|

Takahama injunction delivers body blow to Japan’s nuclear power industry

by

Staff Writer

Wednesday’s decision by an Otsu District Court judge to slap a provisional injunction on the restart of the No. 3 and 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear plant has sent a shock through the nuclear power industry.

Moreover, pro-nuclear politicians fear that the nation’s push to restart as many reactors as possible as quickly as possible has come to a halt.

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the 2011 disaster, which included the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant and led to the nation suspending its use of nuclear power for an extended period, only two reactors, Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai No. 1 and 2 reactors, were generating electricity.

The Takahama No. 3 reactor was restarted in January. Kepco officials said it would be shut down in accordance with the court order by Thursday evening.

The No. 4 reactor was already idle after a malfunction forced Kepco to abandon its restart last month.

The Otsu court said the shutdowns were ordered partially because Kepco failed to submit documentation backing up its claims that the reactors meet new safety standards.

One of the most significant aspects of Wednesday’s ruling was that the judge sided with the plaintiffs over whether or not Kepco’s earthquake prediction methods were valid.

The court found Kepco’s standards and conclusions for what is the most “probable” and the “average” quake to not be backed up by sufficient documentation.

“This is a central point in other lawsuits elsewhere in Japan that are trying to halt restarts. The fact that the Otsu judge sided with the plaintiffs on this point will have an effect nationwide,” said Hiroyuki Kawai and Yuichi Kaido, who head a group of nationwide lawyers fighting for Japan to pull the plug on nuclear power.

What happens next? Kepco can file an objection to the ruling with the Otsu court, which would decide to either uphold or dismiss it. If the injunction is dismissed, the reactors can be restarted.

But upholding the ruling likely means Kepco would appeal to the Osaka High Court for a review of the lower court ruling. Regardless, the entire legal process would take many months, and possibly years, with no clear path to restarts.

That possibility is distressing local leaders in Fukui, who approved the restarts in the expectation that central government financial assistance would begin to flow again.

It is the second time a provisional injunction has been placed on the Takahama reactors. Last year, one was issued and then withdrawn by a separate court.

On Wednesday, Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa criticized the injunction.

“We at the local level take the problems of nuclear power seriously,” he said. “The repetition of the courts shutting them down and then overturning the decision and then shutting them down again is cause for concern about a loss of trust and create unease among residents.”

The Otsu ruling also calls on the national government to take the lead in formulating evacuation plans for residents within 30 km of a nuclear plant, and not just leave such planning to local governments.

That raises the possibility of further lawsuits seeking injunctions against other reactors on the grounds that the central government has not taken the lead in formulating evacuation plans. Nationwide, there are 135 cities, towns, and villages in 21 prefectures within 30 km of nuclear power plants.

  • Ron Lane

    Which of the following two statements seems more likely to be true:

    “That possibility [the legal process taking months or years] is distressing local leaders in Fukui, who approved the
    restarts in the expectation that central government financial
    assistance would begin to flow again.”

    “’We at the local level take the problems of nuclear power seriously,’ he [Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa] said.”

  • solodoctor

    The Court issued the injunction, rightfully in my opinion, because the central government/the NRA has failed to do its job of overseeing KEPCO more actively. Without this oversight, KEPCO and the other power companies will cut corners in order to hasten the restarts. They are more interested in regaining their profits than in ensuring the safety of the local residents.

  • Dave Barton

    I thought I would chime in on this topic as I haven’t seen any real commentary from the average citizen in Japan. I’m no expert on nuclear power so my thoughts are strictly personal and not particularly based on my scientific knowledge. What has always struck me about the nuclear power industry in Japan is how anyone could have come to the conclusion that this form of power was the best option for a country with so many live earthquake faults and that any safety concerns could be overcome. The example of Fukushima should put any of that to rest. Living as I do in Aomori prefecture and not that far from the devastation down south, any thoughts of restarting additional plants seems frought with many horrors. Aomori has it’s own potential problems with the plant in Higashidori. And to make matters worse we have the Rakkasho nuclear fuels recycling plant just up the road which has been under construction for I forget how many years now. Recently it was released that this plant and its technology is already out dated and is no longer a cost effective means of storing and recycling nuclear fuels. Japan is probably one of the most technologically savy countries in the world with solar power and wind turbines cropping up all over at an ever increasing rate. Isn’t it time now to recognize there are safer and cheaper forms of producing electrical power. By the way, I have solar panels on my house so I have put my money where my mouth is. Thoughts?

