04 Sep/14

Japan after Nuclear Power

Struck by an earthquake and followed by a tsunami, the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant lost the use of its cooling systems, which caused a meltdown in three of the six reactors. While the 2011 tsunami affected many lives, in a more collective sense, it changed the way that Japan viewed what had been considered a relatively safe and cheap form of power. Now, more than 3 years into the future, Japan, in searching for alternatives, is looking out to sea.

Though looking towards the sea does have some disadvantages, such as safety requirements, high initial costs, and localized issues with fishing-based villages, it also has some distinct advantages over land-based power generation options.

  • By placing a sea-based power generation platform between 5-30 miles offshore in deep water, it can nullify the high dangerous effects of a tsunami as well as earthquakes.

  • Considering that, as a result of Fukushima, 57% of the Japanese population opposes having a working nuclear power plant in close proximity to their communities, keeping power generation at sea and a safe distance from populated areas is an easily supported idea.

  • Previously facing a headwind, the idea of offshore power generation is gaining traction and acceptance by being a fundamental part of Japan’s new Basic Energy Plan, forwarded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

  • Again, in a spatial sense, this gives Japan greater flexibility to maximize power generation, especially in relation to other needs, such as fishing and transportation/shipping.

While offshore floating wind turbines enjoy widespread usage and would be a key component in offshore power generation, there are several proposals – both conventional and alternative – that could help to replace Japan’s reliance on land-based nuclear power. Among conventional energy sources are Norway’s Sevan Marine ASA, who wants to construct a $1.5 billion offshore power plant that utilizes natural gas and can produce 700 megawatts, or ⅔ the production of a nuclear plant, and Russian nuclear company, Rosatom, who is in the process of building a ship that will house 2 nuclear reactors. Looking towards renewable sources, Turkish Karadeniz Holdings AS operates a small fleet of 7 thermal power plant ships (that can produce a total of about 1,000 megawatts, and there is already a joint venture among Japanese companies to build two floating solar power installations on reservoirs in western Japan.

Regardless of what methods and means are utilized by Japan, changing a significant portion of the nation’s power infrastructure will be no easy task. An undertaking like this will require tremendous research, innovation, global collaboration, and above all, open communication between business, government, and local groups. Thus an increased demand for corporate, legal and financial Japanese language services is expected.

EVS Translations is there to help by eliminating barriers for companies wanting to do business with Japanese corporations or entering joint ventures with Japanese partner firms. Over the past 20 years, EVS Translations has provided professional Japanese language services to clients from the energy sector. Your key advantage is our long experience servicing the energy industry and a range of important key players in the industry. EVS Translations offers you one-stop expertise for any projects relating to Japanese language services.

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