Quake in Japan Causes Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels – NYTimes.com.
“Across the country, dozens of other fossil-fuel plants have been fired up, and Japan is importing billions of dollars worth of liquefied natural gas, coal and oil to keep them running.”
“The generators are helping to replace the 400 million kilowatt-hours of daily electricity production lost this summer because of the shutdown of all but 15 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.”
“Annual fuel expenses could rise by more than 3 trillion yen, or about $39 billion, the government says.”
“According to government calculations, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions could rise by as much as 210 million metric tons, or 16 percent, by 2013 from 1990 levels if its nuclear reactors were shut permanently.”
Tokyo Power Faces Insolvency Risk in Wake of Accident – NYTimes.com.
“To appease public anger over the disaster, the government has vowed to hold Tokyo Electric fully liable for the compensation claims that are likely to roll in from farmers, fishermen and others whose livelihoods have been disrupted in the crisis.
A government plan drawn up last month places no limit on the company’s liabilities, even though Japanese law would allow for such a cap following natural disasters. But the plan, which must still be approved by a divided Parliament, also calls for a fund that would use taxpayer money to help Tokyo Electric compensate victims and continue to provide Tokyo with power, while avoiding insolvency. Under the plan, the company will eventually pay back the fund in full.
The problem, analysts say, is that it is virtually impossible to know how large those claims could eventually be — and whether the government would have the means and commitment to cover them.”
Of interest to those who have followed the nuclear liability issue in India. If this is true for Japan, what will happen in a similar situation in India?
‘In the ruins of post-war Japan, people reflected upon the path the country had taken in modern times. Standing against the Western powers, modern Japan strived to achieve the status of a great military power. The shattering of this dream in the nation’s defeat led to another goal, to become a great economic power. The ultimate collapse of this ambition has been brought into sharp relief by the recent earthquake…
‘Yet I believe that the Japanese should never again choose such a path [wholeheartedly adopting neoliberal economic policies with the pretext of reviving the economy]. Without the recent earthquake, Japan would no doubt have continued its hollow struggle for great power status, but such a dream is now unthinkable and should be abandoned. It is not Japan’s demise that the earthquake has produced, but rather the possibility of its rebirth. It may be that only amid the ruins can people gain the courage to stride down a new path.’
“On March 14, workers were told that the assignment was dangerous and that they could opt out. Few did. Many workers felt duty-bound to go to Fukushima, particularly those with families who were directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami.”
Workers Give Rare Glimpse of Nuclear Crisis – NYTimes.com.
George Monbiot argues his case well, with conviction and much persuasive power.
Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power | George Monbiot | The Guardian.
“And how do we drive our textile mills, brick kilns, blast furnaces and electric railways – not to mention advanced industrial processes? Rooftop solar panels? The moment you consider the demands of the whole economy is the moment at which you fall out of love with local energy production.”
“But the energy source to which most economies will revert if they shut down their nuclear plants is not wood, water, wind or sun, but fossil fuel. On every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power.”
The counter-argument to the case that Monbiot makes is worth thinking through.
Just a month before a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi plant at the center of Japan’s nuclear crisis, government regulators approved a 10-year extension for the oldest of the six reactors at the power station despite warnings about its safety. A report by Hiroko Tabuchi, Norimitsu Onishi, and Ken Belson
The worst of the crisis facing the third major nuclear power disaster in history seems to be over. But post-Fukishima, tough safety issues remain to be addressed, including in India:
The difficulty in bringing Japan’s nuclear crisis under control has undoubtedly put a serious question mark over the entire issue of nuclear power.
The plight of the elderly: Japan’s forgotten victims of the tsunami – Asia, World – The Independent.
“Japan’s elderly population has been confronted by extraordinary challenges by this disaster, not just from the earthquake and tsunami, but in the struggles that have followed. Often they live alone, and their welfare has been largely overlooked as the government struggles to respond to a natural disaster whose impact was not immediately appreciated.”
This is not just anybody. This is Guardian’s Monbiot writing:
“Nuclear power remains far safer than coal. The awful events in Fukushima must not spook governments considering atomic energy.”
The full post at George Monbiot’s blog:
Japan nuclear crisis should not carry weight in atomic energy debate | George Monbiot | Environment | guardian.co.uk.
It is essential to read this to ensure that his argument is not misunderstood.
(via Mario D’Souza)
Tough talk, but a less apocalyptic view than many others of how to resolve the present crisis in Japan.
The article in The Washington Post says: “Time, power, water and people. That’s all that’s needed to control the deteriorating seaside Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.”
asahi.com（朝日新聞社）：POINT OF VIEW/ Kenji Sumita: Responses from TEPCO, NISA came too late – English
A short but incisive comment on the handling of Japan’s nuclear crisis by a former Vice-Chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.
“Every step TEPCO has taken is a day late and a dollar short. The release of information from TEPCO is even further behind.”
“The unfolding nuclear disaster has unveiled weaknesses in TEPCO’s crisis-management system and a structural flaw in Japan’s administrative policy to ensure the safety of nuclear power.”
Short clear description on video by Ian Sample of the Guardian of the attempts to deal with the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plan:
The URL of the official page on “Countermeasures for 2011 Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake” at the website of the office of the Prime Minister, with transcripts of all press statements, is
Japan nuclear plant: Just 48 hours to avoid ‘another Chernobyl’ – Telegraph.
Thierry Charles, a safety official at France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), said: “The next 48 hours will be decisive. I am pessimistic because, since Sunday, I have seen that almost none of the solutions has worked.” He described the situation as “a major risk”, but added: “All is not lost.”
Asked about the maximum possible amount of radioactive release, he said “it would be in the same range as Chernobyl”.
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami aftermath – live updates
Useful and good account from the Guardian on the situation as it evolved over Wednesday evening and night.