    • Ron Lane

      “Isn’t it time now to recognize there are safer and cheaper forms of producing electrical power.”

      Follow the money.

      • Dave Barton

        Exactly.

    • Sam Gilman

      One very simple thought: how much power can we get out of solar? By all means, build solar panels, and wind farms where possible (by the way, you’ll be making good savings out of your panels, you martyr ;-)). The problem is that when you look at the numbers, we won’t generate anywhere near enough to cover what we need. Japan is densely populated, isn’t actually very windy, and is highly forested and mountainous. We’ll still need something else, and judging from current patterns, that will be coal in record amounts. And that’s bad for everyone and the environment – worse than Fukushima every year. Only we’ve normalised it. (Just like we normalised the deaths in Kesennuma from fossil fuel fires. No clamour against gasoline after 3/11.) As the phrase goes, if people have a choice between no energy and dirty energy, they’ll choose dirty energy every time.

      Once you look at the actual options on the table, continuing is not as crazy as it seems. Journalists who paint it as some kind of perverse irrationality don’t look at the alternative choices with any seriousness.

      What’s crucial is that safety measures which were known about from way before 2011 were not installed by TEPCO (and it’s not the earthquake, but the tsunami that caused the crucial damage). This accident was avoidable. And slowly but surely, the taboo to questioning the extent of the evacuations is being broken. Maybe our reaction has hurt – killed – far more people than the event itself ever would. It’s an appalling thought, but it needs to be confronted.

      The post 3/11 story is one of repeated political failures. It’s also one of repeated social failures on the part of the institutions meant to keep government good and society better.

      • goofyfootgaijin

        You are right to point out that coal is bad for people’s health and for the environment, but that going back to nuclear power is the only alternative is a misguided conclusion. With upgrades to the grid and to storage capacities, experts agree that it is quite possible to replace the electrical capacity once supplied by nuclear. And then some. However, doing so would not be cheap, economically or politically. For the entrenched power industries (who have amassed a lot of political sway) who have billions of yen in sunk costs in their power plants, decommissioning would be a major undertaking (though they were required to budget for this). The other big task would be upgrading the grid to support new renewable inputs. Business as usual would be much cheaper and simpler for them, and more profitable. For example, during the time of the feed-in-tariff for renewables, oversupply of solar (mostly) into the grid was a problem that utilities complained about. Especially in sunny places like Kyushu, they were not equipped to deal with the increased generation that came from newly (privately) installed solar capacity.

        You are right that going back to nuclear is not perversely irrational by the logic of the businesses that have depended on it for so long, but from the public’s perspective it is rightly viewed as courting unnecessary risk. If you look at the history of nuclear power in Japan, and the way that it was aggressively sold to the public and then massively subsidized, I think you will see that if equally intensive resources were devoted to the promotion and development of renewables in Japan, that sector could surely pick up the generation slack. The issue is “path dependence”, and from the utilities standpoint, sunken costs. But remember they serve stockholders and are motivated by their bottom line, not necessarily by the public interest.

        What this injunction shows is that the utilities want to restart as a matter of principal. If that is the starting point for their own research on the safety of their sites and plants, can we really expect balanced research? We have seen this with estimates about whether or not faults are active. Independent researchers do surveys that say, yes they are but the plant’s researchers produce reports that say they aren’t. Who should we believe? Even if we trust the industry researchers, we are right to remember that earthquakes are actually characterized by their unpredictability (case in point, 5 years ago, today). We have a very short timespan of scientific observation and measurement of earthquakes. What happens when all experts agree that a plant has the capacity to resist even the largest imaginable earthquake and then one occurs in a place and at a scale that was beyond their imaginations happens?

      • Sam Gilman

        I’m afraid experts don’t agree that Japan can power itself only on renewables. There are problems for any country in trying to depend largely on wind and solar, but that’s a matter of the problem of intermittency and finding ways to have a stable grid – issues that happen in Kyushu as you note, and at a very low level of solar penetration. But the fundamental issue before even that is that in Japan it’s hard to produce even the nominal amount of electricity needed using these sources. We would start to have to do serious damage to the environment. If you actually go and look at what wind resources, geothermal resources and land space for solar is available, the numbers struggle to add up.

        You put words in my mouth by making me say that nuclear is the “only” alternative. I was clear not to say that, but that there is no alternative to using it if you want to get off fossil fuels. We also need renewables. Opposing these technologies in the face of global warming is silly.

