September 16, 2013
It was almost a year ago to the date that I reported Japan will need to think beyond its nuclear program. It is understandable that Fukushima became a hallmark of energy questions considering, safety, longevity, production, environment, cost and the “X” factor of the unknowable. The action taken by “Japan to be nuclear free as last reactor switched off” is the result of such applied considerations of thought.
Channel News Asia noted, “The move will leave the world’s third largest economy without atomic energy for the second time since the Fukushima crisis erupted in March 2011. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has openly supported the use of nuclear energy, but the public has remained largely opposed to it for fears of possible serious accidents following the world’s worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.”
The switching off of the last nuclear reactor by Kansai Electric Power was stated by the utility to start yesterday, Sunday to “gradually take offline the No. 4 reactor at its Oi nuclear plant in Fukui prefecture in western Japan” and complete full stop today, Monday.
Japan made the decision to go no nuclear in May of 2012, “when all of the country’s 50 commercial reactors had stopped for scheduled checkups, with utilities unable to restart them due to public opposition”.
As China exploits the coal opportunity importing much of it from the United States, “Japan has turned to pricey fossil-fuel alternatives to fill the gap left by the shutdown of atomic plants, which had supplied about one-third of the resource-poor nation’s electricity before the Fukushima disaster.”
The energy mix formulation for each country will have to sustainably plan the need and processes for acquiring energy overtime. The implications of pure planning through intensive modeling of energy solutions can determine if and when Japan will turn back on it nuclear plants.
I do predict it is not the last time for switching off what was just turned off as cost and efficiency will come into play as Japan’s utilities have raised power fees to cover increased fuel costs for thermal plants while reactors remain offline”.