Biomass: a question of viability


Regarding the June 19 Kyodo article “Biomass town shining amid Fukushima taint“: As nice as it sounds, biomass will not meet Japan’s power needs for the foreseeable future. … Does the city of Maniwa (Okayama Prefecture) seriously think that harvesting trees will meet its energy needs, and for how long?

In the United States, they tried forcing and subsidizing the use of ethanol as a gasoline substitute and additive; all that did was create a false demand market. In the end, food prices rose globally because ethanol producers began competing for the same grain that people eat and use to feed their livestock.

Japan is not rich in forestry resources. Burning [leftover wood, bark and forest residues] also pollutes. Japan needs a more sustainable and cleaner alternative. That brings us back to nuclear energy, which becomes safer and more dependable over time.

The rest of the world has moved far beyond the technology that built the Fukushima nuclear plants. Hopefully, the Japanese government and its nuclear power industry have learned their lesson from Fukushima and will not repeat the myriad of mistakes that led up to that perfect storm for accidents. The country needs nuclear power until such time that it can reliably be replaced.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

james gavin