's the wrong question - fossil fuels need replacing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All of the above. One, single replacement source simply will not work. Taking advantage of the wide array of alternative generation sources should be paramount. Use the source or sources that fit best with the local needs and scale. For example, put short-drop hydro installations in small communities with adequate running rivers and streams. Use geothermal (see Iceland for examples) in volcanic areas. Solar in the cities, wind offshore, and so forth. One size does not fit all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nothing compares to nuclear energy. Simple Its cheapest, its extremely powerful, its scalable and is way ahead of other source of energy at the moment.

Other forms of energy could be used for low scale domestic household purposes to relieve a bit of a burden on the usage of nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy could be focussed for industrial purposes since other forms of energy simply cannot generate that level of power.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

http://youtu.be/RAO3mVbGqrI

"Brim diffusers" for wind turbines.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nuclear today.

Pump the money not spent on coal and petroleum into R&D and installation of other renewables. Gradually phase out nuclear as alternatives take up their share of the power grid. That's the only green solution. Everything else is relying on coal and petroleum to bridge the gap.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gradually phase out nuclear

You mean gradually as in tens of thousands of years of secure storage (safe from terrorist attack and natural disaster) for both the radioactive waste we already have, and the stuff that will continue to be produced the longer we keep using nuclear to boil water?

The biggest problem with the 'we need nuclear to bide us over till we develop something better' argument is that as long as nuclear is an option the sense of urgency needed to develop those alternatives gets swept under the carpet. Nuclear is so much easier, and sexier. And it makes a lot of money for powerful people (powerful cos they have a lot of money) who really do not want to see an end to the golden eggs. After all, assuming there are no more major meltdowns or explosions, the very real problems of nuclear will be left for our grandkids' grandkids' grandkids to deal with, and that doesn't bother the people making money off it now.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@cleo

Which makes more money for your "powerful people": petroleum or nuclear?

Yeah. That's where that whole argument breaks down. No one is invading countries to secure access to uranium. Uranium ore prices aren't shown on the nightly news, and no one talks about uranium futures at the first sign of social unrest.

The nuclear lobby exists. This is true. People make money from nuclear power. Also true. However, the size of the nuclear lobby and the profits that they generate are absolutely dwarfed in scale by coal and oil. Why ignore this truth?

Who benefits when coal and oil are used as a stopgap over nuclear? You guessed it. The same ones that force countries to war, the same ones who led the climate-change denial charge, and the same ones that worked hard to kneecap nuclear generation in the 50s and 60s, using a lot of the same rhetoric unwittingly used in anti-nuclear tirades here on JT. You're being played.

Nuclear - even with the risks involved - is less harmful than anything else we dig out of the ground. It's the only thing we have right now that will allow us to somewhat mitigate climate change while working towards alternatives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Coal imported from Kentucky under the Trump Energy Initiative...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hokkaidoguy - In terms of money-making, there isn't all that much difference between fossil and nuclear; just two sets of people both with their snouts in the trough, both looking out for Number One. I'm not ignoring any 'truths'. The fossil people make exactly the same arguments - renewable isn't up to speed yet, so we have to keep burning stuff in the meantime. And the answer is exactly the same; as long as we let ourselves be told that there is no alternative, that renewables 'aren't there yet' - they'll never be there.

Did you notice all the interest there was all through the 20th century in developing something clean to replace the internal combustion engine? No, neither did I. We were - are - all being played.

Renewable isn't gong to solve all our problems this afternoon. But the more renewable we can use, that much less of the other stuff we need to use. We don't have a DokodemoDoor to take us directly to a clean and sparkling future with no nuclear and no fossil fuel, a thriving economy and a smile on every face. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and if we never take that first step we'll never get anywhere.

And still no one in the pro-nuclear camp can tell us what to do with the ever-growing mountain of nuclear waste?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Start with solar panels on every house, building, and factory. That will cut down drastically on how much unclean energy we will need.

I agree with Aly here. Fact is I have been believing and saying this for years. Installation should be mandatory on every new building.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cleo,

And still no one in the pro-nuclear camp can tell us what to do with the ever-growing mountain of nuclear waste?

