Apparently, the Japanese province of Fukushima has done exactly that, prompted, I presume, by the
United Nation experts are encouraging the Japanese government to better communicate contamination goals with the public but are otherwise very positive about the progress that has been made in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident remediation efforts in Japan. The experts are from the International Atomic Energy Agency
In the early hours of Monday Japan’s last nuclear reactor, Reactor 4 at Ohi in western Japan will stop generating electricity. There is no scheduled restart. It is likely that there will not be any nuclear power in the country until perhaps December. This will be the longest time the country has been without nuclear power since the 1960’s.
Agence France-Presse reports that TEPCO’s handling of radioactive water at Fukushima has been like “whack-a-mole”, according to a minister who visited the plant, and he is pledging Japan’s government would step up its involvement at the site.
300 tonnes of highly radioactive toxic liquid has
Since the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, and which resulted in one of the worst nuclear accidents in recent history, Japan has signaled its intentions to transition towards clean, alternative energy. Japanese officials recently announced that the country intends to build the largest wind farm in the world. The offshore wind farm will be built ten
In October 2011, the Japanese Cabinet—still reeling from the Fukushima reactor meltdown earlier that year—approved an energy white paper calling for reduced reliance on nuclear power and increased emphasis on renewables.
A little over a year after the approval of that policy, I wondered to myself if Japan was sticking to its goals, or if—with the immediate shock of the Fukushima disaster receding—they had “fallen off the wagon”?
Far from losing steam, the desire to create a more sustainable way of life in Japan enjoys considerable momentum. And in large part, their success is due to the presence of both a carrot and a stick.
The carrot takes the form of in incentives provided by the Japanese government. Industry Minister Yukio Edano approved Japan’s feed-in tariffs for renewable energy—including solar, wind, and geothermal—in June 2012.
The tariffs are among the highest in the world. It’s ¥42 (US$0.525) per kWh for 10 years for systems less than 10 kW; and slightly less—¥40 (US$0.50)—for larger systems, but for 20 years. The rate will be reviewed annually for subsequently connected systems.
Japan is currently the world leader in cleantech patents, with companies like Sky Electric and Futaba Industry making exciting developments in wind turbines and solar panels, respectively. Sky Electric creates small-scale micro-generators that enable high output even with a gentle breeze, while Futaba Industry creates metal frames that can raise and slant large solar panels in snowy areas to maximize their solar efficiency.
If feed-in tariffs provide “the carrot,” “the stick” is provided by the general populace, who are intent on holding politicians’ feet to the fire.
In June 2012, more than 1000 Fukushima citizens filed a formal complaint to have criminal charges filed against the nuclear reactor officials for failing to prepare for the disaster and delaying the release of data on the spread of radiation. In July 2012, the country launched its first Green Party, in response to the desire to have a party that that puts nuclear abolition and other green policies at the top of its agenda.
There’s even a popular band called Ski which is standing up to nuclear power with their song “Free From Nuclear Power Plant,” which is currently a big hit in Japan. Instead of singing about relationships, or having fun, or other typical pop song subjects, these girls are singing about meltdowns and radiation exposure. Not your average Top 40 sing-along.
The lesson for other countries is that takes a combination of factors—the involvement of both the government and the general citizenry; the presence of both the carrot and the stick—to make sustainability a way of life rather than a fleeting fad. Anything less, and you risk falling off the wagon.
The new energy strategy, which places a 40-year lifespan on nuclear reactors and limits construction of new plants, would continue a national shift away
Radioactive materials emitted during the Fukushima disaster caused physical mutations and genetic damage to butterfly populations living near the nuclear plant, a new study says.
In a series of tests, Japanese scientists found that butterflies collected from the Fukushima area about
Kyoto Journal, a publication whose main premise is offer an alternative view of Asian culture, started a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to finance a publication called Fresh Currents. The publication will come out in print and PDF and will be distributed to key policymakers, local government officials, community leaders, educators and media outlets.
Japanese officials say they may have to scrap long-term targets for carbon emissions reductions as a consequence of moving away from nuclear power in the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima disaster.
According to the Japan Times, government officials this week conceded that goals to cut carbon