Is Japan’s step away from nuclear, the beginning of an endgame?

Is Japan’s step away from nuclear, the beginning of an endgame?

The nuclear power sector has three strikes against it, which look to be forcing a slow but significant worldwide rethink on the viability of nuclear electrical production.

Author: John C.K. Daly
Posted: Tuesday , 25 Sep 2012
http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page103855?oid=159097&sn=Detail&pid=102055

LONDON (OILPRICE.COM) – As Japan and France move away from nuclear energy, is it the endgame for nuclear proponents?

As the world slouches into the 21st century, one of the global economic realities is that more and more developing nations, much less the “First World,” are competing for fossil fuel resources whose production is rising more slowly than demand.

Complicating the picture are the booming economies of two BRIC nations, India and China, a development that ensures that developed nations will be in increasing competition for global supplies of oil, natural gas and coal, whose production is struggling to keep with increasing demand.

An alternative relentlessly pushed by Western corporate interests is nuclear power, whose proponents never cease to remind their potential audience that nuclear power plants (NPPs), unlike those fired by coal or oil, emit no greenhouse gases, no small consideration in the world community worried about global warming.

But the global nuclear power industry has three strikes against it – cost, catastrophes, whether man-made (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl) or natural (Fukushima Daiichi) and the not inconsiderable problem of disposing of nuclear waste generated by NPPs. Despite civilian nuclear programs dating back to the early 1960s, no country has yet developed an environmentally safe means of disposing of NPP’s nuclear by products, and these three issues are forcing a slow but significant worldwide rethink on the viability of nuclear electrical production.

Needless to say, the well-entrenched world nuclear power generation, with trillions of dollars invested and potentially billions more in the form of new NPP contracts, is fighting a furious rear-guard action, but the ultimate outcome of the titanic struggle is anything but clear, given a number of recent events.

The United States has 104 NPPs in operation, France – 58, Japan’s (currently offline) 54, Russia 32, South Korea 20, India 19, Canada 18, Germany 17, China 11, Taiwan six and Pakistan two, while nations with nuclear power reactors under construction include China with 23, Russia – nine, South Korea – six, India four and Taiwan two.

On 14 September, bowing to public opposition, Japan’s government joined Germany and Switzerland in turning away from nuclear power after the March 2011 earthquake unleashed a tsunami that destroyed Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi NPP complex. The decision represents a major about-face by the Japanese government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, which before Fukushima stated that the nation’s energy policy would increase the country’s share of atomic energy to more than half of the country’s electricity generation. Noda’s government intended to ramp up by 300 percent the country’s share of renewable power to 30 percent of its energy mix. Noda’s decision earlier this year to restart two NPPs to avoid potential summer power outages, flying in the face of public opinion, energized anti-nuclear protests.

Noda’s government’s decision to phase out the country’s NPPs by both refusing to extend nuclear plant operating licenses beyond 40 years and committing to building no new ones provoked an immediate and predictable backlash from Japan’s powerful nuclear energy lobby, which argued that the short sighted decision would boost electricity prices, making industry uncompetitive and complicating efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Nearly fifty years ago, when the U.S. led the way in deploying civilian nuclear electricity NPPS, proponents excitedly maintained that soon electricity would be “too cheap to measure.”

But, while this advertising slogan never panned out, a second nuclear power reality overlooked by proponents of its centrality to a nation’s power generation base is the uncomfortable fact that it was in fact born from the stupendously expensive U.S. “Manhattan Project,” which produced the nuclear weapons dropped on Japan in august 1945, which both ended World War Two and inaugurated the Cold War. The nexus between civilian electrical power generation and weaponry have existed uneasily since then, as evidenced by the recent international campaign against Iran.

So, what to make of Japan’s tepid decision to downsize its nuclear energy commitment? Thoughtful analysts might note that Europe’s leading technological powerhouses, Germany and Japan, have apparently decided to pursue energy alternatives to nuclear while France, Europe’s leading user of nuclear energy, is also rethinking its position.

Do Berlin and Tokyo know something that other nations do not? Whatever occurs, expect a vigorous rear-guard action by the global nuclear power industry, as it attempts to preserve its multi-billion dollar industry, starting with them suddenly joining the climate change bandwagon by emphasizing that NPPs generate zero greenhouse gases.

Which, of course, is why former Fukushima residents outside the NPP’s 12 mile exclusion zone breathe so much more easily.

This article is published courtesy of www.oilprice.com

iPad Version: Picture – The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No.4 reactor building is seen in Fukushima prefecture: REUTERS/Handout

One comment

  • Nuclear Power: Anathema to the New World Order

    http://coleman300.com/Store/Details/31

    One of the greatest advances made by man was the discovery of nuclear energy as a source of cheap and safe electricity. It promised to transform the world within a time frame of a maximum of three decades. In order to understand world events in both the areas of politics and economics, one must have a thorough understanding of religion and secret societies which play a leading role in world events. Secret societies, more so in 2008 than ever before, greatly influence the course of momentous events. The rich and the powerful belong to secret societies that most ordinary people have never, even heard about, and it comes as a surprise to many to find out that such notable personages the Elizabeth, Queen of England is a member of a number of them, all of which play a big role in shaping the course of events.

    Nuclear power generated electricity is particularly hated by the leaders of secret societies, the men the Bible calls “spiritual men who walk in darkness and whose deeds are evil.” The Bible foreshadowed the coming of plague pandemics such as AIDS and SARS, ordained for the world’s “excess” population diminution by these leaders. Nuclear power is hated by the elite because it brings new hope to millions of people who will aspire to a better life once nuclear power is running and available in every city and town throughout the world. The very poor, the downtrodden and the unwanted see new hope in nuclear generated power, as the book goes to some length to explain, the very thing the Illuminati members are so much against. They don’t want an extension of life for those who would otherwise die at a very early age in such countries and India and China.

    The book makes it clear that if nuclear power is allowed to reach its full capacity and its full promise, the world will take on a new lease of life that will be of unmatched benefit to all people of all nations. It also makes it clear why there are powerful people who see this as an unmitigated disaster and who will do all in their considerable power to prevent nuclear power coming into full flower.

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