Bury it, store it, or build one of the new reactor designs which can use it as fuel.

As for the 'mountain of nuclear waste' where is that? Nuclear reactors can store decades worth of spent fuel in their fuel pools - any way you add that up, they're not mountains.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That s a pretty vague question. Is this Japan specific or worldwide? If the question is Japan specific the answer is not one, but a combination of all the listed renewables. I really get sick and tired of hearing the 'resource poor Japan' crap! Japan has many renewable sources that are not being utilised. There are many mountains and large rivers for hydroelectric power. There are hundreds of geothermal fields that are not used because most are national parks. There are literally millions of apartment block rooftops that could be turned into solar power generators. Wind energy is possibly the least efficient of all renewables, but it seems to be the one Japan is using most from the above choices. It's expensive, noisy and dangerous and, it produces the least amount of energy for the investment. The new technologies of solar power are much more efficient and I have no doubt that it will become the number alternative internationally. However, not all countries can use it. One renewable source that is not mentioned is wave energy from the sea. This has been proven to be extremely efficient and with Japan being an island it would make perfect sense to invest in this too. Japan uses less alternative energy sources than any other developed country, which seems quite strange for a country that is always crying, "we don't have any resources!" The truth is, Japan invested so heavily in nuclear power they are not going to give it up without a fight. The fact the one nuclear disaster has cost them 300 square kilometres of land and the clean up will cost a hundred times more than it cost to build all the reactors in the country is irrelevant to the stone-headed bureaucrats running this fascist state!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bury it, store it

For tens of thousands of years? There is not a single person on this earth who can take responsibility for the safe storage of nuclear waste for even a faction of that time.

Added to which, Japan is an earthquake zone, with a pretty high water table. How long before the stuff they bury comes bubbling to the surface?

Even in 'stable' areas of the world people cannot decide what to do with the stuff. According to the WNA the options for used fuel are:

-- Direct disposal (after storage) to a geological repository. The material has very long-lived radioactivity, and will take about 300,000 years to reach the same level as the original ore.

-- Aqueous reprocessing to remove only uranium and plutonium. The material then only takes about 9000 years to reach the same level of radioactivity as the original ore.

-- Advanced electrometallurgical reprocessing which removes uranium, plutonium and minor actinides together for recycling in a fast reactor. The wastes then only need 300 years to reach the same level of radioactivity as the original ore. This is not yet operational on any commercial scale.

...To date there has been no practical need for final HLW repositories, as surface storage for 40-50 years is first required so that heat and radioactivity can decay to levels which make handling and storage easier....In other words, We (=the people making the decisions and the money) won't be here then so let's just leave the mess for our kids' kids to clean up.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-wastes/radioactive-waste-management.aspx

As for the 'mountain of nuclear waste'

It's a figger o'speech, meaning lots of the stuff. A typical NPP generates about 27 metric tons of used nuclear fuel every year. (Not counting the low- and intermediate-level waste that also has to be dealt with). Multiply that by the number of NPPs in the world, and then by the years they've been operating so far, and any way you add that up, you've got yourself several mountains.

Nuclear reactors can store decades worth of spent fuel in their fuel pools

We're not talking on a scale of decades, though, are we?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cleo,

For tens of thousands of years? There is not a single person on this earth who can take responsibility for the safe storage of nuclear waste for even a faction of that time.

That's the point of deep geologic storage - they are in rock formations whuch will stay stable for tens of thousands of years.

Added to which, Japan is an earthquake zone, with a pretty high water table. How long before the stuff they bury comes bubbling to the surface?

The geological formations are far below the water table.

Even in 'stable' areas of the world people cannot decide what to do with the stuff. According to the WNA the options for used fuel are:

...To date there has been no practical need for final HLW repositories, as surface storage for 40-50 years is first required so that heat and radioactivity can decay to levels which make handling and storage easier....In other words, We (=the people making the decisions and the money) won't be here then so let's just leave the mess for our kids' kids to clean up.

