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Will Japan's New Government Restart the Nuclear Power Program? 177

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about speculation that Japan might restart its nuclear power program. "Japan's newly-elected Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a strong supporter of atomic energy use in the past, should restart plants shut after the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, said the CEO of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd . The LDP, headed by Japan's next prime minister Shinzo Abe, won a landslide victory on Sunday, fueling speculation that the new coalition government would take a softer stance on nuclear power. Public opinion remains divided on the role of atomic energy after natural disasters last year triggered a radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant."
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Will Japan's New Government Restart the Nuclear Power Program?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 17, 2012 @03:31PM (#42316499)

    Nuclear power is one of the safest forms of energy if you look at the numbers. Unless every country bans nuclear power, countries that ban it will likely reconsider their decisions, because it's the only viable solution we have for the next decades.

    Germany imports power from nuclear power producing countries. Once the German public decides that the price of power is becoming too high, what do you think is going to happen?

    Not using nuclear power helps the tree huggers mental state, but using nuclear power helps the actual environment; less mining destruction, better air quality, less nuclear radiation, and so on.

    All of these claims are subject to actually managing a plant based on common sense, years of experience in running these plants safely, and building them such that there is no problem when the power goes down for whatever reason and in the case of Japan, reinforcing them for known disasters.

    France is an example of a country which has a lot of experience in managing nuclear power and as such has low energy prices, which in turn is good for their economy. Nothing but good things can come from investing more in nuclear power.

  • I hope so (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JosephTX ( 2521572 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @03:40PM (#42316567)

    It's worth noting that the massive earthquake needed to disable that nuclear plant also caused several oil refineries to outright explode. And the nuclear "disaster" was also largely overblown; none of the cleanup crew working INSIDE the plant has shown any sign of health issues, and the evacuation was a safety precaution that American "news" networks squawked at and circled like vultures and sensationalized into the start of the zombie apocalypse (4 days away, btw).

    Even if nuclear energy WAS as terrible and evil as some people (i.e. oil companies and the people they fool) like to say, no amount of nuclear radiation in a few concentrated waste areas would be anywhere near as ecologically disastrous as the worldwide effect that CO2 emissions given off by oil and gas.

    So I seriously hope the LDP restarts Japan's nuclear program. Closing it in favor of importing oil was one of the biggest environmental crimes in history.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 17, 2012 @03:54PM (#42316693)

    Meanwhile Germany does the switch to renewables

    That paper is anecdote and frenzied predictions. The facts show that Germany is turning to coal. [] Renewables are no more capable of supplying the base-load for the advanced economy of Germany than it is anywhere else, which is to say not at all.

    Japan has elected people that believe in industry, wealth creation and prosperity. Japan has chosen not to decline. Part of that is electing people that don't indulge nuclear hysteria.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Monday December 17, 2012 @03:57PM (#42316725) Homepage

    I think it's telling that even counting Chernobyl, the deaths per terawatt hour for nuclear is the lowest there is.

    If you look at civilian nuclear power, it's a good sign that it took 40+ years of civilian nuclear power for there to be a plant that released anything more than a few bananas' worth of contamination outside the plant boundary. (Yes, you'd receive more radiation eating a banana a day for a year than you would have at the TMI plant boundary.) Even then, for the first significant civilian contamination incident to happen, it required a massive natural disaster that killed *25,000 people within days*.

    (As to why I say 40+ years - While the Soviets claim that Chernobyl was a "civilian" reactor, in my opinion a graphite-moderated water-cooled reactor can't be considered civilian. Its safety was fundamentally compromised by its weapons-friendly design.)

    Chernobyl was not an accident - it was an act of gross negligence compounded with compromises in safety done to allow the reactor to be used for weapons production if desired. (Reactors with a positive void coefficient have never been legal in the USA to my knowledge.)

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @04:11PM (#42316909)

    I wonder if you added up all the land which is now unusable from mining coal and disposing ash if you would get anywhere close to the size of the exclusion zones...

    I'm thinking that Necular power has even less impact per terawatt hour in land use too..

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fireylord ( 1074571 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @05:01PM (#42317677)

    Comparing Fukishima to Chernobyl is ridiculous. Chernobyl basically had no safety systems,

    Incorrect. They had safety systems, sadly they were all disabled for the purpose of running the test that led directly to the disaster. The big design flaw at Chernobyl was the large positive void coefficient. Bad idea, made even worse by not explaining this to the technicians running the plant, nor (from what i understand) what a void coefficient was.

Loose bits sink chips.