Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Fukushima Disaster Doesn't Stop Japan From Including Nuclear Power as Vital Source in New Energy Plan

Energy
Fukushima Disaster Doesn't Stop Japan From Including Nuclear Power as Vital Source in New Energy Plan

Though their nuclear reactors are responsible for a catastrophic meltdown nearly three years ago at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant—and subsequent radioactive leaksfood scarespetitions and lawsuits—Japan officials said Tuesday that the country needs to add more nuclear energy to its supply.

Japan released its first energy draft since the Fukushima disaster, and it includes plans to restart reactors that were closed after the incident and suggests that the country might build new ones, according to The New York Times.

“This government has not learned the lessons of Fukushima,” former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said. “Japan was on the brink. But now, we want to go back to nuclear for economic reasons.

"But what happens to the economy if another disaster hits?”

Japan has included nuclear energy in its first power plan since the 2011 disaster at Fukushima.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Results of the disaster continue to impact Tokyo. Last week, nearly 100 tons of radioactive water leaked from one of the hundreds of storage tanks at the Fukushima plant. Its operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, labeled it the worst spill at the plant in six months.

The energy plan released Tuesday did not set specific targets for nuclear energy, but it called nuclear power an important “baseload” electricity source that is capable of producing energy at a fast rate that is cheaper than solar or wind.

The draft also calls for Japan to continue its nuclear fuel recycling policy, but adds that flexibility is necessary for possible policy changes in the future. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the drive to add more renewables to the nation's mix remains, despite the energy plan's content.

"In principle, the direction has not changed," he said, according to The Associated Press. 

Japan has 48 commercial reactors, but all are offline as they await passing new safety requirement testing.

Some in Japan are staunchly against turning back to nukes. Fukushima officials announced a desire to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 earlier this month. Fukushima already gets 22 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

“The myth that nuclear power is clean and safe has collapsed," former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa said in January. "We don’t even have a place to store nuclear waste.

"Without that, restarting the plants would be a crime against future generations." 

Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.

Marsh Creek in north-central California is the site of restoration project that will increase residents' access to their river. Amy Merrill

By Katy Neusteter

The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less
President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer holds a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 30, 2020. Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

By Jon Queally

Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.

Read More Show Less

A dwarf giraffe is seen in Uganda, Africa. Dr. Michael Brown, GCF

Nine feet tall is gigantic by human standards, but when researcher and conservationist Michael Brown spotted a giraffe in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park that measured nine feet, four inches, he was shocked.

Read More Show Less