Saturday, June 9, 2012

NY Times: Japan’s Premier Seeks Support for Using Nuclear Power

New York Times writes about it politely, as if Noda's (supposedly) direct plea with the Japanese meant anything ("a testament to the deep public distrust gripping the nation"). The readers of this blog knows it was just a ceremony, and it was not even addressed to the Japanese people whose way of life he said he was going to protect by restarting a nuclear power plant that sits on top of an active fault. The press conference was held to please the governor of Fukui Prefecture and the mayor of Ooi-cho where the plant is located, and his speech was addressed to them. Probably New York Times knows, too. But it has to play the game, as the newspaper of record.

From New York Times, by Martin Fackler (6/8/2012):

TOKYO — In a rare personal appeal on national television, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda asked for his nation’s support on Friday in restarting the first of Japan’s idled nuclear plants, saying that keeping the plants offline could cause blackouts and economic chaos at a time when the country’s struggling economy can least afford it.

That Mr. Noda took his case to the public on such an crucial issue, rather than setting policy behind closed doors, is a testament to the deep public distrust gripping the nation since last year’s nuclear disaster and the government’s playing down of the risks it posed. Despite increasingly dire warnings about the economic effects of a sudden turn from nuclear energy, a majority of Japanese remain unconvinced that it is safe to turn the plants back on.

In the 10-minute speech, Mr. Noda spoke in stark terms, saying he had concluded that Japan could not maintain its current living standards without nuclear power, at least in the short term. Responding to the commonly heard argument that Japan is getting along fine without the plants, he said that conservation measures would not be enough in the steamy summer months to overcome the loss of the nation’s nuclear plants, which before last year’s accident supplied almost a third of Japan’s electricity.

He also cited national security, saying Japan needed nuclear power to avoid relying too heavily on oil and natural gas from the politically volatile Middle East. “Cheap and reliable electricity are essential for supporting prosperous and decent livelihoods,” Mr. Noda said. “Japanese society cannot function if we stop or try to do without nuclear power generation.”

The need to import more oil and gas to make up for the shortfall has been cited as a major factor behind Japan posting its first yearly trade deficit in more than three decades.

Mr. Noda promised better oversight, saying he hoped to restart the first plant in the western town of Ohi quickly, but that he would not restart others until their safety measures had been thoroughly reviewed. His administration has already deemed the Ohi plant safe and considers it a test case for whether the public will tolerate at least some of the 50 idled commercial reactors being brought back into operation.

The restart issue has polarized Japan for months now, as the country’s still-functioning reactors went offline, one by one, for regular maintenance. In the uproar that followed the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the government had said it would not restart the reactors without local approval, but officials did not anticipate the depth of public skepticism about the government’s ability to oversee the politically powerful nuclear industry.

That skepticism was given a powerful voice in recent months, as the upstart mayor of Japan’s third-largest city, Osaka, became the country’s most popular politician seemingly overnight by demanding more transparency on the nuclear issue and more caution in restarting plants.

Still, many Japanese share Mr. Noda’s worry that power shortages could cost jobs and accelerate the nation’s industrial decline, driving more businesses abroad.

For weeks, his government has been trying to persuade local leaders to allow a restart of the Ohi plant, which provides power to the heavily urbanized Kansai region, including the cities of Osaka and Kyoto. He has said he wants to restart that plant first because Kansai faces the most severe potential electricity shortages in Japan during the summer, when air-conditioner use surges. The area is also the home to Japan’s struggling electronics industry.

The threat of rolling blackouts seems to have persuaded most local leaders to accept at least a temporary restart of the Ohi plant. The Fukui prefectural government, which has been very supportive of nuclear power in the past, is expected to make a decision as early as next week to approve the restart.

(Full article at the link)

New York Times puts the demonstrators outside the Prime Minister's Official Residence on June 8 at 1,000. Japanese MSM put at 4,000. Some undercounting.


Anonymous said...

