Even if the consequences had been among the ugliest since 1986’s Chernobyl, if it’s to think about it, the 40 year-old Fukushima nuclear plant survived a magnitude 9 earthquake, and was only affected by the tsunami – extreme conditions all over. A new interview with Hidehiko Nishiyama, a director general at Japan’s trade ministry reveals the country’s need for even more nuclear power.
“While people may become more cautious, renewable energy alone isn’t sufficient, so nuclear power is essential,” he said, suggesting that the country has no other natural resources like oil or natural gas, and that the government’s objective is not to quit nuclear power, but make it safer than ever – a reasonable point of view.
On the other side of the globe, professor David Wark, a specialist in high energy physics at Imperial University in London, told Bloomberg: “You can yell all you like about nuclear power, but sooner or later you’ve got to decide how we’re going to keep the lights turned on. You’ve got three choices: freeze, burn a lot of fossil fuels or build nuclear power plants. All those countries that are planning to build nuclear plants, in the end they don’t have any choice.”
With nuclear as a national priority, Japan really has no choice but to pursue this path. It’s a risky game, a lose all/win all situation, but if the scientists are able to design a power plant that would have survived an earthquake and tsunami even worse than this one, then this kick in the bottom is a step forward, and I do believe the Japanese have the brains to do that, seeing the perseverance and discipline that’s in their blood.
“Events in Japan could rebound to nuclear power’s benefit,” Wark said. “When there is no nuclear Armageddon, you can imagine people thinking it was all overdone.” Japan’s plans are to increase the pie percentage for nuclear power up to 50%, by 2030.