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Japan To Build 22 New Coal Power Plants

July 4, 2020

By Paul Homewood



IN THE WAKE of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, enthusiasm for renewable energy in Japan swelled. Kan Naoto, the prime minister at the time, declared that the country would draw up a new energy strategy “from scratch” and “elevate” renewables. One of his government’s last acts before losing power was to pass a law to stimulate renewable energy. Dozens of small firms sprang up. Fukushima prefecture itself pledged to get all its power from renewable sources by 2040.

The hoped-for transformation, however, has been slow. Renewable generation has grown from 10% of the power supply in 2010 to 17% in 2018, almost half of which comes from old hydropower schemes. Most nuclear plants, which provided more than a quarter of the country’s power before the disaster, have been shut down, at least for the time being. But for the most part they have been replaced not by wind turbines and solar panels but by power stations that burn coal and natural gas. The current government wants nuclear plants to provide at least 20% of electricity by 2030. It also wants coal’s share of generation to grow, and has approved plans to build 22 new coal-fired plants over the next five years.

Coal currently accounts for 31% of Japan’s electricity. By contrast wind and solar only provide 8%.

It is true that Japan is also closing a lot of its older, more polluting coal plants. With the switch back to nuclear, we will likely see the share of coal reducing. Nevertheless the new coal power stations due over the next five years will ensure that Japan remains committed to a substantial contribution from coal power for decades to come.

The Economist naturally bemoans the slow transformation to renewables, but Japan knows full well that heavy reliance on wind and solar would be far too dangerous.

  1. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 4, 2020 1:29 pm

    So where are the hydrogen plants? Perhaps it doesn’t grow on trees?

  2. July 4, 2020 1:30 pm

    ” Nuclear disaster” is a bit of a misnomer for Fukushima: there was one single fatality, & minimal environmental damage.

    We would need a Chernobyl every day to equal the toll on human health that coal extracts.

    Book by PhD nuclear engineer Robert Zubrin: Merchants Of Despair.
    Zubrin has 9 patents to his name, or pending.

    Grim reading re the depopulation strategies undertaken by the 1%s eugenicists, but hugely optimistic about humanities prospects for the future if the 1%s can be reined in.
    Relies heavily on brilliant economist Julian L. Simon’s book The Ultimate Resource, which is human ingenuity, a great read.

    John Doran.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      July 4, 2020 2:05 pm

      “there was one single fatality”- indeed and that one fatality at the plant was by drowning and not by ARS.
      Odd how the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by hydro electric dam failures
      (Bannqiao, Vajont etc) never get a mention.

      • July 5, 2020 7:25 am

        Indeed. The Mainstream Media is owned & controlled by the 1%s, who are NOT intent on progress for humanity, as Zubrin’s book makes quite clear.

    • July 4, 2020 8:41 pm

      While I am an ardent supporter of the nuclear cause I am struggling to understand why no more work appears to being done to scale up the 1970s successful experiments with molten salt Thorium reactors. Regarding your piece I would be very interested to learn what exactly you mean by the words “We would need a Chernobyl every day to equal the toll on human health that coal extracts” means? Are you talking about extraction methods and the risk to life there or the clean burn technology which even the Russians use? Or are you saying that coal power stations miles from where people live are increasing the incidence of thyroid cancer which was the main long term effect of the Chernobyl Accident?

      • July 5, 2020 7:22 am

        “A Chernobyl every day” is a direct quote from Zubrin’s book, & does relate to the mining, transportation & burning of coal. Please bear in mind that the book is dated 2013, & like every book ever written, is history as soon as it is published. It’s worth a read.
        Molten salt systems & fusion systems are being buried under bureaucracy & health & safety regs.

      • Roger B permalink
        July 6, 2020 10:21 am

        There are significant technical and materials problems to be solved before the molten salt fuel cycle can be comercialised. They are being worked on but small conventional reactors are likely to be available first. This covers the status and problems of the molten salt reactors:

  3. Broadlands permalink
    July 4, 2020 1:58 pm

    And it seems the Chinese are also retiring older coal-fired plants but replacing them with newer more efficient and ‘cleaner’ ones. The US is doing the former but not the latter. Depending on renewables but not nuclear. Wishful thinking?

  4. Pat Swords permalink
    July 4, 2020 1:59 pm

    Renewables disaster would be accurate in the context of the EU. A trillion Euros equates to a budget of €10 million a day to spread around like ‘pixie dust’ for the common good, which would last on such a basis for 274 years. Alternatively, presented in a different context, the total expenditure on food and drink for 2018 in the EU-28 was €1.1 trillion. You can see in the below what the EU got instead for the trillion Euros invested in new wind and solar PV generation:

    • Broadlands permalink
      July 4, 2020 2:39 pm

      “In preparing its policy on the environment, the Union shall take account of: available scientific and technical data, environmental conditions in the various regions of the Union, the potential benefits and costs of action or lack of action, the economic and social development of the Union as a whole and the balanced development of its regions.”

      If Net-zero emissions is the policy goal, the available data show clearly that it cannot be done. The amounts of CO2 to be removed and stored are much too large as would be the costs. Billions of tons are required.

    • July 4, 2020 2:43 pm

      “The rest of the world is not going to follow this crusade” Except the UK…

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    July 4, 2020 1:59 pm

    I tŕied to imagine Harrabin reporti g on this but his head exploded!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 4, 2020 2:29 pm

      Electroverse notes a lot of things Harrabin and his zealots won’t be covering. Coldest Canada Day on record for 3 provinces. Lowest wheat acreage planted in the US on record. Potato planting also down. Fruit in southern Africa hit by cold weather. The famed holiday destination in the Arctic Circle that recorded 100F heat is going to prove its record breaking temperature span by zooming down to the bottom with a possible coldest July day ever – yep, won’t be hearing that will you.

      There was also the June UAH temperature series update with a fall from May. In the comments on WUWT there is still the record being held by 1998 so no wonder all the fiddling of datasets to reduce that inconvenient peak.

    • July 4, 2020 8:44 pm

      Simply, he won’t. That is now how the maggot(s) in charge of BBC news do it these days. If the news does not fit their marxist masters narrative, they simply ignore it. If however it fits the narrative then they over egg the pudding and leave fact free feelings and opinion pieces which should never see the light of day on the website for days…..just read their website and see how distorted their “news” is.
      They make Pravda seem even handed!

  6. Malcolm Chapman permalink
    July 4, 2020 2:36 pm

    The Economist ‘naturally bemoans’ – there is nothing natural about it. If the editor of the Economist understood the issues here, then the Economist would take an entirely different view, naturally.

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 4, 2020 3:52 pm

    According to Apple mobility data car use in the UK rapidly dropped after the 23rd March lockdown to about -75%, stayed there for a couple of weeks, and then recovered to about -10% at present.

    In the past I have eye-balled pollution graphs from sites around the country and my gut tells me there is very little link between air quality and private car use. (Yes, some have modeled to account for weather etc. and employed other statistical techniques to squeeze out some correlation, but to me the degree remains far from convincing.)

    This urban roadside site in W.Sussex is highly congested with heavy traffic but the vast change in the traffic over the period is hard to infer from the pollution data.

    Nearly every station I looked at was similar, but one especially notable exception was London Marylebone Road – there did seem to be a dramatic improvement, on one of the most polluted roads in the country.

    Continued below…….

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 4, 2020 3:53 pm

    ……Continued from above.

    The Marylebone site information is revealing.

    Marked on the map near the pollution sensors is a Taxi station – so an unusual concentration of Taxis on the nearby road I would guess? It is also evident that the monitoring site is by the curb of a bus/taxi lane just before a bus stop. No wonder there seemed to be a dramatic improvement in air quality with the shutdown and >90% decrease in Bus/Taxi use.

    And indeed, the air quality did not dramatically decline again as the use of private motor cars increased, whilst bus/Taxi use remained very suppressed. But there are signs it has got a bit worse in the last few weeks. According to Card payment data Taxi use really started to take off again in week 3 of June, up over 250% on week 3 in May. “Yesterday (19th June) was the busiest day we’ve had since lockdown. Volumes are still massively down, but there is definitely an uptrend.”

    Air pollution is being used to justify all sorts of charges and restrictions on private car drivers. It’s long been obvious that the claims about how much private cars affect air quality had been exaggerated. I suspect the fastest and most effective way to clean up Marylebone road would be to ban any diesel buses and Taxis?,-0.1546952,3a,75y,124.18h,83.03t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_zGcGu57d1Y0K0tzjgXHHA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    • Bertie permalink
      July 4, 2020 7:03 pm

      It has been distinctly eerie when I have passed through the area during lockdown (I took no notice). I actually wonder if London will ever return to its busy bustling self as many companies decide to leave their staff working from home.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        July 4, 2020 8:56 pm

        My prediction is that the vast majority of people will not continue to work from home. It might be nice for a change, but in reality there are all sorts of problems with supervision, productivity, motivation, relationships, team-working (the sort of constant interaction that zoom cannot replace) etc.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 5, 2020 10:52 am

        Good stuff, sir. I noted that on Thursday CityAM reported on ONS figures saying 49% of people had commuted to work. Being not allowed to go to my office in the City I can’t tell. Road traffic has pretty much gone back to normal in my Surrey corner apart from school traffic.

        What companies will balance is a reduction in property costs if they can reduce daily staff numbers with the problems you mention. I have to say our sections meetings are more interesting as it is an ideal time to surf the internet while they drone on. I could see my lot pushing for some working from home for the majority if they can cut office costs. The stumbling block is sharing desk space is incompatible with the virus. In discussions it was suggested that without cleaning the virus dies off in 3 days. So you could have a 4 day week in the office and alternate groups of staff. It would also mean lugging the dreaded laptop around.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        July 5, 2020 6:43 pm

        I see GPs are very keen to keep working from home. Skyping/phoning probably beats actually having to meet all those horrible patients….. until more people start dying from misdiagnosis anyway!

  9. JBW permalink
    July 4, 2020 5:37 pm

    In the meantime the EU looks like it is to embrace hydrogen…

    • July 5, 2020 10:08 am

      They are desperately trying to solve a none existent problem using non existent solutions. What keeps this whole charade going is public money and that cannot go on forever. The marxists what them to spend themselves over a cliff and seems the EU are willing agents of such crass stupidity.

  10. Thomas Carr permalink
    July 4, 2020 7:33 pm

    And in The Times page 8 on July 3rd we read ” Cummings wins £1000m to save planet by sucking CO2 from air” according to the Policy Editor Oliver Wright.
    What are we supposed to make of that? The newspaper reports that this proposal has attracted scepticism in Whitehall. Is that all, one wonders?
    It can’t have pleased H.M. Treasury to have even more debt added to the liability the next 5/8 generations must service following the Covid 19 recovery bail-out.
    In this way the newspapers of record ( pompous status awarded to The Times, The Telegraph and the Guardian in the past) are following the BBC into the cul de sac.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 4, 2020 9:27 pm

      It’s just another pointless diversion, even worse than CCS at source. These people have no idea that it would have to be on a completely impractical scale, using vast amounts of energy, when we don’t have any practical way of generating that energy without creating CO2 anyway. Carbonbrief (OK OK I know) reckons it could take up to 25% of all global energy supplies by 2100 to make it work.

      According to wiki you need 250 kWh per T of CO2, and another source says it currently costs about £500/T, predicted to drop to 10% of that by 2040 – unlikely? Small nuclear power plants should be connected to DAC installations, they say. Why not just use the small nukes to generate all our electricity, avoid unworkable CCS, the remaining diffuse CO2 sources like cars should gradually become insignificant contributors anyway.

      • Bertie permalink
        July 5, 2020 7:42 am

        When I first read this I had to check the dateline. Increasingly on both climate and covid the stories appearing in the press seem like spoofs.,

      • July 5, 2020 10:06 am

        Of course but that is assuming CO2 is anything but the most critical gas in the atmosphere!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 5, 2020 11:52 am

      Fortunately it is only £100m of complete waste. Still, you have to ask how stupid Cummings is if he can’t do the maths on how damaging it would be if we contemplated our navels while listening to these machines whirring away to destroy the economy.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 5, 2020 12:01 pm

