Japan’s Nuclear Lesson: Expensive Energy Hurts The Economy

Despite public protest, Japan is going nuclear—again.

Following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, all of Japan’s nuclear reactors were gradually switched off for inspections. Meanwhile, new regulatory standards have been developed. Reactors are undergoing inspections.

Prior to 2011, nuclear power provided nearly one third of Japan’s electricity. Lost power-generation capacity has been replaced by importing pricey fossil fuels. Japan has few natural resources of its own. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports: “Japan imports more than 90% of its fossil fuels, and is particularly dependent on the Middle East for oil and natural gas.”

The loss of nuclear power has raised household utility bills and made it harder for industry to operate profitably.

The economic impact of shifting from nuclear power to imported fossil fuels is evident in Japan’s trade deficits. In OilPrice.com, John Manfreda sees a direct correlation. He says: “Before the Fukushima accident occurred, Japan’s economy was driven by its large trade surpluses, which it achieved year after year. However, since Fukushima, Japan reversed that trend, and began posting trade deficits on a yearly basis.”

Japan’s fourth Basic Energy Plan, approved in June 2015, concludes: “Nuclear power is an ‘important power source that supports the stability of our energy supply and demand structure.’” The plan increases nuclear energy from current levels by restarting most of the idle plants, while calling for an approximate 10 percent reduction from the pre-Fukushima level of 30 percent. WSJ adds: “Japan also plans to continue its use of coal, the cheapest of its energy imports. … Already this year, the nation’s utilities have announced the construction of seven new coal-fired power plants.”

Addressing Japan’s plan, World Nuclear News states: nuclear power “gives stable power, operates inexpensively and has a low greenhouse gas profile.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government reportedly wants to operate as many nuclear plants as possible “to meet the nation’s energy needs and grow the economy.” Twenty-five reactors are seeking a restart.

“There is no greater issue for the health of the Japanese economy,” Robert Feldman, managing director of Morgan Stanley’s MUFG Securities Co., opined in WSJ, “than energy.”

Japan is restarting its nuclear program. Iran, supposedly, wants nuclear power. Driven by the need for clean reliable power, to bolster energy security, and to reduce dependence on imported fuels, many other countries are pursuing nuclear power. Russia has eight reactors under construction—which will double its nuclear capacity. China has 26 reactors in operation and 24 under construction, and is now building identical power plants that allow for cost efficiencies that come with mass production. Many new plants, such as the reactors being built in the U.S., utilize “third-generation designs that improve safety and cut costs,” E&E News reports. Fourth-generation reactors, which use different coolants and fuels, are in the proposal stages.

The lesson here is less about nuclear power and more about the need for energy that is cost-effective, reliable, and secure.

In a country such as Japan, with limited natural resources, nuclear power meets the need. In the U.S., where we are rich in coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium (the fuel for nuclear power), we have more options and should select the energy source that is right for specific needs and locales. As Japan has learned, energy is one of the most important components of the economy; and expensive energy has hurt it.

In the U.S., instead of having an energy plan, we drive up costs by regulating away our energy advantage and throwing money at expensive energy. It is time for America to really evaluate our energy needs and maximize our advantage.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Pumps Fail Causing Unknown Amount Of Highly Radioactive Fukushima Water To Spill Into Ocean

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported that more highly radioactive water spilled into the ocean at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant on Tuesday due to an electricity outage, which shut down all the facility’s water pumps. TEPCO could not confirm how much water escaped.

The Japan Times reports that the company had begun transferring water from a drainage channel at the plant to a nearby artificial bay last Friday using eight pumps. A February test determined that water from the channel, which exceeded radioactive safety levels, was reaching the ocean.

A TEPCO-conducted survey last week at Fukushima No. 1 found the radiation levels are so high at the station that exposure to it would kill a human being within an hour.

The clean-up effort faced another snafu earlier this week when two snake-like robots, designed to gather information from inside the reactor, had to be abandoned. One got stuck, and the other’s camera was damaged due to the radiation.

According to Gizmodo, TEPCO relies on a small army of robots to work inside the facility, which do everything from measuring radioactive levels to drying ice blasts to decontaminating surfaces.

