1. It is now clear that the decision to restart the Genkai plant will not stand. Part of the reason is Prime Minister Kan coming up with an erratic policy change in midstream, surprising everybody including his economy minister Kaieda.

    The other reason is that the Communist Party of Japan scored a large home run for their antinuclear propaganda effort when they accused Kyushu Electric of the behavior described in the article. Their goal is to keep anybody in the industry from commenting, and they seem to have reached it quite convincingly.

    The Communist Party is on the other side of this debate. But they have done a really good job here. Their maneuvering was quite impressive, doing a maximum of damage to the pro-nuclear side from just about nothing to work with.

    1. I cannot understand why anyone would think that employees should not be allowed to participate in public discussions about the facility at which they work. Who is better positioned to know what the real situation is? Is it somehow wrong to want to protect your job and income, especially when you are confident enough about the safety to live in the area and work in the facility?

      I do not get it. It is time for people who like clean, affordable, reliable energy to fight back against those who want energy to be expensive (and as profitable as possible for the pushers.)

      1. I don’t get it either, but the Communists have succeeded in getting the Genkai village mayor to retract his earlier consent in anger about this, and also in getting a very harsh public rebuke by the Economy Ministry published on their homepage. This in turn might be the tipping point for shutting down nuclear completely in Japan, or at least coming very close. BIG SUCCESS for the other side.

        In my view this latter action is government censorship of pro-nuclear viewpoints, which is not allowed under the Japanese constitution.

        But in all articles about this development this is painted as the “scandal” over “bogus e-mails”. And Kyushu Electric, far from hitting back hard against such censorship attempts, already apologized for the irresponsible act of having an opinion while working for a company running a nuclear plant.

        Right now the question is if their president resigns over the “bogus e-mails”.

  2. Rod, please check your numbers on the change in gas for the shutdown of the German reactors. If I am reading this correctly, I think you are saying that the gas is producing $0.5 – $0.6 per hundred cubic feet (the unit my utility company meters) and that would cost me $2.4 per hundred cubic feet. This seems like an insane markup. I admit there are many sources for differences between me as an end consumer and the revenue for a huge supplier. The error I see here seems to be a few times more of an error than I could ever have imagined.

  3. @Robin Holt

    Here is a link to the Bloomberg Commodities pricing page.


    Units in natural gas require a little explanation – MMBTu is one million British Thermal Units (M is thousand in Roman numerals, so MM is one thousand times one thousand or one million.)

    One thousand cubic feet of natural gas contains almost exactly one MMBTU.

    Therefore today’s wholesale price for natural gas at Henry Hub is about $4.19 per 1000 cubic feet.

    Prices are higher in Europe. Your question made me look it up – this site seems reasonably accurate.


    It lists a price of $360 per thousand cubic meters. There are 35.3 cubic feet in a cubic meter, so divide that by 35.3 to get $10.2 per thousand cubic feet.

    I guess I am off by a bit – it should be $10 million per day. I will correct.

  4. @Robin – one more thing about natural gas. It is incredibly expensive to move it from one place to another, especially once you get to the distribution lines. The transportation cost is often 2-3 times the price of the gas at the well head.

  5. Wish you could submit this article to the NY Times or Wash Post Op-Ed page and see what they’d say! Isn’t there ANY major newspaper who’d (dare) feature it? Friends of The Earth and Greenpeace seem to have no problem getting printed and aired, yet nuke-slander outfits like Huffington and AtlanticWire.com go utterly unchallenged feeding their “facts” to schools and a science illiterate public. How illiterate? WABC Newsradio recently asked the “man on the street” how far out the shuttle flies: answers ranged “between the earth and moon” to “a couple million miles” and “way way out there”. Only ONE person came near getting it right that the shuttle flies a height roughly the distance between Washington and NYC. No wonder anti-nukers have unchallenged fertile ground for their agenda-colored “facts”.

    James Greenidge

  6. Don’t you love how the newspaper this is from frames rude, jerk behavior (taking over a meeting which is intended to be used to discuss a particular topic, in order to discuss a different topic) as some “heroic” effort of the people to exercise their rights?

    Is it *really* so Orwellian for the moderator of a discussion to try to keep the discussion on topic?

    Something people just don’t seem to grasp, very often, is just because the first amendment gives you a *right* to be a jerk, doesn’t make you any less of an jerk if you engage in speech which is downright rude.

