Even after the Fukushima No. 1 crisis in March 2011 forced Japan to rethink its use of nuclear energy, the resource-scarce nation had hoped nuclear power would still serve it well. Although only nine of Japan’s 38 commercial reactors are currently operating amid delays in getting approval for restarts by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the government and the nuclear industry had hoped it could export its way out of trouble. For the government, the plan was a key component of its infrastructure export program to boost domestic economic growth. For Japan’s nuclear industry, overseas opportunities were the last hope to keep it afloat after the Fukushima disaster. And for a while, it appeared to be working. Big names like Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. made inroads into foreign markets with the help of past and current prime ministers directly selling the idea abroad. Japan’s public-private partnership to build power plants abroad was regarded as a lucrative opportunity. After all, nuclear energy, which emits virtually no greenhouse gases while generating power, is in demand in countries such as Turkey, Poland, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Argentina that are eager to cut carbon dioxide emissions and boost their energy security. Now those plans are falling apart at the seams.
World Nuclear Industry Status Report 15th March 2019 read more »
Most of the world’s nuke-ready plutonium is held by a few countries with powerful militaries: the United States, Russia, Israel, India, China, Pakistan, France and the United Kingdom. And then there’s Japan. Japan is perhaps the most pacifist, large nation on Earth. It also happens to own 100,000 pounds of primo, weapons-grade plutonium. That could be enough to create more than 5,000 nuclear bombs. All of this plutonium has been processed, Japanese officials say, with the intention of generating electricity. Moreover, every last lump is monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, says Tomohiko Taniguchi, a special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Japan owns enough plutonium to create at least 6,000 nuclear warheads.
PRI 14th March 2019 read more »