21.09.2016_No187 / News in Brief

Japan Nuclear Shutdown Has Led To More Fossil Fuel Use, Increased Imports And High Prices, Says IEA

Policies & Politics

The Ohi nuclear power station in Japan.

21 Sep (NucNet): The gradual shutdown of all 48 nuclear power reactors in Japan following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident has led to a significant rise in fossil fuels use, increased fuel imports and rising carbon dioxide emissions the International Energy Agency says in a report published today. The nuclear shutdown has also brought electricity prices to “unsustainable levels”. The report, ‘Energy Policies of IEA Countries - Japan Review 2016’, says Japan’s energy policy has been dominated in recent years by its efforts to overcome the fallout from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima-Daiichi accident. The report urges the government to facilitate restarting nuclear power plants, once safety is assured, to contribute to a “secure, low-cost and low-carbon electricity supply”. The report says the government should ensure that the regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has all the tools necessary to retain experienced staff, recruit new staff and continue training. The government should encourage industry efforts to benefit from international assistance in order to establish and maintain “a strong culture of safety that is championed and consistently reinforced by senior managers and practised by all staff members”. According to the report, some 19,000 lives were lost as a direct result of the earthquake and tsunami, but no loss of life has been reported as a result of the radiation releases resulting from the nuclear accident, although there remains “some uncertainty” about the health impact of long-term exposure to low levels of radiation. However, the evacuation of over 150,000 inhabitants from the affected area disrupted the lives of evacuees, causing enormous stress and loss of life, the report says. Japan now has 43 commercially operable reactor units, five that were permanently shut down in 2015, and 24 in the process of restart approvals. The first two reactors, Sendai-1 and Sendai-2, restarted in the second half of 2015. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2ctr8Vs

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • Nuclear Restarts Play Role In CO2 Emission Reduction In Japan, Report Says (News in Brief No.183, 15 September 2016)

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