  7. I can’t think of anyone who’d be “against” fusion — once it was up and running. But it’s not, and fusion people are still willfully blind to understand that under any other name — fusion or thermonuclear — it is STILL nuclear energy just like fission — unless fusion folks want to perform some kind of PR divorce to avoid the fission “stain” and become publicly acceptable. It behooves fusion people (and Thorium/molten salt, etc) to keep the current fission horse frisky upon whose saddle you’re riding on. Educating the public on fission and proving it’s not the bogeyman Darth Vader anti-nukers long to smear all nuclear energy as is a good prudent thing today for your own future thing. Look, nuclear energy needs a catch phrase to judo anti-nukers with as they can’t dislead and beguile where there’s fact, proof and education — only in the swamps of emotion and fear. Today, a train crash in India put away 70 people at last count. Are railroads here going anywhere? 80 coal mine workers in China get snuffed out. Anything mines closing here? How does a zero-death nuke accident in Japan condemn reactors we have here?? Yet that makes perfect sense to anti-nuke fans! And the nuclear community LETS them get away with their own slander! As I mentioned the shuttle thing above, suppose we put out a shock clique; “How many people have nuclear power plants EVER killed off??” Ask folks blunt and cold just like that. Hell, billboard it! Let the wild numbers roll in then smack them with the facts. Hey, even more impressive; “Which industrial accidents have killed more workers and public; Oil, Gas, hydro, chemical, or nuclear?” Pull no punches. Throw that out and watch their eyes bug out when you hit them with the facts contrary everything anti-nukers hawk. Yes, it’s not conventional PR clique material but it gets you in the pit of the anti-nuker’s main ammo scare. Say we disarm their malacious smears people!

    James Greenidge

  8. I am still amazed when I read Fukushima described as
    ‘an unimaginable tragedy’. It doesn’t help that Angela Merkel used similar terminology. How can any sane person describe this as an unimaginable catastrophe, etc. when (as you pointed out again) it killed no one, especially juxtaposed with the tsunami that killed tens of thousands.

    1. Because, a slight increase in lifetime cancer risk (probably about equal to eating charred meat on weekends) from a nuclear accident is much worse than the instant death resulting from the prompt effects of a natural disaster.

  9. Regardless of one’s position on climate change or peak oil, there can be little doubt that the ecosystem can be pushed outside parameters which life cannot be supported. Also it is clear the carrying capacity of this planet is determined by the technology that we use to exploit it.

    The other thing we all have to understand is that we damn well better keep everybody happy. The projection that world population is going to stabilize is based on the observation that, as people become more urbanized and at least a little more prosperous, they have smaller families. That’s a worldwide trend. In Japan and much of Europe, in fact, the population is actually declining. The flip side is that if people remain impoverished villagers, they continue having big families and total world population keeps going up. In other words, a stable future is predicated on a modicum of global urban affluence. To the extent the world stays rural and poor, eventually much of it starves.

    Nonetheless, it has become an article of faith among many greens that the global poor are happier with less and must be shielded from the horrors of over consumption and economic development–never mind the realities of infant mortality, treatable disease, short life expectancies, and grinding agrarian poverty. The convenient and ancient view among elites that the poor are actually spiritually rich, and the exaggeration of insignificant gestures like recycling and buying new lightbulbs, are both motivated by the cognitive dissonance created by simultaneously believing that not all seven billion humans on earth can “live like we live” and, consciously or unconsciously, knowing that we are unwilling to give up our high standard of living.

    Eventually these realities are going to force us to some resolution. The Malthusians (which by in large is the ideological umbrella under which much of the committed antinuclear movement stand) believe that this can be accomplished through drastic reductions in both the population and the standard of living. However the chances of this type of solution ever being implemented by any political means are vanishingly small. Thus the only path that is practically available is one where nuclear energy plays a major role.

    The point that has to be made is that there is no choice. While planting a backyard garden may help heal the eco-anxieties of affluent greens, it will do little to heal the planet or resolve the larger social contradictions that it purports to address. Not even the nominal supporters of ‘living small’ are prepared to take the reduction in their standard of living that would be needed to reduce energy consumption such that nether fossil-fuels, or nuclear would not be needed. The real problem is that they don’t understand this.

    This is the key to getting the majority on-side with nuclear energy: making them see the magnitude of the error not to support it, and how it will impact them personally.

    This should be the major thrust of our message each and every time we reply to antinuclear rhetoric. We must make everyone understand that the alternatives are much, much worse that they are being led to believe.

    1. Very well said. This is exactly my view for the past 10 years or so. It is the main reason I encouraged my son to study nuclear engineering. I thought he would have a good career, but more importantly I felt he would have a job where he was contributing to something really important for the human race — maybe the field with the most important contribution that one can make.

    2. Thanks for a very eloquent and powerful argument for sharing the benefits of first world technology with the less prosperous.

      I remember all too well filling oil lamps, carrying water by hand and cookers that ran on kerosene. That all changed when electricity arrived in my village in 1948. Probably one third of the world’s population still lacks electricity and we need to fix that (and the potable water too).

