Video shows level of destruction of fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 3.
Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, today announced that Japan will not pursue any new nuclear power plant construction. Japan had originally planned to construct 14 new reactors by 2030 but Kan's announcement officially scuttles that plan. The end of nuclear opens the door to renewables far wider in Japan where wind turbines continued to function and produce electricity during the earthquake and tsunami while the nuclear reactors themselves became resource-consuming liabilities adding greatly to the scale of the disaster. Just last week, Kan ordered that the Hamaoka nuclear plant be shut down until it could build stronger defenses against earthquakes and tsunamis.
Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies, according to a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on May 9. The report noted that it is the absence of political will, not renewable resources, that can hinder progress: "it is not the availability of the resource, but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades," according to Ramon Pichs, Co-Chair of the Working Group III. The 1,000+-page study looked at direct wind energy, solar energy;bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower and ocean energy and ran more than 164 different scenarios. It ruled out nuclear energy as cheaper way of cutting greenhouse gases stating that "renewables will contribute more to a low carbon energy supply by 2050 than nuclear power or fossil fuels using carbon capture and storage. Read the press release and the full report.
As announced in a media release today, an environmental coalition led by Beyond Nuclear, including Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwest Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, has had its standing recognized and been granted a hearing by a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission three administrative judge Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. The ASLB ruled on April 26th, the 25th commemoration of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, that full hearings will be held on the coalition's renewable alternatives to a 20 year license extension at Davis-Besse, namely wind power and solar photovoltaics. In addition, the ASLB has granted a hearing on the coalition's severe accident mitigation alternatives (SAMA) contention, which argues that FirstEnergy Nuclear has severely underestimated the risks of catastrophic radioactivity releases from the aged reactor. In fact, Davis-Besse has already suffered numerous of the worst near-miss accidents in the entire U.S. nuclear power industry over the past 34 years of its operations, as described in a Beyond Nuclear backgrounder. The coalition submitted its petition to intervene and request for a hearing on Dec. 27, 2010. The Toledo Blade reported on this on May 12th, in an article entitled "Activists win chance to contest nuke license." (additional Toledo Blade coverage of the environmental coalition's resistance to the Davis-Besse license extension, going back in time, is posted alongside the article)