Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said today his country will not only start restarting nuclear power plants that have been shut down since the Fukushima affair, but also start building reactors.
The plan is effectively a total reversal of Japan’s postFukushima Nuclear strategy that envisaged shutting down existing plants and imposing a moratorium on new nuclear projects, ending an 11-year ban on the technology’s use.
In addition to reigniting existing reactors and building new reactors, Kishida said the Japanese government will also consider extending the life expectancy of existing reactors. In many cases, Reuters pointed this outJapan has previously shut down nuclear power plants when they reached 60 years of operation.
One could argue that Japan’s response to the 2011 Fukushima incident was exaggerated; The International Atomic Energy Agency said last year that Fukushima is a big setback to efforts to expand the use of nuclear energy.
Japan, according to the IAEA, got a third of its energy from nuclear before 2011, up 7.5 percent in the years since Fukushima, with replacement energy coming mostly from fossil fuel sources.
The international agency said Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Switzerland had also made decisions to suspend or reduce nuclear investments, resulting in a loss of around 48 GWe in output capacity “as a total of 65 reactors were either shut down or had not extends their service life.”
But recent spikes in global energy prices thanks to the war in Ukraine have prompted some countries to reconsider that decision – including Germany, as the Financial Times recently said revised his decision End nuclear programs after Fukushima.
Japan also took steps earlier this year. In July, the country restarted several nuclear power plants to forestall energy insecurity Kremlin regulations threatened Russian natural gas exports, on which Japan draws much of its energy since it phased out its nuclear fleet.
In a recent report by the International Energy Agency said [PDF] There was probably no road to 2050 emission free CO2 targets that do not include the use and expansion of nuclear power. The IEA does not see nuclear energy as a permanent solution, but as an intermediary between preferred renewable energies such as wind and solar and fossil fuels.
“Nuclear power has the potential to play a significant role in helping countries make safe transitions to energy systems dominated by renewable energy,” the IEA said.
Unfortunately, a nuclear path to sustainability may not be that simple. Even new reactor designs come with trade-offs for improved safety and comfort: some small modular reactors, for example, are said to be producing potentially 35 times more waste than conventional systems. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/24/japan_reverses_course_on_postfukushima/ Japan reverses course on Fukushima nuclear ban • The Register