The strongest earthquake in Japan’s history triggered a tsunami that swept through the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The plant can withstand a 10-meter tsunami, but the wave that hit was 13-15 meters.
Although no one died as a direct result of the reactor accident, the accident created great fear in the population.
It’s still there. But like Europe, Japan has been affected by an energy crisis.
That is why the country is among those who are now turning around, investing heavily in nuclear energy again.
All reactors in the country have been shut down for safety checks after the Fukushima meltdown. Now new ones will be built and the life of the existing ones will be extended.
Prior to the Fukushima disaster, nearly a third of Japan’s power generation came from nuclear power. The latest official figures show that this is now 7 per cent.
The government now wants to rebuild nuclear power, so that it makes up 20-22 percent of electricity production by 2030.
This is part of the country’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050.
But the large investment in nuclear power in Japan is controversial, just over ten years after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
It’s in China greatest growth of nuclear energy happens. The country has ambition Build 6-8 nuclear power plants per year In which case you can become it The largest operator of nuclear power by 2030, ahead of the United States and France.
China’s first self-developed reactor came into operation in 2020. The share of nuclear power in the electricity market is still less than 5%.
It has 37 operating reactors, three of which are under construction and 25 are planned.
Russia is also behind development in Turkey, Iran and Bangladesh. Here, Russia guarantees that it will take care of the fuel.
India has close cooperation with Russia in developing nuclear energy. India has 22 operating reactors.
Three countries dominate the development of nuclear energy: China, India and Russia. That’s the big picture, says Ole Kristin Rystad, division chief in the Division of Environmental Safety and Radiation Protection in the Department of Energy Engineering (IFE).
United States of America:
It has 92 operating reactors. States with Democratic majorities are the most skeptical, while Republicans are more positive.
For several decades, nuclear power has been stable at about 20 percent of total electricity production. The need to cut emissions could lead to the first escalation of nuclear power in the United States in a long time, according to NTB.
– Jason Bordoff, co-founder of the Center for Climate Research at Columbia University, says the risk of not reaching climate goals is greater than the risk of using nuclear power.
The new Swedish government promised to provide 400 billion SEK in government guarantees to develop nuclear energy on a large scale.
They aim to reach climate targets without affecting Swedish workplaces. This must be done, among other things, with a greater investment in nuclear energy.
Nearly six in ten Swedes today say they would like to “continue using nuclear power and build new reactors if they are needed”.
Nuclear power accounts for approx 30 percent of Sweden’s electricity production.
She has plans to Building 14 new reactors. Construction will begin in 2028, and the first new reactor could be operational by 2035.
This is a shift from President Emmanuel Macron, who previously promised to move away from nuclear energy.
70 percent of France’s electricity comes from the 56 operating reactors in the country.
The Netherlands currently has one in operation, and is now planning to build two more near the town of Borcelli in the south of the country. It will be completed in 2035.
They will then account for up to 13 percent of electricity consumption in the Netherlands, according to Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Currently nine reactors are operating.
At its peak (the 1990s), 26 percent of the country’s electricity came from nuclear power. That percentage is now about 13 percent, according to Large Norwegian Encyclopedia.
36 reactors have been decommissioned, and many of the remaining reactors are expected to be replaced in the near future. The first of a new generation of nuclear reactors is now under construction.
In 2022, the government announces its ambition for nuclear energy. This means that nuclear energy could account for about 25 percent of the country’s need for electrical energy in 2050.
What is nuclear energy?
Nuclear power plant is based on fission chain reaction. Fission means division. In this case, the nuclear nuclei must be split. Why should it be shared?
Sharing gives energy
When an atomic nucleus splits (fission), energy is released. This energy is used to heat the water. Why heat the water?
When the water heats up it will eventually boil. This releases water vapor. connected turbine. It will start spinning. The turbine is again connected to a generator that produces electricity.
A nuclear power plant is constantly spewing a lot of white smoke. This is water vapor. But radioactive waste is also produced which must be stored. Some think this is a problem, some don’t.
In addition to these countries, the development of nuclear energy is also planned in countries such as CanadaAnd the PolandAnd the South KoreaAnd the RomaniaAnd the Czech RepublicAnd the SlovakiaAnd the ArgentinaAnd the Brazil And the Finland.
– It is simply difficult to develop renewables fast enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Nuclear energy makes the task easier, and also provides electricity regardless of the weather. At the same time, there were new and powerful research reports among others European Union And the United nations
Which indicates that modern nuclear energy is safe and that waste can be stored safely in the ground, as is happening now in Finland, Johnny Heathmer at Norsk Kjernekraft AS.
It’s no secret that Heathhammer is a staunch advocate of nuclear power.
He believes that the fear of nuclear power is exaggerated.
– DrThe one we see is that No one died from radiation in connection with the Fukushima accident. He says it was the tsunami that killed many people.
– Doesn’t the threat in Zaporizhzhya show that the nuclear power plant can be a terrorist target?
– If anyone If you want to engage in terrorism, you are creating a lot of fear in the population by threatening a nuclear power plant. But it is better to blow up hydroelectric power stations. You can’t get a new Chernobyl Zaporizjzja because it was built in a different and safer way, Hesthammer emphasizes.
A big problem
Ole Kristin Rystad is a Department Chair in the Environmental Safety and Radiation Protection Division of the Department of Energy Engineering (IFE). He is also a former reactor manager at Norway’s last nuclear reactor, the Jib 2 reactor in Keller, which closed in 2019.
Rystad says an important change occurred in Japan after Fukushima. Now there is a real independent nuclear inspectorate that has to say yes. So Reistad thinks this is safe, but it points to something Japan is still struggling with.
– They have no place to store fuel. Fuel accumulates in the facilities. That was part of the problem in 2011, and it’s one gThe main unresolved problem, says Rystad.
He adds that this is a problem that Japan shares with many other countries, and that no one has succeeded in recovering the fuel.
Rystad will not call itself a proponent or an opponent of nuclear power.
pointing to Nuclear energy is a necessary part of the energy mix to achieve climate goals in all scenarios. But we also depend on He adds that the development of many other renewable energy sources.
– Nuclear energy in the world? Yes, without a doubt. Nuclear power in Norway? Not necessarily, it sums up.
Hesthammer disagrees. It is believed that Norway has become very dependent on unstable wind power and electricity exchange with Europe.
– He cautions that it is important to realize that withdrawal from nuclear power also has consequences for the nature and security of supply.
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