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Japan’s Business Lobby Calls For A Shift From Nuclear Power To Renewables

Japan Renewables

Japan must look toward renewable energy instead of nuclear power for its power needs, Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, has said, since the chances are slim that Japan will be able to return to the levels of nuclear power that existed before the Fukushima accident in 2011.

The Abe administration has the goal of using nuclear energy for a fifth of the country’s power needs by 2030. So far, only 42 operable reactors have started operation. Asada stated: "We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power."

Asada also commented that for the long term, Japan needs to lower its dependence on nuclear power, predicting that it might not comprise 10 percent of the country’s energy supply. He said that the association is calling for measures to encourage private investment in renewable energy and public funding for the necessary infrastructure.

Asada’s comments come as legal challenges and public opinion haunt efforts to restart the nuclear plant. Japan’s government and business sector had supported nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, which must be imported. Renewable energy accounted for 14.3 percent of the country’s power up to March of this year.

On a related note, Greenpeace Japan released a report on Thursday which states there are still high levels of radioactive contamination in the waterways and coastal areas around Fukushima. In the report, Greenpeace states that the level of contamination in the seabed is “hundreds of times higher” than before 2011, and that the level of contamination in the local rivers is 200 times higher than that of the ocean sediment.

According to a story in the Japan Times, The Tokyo Electric Power Company has stated that the ice wall it had claimed would keep groundwater from mixing with the radioactive water in the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant has not worked.

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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  • Tim Groves on July 24 2016 said:
    "So far, only 42 operable reactors have started operation."

    This is a misunderstanding. At present only two reactors are operating in Japan.

    According to the World Nuclear Association:
    "Currently 42 reactors are operable and potentially able to restart, and 24 of these are in the process of restart approvals. The first two restarted in August and October 2015."

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-g-n/japan-nuclear-power.aspx
  • G.R.L. Cowan on July 24 2016 said:
    The keidanren representing Japanese business is trying to make government hear sense about how much high energy prices are hurting. But there are a few companies making a lot of profit from gas import, and weighing in the other direction.

    Plus there is the interest on the government's own part in gas import. It sounds as if it has, in the "Japan Association of Corporate Executives", set up a tame lobbying group with which to lobby itself to do just as it pleases.
  • Jim Hopf on July 22 2016 said:
    By all means, do more with renewables, if technically and economically practical, but those renewables should be used to replace fossil fuels, not nuclear. Japan has indefensibly replaced the 30% of generation it got from nuclear with fossil fuels, including coal. It is those fossil fuels (especially coal) that must be reduced and replaced.

    Japan should use more renewables but shouldn't let up one bit in its efforts to get most of its reactors restarted.

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