Or, as they said, because there is no practical need as the fuel has to be stored for 40 to 50 years?

As for the 'mountain of nuclear waste' It's a figger o'speech, meaning lots of the stuff. A typical NPP generates about 27 metric tons of used nuclear fuel every year. (Not counting the low- and intermediate-level waste that also has to be dealt with). Multiply that by the number of NPPs in the world, and then by the years they've been operating so far, and any way you add that up, you've got yourself several mountains.

So there are around 500 reactors in the world, and let's assume each has a spent fuel pool of 10 metres depth, and 20 by 20 metres area. That's 4000 cubic metres. So the world would have about 2 million cubic meters of spent fuel. That would be a cube 200 x 200 x 50 metres - no mountain, a hill.

"Nuclear reactors can store decades worth of spent fuel in their fuel pools"

We're not talking on a scale of decades, though, are we?

Taking a line out of context to snark?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@cleo

...To date there has been no practical need for final HLW repositories, as surface storage for 40-50 years is first required so that heat and radioactivity can decay to levels which make handling and storage easier....In other words, We (=the people making the decisions and the money) won't be here then so let's just leave the mess for our kids' kids to clean up.

No.

If the problem were being ignored, there would be no construction of deep storage sites. There are several under construction around the world (Norway has one scheduled to go into full operation by 2020), and about a dozen in the site selection and licensing phases. There is also significant research and development ongoing internationally regarding the engineering of these sites.

Sealing radioactive waste in a tube under 450m of stable granite is as secure as anything is likely to get. The only way it's going to be exposed to the atmosphere is natural erosion - which is on the scale of tens of millions of years. Or a massive meteor strike, of the scale that created the moon. I suppose that could do it.

Shall we compare that with the pollution and environmental destruction caused by petroleum? Elevated Mercury levels from hydroelectric flooding? What's the total environmental impact of the battery arrays used for solar and wind? Rare earth mining for solar cells? What's the industry solution for those issues?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's the point of deep geologic storage - they are in rock formations whuch will stay stable for tens of thousands of years.

Since the people building and running these power plants have shown they cannot pick a spot that will stay free of earthquakes and tsunami for a few decades, I'm not inclined to trust that they can reliably pick a spot that will stay 'stable for tens of thousands of years'. Sorry, they simply haven't earned that trust. Especially not in Japan, where nothing is stable.

there is no practical need as the fuel has to be stored for 40 to 50 years

And when the 40 to 50 years is up, as it already is for the earliest NPPs? Is the waste from those first NPPs now safely ensconced in these totally safe deep-underground stable rock formations? No, they are not. The US has been running NPPs since the 1960s and the country has not a single permanent storage facility. It's all in pools (some of them stocked with up to five times more spent fuel than they were designed to hold) and dry casks, sitting out in the open.

So there are around 500 reactors in the world, and let's assume each has a spent fuel pool of 10 metres depth, and 20 by 20 metres area. That's 4000 cubic metres.

Remember some of those spent fuel pools contain five times as much spent fuel as they were designed to hold - nearly the same density as in a reactor core. So small-sized pools aren't really all that reassuring, sorry.

A typical NPP produces 20 metric tons of used nuclear waste every year. So your 500 NPPs are producing some 10,000 metric tons between them. Every year. NPPs have been around since the late 1950s-early 1960s, but obviously there weren't so many in the early years. Numbers seem to have levelled out around 1990, so let's consider just the years from then. 25 is a nice neat number. So we have at least 250,000 metric tons of highly radioactive material just sitting around. I've no idea how heavy spent fuel is, but 250,000-plus metric tons of highly dangerous stuff sounds like a lot to me. And every year adds another 10,000 tons.

Taking a line out of context to snark?

What was out of context?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about all of the above? I mean seriously, A combination of all of the above would do far more than just focusing on one or the other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of the ones listed, Geothermal is the best for Japan because of the geographic makeup of the country. Unlike Solar or Wind, Geothermal would be available to generate power 24/7 with no need for costly battery banks that would need periodic replacement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For Japan, geothermal is something of a 'no brainer'. There have been studies which show that traditional (non fracturing) techniques could supply ~70% or so of all the country's current energy needs. If you go with newer techniques (which do make use of some fracturing and thus need serious caution here) the amounts available are several times all the country's energy needs.