      I am reminded that already £100m has been wasted to achieve nothing at all.,uk-government-wasted-100m-on-cancelled-carbon-capture-and-storage-competition-finds-national-audit-office_12967.htm

  11. July 5, 2020 10:05 am

    I just forced myself to go again and read what is current on the Extinction Rebellion website. Strangely, there is absolutely no mention of this or the Chinese decision to build coal powered electricity generation which is very odd given their claimed “care for the planet”. They do however tell how to create chaos…in the UK and oh yes are big buddies with black lives matter . Anyone with more than three active brains cells would be forgive for thinking that their school level knowledge of geological history and physics is a front to take in like minded useful idiots because if they really do believe the BS on their website then how does destroying the economy in a country producing around 1% of the global CO2 ( the source of the oxygen they breath but enemy No 1 according to them) make a difference when we have the likes of China and Japan tooling up with coal? I was struggling with their kindergarten level of chemistry also where they claim the oceans are 150% MORE acidic! That is pretty interesting and backward way to describe an alkali. Clearly they are unaware that the oceans have NEVER been acidic during the whole of Earth History, even during the Cambrian when atmospheric CO2 was around 7000ppm. Of course I am doing what they want normal people to do which is use time and energy challenging their pathetic F grade (non) science because when we are doing that we miss what they really are about and that is revolutionary marxism by non democratic means. It is time marxism is openly treated as the obscenity that it is and a disease far worse than fascism ( I am simple so I go by the number of their own people murdered for ideological non conformance as a measure of badness). It is time this pathetic group of dangerous ideologs are referred to as what they are, marxist sickos hell bent on societal destruction with one aim only and that is POWER:

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      July 5, 2020 11:49 am

      Personally I go back (far back) to Flanders & Swann who asked “what hope is there for Britain in this dark hour?” And suggested Rockall!

      For those not familiar with the geography of the British Isles Rockall is a (very) isolated bit of rock in the Atlantic (inhabited only by interpid seabirds) claimed by the UK in the 1950’s. Quite why escaped our intrepid songsters, and the majority of inhabitants of these islands ever since.

      It is the ideal location for my new company — Rockall Zero CO2 — which requires large amounts of money for essential research. Enormous quantities of subsidies can disappear into that deep ocean. Sceptics will be able to examine the books at any convenient time (favourable weather permitting) provided they are expert at climbing near vertical wet rock in high winds. Caution Life & Health Insurance may not apply.

    • A Man of No Rank permalink
      July 5, 2020 12:15 pm

      Thought I’d spend a few hours to uncloak the ideas of Critical Theory and that bloke Karl Marx came up again!

      If you know nothing about Number, Science or perhaps a Technological process then you might feel left out or even inadequate. But never worry – here is an easy way for you and your buddies to get full control – its called Critical Theory.
      Its not new, been going since 1930 and it is a way to try to ‘challenge traditional theories and concepts’. For they, alone, know how the world works and where utopia lies. They have strong arguments in the areas of gender, race and inequality, and use no end of awesome words such as functionalism and interactionism. They look to change well established theory, even if it means altering the truth to do so, because our class system is holding our world back.
      Nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of a classless society, Karl Marx was right!
      Climate is a big enough topic to take control. By choosing Carbon and not the sun, they have a worthy cause and a convenient tool for their master plan. Critical Theory provides posh words to hide their ulterior motive.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 5, 2020 6:49 pm

      XR etc. are just the re-branded Occupy Movement, assortments of anarchist, anti-capitalist, Marxist, etc. groups.

      By putting on a cloak of some perceived trendy ethical issue, they can persuade a whole army of useful idiots to cause more disruption than they ever dreamed of under their more honest names/causes.

  12. tom0mason permalink
    July 5, 2020 12:48 pm


    Looking at the Announced, Construction, Permitted and Pre-permit, of Coal powered plants across the world, coal is most definitely NOT a dying or a shrinking industry.

    Bit of a laugh that a site called shows how well the Coal fired industry is doing.

  13. July 7, 2020 2:00 pm

    Does anyone know why thorium is not used as a nuclear fuel? As I understand it, thorium is plentiful, cheap, does not produce dangerous waste and can be used to burn up plutonium stockpiles from using uranium. What’s not to like?

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