Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings will pursue renewable energy projects worth tens of billions of dollars in a sharp turn away from nuclear power and an effort that will require finding partners abroad, the power company’s president told Nikkei on Monday.
Nikkei Asian Review 24th July 2018 read more »
Japan has now amassed 47 tonnes of plutonium, enough to make 6,000 bombs. What is Japan doing with so much plutonium? Plutonium is at the heart of Japan’s tarnished dream of energy independence. Spent fuel from nuclear reactors can be reprocessed to extract plutonium, which is then recycled into mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel. This was intended for use in Japan’s reactors but most of its nuclear power plants have been offline since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Tougher safety checks have failed to reassure the nuclear-phobic public that the reactors can be restarted. And Japan’s nuclear-energy fleet is ageing. Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister, has admitted that this situation is “extremely unstable”. Japan’s status as a plutonium superpower is increasingly under scrutiny. The government says it has no intention of building a bomb. But China and other countries question how long it can be allowed to stockpile plutonium. Analysts worry about a competitive build-up of plutonium in Asia. Moreover Japan’s stock, which is weapons-grade, is reprocessed and stored in France and Britain. It is moved across the world in heavily armed convoys. America says those shipments and the storage of plutonium in civilian sites present a potential threat to non-proliferation goals: they could be redirected to make weapons, or targeted by terrorists. It is nudging its ally to start reducing the hoard.
Economist 25th July 2018 read more »
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has criticized the Abe administration for its pro-nuclear energy stance and called for the policy to be made an election issue when Japanese go to the polls next year. In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo, Koizumi, 76, said, “It isn’t possible any more for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to end nuclear power generation. He did not try to do so, even though he could have.” Among extremely rare remarks for a former prime minister and former Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker to make, Koizumi also said he expects opposition parties to make ending Japan’s reliance on nuclear power a key point for debate in the next Upper House election to be held in summer 2019.
Asahi Shimbun 24th July 2018 read more »