Friday, May 6, 2011

Chubu Electric to shut down Hamaoka reactors (Updated)

Well, it's a good call on the part of the authorities...

As reported by The AP, (carrying in part Kyoudou wire service's report) the office of the souri-daijin ('Prime Minister') has called for the closure of all three reactors at the Hamaoka complex in Shizuoka Prefecture (between Toukyou and Nagoya, but closer to Nagoya).

Mainichi Daily News has more, also citing Kyoudou, that states:
(Prime Minister N.) Kan said the nuclear power station lacks medium- to long-term measures for protection against disasters, such as embankments.
That's one part of the issue, for certain. The place is, by reputation, an accident waiting to happen. The 30 year predictive for a major earthquake close by that location approaches unity, for one thing.

Other factors (for closure) include the age of the plant and how deeply unpopular that particular power station is with the local population; they've been trying to get it closed for years...

and other factors (against closing it *now*) include the unpleasant truth that with TouDen (TEPCO) running their reserve power stations full-on and still looking at a massive power shortfall come summer in east Japan, having their closest neighbor drop capacity does not bode well for keeping things running without major black-outs this year... or next year... or the year after that...

If you are in the Natural Gas-fired power station business, and you aren't already in-process to get into the Japan market, get cracking. This is a once-in-decades opportunity to get fast-tracked approval to build or re-build power stations... and we are going to need a bunch, and quickly.



Now the compromise has come out:
Japan urged a power company Friday to suspend all three reactors at a coastal nuclear plant while a seawall and other structures are built to ensure a major earthquake or tsunami does not cause a second radiation crisis.
Bold by me, for emphasis.

Oh brother. Half measures when only full measures are called for. Somebody got the ear of the bureaucrats (again).

I stand by my previous assertion: The only good short term answer is to go an alternate generation route. We'll need more nuclear stations, but the decade+ lead time and the need to build them using the latest design type(s) to ensure cold-failure means building something else for now.

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