      • goofyfootgaijin

        Then we agree on a lot. But while we are clarifying words we did not speak, I said that experts agree that renewables could make up the capacity once provided by nuclear power, not that it could replace all other sources (though some experts do think this possible). I think saying that nuclear is absolutely necessary in the path to getting off fossil fuels is diverting the argument here. The point is that nuclear is not suitable for Japan. Fossil fuels are problematic and getting off them is an important issue to address. But saying that a risky technology that produces waste that no one has found a good way or place to store is the only alternative twists the issue at hand into something else entirely.

      • Sam Gilman

        Glad to know we agree on a lot. It’s good to have a civilised discussion.

        The issue of the insolubility of nuclear waste disposal appears to be a red herring. There is nothing wrong from a safety point of view from just dropping it down a very deep hole into geologically stable rock. The stuff doesn’t move of its own accord, and evidence from natural reactors (they were a thing a billion years ago) backs this up. The only problem with permanent disposal is the opportunity cost, insofar as newer reactor models could actually be powered with that waste.

        Aiming only to replace nuclear power with renewables is to me not acceptable. We need to reduce emissions, which actually means an expanded electricity supply, and as current policy goes, expanded clean energy to generate hydrogen. Global warming is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons. Each individual country’s actions won’t change matters much (US, China and India excepted) but together they make a huge difference. There is good evidence that the record-breaking drought that catalysed current conflicts in the Middle East, including ISIS and the war in Syria is a symptom of a warming planet. What more is in store?

        So a rejection of nuclear would surely need to be done on a good and strong evidence basis making a balanced comparison between the outcomes of rejection and acceptance. What we know is that fear of radiation is by far the deadliest aspect of civilian nuclear power, far more than the radiological leaks themselves. Fear can be addressed and assuaged in a way that the laws of physics governing climate change cannot. Safety issues can be addressed and overcome (and have been) in a way that the laws of physics cannot.

      • goofyfootgaijin

        We are indeed getting very far away from the topic of this article, but I must take issue with the statements you make in your second paragraph above. I don’t think I am going to convince you to change your view because you seem very adamant about the glory of nuclear technology (despite the evidence), but I will nevertheless ask you some questions based on your response above:

        1) If the issue of nuclear waste disposal (in Japan) is such a red herring (by which I understand you to mean a non-issue), then why isn’t it being done? Before you blame incompetent bureaucrats, please admit that these are the same people that would have to implement your solution. These people, and the corrupt culture of the nuclear industrial complex are not going anywhere unless policymakers remove their mandate.

        2) Where, pray tell, is this “geologically stable rock” you speak of? Does stable today mean stable in 100 years? 200? Again, there is no science to say so for Japan. If such stable disposal sites exist in Japan, why haven’t they been used yet? (sorry that was multiple questions)

        3) Japan has spent decades and trillions of yen trying to recycle and reuse nuclear waste for power with little to no success and a host of problems and accidents. Why are we to believe that they will suddenly be able to do this?

        4) Are you not in a very small minority when you imply that nuclear waste disposal is not a big problem? It is, by its nature, a multigenerational administrative challenge (e.g. hundreds of years) on a scale that has never been done before. And again, Japan is not geologically stable.

        5) If the waste were to be shipped elsewhere for disposal, is this ethical? If so I think I’ll just drop my household garbage in my neighbor’s yard.

        6) Could transport be 100% safe so as not to create more ocean or air contamination?

        7) What about the issues of weaponization and proliferation? Doesn’t transporting nuclear waste elsewhere raise never ending concerns in these areas?

      • Sam Gilman

        I’m not glorifying anything. I’m answering your points and trying to explain why I think including nuclear along with renewables is the least worst energy policy. Perhaps you are underplaying the importance of global warming, the loss of one sixth of all species within eighty years, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people just from the warming effects, let alone the millions from the conflicts caused. Perhaps you think it’s ethical just to sit and let that happen? Perhaps you would love to have children poisoned with particulates from coal?

        Oh, sorry, was I trying to make you look irrational and unethical? So, now we’ve got that silliness out of the way, can we please carry on with a civil conversation?

