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Japan’s nuclear technology faces extinction

Evaporating demand and few new projects spell trouble for technical know-how


A semicylindrical structure has been built to cover a reactor containment vessel at J-Power’s Oma nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, where construction work has been suspended since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

TOKYO — Japan’s nuclear power industry is at the most critical juncture in its history. Demand for new reactors has dried up at home following the Fukushima nuclear disaster and dismal prospects for export are dual menaces threatening the fate of the country’s nuclear technology. 

No domestic construction on a new reactor has begun for the past eight years. The catastrophic accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011 blew a hole in the industry’s plans. The picture for exports of Japanese nuclear power technology looks just as gloomy. 

Japanese reactor manufacturers and suppliers of key components are now facing the possible loss of their technological viability.


Warning signs for the nation’s nuclear power industry are visible in many parts of the country, including Oma, a fishing town in Aomori Prefecture on the northernmost tip of the main island of Honshu. 

In that coastal town, Electric Power Development, a wholesale electric utility known as J-Power, has been building a new nuclear power plant.

At the construction site stands a huge semicylindrical-shaped structure bearing the Hitachi logo. It is actually a cover to protect what is inside: a reactor containment vessel, the core equipment of a nuclear plant, from the salty sea winds. 

The humidity inside the structure is kept at 50% to prevent pipes and other parts of the vessel from rusting, according to an official in charge of the construction.

J-Power started construction of its first nuclear power plant in Oma in 2008. By the time the devastating earthquakes and tsunami in 2011 triggered reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, 38% of the Oma project had been completed. 

But the disaster brought construction to a halt as new, stricter safety standards have been introduced, forcing the company to make necessary adjustments to the plan and design of the plant. The plant was originally envisioned to start operation in 2014, but there is no prospect for quick resumption of full-scale construction.


April 11, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

VOX POPULI: Nuclear disaster surely taught us not to export this technology

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The town of Futaba, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, used to boast signage promoting nuclear power generation.

One sign proclaimed, “Genshiryoku–Akarui Mirai no Enerugii,” which translates literally as “Nuclear power: The energy of a bright future.”

This and other signs were removed in the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear disaster. They were relocated last month to the Fukushima Museum in the city of Aizuwakamatsu, according to the Fukushima edition of The Asahi Shimbun.

The museum is said to be considering an eventual exhibition of these acquisitions, which include a panel bearing the slogan, “Genshiryoku Tadashii Rikai de Yutakana Kurashi” (Proper understanding of nuclear energy enriches life).

These upbeat messages convey the hope, once held by the town of Futaba, that hosting the nuclear power plant will bring prosperity to the community.

But now, the reality gap is all too stark. Completely evacuated in the aftermath of the disaster, Futaba remains a dead town.

Is nuclear power still “the energy of a bright future”?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a Japan-India nuclear deal on Nov. 11 during his summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opening the way for Japan to export nuclear reactors to India.

This bilateral treaty came about at India’s request for Japanese technological cooperation.

In the vicinity of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, more than 50,000 citizens are still living as forced evacuees, while work continues on the dismantling of the plant’s disabled reactors.

How could any country that let this happen have no qualms about providing its nuclear technology to another country? This is simply beyond comprehension.

While campaigning for India’s general election two years ago, Modi stressed that the nation could not hope for industrial or agricultural progress without electricity.

Of India’s population of 1.3 billion, about 300 million are still living without electricity. Correcting this power deficiency is obviously an urgent task, but is providing nuclear technology to India the only help that Japan can offer?

With evacuation orders still in effect for Futaba citizens, there is still nothing to indicate that the town will be habitable again.

And we, the Japanese people, know at first hand how difficult it is to rebuild people’s lives that were destroyed by a nuclear accident.



November 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan-India nuclear cooperation agreement signed, Japan to supply India with nuclear power equipment, technology


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) is greeted by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of their meeting at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan November 11, 2016.

Japan to supply India with nuclear power equipment, technology

Japan and India signed a civilian nuclear accord on Friday, opening the door for Tokyo to supply New Delhi with fuel, equipment and technology for nuclear power production, as India looks to atomic energy to sustain its rapid economic growth.

It was the first time Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, had concluded such a pact with a country that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Today’s signing … marks a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a joint news conference with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

The accord stipulates that the nuclear fuel and equipment provided can only be used for peaceful purposes, and a separate document signed in parallel has a clause allowing Japan to terminate the pact if India conducts a nuclear test.

“As a sole nation to have been nuclear-bombed, we bear the responsibility for leading the international community towards the realization of a world without nuclear weapons,” Abe told the same news conference.

“The agreement is a legal framework to ensure that India will act responsibly for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It will also lead us to having India participate practically in the international non-proliferation regime.”

