Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Japan Earth Government Power Politics

Japan Aims To Abandon Nuclear Power By 2030s 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the election-campaigns-deciding-our-future dept.
mdsolar writes "Reuters reports that the Japanese government said it 'intends to stop using nuclear power by the 2030s, marking a major shift from policy goals set before last year's Fukushima disaster that sought to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half of electricity supply. Japan joins countries such as Germany and Switzerland in turning away from nuclear power ... Japan was the third-biggest user of atomic energy before the disaster. In abandoning atomic power, Japan aims to triple the share of renewable power to 30 percent of its energy mix, but will remain a top importer of oil, coal and gas for the foreseeable future. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's unpopular government, which could face an election this year, had faced intense lobbying from industries to maintain atomic energy and also concerns from its major ally, the United States, which supplied it with nuclear technology in the 1950s.' Meanwhile, the U.S. nuclear renaissance appears to be unraveling."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Japan Aims To Abandon Nuclear Power By 2030s

Comments Filter:
  • Just put it off for a while. It can be done safely. The path is obvious.

    • Their replacement energy sources doesn't seem like a good alternative.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:36AM (#41333973)

    ...from a dude that owns a solar-power company? The story is slashdot-worthy, but the tone is partisan fluff. Is he really the only guy submitting this story?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      To be fair TFA does actually say they are planning to drop nuclear by the 2030s, and other sources [nhk.or.jp] agree. The guy is a wanker but unfortunately he was the first one to get this story voted onto the front page, so let's get on with the debate.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      from a dude that owns a solar-power company

      This isn't wikipedia, you can submit a story about yourself if you want, and if it is deemed interesting it will go to the front page.

      Is he really the only guy submitting this story?

      Which parts of his submission do you take exception to, whoever you are besides a coward?

    • The summary appears to be accurate and the article is real enough.

          As for as partisan fluff, could you please tell me what you are talking about? I don't see it.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      If the story is good, who cares who submitted it? I don't perceive much partisan fluff in the summary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:37AM (#41333983)

    Oh man, a mdsolar story. I was beginning to miss his astroturf shenanigans.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:41AM (#41334017)

    They have even been repairing units 5 and 6 at Fukushima Daiachii to go back on line within the next few years. All other nuclear plants are being repaired and re-fitted. It looks like a long way from a plan to phase out nuclear power any time soon.

    • Well, 2030 is not soon, and another government with more backbone can then extend and expand it.
  • Global Warming (Score:2, Insightful)

    by puddingebola (2036796)

    The way I have seen the debate presented:

    1. The world runs on fossil fuels primarily

    2. Fossil fuels contribute to global warming

    3. The world needs energy sources that don't contribute to global warming

    4. Atomic energy does not produce CO2, but questions about its safety (Chernobyl, Fukushima, 3 mile) or public worries about its safety persist

    5. Renewable energy sources, in there current state, can't satisfy current or projected demand for energy

    6. Oh no.

    • Re:Global Warming (Score:5, Informative)

      by denis-The-menace (471988) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:35AM (#41334619)

      The real solution are LFTR reactors.

      No more enrichment, ever.
      Cheap fuel (currently is a waste product of mining)
      No more 100+ Atmosphere pressure vessels to burst
      No more backup generators needed
      Accidental meltdowns are impossible
      Turn reactor on/off in hours/minutes not months
      Unable to weaponize any part of fuel or waste.
      Needs Uranium only to start the reactor
      Creates leukemia fighting medical isotopes from waste
      Creates isotopes for space-grade batteries for NASA from waste
      Very little waste is left-over and it's radioactive for about 300 years.
      Prototype was run for 5 years+ in the 70s.
      Both China and India are working on it (and THEY will get the patents)

      Issues:
      -Regulations set by existing Nuke industry.
      -"Nuclear is bad" mentality of public and politicians.

      • by Jeremi (14640)

        The real solution are LFTR reactors.

        Unless, of course, they get scooped by LENR reactors [wired.co.uk].