        The supposed intractability of waste disposal from nuclear power genuinely appears to be a red herring. In general, it’s tremendously important to realise how successful the anti-nuclear movement has been in inserting junk science beliefs in our psyche. We all now know that Helen Caldicott is crazy when she says it’s life threatening to visit Japan. We know Chris Busby is a shyster. We know that that Yablokov book on Chernobyl is a dud. Yet before March 2011 these people and such documents were seen as respected sources of information for many parts of the media. This clearly false message that radiation acts like some steroid-pumped hypervirus ready at a moment’s notice to lay waste to civilisation remains and clouds people’s judgements. It’s really important to realise this because it will make it clear how much you have to question what you actually know. You need to check that whatever you may have learnt is actually founded in proper science, or whether it was heavily embellished or simply clean made up by someone. (And they make stuff up.) Do that check and you might feel the same anger and sense of betrayal at how much they have lied and continue to lie that many environmentalists who experience this realisation feel.

        So, to your points:

        1) To repeat the point: Nuclear waste is a political issue much more than a technical one, although of course each project requires technical solutions. Here’s a fun thing to do: ask an anti-nuclear politician what they would do with waste that already exists. They cannot give a good answer because if they can, the issue stops being salient and they lose votes. On the other hand, they’re meant to be experts in this thing they oppose, so they should have a good answer, but still… The truth is that they’re not interested in good answers.

        A good case study is the history of the Yucca mountain facility in the US. It was on the verge of being fully approved having clearly passed all requirements for safety (which were the possibility of exposure to local people of amounts less than background over the next million years). It was undone by politics. Senate minority leader Harry Reid plucked a staffer from the most anti-nuclear congressman in the US, and then forced him onto the NRC. (Reid engineered a halt on approving federal judicial appointments until his demand was accepted.) When Obama was elected, Reid called a favour in and got the same guy – Gregory Jaczsko – made head of the NRC. If you look at the CVs of heads of the NRC, Jaczsko’s threadbare CV stands out as a very strange appointment. Jaczsko then misled and concealed documents from the other commissioners to make sure that the Yucca mountain facility never went ahead and closed down the procedural process. Decades of consensual politics thrown out the window. This is all public record. (As is Jaczsko’s intervention in Fukushima where he unilaterally declared the fuel pools had gone dry and were on fire, and – maybe you remember this – out of the blue declared an 80km exclusion zone for American citizens. Thus he helped give a hefty push to paranoia and suspicion about official sources, and cause a huge amount of avoidable panic.) Don’t underestimate the damage the anti-nuclear movement is prepared to inflict on people. It is rather like the NRA or the anti-vaccine movement: it’s a weird kind of cult that seems oblivious to the possibility it’s doing harm.

        2) Not 100 or 200 years. Try a million or much longer. Can I ask you to have a think about how strong your conviction is that nuclear waste is an intractable problem, and then try to reconcile that with your not having heard of a basic idea such as deep geological repository for waste? This is not to have a go at you or sneer: I didn’t know what it was a couple of years ago. I took on trust the claims of the anti-nuclear movement that waste just had to sit there accumulating. I was wrong to take them on trust.

        Of course, Japan has a lot of seismic activity, so we should export it if we want that method of disposal. In your point 5) you suggest it is unethical to export waste for disposal elsewhere, and liken this to tipping your garbage into your neighbour’s garden. I don’t know where you live, but where I live, we have professional refuse collectors whom we pay to take it away. They make money out of disposal. You really ought to stop disposing of your trash in the way you apparently do and start using the city refuse bags and putting them out on the right day. It’s gaijin like you that gives us all a bad name with this trash thing. ;-)

        If I could return us both to reality: In Australia there has just been a Royal Commission in South Australia looking into the possibility of hosting a disposal facility. Their initial conclusions are that it would be an economic boon and have backed it. They also saw that Sweden and Finland have viable disposal projects. If they want to take it, where’s the ethical issue?

        3) That’s not disposal, that’s reprocessing. You’re absolutely right that the Rokkasho facility has been a financial disaster. However, that’s just one plant. Reprocessing takes place in many places. Are you sure you didn’t know that already?

        4) I’m in a minority in the sense that an American who believes in evolution is in a minority. The anti-nuclear movement is very loud, and if you’re on the left like me, it’s deafening. But if you turn the volume down on anyone who is not speaking from scientific evidence, it gets an awful lot quieter. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough: you’ve got to filter out anyone on all sides who isn’t relying on proper expertise.

