Posts tagged “Japan”
Energy issues ranked among the top international headlines in 2012 – As we look ahead, what are the major energy trends that are likely to take shape and play out in international headlines in 2013?
The new energy policy will allow some or all of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors, 48 of them currently shut down, to go back online during the 27-year transition period, as needed.
Despite concerns that switching to renewable energy sources will prove too expensive for his country, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said during a political debate among party leadership candidates that he will take into account his party’s recommendation to phase out nuclear power by the 2030s; news reports suggest that the prime minister’s Cabinet already has an official policy agreement in place.
Expected to be put into political action by the end of this week, Japan’s new energy policy will see it gradually move away from nuclear power — a monumental shift for a resource-poor nation that has long relied on nuclear energy to keep its citizens supplied with electricity. The policy will include a 40-year cap on maximum reactor lifespans, an immediate halt on the planning and construction of new reactors and a strong focus on renewable energy sources and conservation efforts.
A new power grid based around renewable energy will cost Japan $622 billion to build, according to government estimates
With Japan in the process of rebuilding the infrastructure damaged during 2011′s devastating tsunami, many in the country are suggesting that the time is right for a transition from nuclear to renewable energy in that country. Fears of nuclear disaster fueled by the damage and subsequent radioactive leak at the Fukushima nuclear reactor after the tsunami have many groups, both private and public, clamoring for an immediate shutdown of Japan’s nuclear program.
Despite public pressure, though, many politicians recognize that the cost for Japan to move away from dependance on nuclear energy would simply be too high.
Updated Charging Technology
An email recently came in from Blink telling me they want to install a new card in my electric car charger. New technology always involves a learning curve. If any discipline should be a science (other than science), it is engineering but even engineering involves a lot of trial and error. The first jet engines were unbelievably primitive by today’s standards.
The new Leaf will have a more efficient heating system that will extend the range in cold weather. Not sure what they are up to but hopefully it is one of these heat pumps. It will also come with a charger that is about twice as fast as the one on my car. Oh well. Obsolete already.
Impending Media Tsunami
March 11 will be the one year anniversary of last year’s quake in Japan. Brace yourselves for the coming media tsunami. My hypothesis is that the media will focus on the Daiichi reactors instead of the 22,000 who lost their lives. I will also hazard a few guesses as to why they will do that.
Below is my nutshell synopsis of the major events that occurred at the Daiichi power plant:
- The reactors shut down and the fuel rods began cooling as designed when the quake hit.
- A 30-foot high tsunami swamped the emergency power generators.
- Water that was covering fuel rods evaporated causing them to start melting.
- Hydrogen that had accumulated in the upper stories of the buildings that covered the fuel pools and containment vessels exploded (eliminating the potential to trap more hydrogen).
- People living within a twelve mile radius were evacuated prior to venting the containment vessel.
- A badly misguided attempt was made to dump water on the pools using helicopters.
- Within one hour of their arrival, firefighters using a single pump truck parked near the ocean managed to leave enough water spraying into the reactor buildings to avert further overheating, which allowed workers to safely return to continue containment and cooling.
Certainly, just as airline regulatory bodies have always used major incidents to improve designs, inspections, and procedures, the nuclear regulators will do the same as a result of this latest nuclear incident.
A Plan to Phase Out “Dirty” Energy After the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, someone said to me “We have to stop all offshore drilling.” My response was that I could get behind that idea, but I wanted to know what sacrifices the person was willing to make. That turned out to be the end of the conversation, because usually the people campaigning against these sorts of things believe that the consequences will be all good (no more oil spills) with no real downside (like less energy available). I can tell you with absolute certainty that we can live with no offshore drilling, but I can also tell you that the price of your fuel would be… Continue»
Harsh Reality As I have said many times, all of our energy options require trade-offs. I can’t think of any that don’t have some negative consequences and risks associated with their production and/or use. One job of the engineer is to minimize those risks down to an acceptable level. Often times, public expectation mistakenly assumes that “acceptable” means that accidents should never occur, but there are many reasons why that metric will never be achieved. We sometimes find out — as we did with the Deepwater spill — that even seemingly basic safety measures have been overlooked. While an accident like that is a black eye for the offshore oil industry, the industry will learn some valuable lessons and the… Continue»
The following guest post was written by the staff of Global Intelligence Report. SITUATION: Japan is advancing with plans to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and boost its external nuclear exports. These decisions will impact the conduct of Japan’s global non-proliferation diplomacy. ANALYSIS: Assessing the degree of salience to Tokyo of non-proliferation goals will be aided by monitoring its policy in two areas: its negotiating strategy in nuclear technology supply talks with other states, and especially India, and its management of its internal nuclear power program. Other aspects of its nuclear diplomacy, including pressure for North Korean disarmament and support for enhanced global nuclear security, are likely to remain robust. External Trade Ambitions: Tokyo signaled its dedication to capturing a larger… Continue»