As for the nuclear question. One thing that really really needs to have more awareness is liquid salt thorium cycle reactors. These are nothing at all like traditional light water solid fuel uranium/plutonium reactors. These were sort of mentioned in passing as 'new designs' but quickly disappeared from the discussion. Thorium cycle reactors eliminate basically all the really negative aspects of traditional reactors (which I would agree, just make no sense) and could certainly be a very positive facet to replacing fossil fuels. They do not require uranium (or worse, plutonium) and cannot produce bomb grade material. Thorium is vastly more available than uranium and thus solves the other dirty secret of traditional reactors - not enough fuel without resorting to breeders (aka bomb grade material makers). Thorium cycle reactors burn nearly all their fuel in a continual recycling process and so produce very little waste. That waste also is not full of isotopes with quarter million half lives and would decay to safe levels in 300-500 years (not great, but totally workable). Moreover, they can indeed burn the 'mountains' of waste created by old fashioned traditional reactors, thus contributing to a solution to an orthogonal problem. Lastly, the design and physics of them prevent anything like the catastrophic melt downs of traditional reactors and shutdown aspects are passive (no active intervention required).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Solar on every house - I like this idea. If the government really put some weight behind subsidizing this kind of initiative, it could really work out well for Japan. A friend of mine installed a solar system into his house. It has completely changed his family's mind-set about how and when to use energy. On top of that, he gets a little bit of cash back if he can sell any excess energy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All of the above.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hydropower is already mostly tapped. There are simply no more rivers left to dam.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cleo,

The line in context was:

"As for the 'mountain of nuclear waste' where is that? Nuclear reactors can store decades worth of spent fuel in their fuel pools - any way you add that up, they're not mountains."

Pretty obvious I'm referring to the volume of the waste produced.

As for what to do with the waste we have, what is your solution?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As for what to do with the waste we have, what is your solution?

I don't have a solution, and as far as I can see, neither does anyone else. Certainly not one that does not involve pushing our mess into the unprepared hands of as yet unborn generations.

All the more reason not to make any more mess until a viable solution is found.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, you don't have a solution, but you reject the expert opinion of geologists and scientists?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Their expert opinion is 'shove it in a deep hole and let someone else deal with it after we're gone', and yes, I do reject that opinion because it isn't a viable solution.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Geothermal is a perfect replacement to nuclear power. It scales, can work anywhere, doesn't matter if the sun is shining, provides long term local jobs, and for Japan, a Ring Of Fire country, can be even more effective at the larger scale. Using nuclear power to boil water would be over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't have a solution, and as far as I can see, neither does anyone else.

As mentioned before - burn it in LFTRs

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All the above mentioned resources effective compared to non renewable energy. In order to restrict the growth of renewable energy economical energy and natural energy must come into play. Indeed rapid expansion of these resources can help sustain better life on our planet. Apart from this one should make use of the alternative resources/energy effectively inorder to control pollution. You also read on benefits of alternative energy on earth at: http://www.publicdebate.in/pollution-hurting-alternative-energy-effective/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All the above mentioned resources are effective when compared to non renewable energy. In order to restrict the growth of renewable energy economical energy and natural energy must come into play. Indeed rapid expansion of these resources can help sustain better life on our planet. Apart from this one should make use of the alternative resources/energy effectively inorder to control pollution. You also read on benefits of alternative energy on earth at: http://www.publicdebate.in/pollution-hurting-alternative-energy-effective/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with all the above mentioned resources mentioned they are effective when compared to non renewable energy. In order to get rid of growing non renewable energy, economical energy and natural energy must come into play. Indeed rapid expansion of these resources can help sustain better life on our planet. Apart from this one should make use of the alternative resources/energy effectively inorder to control pollution. You also read on benefits of alternative energy on earth at: http://www.publicdebate.in/pollution-hurting-alternative-energy-effective/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites