Sep 17, 2012

Japan’s nuclear power retreat bad news for uranium

Japan's announced phasing-out of nuclear power by 2040 is the latest blow to an industry that has been reeling since Fukushima. Our governments should be nervous, write Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane.

Last Friday, Japan announced it was phasing out nuclear power by 2040, confirming a year of discussion about a retreat from nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster in March last year.

How would you like to be an Australian state government putting your faith and some political capital in the health of the global nuclear industry? Well, with exquisite timing, there was NSW on Friday, telling the world that it was opening up to uranium explorers after a 26-year ban. Mind you, just looking, no mining or export at the moment.

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5 thoughts on “Japan’s nuclear power retreat bad news for uranium

  1. Roger Clifton

    Meanwhile, the climate continues to decay…

  2. Mark Duffett gives a useful alternative perspective.

    “…this isn’t so much a nuclear phase out plan, but a short term electoral tactic for the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to table ahead of forthcoming elections.

    Debate will obviously rage in Japan as to the relative merits of the DPJ proposition, but it wouldn’t be particularly surprising if nuclear operators take this as a cue to get more plants back online now that the political air has been ‘cleared’. P.S. that’s something for traders to think about over the weekend given uranium spot prices have fallen to a two year low of $48 per pound.”

  3. John Bennetts

    This is very bad news for the world’s climate and for Japanese pollution levels. Any increase in consumption of fossil fuels is undesirable. On the scale currently underway in Japan, it’s a disaster.

  4. Freeman

    Astonishing that nuclear energy proponents are suddenly so quick to use pollution (from fossil fuels) as an argument for nuclear energy when nuclear energy produces the most toxic and persistent pollutant on the planet. And incidentally, exactly how was Fukushima good for the environment?

  5. John Bennetts

    What Freeman just posted is tripe.

    Nuclear power has its drawbacks, but it is simply incorrect to say that nuclear energy produces “the most toxic and persistent pollutant on the planet”.

    Radiation decays, eventually to zero. The most powerful sources are those which are decaying fastest. For example, I-131 from Fukishima has a half-life of 8 days. It’s now 18 months after the tsunami. Any iodine 131 released then is now well and truly not an issue, because it is now reduced by a factor of 2 thousand million million million million from when it was released. That’s 2 with 27 zeros after it.

    Chemical pollution (eg emissions of CO2, or mercury or arsenic or those hundreds of other substances which are released continually to air, water and ground by burning fossil fuels) does not – it hangs around essentially for ever, causing damage to organisms continually. For ever.

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