        5) Please stop tipping your trash into your neighbour’s garden and use the municipal waste services instead. It’s what your taxes go to. ;-)

        6) Is transporting nuclear waste safe? To date, there has been one death around the world from the transport of nuclear waste, and that was a protestor jumping in front of a train. Basically, it’s really safe. I notice you demand 100% safety, but don’t define what this means (I assume you’re not going to include that protester death, for example), and whether you have this as a general demand for all your energy sources. I can say it’s a whole lot safer than how we currently dump energy waste, which is into the air and into rivers and streams. (Including some of the waste from building all our cheap solar panels). What if a boat sinks in the oceans? This stuff is in containers. If it’s shallow enough to be rescued, it can be lifted. If it’s somewhere very deep, it’s in a safe place. Water does that to radiation. After all, that’s why spent fuel is kept in pools of water. We currently have laws about levels of radiation that might (if you extrapolate in a way that scientific authorities clearly say is invalid) cause a 0.005% increase in cancer in people. The waste units are safer than that. They’re not going to affect the environment catastrophically even if they were just dropped into the deep ocean. That I am sure sounds weird, and I’m sure runs counter to what the anti-nuclear movement have told you, but it’s true. Compared to waste generated by others forms of energy, it’s better. I’m not recommending it (it does feel wrong), but still. All this may go against what you understood, but to repeat the point over and again: go back and check if what you think you know is actually based in science.

        7) Proliferation from waste? Proliferation happens when a state wants to build a nuclear weapon, and it requires weapons-grade material, which spent fuel decidedly is not. It doesn’t happen opportunistically (ie “oh look, some radioactive material that would represent a highly roundabout and incredibly expensive way of obtaining weapons-grade material. Hey ! (Light bulb moment) Let’s build a bomb!” doesn’t happen). The knowledge of how to build a bomb is already out there. Whether or not we have civilian nuclear power is neither here nor here, and it does not increase the supply chain of weapons-grade material. If anything, it’s been a good way to diminish the number of weapons by consuming the material in reactors (the conversion goes easily in this direction). Of course, on the other hand, both climate change and oil dependence lead to wars. This isn’t to diminish the general issue of proliferation which is of course a problem: there are states which want to build nuclear weapons. However, insofar as it relates to waste it’s not an issue.

        Again, I urge you to check what you think you know, and to remember that we are looking not for the perfect choice, but the least worst choice of those we can take.

      • goofyfootgaijin

        Absolutely none of your lengthy response provides any evidence to contradict the common sense notion that nuclear power is simply not suitable or sustainable for Japan, which sits precariously in one of (if not the) most seismically active areas of planet earth. It was scientists and technocrats who made the exact same case you are making when nuclear power was first aggressively sold on the Japanese public. The public’s common sense resistance was gradually worn down by non-stop lobbying, safety guarantees, and the promise of government compensation and industry jobs in places eager to stimulate their economies. This has all been well-documented.

        Though earthquake and tsunami preparation is highly advanced in Japan, a simple lesson from 3/11 and its aftermath is that the unpredictable happens. It is not paranoid or cultlike to take this lesson from 3/11. On the contrary your strident championing of the science that you say makes nuclear so safe strikes me as rather detached from a rational view of the actual situation of Japan.

        Areas that host nuclear plants have been mandated to draw up escape plans for nearby residents in the event of another disaster. In many cases because of geography escape would simply be impossible if one or two of the planned routes were blocked. And yet the industry and gov. keeps pushing for restarts. Safety first!

        Also, there are new regulations for onsite power and all sorts of other backup measures. But none of these can account for the unimaginable, the unpredictable. It would be nice if earthquake science were exact and we could say the next earthquake could only cause x amount of destruction. But this is not the case. Science has limits, namely it is limited to what it has observed. The anti-nuclear movement in Japan should not be debased for its common sense stance against nuclear power in a place where it is simply not suitable or sustainable. It’s clearly being pushed for reasons other than the ones you are mentioning (e.g. global warming). The issue is not that Japan has no other alternatives, it’s that a massive industry has been built around nuclear power in Japan and it’s very hard to put the brakes on now.

      • Sam Gilman

        Aw, that’s a shame. When you raised your questions about waste, I thought you raised them honestly, as someone open-minded enough to cope with answers that might – or to be absolutely fair might not – satisfy their doubts. That’s why I was careful to go over each one that you asked. It took me time to write, as I was keen to interact with you, because I thought it would be good for us to see what more common ground we could establish. I wasn’t sure if I would change your mind about anything, but at least it would be good to expose you to another point of view, and for me to see what you thought about it.

