Friday, May 4, 2012
Japan Shuts Down All Nuclear Power Plants 5/5/12
Japan, from Saturday, for the first time for 42 years, without nuclear power
(Article translated from German at the Swiss website Blick.ch )
Tokyo - For the first time since 1970, Japan will have to make do without nuclear energy completely, starting Saturday. The only currently operated nuclear reactor will be shut down for maintenance more than 70 days.
Japan has 50 reactors, the reactors at Tomari nuclear power plant on the northern island of Hokkaido, however, was the only one who was after the earthquake and tsunami disaster last year still in operation. Japanese reactors to be shut down for maintenance every 13 months. The systems must the grid only when the local governments have agreed.
The shutdown of the reactor at Tomari on Saturday will be accompanied by anti-nuclear demonstrations throughout Japan. Until the disaster of March 2011, Japan drew about a third of its electricity through nuclear power.
The earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 and a meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the worst nuclear disaster was triggered since Chernobyl in 1986. After the failure of the cooling and the core melt down, radioactivity was in the air, ground and into the sea.
Since the meltdown in Japan there is growing distrust of nuclear power. For security reasons, all reactors have to shut down including the nuclear power plant in Tomari.
With the cessation of nuclear power, there are fears of power shortages in the country during the hot summer months. According to the Japanese government , however, two units in the Oi nuclear plant in the west of the country are safe enough to be put back into service in summer. The nuclear plant has recently passed a stress test. But against a startup of the reactors from Oi to defend the inhabitants of the region.
The government argues that Oi could help to avoid bottlenecks in the power supply. Whether or when, the authorities approved a resumption of operation is an open question.
The power companies argue, with impending shortages in the summer, to restart their reactors. Recently also the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had urged Japan to take the safe reactors back into operation, as in the case of bottlenecks in the electricity supply business risks threatening.
To compensate for the shutdown of nuclear power for electricity generation, Japan will get energy from combustion power plants. Disused thermal power plants were started up again. The necessary importation of fuels like natural gas and crude oil is causing high costs. In addition, the increased emissions of greenhouse gases in Japan. (SDA)