Prior to the earthquakes and tsunami, which struck the island nation in March 2011 and caused a triple reactor meltdown at Fukushima, Japan generated a third of its electricity from nuclear power. Immediately after the disaster, the Japanese government ordered all 48 of the country’s working nuclear power facilities shut down.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, wanted to restore the use of nuclear power in Japan this year by opening a plant at Takahama; however, a Japanese court ruled against it last week.

h/t Sputnik International 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Japan Didn’t See It Coming, But They May Have Just Avoided A Major Catastrophe

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Two earthquakes just hit Fukushima, Japan. Their epicenters were near the nuclear plants damaged by the Fukushima disaster.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the first earthquake struck at 9:45 PM JST, and the second struck 46 minutes later.

The first ranked as a 5.0 on the Richter scale, and the second ranked as a 5.2.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported that there was no changes in radiocativity levels at the monitoring post in the Fukushima nuclear reactors.

Both of the nuclear reactors were, of course, already damaged by the tsunami caused by a 9.0 earthquake which struck in 2011, the worst nuclear power disaster since Chernobyl.

The quakes in this instance were not sufficiently powerful enough to cause a tsunami.

Photo Credit: Juha Uitto (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Watch: You Won’t Believe “Who” Obama Bowed To Now…

Obama visits Japan meets ASIMO the humanoid robot.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Iwo Jima’s Marines: Still Showing Today’s “Youth Voters” What The Real Price Of Freedom Is

Photo credit:  thomascrenshaw (Creative Commons)

In the summer of 1965, Marine Corps Boot camp training included the boast “If it weren’t for the Marine Corps, you’d be speaking Japanese.” It was true then, and it is still true today.

Sixty nine years ago, waves and waves of eighteen and nineteen year old Marines waded ashore on Iwo Jima to defeat the Japanese and help win the war in the Pacific on American terms. They fought to keep us from being the slaves of the Japanese and being forced to end up “speaking Japanese.”

By mid-February 1945, Franklin Roosevelt knew Americans were running out of patience and money for the war against a country thousands of miles away and on its last legs anyway.

Some thought we should make peace with the Japanese and cut our losses. The only resource America had left was a Marine Corps largely filled with tough determined teenagers. They were leaders in their communities. They were from big cities and tiny towns. They were a generation of Americans that understood it had to “put aside childish ways,” man-up, and fight. They were ordinary men who had to face a great challenge and win because they were all America had left.

Today, those young Marines are grandfathers and great-grandfathers; but they are still standing up to defend American freedoms. Unlike their foolish grandchildren who voted for Barack Obama, the men who hit the beach that day don’t support Obama and never have.

At nineteen, they were wiser than most of their grandchildren will ever be. They didn’t act on emotion; they had no time for anything but reality. Their hope and change was hoping to go home alive, not whining about how terrible things were.

If you meet a Marine Iwo Jima veteran, greet him with a grateful smile. Because of him and so many others, you don’t “speak Japanese.”

Unfortunately, Iwo Jima is ancient history to today’s “youth voters”; and we won’t hear much about Iwo Jima today. To the politically correct media, it’s also “ ancient history.”  There will be a few stories about how small groups of old Marines have gathered to mark the day, but probably not much more. These days, the Japanese are one of our largest creditors; so we dare not mention their barbarous conduct during World War II.

The 19 year olds of Feb. 19, 1945 that are still with us are all over 88 now, but there are fewer of them each year. The passing years have not diminished their achievement one bit.

Time moves on, and no one knows this better than Iwo Jima’s nineteen year old men; but they still understand the difference between what is real and what is fake. They know our young people have done damage to America beyond what all of our previous enemies could only dream of doing, but they will stand firm anyway.

Mark this day and celebrate the achievements of those brave men. Today, they are still trying to give us a chance to live free. Let each one of us resolve to be worthy of the sacrifices made for us at Iwo Jima. Let us cherish the gift they gave us and continue to give us. And let us always use our freedoms wisely.

Photo credit: thomascrenshaw (Creative Commons)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom