May 10 2011
Japan to Shut Down Nuclear Power Plant Due to Safety Concerns
Japan intends to go a different course then the one it is currently on regarding its nuclear program. It had the future goal of obtaining half of its electricity from nuclear power, but the Japanese now think that it wouldn’t be prudent in the light of the recent problems concerning the reactor damaged in the wake of the tsunami. The overarching goal was to increase the nuclear dependency for electricity from 30 percent to 50. Now, renewable energy like solar power and conservation are being more seriously looked into. Naoto Kan, the Japanese Prime Minister, said that “Japan needs to ‘start from scratch’ on its long-term energy policy after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was heavily damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami and began leaking radiation”. One of Japans major energy companies Chubu also made the decision to shut down one of its major plants until the decision could be made whether or not it was safe enough to continue operations. This was especially sensitive because of the plants proximity to Tokyo, 120 miles. With fears still about, the Japanese government didn’t want anything close to the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl to be perpetuated.
Experts questioned whether the Hamaoka closure marked a turning point in Japan’s nuclear power policy following the March 11 disasters, which left nearly 26,000 people dead or unaccounted for and triggered the world’s biggest nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. The plant is still leaking radiation.
Now the only question that remains is will the Japanese close more plants after the first closure of the Hamaoka plant. With the realization that a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in the next 30 years hitting again is 87 percent, it is certainly a good idea to be cautious.