Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Power’s Prospects Cool a Decade After Fukushima Meltdowns

Nuclear Power’s Prospects Cool a Decade After Fukushima Meltdowns

Disaster at the Japanese reactors marked a turning point for an industry that once promised to give the world a nearly unlimited source of energy  WSJ, By Peter Landers, March 3, 2021 

OMAEZAKI, Japan—At a seaside nuclear-power plant here, a concrete wall stretching a mile along the coast and towering 73 feet above sea level offers protection against almost any conceivable tsunami. Two reactors are ready to start splitting atoms again to heat water into steam and generate power, the operator has told regulators.

Yet despite safety measures set to cost nearly $4 billion, the Hamaoka plant hasn’t produced a single kilowatt since May 2011, and it has no target date to restart. The paint on billboards is fading and an old “no trespassing” sign outside the barbed wire lies on the ground—signs of creeping neglect.

Even a local antinuclear leader, Katsushi Hayashi, said he spent more time these days fighting an unrelated rail line in the mountains, confident that regulators and public opinion wouldn’t let the plant open any time soon. “Fukushima gave us all the proof we need. It’s dangerous,” Mr. Hayashi said.

The triple meltdowns at Japanese nuclear reactors in Fukushima after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami marked a turning point in an industry that once dreamed of providing the world with nearly unlimited power.

A decade after Fukushima, just nine reactors in Japan are authorized to operate, down from 54 a decade ago, and five of those are currently offline owing to legal and other issues. All of Fukushima prefecture’s reactors are closed permanently or set to do so. Chubu Electric Power Co. , owner of the Hamaoka plant, declined to make an executive available for comment. It has formally applied to reopen two reactors at the plant and told regulators that new measures such as the wall, mainly completed in 2015, make them safe to operate…… (subscribers only)

March 4, 2021 - Posted by | General News

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