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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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  • Pick one (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:31AM (#40231431)

    1) Reduced nuclear
    2) Reduced coal, oil, and natural gas

    Any third option for the foreseeable future is a hippie pipe dream (unless you count regular, sustained blackouts as an option). And if anyone thinks that solar panels and wind turbines are going to supply Tokyo with even a fraction of its power needs, you've obviously never been there.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:37AM (#40231495)
    So in other words Japan will make nuclear power taboo so there will be little research/upkeep on the remaining reactors making another Fukishima more likely. Wonderful!
  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:52AM (#40231659)
    They haven't built a new reactor in a very long time. This announcement is not much different to the German government one - letting the existing plants run down and not putting in a huge amount of capital to revive an almost abandoned reactor construction industry to build new ones. Everyone involved in building the previous ones has long moved on and spare expertise outside of their country is scarce.
  • I Don't Get It (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:59AM (#40231737) Journal

    Any third option for the foreseeable future is a hippie pipe dream

    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.

    And if anyone thinks that solar panels and wind turbines are going to supply Tokyo with even a fraction of its power needs, you've obviously never been there.

    I haven't been there. But no one's asking those solutions to go from zero to powering Tokyo over night. Look how gradually it's taken wind power to start in the United States [wikimedia.org] (current numbers here [wikimedia.org]). Japan is comparable at our state level [gwec.net] and is looking at connecting with Korea, China, Russia and Mongolia power grids to buy more renewable energy [smartplanet.com]. So why call these hippie pipe dreams? If these are hippie pipe dreams, when will our innovation kick in and 'save us' from nuclear and coal?

    (unless you count regular, sustained blackouts as an option)

    Did you hear that Japan did actually make small adjustments following Fukushima [guardian.co.uk] and called the movement setsuden [nytimes.com]?

    I don't think the situation is as dire as you describe it and, frankly, dismissing all the alternative efforts really undermines what we should be working toward which are transitional phases until some breakthrough comes in fusion or an unforeseen source.

  • Re:Pick one (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Urban Garlic (447282) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @10:09AM (#40231851)

    One thing we have learned is that, in nuclear power, "not making mistakes" can cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. One of the mistakes we heard about when the Fukushima Daiichi event happened was continuing to operate these poorly-designed older-generation reactors for so long.

    From the sounds of it, this new report has come out strongly in favor of not repeating that mistake, which sounds pretty logical to me.

  • Re:Pick one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @10:57AM (#40232479)

    This is the devastating irony of modern nuclear power. The more we invest in it, the safer it becomes. Yet investments in nuclear power are often viewed as something that increases risk of accidents due to "more power plants".

    It's a self-fulfilling prophecy as a result of it we're still running many plants built in sixties when nuclear energy generation was not even a decade old.

  • Re:Pick one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @11:30AM (#40232997) Homepage

    Japan has vast amounts of geothermal and plenty of off-shore wind. The former is cheaper than nuclear and coal, not sure about gas. The latter... Well, post Fukushima it is cheaper than nuclear, and possibly coal if you count the environmental and health costs of burning it.

    There is another option too: reduce energy consumption by becoming more efficient.

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