Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blog #4- "Japan Won't Stop Work on Reactors, Official Says" Tara Rudo, 9/19/2012

 Blog #4
Tara Rudo

Japan lacks reserves of fossil fuels which has led the country to import many resources such as natural gas and crude oil to power this growing country. Uranium is also imported into Japan and nuclear power has become a major energy source for many on the island. In 2011, Japan suffered from a tsunami and earthquake that made many people feel unsafe about the possible release of radioactive materials. After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, all nuclear reactors in the country were shut down for safety concerns and a few have re-opened since then. In the past week Japan has been debating on whether or no to phase out nuclear power completely. The proposition has put on a ban on construction of new reactors but would allow an exception for reactors that are currently being built to complete construction. The reactors that haven’t been completed yet would operate way past the 2040 deadline the government set for all nuclear power plants to be shutdown. By not shutting down the plants that are being constructed, the government is trying to make Japan’s business lobby happy. Japan’s business lobby is against shutting down all nuclear reactors because they fear it would lead to higher energy costs and an unreliable power supply. Japan is facing an up-coming election and with recent events raising concerns for the public about nuclear power, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has favored an antinuclear movement. It is not only Japan’s business lobby who oppose the shutdown but cities where these reactors are located may face risks like losing jobs, tax revenue and government subsidies. One negative from the possible shutdown would be the shutdown of a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in Japan. The plant has never been open due to complications but it would be able to “reprocess spent uranium-based furl and make the country self-sufficient in nuclear energy.” It is hard for a country that lacks many natural resources to thrive but the dangers of nuclear reactors have scared the public into finding new energy sources. Other resources can be found that won’t harm the people of the country or the environment.



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