        (Hey, a guy can dream)

      • Prototype was run for 5 years+ in the 70s.
        Enough said?
        So it ran 1975? That is roughly 40 years ago, in case you are bad at math ...
        If 'someone' would decide to build one now, it would be 15 years development time and on top of that another ten years to find a site where you can build it and get a permit to do so.
        You know, in our days people fight against 5 wind mills build 10 miles away from their home.
        Frankly, the only countries where you can build a nuclear plant, regardless of thechnology, are 3rd world

    • Re:Global Warming (Score:5, Informative)

      by cdrguru (88047) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:56AM (#41334883) Homepage

      Your idea of problems with nuclear power are interesting.

      Three Mile Island really affected nobody - not even plant workers. It is somewhat of a blot on the history of nuclear power, but there are plenty of those anyway.

      Chernobyl was caused by a stupid test that was mismanaged - sort of a stupid on top of a stupid. There has certainly been some health considerations for a few thousand people and it is likely the most widespread effect of nuclear power, ever. And it would be nice if it stayed that way. But, there is no accounting for stupid.

      Fukushima could have been forseen, but the environmental conditions were a bit extreme. Part of the problem is and continues to be spent fuel storage. We should be reprocessing this but because the fuel rods contain plutonium this is viewed as a way to make bombs and strictly forbidden right now. So we are all waiting around for either a reprocessing plant or two to be built - since the 1950s - or for there to be constructed a disposal site - since the 1960s at least.

      Probably 90% of the problems with nuclear power could be solved by having a small number of reprocessing plants for spent fuel rods built. Understand that the fuel rods have been only around 5% "spent" and could be reprocessed into new fuel rods with the 95% of the active materials still present in them. The "no reprocessing" philosophy is like having a car that spews 95% of the gasoline out the tailpipe unburned and leaving this situation for 50 years.

      • by mpe (36238)
        Probably 90% of the problems with nuclear power could be solved by having a small number of reprocessing plants for spent fuel rods built. Understand that the fuel rods have been only around 5% "spent" and could be reprocessed into new fuel rods with the 95% of the active materials still present in them.

        Which would also make nuclear fuel highly sustainable and arguably more "renewable" than so called "renewables".
  • Silly Japan, how are you going to fend off all of those space aliens without giant nuclear powered mecha?

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:53AM (#41334183)

    In fact, it could be more than 20 prime ministers until that time.

    The big question is, whether Japan is even capable of doing anything like this at all. They have been unable to implement internationally widespread safety measures that the contructors of the very reactors recommended, that have been destroyed in the accident. And that would have been cheap, less than $10bn for all 50 reactors, yet the Japanese didn't. And this isn't a singular experience.

    Japan has stagnated economically for the last 25 years. Last year, the global shortage of harddisks wasn't down to the tsunami in Japan, but a flood in Thailand of all places. (Which intends to build at least 5 nuclear reactors, btw.) Currently, Japan is paying on the order of $30bn on imports per year to very imperfectly compensate for the lack of nuclear power - "volontary" blackouts and shutdown are continuing as power saving measures during the summer. And unlike other expenditures, Japan can't pay for this with domestic debt, because they actually have to pay a foreign country in foreign currency - which is unsustainable in the long run without a source of income, which hasn't been forthcoming in Japan for the last quarter of a century. And as Steins Law says, this will stop.

    Renewable energy is expensive and no country has as yet installed anything in the way of the infrastructure require to use them on more than a small scale. So far, only the low-hanging fruits have been picked that stress the existing infrastructure to its limit. And Japan, being an island with two separate power systems, is in an even worse position than just about any other country imaginable.

    The question for anyone outside Japan isn't just whether Japan will be capable of pulling it off. The question isn't just if one of the regularly resigning Prime Ministers of Japan turns his or her back to this policy and makes it null and void. The actual question is whether, by 2040, Japan is still going to matter.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The big question is, whether Japan is even capable of doing anything like this at all.

      There is no question, Japan was forced to do it when almost all reactors were taken offline simultaneously in the wake of the earthquake, and coped quite well.

      They have been unable to implement internationally widespread safety measures that the contructors of the very reactors recommended, that have been destroyed in the accident. And that would have been cheap, less than $10bn for all 50 reactors, yet the Japanese didn't. And this isn't a singular experience.