Well the Japanese government have demonstrated that they can keep the costs of nuclear power very "cheap" by not doing anything when a disaster does strike and radiation is released.

You really can keep costs down by not evacuating the children and then don't treat them if they get sick so you can come out ahead.

The costs for many things can become very cheap if you are going to do away with safety.

netudiant said...

A conservative guess is that this disaster will cost a good part of a trillion dollars, while still leaving much of Japan contaminated for several centuries.
Presumably the lesson is that nuclear plants deserve lavish support, because the cost of failure is so high it dwarfs any extravagance in the construction and operation.
That said, it is surprising that there has not been any indication of any innovative thinking by the Japanese government. Nothing on floating nuclear plants, nothing on alternate energy, such as geothermal or solar, not even any effort to improve energy efficiency of appliances or cars. Clearly the government believes Japan is so advanced it cannot be improved. But if that is so, then the country with its 50 odd nuclear plants is at the mercy of the next inconveniently located earthquake.
Not reassuring for the Japanese people, imho.

kintaman said...

"Hi, we have already destroyed half the nation and most of you will be getting cancer in the future and no children but I want to start up the death machines again. Ok?"

Anonymous said...

It is deeply offensive to hear Noda refer to nuclear power as cheap. Fukushima has destroyed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of lives already. To repair the damage will cost much much more than the $1,000 per month he is giving only to the people who left the mandatory evacuation zones.

If the true costs were totaled, and all impacted people were actually paid what they would need to restore their lives to some resemblance of what their lives once were, I put the cost of this accident at over 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 dollars. Not cheap at all. And that's before we talk about cancer treatments and premature death compensation.

He should be seeking forgiveness and demonstrating sincere remorse.

But rather than acknowledge the mistaken policy of building nuclear reactors, rather than apologize sincerely and ask forgiveness, he and the DPJ party that has failed to control him are further insulting the Japanese people by restarting a reactor and talking of "cheap energy."

What could be more evil?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Apologize to whom? The whole speech was for the pleasure of Fukui Governor and Ooi-cho Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Nuclear reactors may be "cheap" to run (ignoring the world-kililng waste factor), but once they reach their lifespan it apparently costs millions to decommission the reactor properly.

It also seems like a lot of places just keep extending use of the reactors way past their lifespan. Truly a recipe for disaster in the making. Everyone else won't notice until it's too late.

TechDud said...

Why not simply turn down the Voltage of the grid slightly?
This was how the California energy crisis of 2001 was addressed.

Chibaguy said...

If you would like to see the value of your house go immediately to zero you may be a follower of Noda.

Beppe said...

I also believe mr. Noda speech was only given in order to accomodate the request of Fukui prefecture governor, who possibly wanted Noda to unmistakably take political responsibility for the restart and thereby put at stake his own political image.
Hopefully in the upcoming elections Japanese voters will wipe Noda's party, the DPJ, out of existence.

Richard said...

@techdud - you're not very technical. It's not that simple and I doubt very much that it was applied in 2001. Reducing voltage, without reducing the load, simply increases the currrent (amps).

It's called ohms law, E=I*R

You can thank me later.

Anonymous said...

Richard, it's P = I x V (power = amps x volts)

Also V = I x R

so P = I x I x R

You can thank me later ;)

Richard said...

You simply added the second part of the formula, and thank you.

Your second formula repeats my reference.

E(electromotiveforce) = I(amps) *(times) R(ohms/resistance).

The P in your first formula is Power=Watts (Thanks Mr James Watt).

Wattage = Volts(EMF) *(times) Current(Amps).

And that's what it's all about (pun intended).


Anonymous said...

Groan, lol.

Too early for puns!

We use standard notation of "V" in the industry :)

Anonymous said...

What's the pun?

Anonymous said...

What's watt pun?

TechDud said...

@Richard - Thank you for the interest.

