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Committee Offers Scenarios for Japan's Energy Future 131

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the doomed-no-matter-what-you-do dept.
ananyo writes with a story about more concrete plans for a reduced or nuclear-free energy future for Japan. From the article: "It's official: nuclear power will have a much smaller role in Japan's energy future than was once thought. Since the meltdowns and gas explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011, all of Japan's remaining reactors have been shut down for inspections and maintenance. The government offered a glimpse of their future, and that of the country's nuclear power in general, when it published an outline of four ways to satisfy Japan's future energy demands. One scenario recommends using a market mechanism to determine the nuclear contribution. Under the other three, nuclear power would supply at most one-quarter of Japan's energy by 2030 — and in one case, none at all. The scenarios come from a 25-person advisory committee to the industry ministry. The sharp reductions in the nuclear power part of the country's energy mix mean that Japan will struggle to reach the 31% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that it had planned by 2030 (PDF)."
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Committee Offers Scenarios for Japan's Energy Future

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  • Re:Pick one (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ironhandx (1762146) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:41AM (#40231551)

    This is entirely accurate for Japans current situation. Even in areas like the US where land per capita is relatively abundant they can't possibly supply all of the countries power needs on wind, hydro, and solar alone. At least not any time soon, and by soon I mean within the next 30-40 years, which is our immediate concern.

    Only a very few countries in the world have enough land to supply completely sustainable energy. Canada is one, Australia is another. There are maybe 3-4 other countries that could at least mostly get onto these energy sources.

    Since as you can see this is a very small club to be in, Nuclear is unfortunately the way forward for the foreseeable future.

  • Re:Pick one (Score:4, Informative)

    by AbrasiveCat (999190) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @10:01AM (#40231779)

    Yep, nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas are the only 4 cost-effective methods of large-scale power generation, especially in a crowded region such as Japan. Solar panels are not yet cheap enough and wind requires such a large area (so do solar panels but they could be mounted on roofs).

    Those of us who live in the northwest of the United States, or western Canada, might argue that hydro belongs on your list. There aren't many big hydro opportunities left to develop around here, but hydro plants we have seem be cost efficient.

  • Sea wind (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @10:57AM (#40232483)

    wind requires such a large area

    No land is needed for wind power. Japan is an island nation at a latitude that has plenty of trade winds. Wind turbines can be located at sea, where the wind is steadier and twice as strong as on land.

  • Re:I Don't Get It (Score:4, Informative)

    by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @11:17AM (#40232769)

    I don't get it, all the free market preachers are promising that my energy problems will shortly be solved by the free market but your view is such a fatalistic-don't-even-try-jaded response that you seem to doubt the free market can provide.

    No, the "free market preachers" aren't saying that. Because the "free market preachers" know perfectly well that energy production is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world.

    And as long as NIMBY exists, there isn't really an answer to increasing energy production - the people want green, but they pretty much stop wanting that as soon as the price tag is mentioned (yes, going all solar and wind will increase energy costs).

    On a related note, saw in the news this AM that the windpower industry is really peeved that Congress hasn't gotten around to renewing their tax credits, and is expecting massive layoffs as a result.

    Which reminds me, I really need to get off my duff and get some solar panels on my roof before the tax rebates end - much better to buy while the neighbors are paying for it than to wait until I have to pay for it myself.

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @11:23AM (#40232867)

    In fact reactor #6, while shut down at the time of the tsunami, was the only reactor that still had a functioning power supply after the tsunami. It was the only BWR5 design (#1 was a BWR3, #2 to #5 were BWR4) - unlike the others, it had three separate subdivisions each capable of cooling the reactor in the event of a power outage. Redundancy works. Just as in the Tokai, Fukushima Daini and Onagawa nuclear power plants that were also hit by the tsunami.

    However, neither TEPCO nor the Japanese Government should be spared any criticism for failing to upgrade the power plants. Hydrogen explosions were a known problem in those plants and could be prevented for a very modest sum of a few million dollar per reactor. Filtered containment vents were also implemented all over europe, Japan was attending the Paris conference on filtered containment vents in June 1988 and the only nation not to issue any official statement at all about them or initiate any studies on the problem.

    Until 2011 I thought Japan was basically a modern country with decent safety standards - now I know better.

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