In order to maintain economic competitiveness, Japan has no alternative except to re-fire their nuclear power plants. I agree with previous assessments from surf500surf. To all the antinuclear lefties out there, I understand that you can get electricity from fuel cells, solar panels, wave action and windmills. The question is not that alternatives exist, but rather are they competitively advantaged. It all comes down to cost per MWh. If you were running a company that required vast amounts of electrical energy, and operates in a very cost competitive industry sector, assuming you want to make a profit, do you opt for electrical energy that costs you $65.00 per MWh or $5.00 per MWh? While that choice will never be made available to the company, it will determine if the company survives and continues to hire and employee all you lefties that rabidly call for the end to nuclear energy. In other words, your job may not be in nuclear energy, but it may depend upon it.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. In 2007, the United States Air Force built a 140 acre solar power farm at the Nellis base in Nevada. The payback time for the project is 100 years. The hardware will only last 25 years. None of this factors in replacement costs for failed equipment. The difference between the solar project costs and the cost of currently available energy will be born by the public. If this was a private industry, it would not remain in business and all the jobs would be lost.
As surf500surf pointed out, Japan has the option of importing expensive coal, liquified natural gas, installing solar arrays or wind power generators. What everyone needs to remember is that the cost of energy will be transferred to the finished product price. That product must compete in the global market. If that product is not cheap enough, it will not sell, and if the jobs in the industry that made the product is not supported by contributions from the tax payer, it will fail. I think the best question to ask the Japanese public is this; Do you want a job?
The good news for the Japanese is that they already have 50 nuclear power plants built, in place, with costs either previously paid for, or financed with low interest credit. It may be a bitter pill for the Japanese to swallow, but they have little choice, but to endure risk, or to endure even greater suffering. It will take a little time for the public to accept this, but the plants will re-fire. There is no alternative.
I was a nuclear reactor tech in the Navy in the mid 70's, and I am long CCJ... BUT I also firmly believe that solar IS the long term future of this nation and of human civilization.. Nuclear is mostly a bridge technology to help us fuel our civilizations until we can go almost totally solar. AS FOR YOUR CITATION OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM SET UP AT NELLIS AFB in Las Vegas.. I was superficially involved in that project, and I can tedll you that the pay back time is under 7 years.. not 100 years as you stated, AND would have been under 5 years except that they added on a lot of stuff to test the system with... that and many other government sponsored solar and wind systems have added costs because their primary purpose is not to produce electricity, but to test technologies and operational and maintenance techniques.
Lefties expects "others" to pay for the more expensive electricity while they together with politicians may enjoy the in fashion-oriented green movement. If you favor Nuclear power today you may get mentally stoned in certain "real life distant" environments. I remember the howling for ecological vegetables and eggs, all lefties where advocating this, but no one bought these products when they arrived at the market. One reason to Nikkeis decline is that Japan is suffering in silence, at least (as mentioned above) industry that will not be competitive without cheap nuclear and clean power.
Japan could resort to burning coal and choke their population in dust or they will have to fuel up the reactors once more. The coal burning isnt as benign as it looks, 5000 injuries/deaths in coal mines annualy and huge suffering by patients from chronic obstructive lung disease steals years from the diseased and fills up hospitals with breathless coughing individuals.
Nowadays India is praying for Uranium from Australia, to fuel their reactors. US is also dependent on importing massive amounts of Uranium, and Russia holds tightly to what they have got. Japan "sneaked" a deal with Uzbecistan for future delivery. China hoards uranium form every source in Australia.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
WE Lefties favor the more expensive green oriented technologies and practices that are essential to the long term future of this nation and planety.. You righties favor remaining dependent upon on technologies that are doomed because they are not sustainable, because remaining dependent upon them will enrich a handful of billionaires, at the long term expense of everyone else... if you righties could simply see yourselves through the eyes of an informed and thinking lefty, you would see that we see you as dinosaurs rampaging over and stomping on the lives of all us nascent mamals who are barely relevant today, but who represent THE future of the nation and planet.
Yes. Also, I have family members (Ph.d Nuclear Chemistry) who spent their working careers as research scientists, and I have solicited their opinion on this situation many times. The predominant failure of the Fukishima plant was human design. The tsunami barrier was too low, and the diesel generators were in the basement. Simple. That design of the backup system was the proximate and main cause of failure. The radiation leakage was a byproduct of old, poorly-considered design and human error; on the other hand, the plant performed rather well for nearly 40 years.
The design and implementation of that plant was done using 1960's technology (plant was built in mid-70's, so design was almost certainly completed in late 60's), completely excluding the plant's integration with modern-day, inexpensive digital computers in design and maintenance. I'm sure they had upgrades, but it's NO WHERE near the same as designing it using today's technology. It's like the difference between a horse-and-buggy and a space vehicle.
Good luck to France on leaving the industry. They are net sellers of electricity to the rest of Europe. Let's see them make a go of it with solar and wind. If Germany and France do this, it gives large-scale businesses another reason to locate to other areas of the globe, leaving less jobs and less income to those countries, and more problems for the idiot European politicians and the moronic citizens who vote for them. They will be begging Russia for nat gas and oil in the winter like many of the other European countries. I suppose they can sell campfire and teepee living to many of their citizens who hadn't really considered living that way when it came to voting, but may have to consider that way in reality once their ill-fated policies bear some rather sour fruit.
Guest Message: Thank you for making a positive contribution to this board. I am one of those wall flowers that just sits back, watches, but usually doesn't contribute. But I want you, and many others to know, that there are allot of people like myself out there. Your comments ring true like a bell. The truth is something that you just know instinctively. Comments from yourself, Crotalus, Crashlander, and Electrothought have brought a breath of fresh air to this stagnant board. I hope you will continue.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
With the stagnant Japanese economy, I am shocked that they would even consider environmentally safe means of producing electricity. With the prevailing winds, they should be buying coal like it was going out of style. And as long as they have the nuclear plants already built, they should tough it through until they are decommissioned. Yeah, they are going to restart the reactors, as it is only a matter of time until reality sets in.
Actually, Japan is one of the best places in the world to test and operate a variety of solar energy production technologies, precisely because they are surrounded by water, and because the true cost of nuclear and fossil fuels are more integrated into the cost of electricity and other fuels there... gasoline costs at least double there than what it costs in most of the US, and electricity costs triple there what it does here in most of the US. Being surounded by ocean, Japan is in an excellent position to harvest VAST amount of energy from its oceans, via wind and other technologies... see my identity... powermountain is my name for THE future best solar energy technology.. which I have invented and have been trying to get developed... Japan would be an excellent place to use that technology... ON TOP OF ALL THAT SOLAR COULD STIMULATE THE JAPANESE ECONOMY ENORMOUSLY.. and the US economy as well, if we could get all those brain dead Republican fossil fuel billionaire dimwits out of the way.
It will take time, but your analysis is quite logical. The Japanese are caught between a rock and a hard place. I understand the pain they have endured. They built nuclear power plants on the ring of fire, (unstable real estate) - not good, but it is what it is. They have invested a great deal already in this power enterprise. I think they have to guts it, and remember that tsunami events like this do not happen very often. They lost three reactors in a terrible occurrence, but the rest of their plants survived. Once they are ok'd, it would be illogical not to use them. They have already been stress tested by one of the worst events that can happen. With a new sea wall, protection levels will be even higher.
Sentiment: Strong Buy