About two-thirds of heads of prefectural, city, ward, town and village governments across Japan called on the country to reduce its reliance on nuclear power generation or scrap it altogether, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday. In the survey about plans for the nation’s future energy policy conducted before the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident, 44.6 percent sought cuts in Japan’s dependence on nuclear power and 21 percent requested the eventual abolishment of nuclear power generation. Many of them cited concerns about the safety of nuclear power and the disposal of nuclear waste.
Japan Times 7th March 2016 read more »
The Fukushima nuclear disaster has cost Japanese taxpayers almost $100bn despite government claims Tokyo Electric is footing the bill, according to calculations by the Financial Times. Almost five years after a huge tsunami caused the meltdown of three Tepco reactors by knocking out their supply of power for cooling, the figure shows how the public have shouldered most of the disaster’s cost. It highlights the difficulty of holding a private company to account for the immense expense of nuclear accidents – a concern for countries such as the UK that are building new nuclear power stations. The Financial Times used Ritsumeikan University professor Kenichi Oshima’s estimate that the disaster has cost Y13.3tn ($118bn) to date relative to the loss of equity value for Tepco shareholders. “The underlying cost is mainly being paid by the public, either through electricity bills or as tax,” said Mr Oshima. Japan’s government gives no single figure for the cost of the disaster, but Mr Oshima estimates the biggest cost to date is compensation to businesses and evacuees of Y6.2tn, followed by decontamination of the Fukushima area at Y3.5tn, and decommissioning of the reactor site at Y2.2tn. Cash for compensation and decommissioning comes from Tepco but it gets grants from the government to keep it solvent. In theory, this cash will come back via a levy on Tepco and other nuclear operators – but this is ultimately be paid by electricity users, making it a tax by another name.
FT 6th March 2016 read more »
Japan has a coal problem. Following the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and the subsequent shutdown of its nuclear fleet, Japan started setting global records for energy efficiency improvements — almost entirely compensating for the loss of power. Since that initial shock wore off, Japan has turned to a mix of first gas and then renewable power. Solar, in particular, has been booming. In 2015 alone solar panels capable of generating an estimated 13TWh were installed — more than the the two nuclear reactors also restarted that year. The combination has seen Japan reduce emissions to levels comparable to the period before Fukushima forced the country’s 54 nuclear plants offline (3 have recently been restarted). Okay, this is somewhat controversial. Nuclear is low-carbon. Coal is not. But given all the safety problems and risks which have emerged in the wake of Fukushima, investing in restarting stricken reactors uses up financial and human resources which could instead be focused on alternative solutions.
Energydesk 7th March 2016 read more »
Inside the dead zone: Eerie wastelands around Fukushima which were abandoned after devastating tsunami wrecked a nuclear plant
Daily Mail 6th March 2016 read more »