I note that the solution of reducing main voltage was indeed applied during the energy crisis of 2001. In a way, this research paved the way for Smart Meter disconnect technology. It's in California's public record at the California Energy Commission (Authored by Radio Talk show host Dr. Bill Wattenburg at the Livermore Lab for the "Governator"), titled "EMERGENCY VOLTAGE REDUCTION FOR GRID PROTECTION"

the following quote is from page 24:
"You might note in particular the response of air conditioner 240 motors. A
typical one is shown in the graph labeled A/C which was sent to you. The most
efficient voltage is in the 210 to 220 range. The real power consumed by the
motor drops only 1.5% while the power factor increases about 2.5%. The 8%
voltage drop from 239.5 to 220.2 volts produces only a 3.2% current increase
when the motor compensates. (Note that, contrary to a lot of technician myths, the
percentage increase in current is far less than the percentage decrease in voltage for the
same power output. This is true of all high voltage motors when the voltage is varied a
small percent around the nominal operating voltage.) "

Note what the utilities did after the "crisis" was averted; they jacked the voltage back up again!

In conclusion, i do not know if this approach is advisable in Japan, due to a mix of frequencies and voltages used. Surely a modification of this plan should be researched.

TechDud said...

"This is the California Energy Commission (CEC) technical report filed by Dr. Bill Wattenburg in March 2005. The major California utilities had previously attempted to squash the main voltage reduction conclusions of this report in proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission in 2001-2002. Then CEC staff members refused to publish this report for over a year. Among other things, they tried to do the handiwork for the utilities by insisting that the entire section on Voltage Reduction , Appendix IV, be removed because they claimed "it was not within the scope of the contract work. " The CEC finally published this report without change in June 2006 after they were challenged with legal action for attempting to falsify a scientific report which was paid for and is the property of the State of California."

Research this man's qualifications!
It is a long read, yet ever rewarding. :)

I really want to see an interview between Dr. Bill & Arnie Gundersen!!!

TechDud said...

@Richard - now you know what you have been taught, may have included inaccuracies!

Thank you again for your interest. :)

Richard said...

@techdud, thank you for the update, I'll take a read of the PDF, given time.

The formulas we covered above are accurate, they are long established and at the core of the electrical industry.

You've raised a good point, that appears to be about finding the optimum voltage for a device. Not all electrical devices are electric motors though, they won't behave the same way.

Also, as I recall USA voltage is 110, so I'm not clear on why they'd be discussing 240 volt motors.

And finally, the actual value of concern is the watt, the power/energy used by a device. So yes, reducing voltage will increase current, but the wattage will remain the same. Therefore, nothing gained, except that an appliance may not behave correctly when voltage is out of tolerance.

Anyway, I won't go on. I was wrong to have a dig at you (your name invited it) but the formulas are not wrong.

(maybe you mean techdude, with an 'e' )

Keep well, thanks for the chance to chat.

TechDud said...

Invest some time reading his credentials. From the Bay Area Rapid Transit scandal of the early 70's, credit card insecurity, the endless battles with the (fraud as he describes it) California Air Resources Board, to putting out fires in Kuwait; that man epitomes credibility.

Do go over it, it shows that at least in California (i'll let you fill in the blanks)

Government l__d to it's citizens and tried to c___r it up yet got c__ght.
Industry jacked the voltage back up when the artificial crisis was averted.

It is in the official public record. Thank God, Dr. Bill wouldn't go quietly into the night!

Oh, the name thing. No harm, no foul. I had to refrain from chiding back. The world seems so much smaller now, too small for belligerence.
I stole the name from the first "birther"; i'm what i hope to be known as a "truther"!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should change your TechDud handle seeing as there was an infamous pathologically lying internet troll withe the same who insisted he had found poof of Obummer's birth certificate being a fake. Turns out he was the fake.

TechDud said...

Does this mean that you have only to comment on my chosen handle, rather than anything else on this page?
It should not be that difficult to do better with the handle.
I'll not denigrate the President (that is a fact); i'm not privy to what crosses his desk, nor do i envy him in his 24hr job. It is interesting to note how his hair has greyed lately.

I do wish that someone else would comment.

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