Wed May 23, 2012, 04:40 AM
Rhiannon12866 (59,635 posts)
Can Japan Thrive without Nuclear Power?
After shutting down its last reactor, Japan is now even more heavily dependent on imported oil, gas, and coal.
This month, Japan shut down the last of its 54 nuclear reactors. When and if any of those reactors are to be restarted is uncertain. One thing is for sure, though: as long as it is without nuclear power, Japan will be almost completely dependent on imported fossil fuels.
Japan has the third most nuclear generating capacity in the world, behind the U.S. and France. Just before the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, nuclear power was the source of just under 30 percent of the country's electricity. Hydropower and other renewable power sources accounted for less than 10 percent. The rest came from fossil fuels—the vast majority of which came from foreign nations, since Japan has few fossil-fuel resources of its own.
Japan's heavy dependence on foreign oil was exposed as a major vulnerability in 1973, after oil-producing countries in the Middle East imposed an oil embargo. In order to help protect itself from future shocks, the country accelerated its nuclear program, which had begun in the 1950s. Still, half of the nation's primary energy supply in 2010 came from oil, around 85 percent of which was imported from the Middle East.
Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference FDR -1936
2 replies, 563 views
Can Japan Thrive without Nuclear Power? (Original post)
Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)
Wed May 23, 2012, 05:04 AM
Demeter (68,935 posts)
1. Japan can adjust and adapt / sacrifice is a cultural element
Renewable energy is more than ready for Japan's needs.
I'm not worried about Japan, but whether the Japanese people can rein in their politicians, the hacks that give in to the corporations all the time.
This is the one opportunity Japan has. I hope they make the switch, and show us the way.
If the Top 1% Get 99% of the Income and Wealth, They Should Pay 99% of the Taxes...Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive... Is there any way the ultra-right will let go of its stranglehold on the US economy?*Occam’s Switchblade: If you can’t figure out why someone does something, assume it’s because they want to."
Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)
Wed May 23, 2012, 09:36 AM
kristopher (22,879 posts)
2. Here is part of that discussion from the Japanese perspective
And as a point of reference, Japan was providing for 17% of its total energy needs with nuclear, meaning the nation's carbon footprint would be expected to rise a maximum of 17%.
Sampling of per capita carbon emissions and global rankings (2008 in metric tons of CO2)
1. Qatar - 53.5
7. Kuwait - 26.3
12. US - 17.5
27. Finland - 10.7
37. Germany - 9.6
38. Japan - 9.5
90. Jamaica - 4.5
11% gas emissions cut possible in 2020 without nuke power: institute
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels without relying on nuclear power through the promotion of renewables and energy-saving efforts, estimates by a national institute showed Wednesday.
Calculations conducted by the National Institute for Environmental Studies also indicate that Tokyo can achieve a 15 percent reduction if the country's nuclear reactors are decommissioned 40 years after the start of their operations.
The institute had earlier projected it is possible for Japan to trim its carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels without nuclear power, which emits substantially fewer amounts of CO2 than thermal power in generating electricity.
If Japan purchases emissions credits from abroad to realize a 10 percent cut from 1990 levels, the country can slash by 2020 its greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming by 20 percent in total even when all of its nuclear reactors are scrapped and by 25 percent when those reactors are decommissioned after 40-year operations, the institute said.
Tokyo has pledged internationally...
Japan cannot let material fears obscure danger of nuclear power
...Last June, a report released by the Cabinet's Reconstruction Design Council in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami warned of a return to rice bin worries -- economic over safety concerns -- after the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. However, it must be said that "nuclear safety" itself is a dubious proposition.
One major news item last week was the hearings held by the Diet's nuclear disaster investigation committee. One of the issues raised was whether or not Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had requested government permission to abandon the power station after the hydrogen explosions at the No. 1 and 3 reactor buildings and the cooling failure at the No. 2 reactor. Banri Kaieda, minister of economy, trade and industry in those tense days in March 2011, stated that he did indeed receive a call asking permission to evacuate the plant. TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, however, continues to insist that "this is not true."
The hearings were not the first time differences in government and TEPCO accounts of the disaster have been revealed. Naoto Kan and Yukio Edano, the prime minister and chief Cabinet secretary at the time, respectively, have made the same claim as Kaieda at other investigative committees. TEPCO executives have also maintained that the request was only to evacuate "some of the plant workers, not all."
What surprises the most is not the discrepancy itself, but that the truth about what actually happened at this turning point in the crisis -- when abandoning the plant may very well have meant evacuating all of eastern Japan -- remains obscured.
In Terada's book of essays...