Japan has no choice but to make fundamental changes to its energy policy. Weren’t we all convinced of that when the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant broke out seven years ago, and we were faced with the horrors and the massive impact of a nuclear disaster? And yet, time has passed with little change in policy or society. Rather, whether out of sheer inertia or habit, the past seven years have been spent on maintaining nuclear power plants. Steps are being taken toward resuming the operation of nuclear reactors that had been halted, and though permitting the continued use of aging reactors had once been an exception, it is becoming more the rule. Japan also keeps holding out hope for the nuclear fuel cycle, which has repeatedly proven to be a failure. While debate over energy policy in the very country that caused the 2011 nuclear disaster has stalled, energy policy around the world has seen great changes. Last year, the global cumulative installed capacity of solar power amounted to a total of around 400 gigawatts, while that of wind-generated power reached approximately 540 gigawatts, which was an increase of 10 times and 2.5 times, respectively, since 2010. The installed capacities of such renewable energy surpass that of not only nuclear power, but also of coal-fired thermal power. One reason for this change is that costs relating to renewable power have dropped. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), since 2010, solar-power generation has dropped in cost by 70 percent, while wind-power generation has dropped by 25 percent. The IEA predicts that there will be a worldwide energy shift, in which coal will cease to be the major supplier of power, as it is overtaken by renewable energy sources.
Mainichi 9th March 2018 read more »
Sixteen pieces of data relating to the underground disposal of highly radioactive waste generated by nuclear reactors, which scandal-hit Kobe Steel Ltd. and a subsidiary analyzed at the request of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), were falsified, forged or flawed in other ways, the nuclear research organization said. The government-affiliated JAEA, which commissioned Kobe Steel and its subsidiary Kobelco Research Institute Inc. to analyze data on the impact of burying highly radioactive waste deep underground, has demanded that the steelmaker redo the work.
Mainichi 7th March 2018 read more »