India says the NPT is discriminatory and that it has concerns about its two nuclear-armed neighbors, China and Pakistan.

India is already in advanced negotiations to have U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric, owned by Japan’s Toshiba Corp, build six nuclear reactors in southern India, part of New Delhi’s plan to ramp up nuclear capacity more than 10 times by 2032.

Japanese nuclear plant makers such as Toshiba and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd are desperate to expand their business overseas as the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster chilled domestic demand for new nuclear plants.

The agreement with Japan follows a similar one with the United States in 2008, which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation.

That step was seen as the first big move to build India into a regional counterweight to China.

On India’s infrastructure development, Abe said that construction of a high-speed railway connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which will be based on Japan’s “Shinkansen” bullet train technology, was scheduled to start in 2018, with commercial operation slated for 2023.

“In Japan, the era of high economic growth began when Shinkansen started its service in 1964. I hope the advent of high-speed railway will trigger fresh economic growth in India as well,” Abe said.

Modi earlier on Friday praised the “growing convergence” of views between his nation and Japan, saying strong ties would enable them to play a stabilizing role in Asia and the world.

Japan-India nuclear cooperation agreement signed

The prime ministers of India and Japan have welcomed the signature today of a nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries. Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe said the agreement reflects a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership for clean energy, economic development and a peaceful and secure world.

The agreement between the two countries was signed during a visit by the Indian prime minister to Japan and has taken six years of negotiations. Its signature follows the signing of a memorandum on cooperation by the two leaders in December 2015. It will open the door for India to import Japanese nuclear technology. India has been largely excluded from international trade in nuclear plant and materials for over three decades because of its position outside the comprehensive safeguards regime of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Modi said signing of the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy marked a “historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership”, adding that their cooperation would help “combat the challenge of climate change”.

In a joint statement, the two prime ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to work together for India to become a full member of the international Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as well as of the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group, with the aim of strengthening international non-proliferation efforts.

In a separate statement, Modi thanked Abe for his support for India’s membership of the NSG. Membership of the NSG, which seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that could potentially be used to manufacture nuclear weapons, has up to now been limited to NPT signatories. Following the approval of an India-specific safeguards agreement by the International Atomic Energy Agency, an exception under NSG rules and bilateral nuclear cooperation deals, India formally applied to become a member of the NSG in May.

November 11, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Germany to extend nuclear power plants, but opposition continues

The opposition Social Democrats said on Friday that they would appeal the decision at Germany’s highest court. They argue that the government’s reasoning that the upper house does not have to give its approval for the bill, is unlawful.

Germany passes law on extending the lifespans of nuclear power plants by Nicole Goebel Deutsche Welle | 26.11.2010 A bill that would see the lifespans of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants extended by 12 years was approved by the upper house of parliament on Friday despite strong opposition. Continue reading

November 26, 2010 Posted by | Germany, politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Would you trust UK Prime Minister to really help nuclear veterans?

Prime Minster gives hope to nuclear test veterans, Burton News & Staffordshire Newspaper, by ROB SMYTH, 25 Nov 10, NUCLEAR test veterans have been given a boost after Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to personally look into their case……Alan Rimmer, British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association spokesman, said: “Understandably we have become cynical about politicians over the years. But Mr Cameron may break the mould — I hope he does.“If he takes a look at our case and sees it in a positive light then we would be happy to cut out all the lawyers and sit down and talk with him.” Burton News & Staffordshire Newspaper | Burton On Trent Local Newspaper Headlines | Daily Mail | Prime Minster gives hope to nuclear test veterans

November 26, 2010 Posted by | politics, UK | , , , , , | Leave a comment

AREVA nuclear company doesn’t like India’s Nuclear Liability Law

Areva will await clarifications on Indian nuclear liability law, The Hindu, 26 Nov 10, The French nuclear company Areva declined from clarifying its position on the issue of supplier’s liability in the Indian civil nuclear liability law at a press briefing here on Thursday. Continue reading

November 26, 2010 Posted by | France, politics international | , , , , | Leave a comment

Costly electricity in $40 billion Toronto nuclear power expansion

it will also send energy bills skyrocketing, with the average bill expected to double over the next 20 years. Ontarians can expect to see a 3.5 per cent annual increase on their bills over that period.The plan could cost up to $40 billion and will be the largest nuclear improvement project on the continent.

More Money For Nuclear Power, But At What Cost? – CityNews, Toronto, 23 Nov 10, The Ontario government is expanding its nuclear power capacity. It was announced Tuesday the province will refurbish as many as 10 reactors and add two to the Darlington plant over the next 10 years. Continue reading

November 24, 2010 Posted by | business and costs, Canada | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia planning nuclear powered space engines and nuclear plants on Mars

The Russian space agency also expressed its willingness to design a space-based nuclear power station, which can be deployed on the Mars or the moon for 10-15 years.

