Among the world’s most developed countries, Germany seems to be on the right track concerning renewable energy production. The country’s renewable resources have been used more than the classic ones this year, reports BDEW, Germany’s Federal Association of Energy.
Therefore, nuclear power dropped to 17.4 percent after Chancellor Angela Merkel had decided to show down the oldest eight reactors, as a reaction to the disaster at Fukushima, Japan. Plans are that by 2022 they’ll have phased out all of the nuclear power plants today in function.
While Germany and Japan are backing away from nuclear power, the United Kingdom is looking in completely the opposite direction – 8 new nuclear plants are scheduled to be built. As a close neighbor, Germany has a number of words on the topic (all of them polite, but not particularly flattering).
Germany’s announcement of zero nuclear was prompted by the Sendai quake and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown last spring, as Clean Technica readers may remember, but those phase-out plans were already in place. The announcement gave rise to fears of insufficient power feeding into the grid anyway. However, Jochen Flasbarth, president of Germany’s EPA, pretty much thinks the entire idea is ridiculous, and furthermore that nuclear power is not the answer to a stable power supply:
If you thought the Fukushima disaster derailed nuclear power worldwide, look again.
Evacuations and the havoc caused by meltdowns at four reactor cores at the Fukushima power plant earlier this year prompted Japan to shift away from nuclear power and recatalyzed a nuclear phase-out in Germany. But many countries remain enthusiastic about nuclear power, and interest in newer technologies has increased because they are safer, according to a panel of industry professionals here at the MIT Energy Finance Forum on Friday.
“Our investors have a very long time horizon and the reason they supported it is the long-term societal implications and the potentially significant returns from that (so) we haven’t seen any wavering of support,” said Tyler Ellis, a project manager at TerraPower. “Our development partners are trying to accelerate the time scale (of building plants) due to the energy security and safety.”
Global radioactivity data challenge Japanese estimates for emissions and point to the role of spent fuel pools
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study1 that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant.
A review of nuclear safety in the UK has found 38 areas where safety could be improved, in lessons drawn from the Fukushima incident in Japan early this year.
The review, ordered by the government following the Japanese experience, pinpointed critical areas for concern, including risks associated with flooding, the layout of plants, and the state of preparedness for emergencies. Ministers and the relevant regulators will be asked to look at these as a matter of urgency.
However, the review published on Tuesday also concluded that the UK’s nuclear industry is broadly safe, with “no fundamental safety weaknesses”. If the areas of concern raised in the light of the Fukushima are addressed, the industry will be “even safer”, the report said. The relatively clean bill of health was rapidly seized on by the government.
Fu Nishikata, eight, and her brother Kaito, 12, on the playground of the school they left on 1 April to evacuate to Yonezawa, 50km away. Their mother, Kanako Nishikata, is member of a group of parents for the protection of Fukushima children. Photograph: Jeremie Souteyrat
It was an email from an old friend that led me to the irradiated sunflower fields of Fukushima. I had not heard from Reiko-san since 2003, when I left my post as the Guardian’s Tokyo correspondent. Before that, the magazine editor had been the source of many astute comments about social trends in Japan. In April, she contacted me out of the blue. I was pleased at first, then worried.
China has “vastly increased” the risk of a nuclear accident by opting for cheap technology that will be 100 years old by the time dozens of its reactors reach the end of their lifespans, according to diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Beijing.
The warning comes weeks after the government in Beijing resumed its ambitious nuclear expansion programme, that was temporarily halted for safety inspections in the wake of the meltdown of three reactors in Fukushima, Japan.
Cables released this week by WikiLeaks highlight the secrecy of the bidding process for power plant contracts, the influence of government lobbying, and potential weaknesses in the management and regulatory oversight of China’s fast-expanding nuclear sector.
A star is born. And, less than a second later, it dies. On a drab science park just outside the Oxfordshire village of Culham, some of the world’s leading physicists stare at a monitor to review a video of their wondrous, yet fleeting, creation.
“Not too bad. That was quite a clean one,” observes starmaker-in-chief Professor Steve Cowley. Just a few metres away from his control room, a “mini star” not much larger than a family car has just burned, momentarily bright, at temperatures approaching 23 million degrees centigrade inside a 70-tonne steel vessel.
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake just hit Mineral, VA, sending shockwaves up and down the East Coast of the United States that evacuated the Capital Building, the White House, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. With Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster still fresh in our memory — and still sending radiation through that country — everyone is wondering how this latest tremor will affect nuclear power plants in the Mineral, VA area. The answer, as of now, is not much — but there are six nuclear reactors within 150 miles of the earthquake’s epicenter, and a recent report by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that we’re not properly prepared for a disaster.
Japan suffered one of the biggest nuclear disasters just 5 months ago. Now, instead of things getting better, they are getting worse, much worse.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant, the epicenter of the earthquake-tsunami disaster, according to TEPCO, the company that owns the plant, now has radiation levels six times higher than the highest level they have ever record before.
Sellafield Mox nuclear fuel plant to close. It’s a headline that generations of Irish environmental activists, and government ministers in Leinster House, never thought they would see. After just 10 years of operation – and at the cost of a vertiginous £1.4bn to the British taxpayer – the mixed-oxide fuel plant nestled on the edge of bucolic west Cumbria is to be decommissioned.
Sellafield has long been an emotive issue in Ireland. At just 128 miles from Dublin, the plant is within spitting distance of Ireland’s densely populated eastern seaboard. The Irish Sea is now the most radioactively contaminated in the world, while in the wake of 9/11 concerns about a terrorist attack on the plant briefly gripped the Irish popular imagination.
Softbank Corporation President Masayoshi Son is rolling out a plan to turn Japan’s 1.3 million acres of unused rice paddies into solar farms. Energy issues in Japan have been under heightened scrutiny since the March 11th earthquake, tidal wave and resulting Fukushima nuclear disaster, and particular attention has been paid to Japan’s slow adoption of renewable energy technology. Son has decided to tackle this problem head on and has done the math – turning just 20% of Japan’s unused rice paddies into solar farms would replace all 50 million kilowatts of energy generated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Another nuclear disaster, another round of worldwide questioning about the viability of nuclear energy. No doubt that nuclear industry makes a point when they argue that, overall, they have a strong safety record… but, as we saw again at Fukushima, when things do go wrong, they go really wrong…
So, what’s the status of nuclear energy now that we’re wrestling with the repercussions of the disaster in Japan? And what does that mean for renewable sources of power like solar, wind, and biomass? These are simple questions with incredibly complex answers, no doubt… but we can glean some information from side-by-side comparisons about costs, energy production, and environmental impact.
Pockets of lethal levels of radiation have been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in a fresh reminder of the risks faced by workers battling to contain the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) reported on Monday that radiation exceeding 10 sieverts (10,000 millisieverts) per hour was found at the bottom of a ventilation stack standing between two reactors.
On Tuesday Tepco said it found another spot on the ventilation stack itself where radiation exceeded 10 sieverts per hour, a level that could lead to incapacitation or death after just a short period of exposure.
This week French state-owned power company EDF was given permission to start the preconstruction of “Hinkley C”, the third nuclear power station on the Somerset coast of the Bristol channel and what is expected to be the first nuclear power station to be built in Britain in over 20 years. This will involve clearing over 400 acres of land and excavating more soil and rock than was dug up for the London Olympic Games.