      Which highlights just how broken the nuclear energy market is. The main problem is that $10bn is a lot to the nuclear industry, what with their shareholders demanding profits. The risk seemed remote and besides which the government was always going to pick up most of the tab if something did go wrong.

      That's the bottom line really, either way it would

      • by tp1024 (2409684)

        You really like to have reality bend your way, don't you?

        Read the repont of the "Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission" and you will find that safety measures not being implemented, was *not* a matter of nuclear energy being nuclear energy, but a matter of nuclear energy being in Japan. The conclusion was, that Fukushima was a disaster "Made in Japan". Google it, read it.

        You will also find that the epicenter of the quake was *not* in Fukushima. It was more than 100km away. That makes your cl

        • What is your math behind that: If germany wants to get 15% of total electricity from photovoltaics, it needs to install 150% of Germanies midday power cosumption??
          That is complete nonsense.
          On perfect days, much of wind and much of solar, germany is producing 60% of its power by wind and solar (around mid day). The long run (over a year) production by wind is already close to 20%.
          Wasting solar energy is not the same as wasting burning coal or oil ... it is just energy that can not be used right now ... costs

  • Political Posturing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stevegee58 (1179505) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:53AM (#41334199) Journal
    Japan is a tiny, resource-poor but energy-hungry country. Nuclear energy is the only thing that makes sense economically. What are they going to replace it with? Oil? Natural gas? Those sources come from so far away and from such temperamental suppliers that it's too risky to depend on long-term.
    To get reelected Japanese politicians have to put on an anti-nuclear Kibuki theatre to placate the masses. But the fact is they'll never give up nuclear and "renewable" energy sources won't ever put even a dent in their supersized energy demand.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Jesus fucking Christ Slashdot, how did this guy get modded up?

      What are they going to replace it with? Oil? Natural gas?

      TFS and TFA both state clearly that the intention is to boost renewable energy to 30% of the mix or more. Before 11/3 Nuclear accounted for about 23% of Japan's electricity, so the plan is quite clear.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by acoustix (123925)

        TFS and TFA both state clearly that the intention is to boost renewable energy to 30% of the mix or more. Before 11/3 Nuclear accounted for about 23% of Japan's electricity, so the plan is quite clear.

        Let me know when you find a renewable energy source that provides constant power 24/7/365.

        • Geothermal?

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Let me know when you find a renewable energy source that provides constant power 24/7/365.

          How about this [wikipedia.org], or this [wikipedia.org] or this [wikipedia.org]?

          • 1) Geothermal. Can't replace Japan's current electrical generation capacity. 2) Concentrated solar. I guess you haven't been to Japan. It's a dreary place and frequently cloudy. For 24/7/365 you'd need to have a *productized* means of storing energy for night usage. This tech is not sufficiently developed to scale up to a whole country. 3) Hydroelectric. Japan isn't Quebec. They don't have the huge open expanses of land over which to set up the huge dams required to replace their current generation c
      • Jesus fucking Christ Slashdot, how did this guy get modded up?

        What are they going to replace it with? Oil? Natural gas?

        TFS and TFA both state clearly that the intention is to boost renewable energy to 30% of the mix or more. Before 11/3 Nuclear accounted for about 23% of Japan's electricity, so the plan is quite clear.

        Clearly stated intentions and actual reality are two separate things. You must be very gullible to believe everything the gubmint tells you.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:55AM (#41334225) Homepage

    If they increase their renewables to 30% of their total then that will more than replace current nuclear capacity, so their use of oil and coal for electricity won't go up. Furthermore you would actually expect it to go down as people switch to electric vehicles.

  • nuclear is safe (Score:4, Informative)

    by ssam (2723487) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:12AM (#41334385)

    Nuclear power has an very low deaths per kWh, even when you include chernobyl, 3mile island and fukushima ( http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html [nextbigfuture.com] ). chernobyl is a terrible design (as the coolant boils, the reaction goes faster. fail), nothing like that could happen in any modern (by which i mean anything made in last few decades).

    Switching to any other form of power generation will cost lives.