        That’s a mature way to think, isn’t it?

        Alas, it appears to have been just an act on your part. Your response is not a single concrete thing to say about my post – not a fault found or an error uncovered – but instead to criticise me for not responding to questions you didn’t even ask, and then question not only the merits of addressing global warming, but the whole of science for good measure.

        It would actually be really valuable to look at evacuation plans, and to have a hard look at the mistakes made in the Fukushima evacuations, both in preparation and execution. However, I fear that you would not welcome such a conversation, as I would insist it be founded in science and observation, rather than ideology.

        Have a nice night, and enjoy the planet burning up. I won’t.

      • goofyfootgaijin

        Absolutely none of your lengthy response provides any evidence to contradict the common sense notion that nuclear power is simply not suitable or sustainable for Japan, which sits precariously in one of (if not the) most seismically active areas of planet earth. It was scientists and technocrats who made the exact same case you are making when nuclear power was first aggressively sold on the Japanese public. The public’s common sense resistance was gradually worn down by non-stop lobbying, safety guarantees, and the promise of government compensation and industry jobs in places eager to stimulate their economies. This has all been well-documented.

        Though earthquake and tsunami preparation is highly advanced in Japan, a simple lesson from 3/11 and its aftermath is that the unpredictable happens. It is not paranoid or cultlike to take this lesson from 3/11. On the contrary your strident championing of the science that you say makes nuclear so safe strikes me as rather detached from a rational view of the actual situation of Japan.

        Areas that host nuclear plants have been mandated to draw up escape plans for nearby residents in the event of another disaster. In many cases because of geography escape would simply be impossible if one or two of the planned routes were blocked. And yet the industry and gov. keeps pushing for restarts. Safety first!

        Also, there are new regulations for onsite power and all sorts of other backup measures. But none of these can account for the unimaginable, the unpredictable. It would be nice if earthquake science were exact and we could say the next earthquake could only cause x amount of destruction. But this is not the case. Science has limits, namely it is limited to what it has observed. The anti-nuclear movement in Japan should not be debased for its common sense stance against nuclear power in a place where it is simply not suitable or sustainable. It’s clearly being pushed for reasons other than the ones you are mentioning (e.g. global warming). The issue is not that Japan has no other alternatives, it’s that a massive industry has been built around nuclear power in Japan and it’s very hard to put the brakes on now.

      • Sam Gilman

        Glad to know we agree on a lot. It’s good to have a civilised discussion.

        The issue of the insolubility of nuclear waste disposal appears to be a red herring. There is nothing wrong from a safety point of view from just dropping it down a very deep hole into geologically stable rock. The stuff doesn’t move of its own accord, and evidence from natural reactors (they were a thing a billion years ago) backs this up. The only problem with permanent disposal is the opportunity cost, insofar as newer reactor models could actually be powered with that waste.

        Aiming only to replace nuclear power with renewables is to me not acceptable. We need to reduce emissions, which actually means an expanded electricity supply, and as current policy goes, expanded clean energy to generate hydrogen. Global warming is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons. Each individual country’s actions won’t change matters much (US, China and India excepted) but together they make a huge difference. There is good evidence that the record-breaking drought that catalysed current conflicts in the Middle East, including ISIS and the war in Syria is a symptom of a warming planet. What more is in store?

        So a rejection of nuclear would surely need to be done on a good and strong evidence basis making a balanced comparison between the outcomes of rejection and acceptance. What we know is that fear of radiation is by far the deadliest aspect of civilian nuclear power, far more than the radiological leaks themselves. Fear can be addressed and assuaged in a way that the laws of physics governing climate change cannot. Safety issues can be addressed and overcome (and have been) in a way that the laws of physics cannot.

    • tisho

      Three points. One is, the most suitable and best form of energy for Japan would be Geothermal, they have plenty of Geothermal spots which can power the entire country, they are currently utilizing a very small percentage of them, mostly because they don’t want to ruin the landscape, by the way same applies for the US too. Second point is, Japan is not one of the most tech. savy countries in the world at all, not even close, not even in the field of solar power. In the field of solar power China and Germany are at the top, China will probably be at the top for a very long time. Third point, the reason why there are no alternatives in Japan is because they have extremely closed and regulated market, which prevents businesses from exploring other sources of energy, the bureaucrats are dictating who what will do, and so the results are present.