Russia To Start Developing Nuclear Space Engines | AHN, 23 Nov 10, Moscow, Russian Federation (AHN) – Russia is considering developing nuclear-powered space engines. Continue reading

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Russia, technology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Speculating on other possible nuclear or uranium targets for Stuxnet computer worm

Dragons, Tigers, Pearls, and Yellowcake: 4 Stuxnet Targeting Scenarios, Forbes, Nov. 22 2010 –  by Jeffrey CarrIn all of the thousands of words that have been printed about Stuxnet, and the many interviews given, there’s been almost no discussion of alternative targeting scenarios for the Stuxnet worm…. Continue reading

November 24, 2010 Posted by | general | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danger in drunken nuclear transport drivers

Office of Secure Transportation (OST). agents drive nuclear weapons, weapons components and nuclear materials around the country, and are trained to defend the shipments from attack and sabotage.

US nuclear transport agents seen ‘in drunken incidents’ BBC News 22 November 2010 US agents who drive nuclear weapons around the country were involved in 16 alcohol-related incidents in two years, the energy department has said. Continue reading

November 23, 2010 Posted by | safety, USA | , , , | Leave a comment

Italy’s nuclear power revival looking politically doubtful

Italy must also decide on a solution for its nuclear waste, an issue that has never been resolved since decommissioning

Berlusconi crisis hits nuclear revival,, By Guy Dinmore in RomePublished: November 22 2010 An octogenarian cancer surgeon controversially chosen by Silvio Berlusconi to lead the relaunch of Italy’s nuclear industry says he did not really want the job and that his appointment may yet be stalled by the possible collapse of the prime minister’s centre-right government…. Continue reading

November 23, 2010 Posted by | Italy, politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Possibly, a partial solution to unsolved problem of dead nuclear reactors

EnergySolutions cannot dispose of all the waste. Clive is licensed only for the least contaminated material. And the spent nuclear fuel is in the same situation as used reactor fuel all over the country: the Energy Department is under contract to take it, but has no place to dispose of it. Until a permanent repository is built at the proposed Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada or another location, the waste will stay at the Zion site in steel and concrete casks designed to last for decades.

Nuclear Plant Finds Novel Way to Decommission,, By MATTHEW L. WALD: November 22, 2010 ZION, Ill. — Twelve years ago, Commonwealth Edison found itself in a bind. The Zion Station, its twin-unit nuclear reactor here, was no longer profitable. But the company could not afford to tear it down: the cost of dismantling the vast steel and concrete building, with multiple areas of radioactive contamination, would exceed $1 billion, double what it had cost to build the reactors in the 1970s. Nor could Commonwealth Edison walk away from the plant, because of the contamination. Continue reading

November 23, 2010 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India promoting Iran’s right to nuclear technology

India backs Iran nuclear energy rights, PressTV -22 Nov 10, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao says the New Delhi government supports Tehran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy.”India’s stand on the Iran nuclear issue has been consistent,” Nirupama Rao said at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) conference on India’s relations with the Persian Gulf littoral states.”We support the right of all states, including Iran, to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with their international obligations,” The Times of India quoted her as saying.Nearly 100 delegates from India and the Persian Gulf region are participating in the two-day conference, inaugurated Saturday by Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari…….. PressTV – India backs Iran nuclear energy rights

November 22, 2010 Posted by | India, politics international | , , , , | Leave a comment

French nuclear company dreams of empire, as nuclear industry slumps in France

numerous problems…….. from industrial action to the company’s growing debt and a fall in nuclear output and capacity usage in France…..

EDF Looks To Build Nuclear Empire Outside U.S. By GéRALDINE AMIEL, NOVEMBER 21, 2010,

PARIS—The future of Électricité de France SA lies primarily in nuclear energy, but probably not in the U.S.—at least according to Henri Proglio, the French power group’s chairman and chief executive……. Continue reading

November 22, 2010 Posted by | business and costs, France | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

European security depending on START nuclear weapons deal

“If the START treaty is not ratified, it would be a real setback for European security,” said Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen. “We urge and hope that the U.S. Congress will be able to ratify the START treaty as soon as possible.”

Obama, Medvedev urge Senate to ratify START | Reuters, By Ross Colvin, LISBON | Sat Nov 20, 2010 – President Barack Obama used the international stage Saturday to press his Republican opponents in Congress to ratify a new nuclear arms deal with Russia.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also urged U.S. lawmakers to approve the START treaty swiftly and six European foreign ministers echoed the appeal in a joint appearance at a NATO summit in Lisbon. Continue reading

November 21, 2010 Posted by | politics international, USA | , , , , | Leave a comment