    From a environmental point of view, suppose japan can build enough wind and solar to replace nuclear (big job on the scale of a war effort), if they did that along side nuclear they would be reducing carbon emissions. if you do it instead of nuclear then you are standing still. Now take a look at this http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ [noaa.gov] and have a read of IPCC, and explain how we are going to not hit 400 ppm.

  • Nuclear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bensam123 (1340765) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:45AM (#41334761)
    People shouldn't be turning away from nuclear, they should be embracing it. One of the greatest discoveries in the last 100 years and people are shying away from it because of teething issues. Of course the teething issues left huge marks, but so do a lot of things of tremendous amounts of potential and power. Leaps and bounds have been made in the field too. Everyone wants to get back to the basics, but harnessing the atom still remains an extremely viable option, let alone what would happen if it went mainstream.

    Stuff like this really makes me sad. It's made me sad ever since I learned about nuclear power and found out it was never widely used... It made me ask why. And so far, after all these years, the only reason I can come up with is fear.
    • Not really huge. There's only been one major nuclear power disaster, Chenobyl. The fear is more over possible disasters than actual disasters - the worst-case scenario for nuclear is very unlikely, but also very disasterous.
  • to shut nuclear plants down at a "country" level.
    Either you reduce (axe) your power hunger, or you buy electricity from another country.
    Replacing that by natural resources (non renewable) would be overkilling for the health.
    There's also the theoretical renewable energy solution. But the time and the investments needed would scare all politicians.
    A solution at planetary level it's a different thing. Probably photo-voltaic plants in a few main deserts plus a planetary power grid could be enough.
    But also this

    • A planetary power grid would run into a few problems. Just look at the situation with the middle east right now, and how much the rest of the world invests into trying to keep favor and keep order so the oil flows. That same region is also ideal for solar: Near the equator, and very little cloud coverage to block the precious photons. Do you think Europe would be happy about depending on them for power? We're having enough worry about Russia's control of the gas supply.

      There are some technological magic bu
    • A solution at planetary level it's a different thing. Probably photo-voltaic plants in a few main deserts plus a planetary power grid could be enough.
      But also this would scare all politicians!
      So, forget it.

      Actually, it's already underway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertec

  • We provided them with some of our nuclear technology in the 1940s, too.

  • Just changing business dress-code from heavy suites to shorts and t-shirts, business style certainly. Allowing people to dry clothings outdoors on special dryers.

    All is needed is a development of a new modern business style fashion and outdoor driers which look esthetically acceptable. It seems to be doable and relatively law-cost tasks.
  • I blame the media. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday September 14, 2012 @11:57AM (#41335537)
    The plant took an earthquake *and* flooding, and yet still the radiation leakage into the surrounding area was negligable. Containment held, even if it did need a bit of improvised emergency cooling. That was on an old plant design - if it had been built to a more modern design, there would have been no need even for that. And yet if you watched the television coverage, it looked like Chenobyl II. There was more airtime given to that nuclear plant than to all the rest of Japan put together, so it is no surprise people were terrified. The media played-up the nuclear aspect, because nuclear means scarey and scarey means viewers. And viewers mean money.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tp1024 (2409684)

      The nuclide release wasn't neglible, it wasn't acceptable in any way whatsoever and I have yet to see anyone in authority say so. That's nonsense. Period.

      It is true, it was much smaller than that of Chernobyl, especially considering that 3 reactors were involved. But it was still so large, that the evacuation of the population was definitely necessary - though on a smaller area and for a shorter time. It also not in all places that were evacuated (especially in the south) and not in the way it was done, es

    • So, why - while you think radiation leaks are neglectable - is an area of 70km times 30km evacuated?

  • Unless Japan manages to scale back its energy demand, then I find it difficult to believe that there is anything that trumps nuclear in terms of energy production, especially given its geography. For me the focus should be on improving nuclear and making it safer. Heck, I am curious why we haven't managed to develop a good thermocouple instead of using nuclear powered steam engines?

  • "Japan lies in one of the most seismically active areas of the world, at the junction of the Eurasian, Pacific, and Philippine Sea plates" link [rms.com]

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

Working...