Saturday, December 22, 2012

Which direction will Japan go?

In an interesting development,  Prime Minister - elect Shinzo Abe today announced that he will consider revoking the ban on the construction of new nuclear reactors once he takes power.

"We'd like to review how to think about the issue nationwide."

Considering that Abe's party the LDP won by a landslide, one is tempted to think that the Japanese public's tolerance for continual energy uncertainty and  unnecessary nuclear fear was waning, and thus many people voted for the LDP because they are the 'pro-nuclear' party.

If Abe continues in this pro-nuclear vein, he may run up against resistance in the form of the NRA. Japan's new Nuclear Regulatory Authority is proving to be a serious hindrance to the restart of Japan's reactors. So far the authority, which debuted in September, has put serious doubts over the restart of two seperate reactors in different parts of Japan, with the discovery of 'active geological faults' running under them. Considering that the NRA has recently rewritten the rules about what constitutes an active fault, we are talking about earth movments that occurred up to 400,000 years ago. In other words, if you go back in time to when the last quake occurred, the only inhabitants to notice might have been Homo Erectus. They then had 100,000 years to consider the earthquake before they became extinct, and then there was another 300,000 years before modern Japanese came along to worry about the next one. If the next quake affecting that fault line is a further 400,000 years in the future one could hardly be expected to write safety guidelines with the future inhabitants in mind. My guess is they would have other things to worry about.

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