Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

How Renewable Energy Can Power Japan Post-Fukushima

Energy

Naoto Kan tells PBS's Miles O'Brien he looks forward to a Japan where "all electricity produced by nuclear power will be supplied by solar panels."

Kan was Japan's pro-nuke Prime Minister until three melt-downs and four explosions ripped Fukushima apart and spewed its unmeasurable clouds of deadly radiation into the air and ocean.

Now a member of Japan's Diet, Kan has covered his own home's rooftop with solar panels, which he believes are the key to his country's energy future. He is one of five Japanese ex-Prime Ministers now in opposition to atomic energy.

O'Brien puts Kan at the center of his third and final exploration of the Fukushima disaster and its impact on the archipelago. His report cuts deep to the core of a nation now 80 percent opposed to nuclear power, but cursed with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a militaristic right-wind reactor backer surrounded by talk of bringing atomic weapons to Japan's armed forces. Abe wants to restart as many of Japan's idled 48 reactors as he can (thankfully, the six at Fukushima Dai'ichi have been declared permanently dead).

To back his corporatist campaign, Abe has perpetrated—with U.S. support—a State Secrets Act that threatens Japanese citizens with 10 years in prison for criticizing atomic energy.

O'Brien doesn't mention that. But he does talk with Hirohiko Izumida, governor of the province that hosts seven reactors at Kashiwazaki that were struck by an earthquake in 2007. Tokyo's attempt to reopen them is "exceedingly arrogant," he tells O'Brien.

Most corporate reports on Fukushima purport that its radiation won't hurt anyone and that Japan needs those nukes, with nothing but corporate talking heads to deliver an increasingly preposterous message.

By contrast, O'Brien's three reports have penetrated the issues to their core. This final dispatch looks at Japan's prospects for replacing atomic power with renewables, from a massive solar farm built by Kyocera to a 50-turbine wind project at Kamisu. After Fukushima, he says, "Maybe atomic energy will be safer. But will it be safe enough?'

Watch the first episode of O'Brien's Fukushima special: PBS Takes Us on a Terrifying ‘Post-Apocalyptic’ Tour Inside Fukushima.

Watch the second episode of O'Brien's Fukushima special: Miles O’Brien Takes PBS Fishing for Radiation at Fukushima.

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

——–

Harvey Wasserman edits NukeFree.org  and wrote Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A ringed seal swims in a water tank at the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan on July 26, 2013. Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP / Getty Images

Ringed seals spend most of the year hidden in icy Arctic waters, breathing through holes they create in the thick sea ice.

But when seal pups are born each spring, they don't have a blubber layer, which is their protection from cold.

Read More Show Less
A volunteer sets up beds in what will be a field hospital in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on April 8, 2020 in New York City. The cathedral has partnered with Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital and is expected to have more than 400 beds when opened. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

New York state now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any single country save the U.S. as a whole.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Moroccan patients who recovered from the novel coronavirus disease celebrate with medical staff as they leave the hospital in Sale, Morocco, on April 3, 2020. AFP / Getty Images

By Tom Duszynski

The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.

In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.

Read More Show Less
Reef scene with crinoid and fish in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

The future for the world's oceans often looks grim. Fisheries are set to collapse by 2048, according to one study, and 8 million tons of plastic pollute the ocean every year, causing considerable damage to delicate marine ecosystems. Yet a new study in Nature offers an alternative, and more optimistic view on the ocean's future: it asserts that the entire marine environment could be substantially rebuilt by 2050, if humanity is able to step up to the challenge.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A daughter touches her father's head while saying goodbye as medics prepare to transport him to Stamford Hospital on April 02, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. He had multiple COVID-19 symptoms. John Moore / Getty Images

Across the country, the novel coronavirus is severely affecting black people at much higher rates than whites, according to data released by several states, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less