      I won’t be following your wit and wisdom on Brave New Climate any more so please continue to comment here.

    3. I recall back during the 1st Earth Day of those extolling the virtues of “indigeous tradition” and how industrial civilization “intrudes” on the blissful primitiveness of tribes in Africa and Indonesia (Alvin Toffler maybe? So long ago!). Supposedly it inspired Star Trek’s “Prime Directive” thingie as an anti-colonialism hook on the show. Are non or low industrial peoples best left alone to enjoy their “traditional” way of life? They brought that up in high school back then too.

      Anyway, if we’re to fight for nuclear energy, all pro-nuclear blogs must get together and crash and challenge all the malacious disinformation perpetuated by anti-nuke blogs and “news” sites right in their lairs. We can’t wait for the fight to come to us because by then they would’ve already poisoned the public with pitchforks of fear.

      James Greenidge

      1. If primitive peoples don’t do much damage to the environment, it’s only because their numbers are too small to do a significant amount of damage.

        1. Primitive peoples have turned lush and fertile areas into deserts, using bad irrigation practices (Mesopotamia) or just goats (sub-Saharan Africa).

          It takes wealth to save the environment.  There has to be a surplus to support people who collect the data and synthesize the information to understand what’s going on (e.g. the relationship of DDT and DDE to eggshell thickness in birds).  Then there has to be enough surplus that people can invest in saving the things they want to save, instead of being forced to eat whatever’s there or starve (even if they eat the seed corn or its equivalent).

          The wealthy nations of planet Earth are the only ones who can save it.  The rest are too far behind to help in time; all they can do is cut their population growth.  1.5 children per third-world family for a couple generations would help, a lot.

  10. I am going to remind you once again that your own godless liberal democrats like Andy Cuomo and the dope smoking hippie liberal drop outs in Vermont’s legislature – the very type of people for whom you voted and with whom you are proud to be liberal – are trying tooth and nail to shut down IPEC and VY.

    That’s a fact!

    This is YOUR political party at work. And now we’re so far in debt to the communist Chinese that we can’t afford to build any new nukes. Obama killed the space program (last shuttle flight) and Obama put Jackzo as NRC chairman and he’s killing nuke power.

    So man up and admit you’re wrong and fight godless liberalism.

    But you won’t. Delete this post. But you know I am correct.

    1. Ioannes – you know I leave your posts up to spite you, don’t you. You have fallen into my trap of allowing people to expose their true nature with their own words.

  11. Rod, is it fair yet to start calling Prime Minister Kan a murderer because of all the people in Japan dying from heat stroke because the government told them to not use air conditioning because they won’t let the nuclear power plants come back on line?

    1. @ Duncan

      Of course the Kan administration is to blame. But the opposition’s mandate is to always criticize the government’s direction. Where is that coming from the opposition ?

      Why has the opposition not mentioned that countless cities in the world have radioactivity way above 20 msv per year ? Still, only 4 weeks ago, japanese were moved based on that threshold. Those japanese were still living in their homes 2 months after the tsunami and earthquake.

      Where else in the world would you expect a nation to understand that civil nuclear applications have nothing to do with nuclear military weapons?

      At some point, the intellectual turpitude must be shared at the entire leadership level of Japan: political, social and economic.

  12. The commenter “loannes” offers an interesting point, in spite of the spume. Politics has arisen as the barrier to progress in so many areas. The political agenda that permeates most of the more important issues we face has all but sidetracked the solutions. Some of our anti-nuke friends are fossil fuels best hope for the status quo, and yet they joust at windmills (I couldn’t resist it) and portray renewables as the only way to go. In like fashion, the Fox News crowd believes that liberals are all anti-nuke, using the few kooks in Vermont and New York as the poster children of all progressives. Viva Big Oil. The facts are that nuclear went nowhere under Bush, based on his obvious political affiliations, and now with an administration that talks up nuclear and does just the opposite in action (Chu, et al)we are once again stuck in policy limbo. Somewhere in the next twenty years we will all see that the natural gas boom was similar to the dot.com bubble and the collapse of that market will have only delayed the inevitable resurgence in non-fossil technology. Ironically, if energy costs continue to go up, the investment community and the utility industry that will borrow from them will see the economic benefit in nuclear and leverage whatever administration is in power to grease the skids for nuclear. All the antis will be of no account in that economic decision. Economics buoyed up nuclear on the tide of the 70’s OPEC scare. Remember the short lived ban on burning natural gas in fossil boilers? Then post-TMI the uncertainty of regulatory delays and added costs resulted in cancelletion of equipment orders and half built projects. It is truly a shame that economics is the only unstoppable engine of progress, but with all our bickering on the political stage, that may be our only hope.

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