Gave the go ahead in restarting the nuclear power plants in the country after all the nuclear reactors were shut down post the Fukushima accident. Despite massive protests in the capital city of Tokyo where thousands of people took part, the government remained adamant with the PM dismissed them as noise. Note Germany was forced to shutter its nuclear plants due to hundred and thousands of protestors who took to the streets. Other countries like Switzerland and Belgium too have decided that nuclear power is just too risky and closed down their nuclear power capacities. However Japan is stuck in a dilemma as it is the second largest generator of nuclear power in the world depending on it for almost 35% of its electricity generation. Large parts of the country face a brownout as there are no alternative capacities to meet the surging summer demand. Japan has already activated gas power plants leading to a spike on global LNG prices.
The Nuclear Power has its set of pros & cons. With all its advantages, it has a massive disadvantage of leading to massive radioactive fallout in case of accidents. The Fukushima reactor has not been effectively shut down despite a year since the tsunami. Even today press reports indicate that the spent fuel rod pool is seeing a sharp rise in temperature with its cooling system failing.
Germany which has seen the biggest anti-nuclear protests after the Fukushima disaster has decided to completely switch off nuclear power by 2022. In the aftermath of the Nuclear Accident, Germany had temporarily shut 7 of its nuclear reactors none of which is going to be reopened. The other nuclear reactors will also will be completely mothballed by 2022 when their normal life ends. This is a huge death blow to nuclear energy as Germany had one of the largest installed capacities of nuclear power. Switzerland and Japan have killed nuclear energy as well after the catastrophic loss from nuclear power which led to radioactive rain in Seoul, deathly radiation in parts of Japan and the evacuation of 20 kms area from the site of the nuclear plant of TEPCO.
German utilities have protested against the move as recently they were buoyed by the decision of the Merkel led government to extend the life of the nuclear reactors by more than 10 years. However the weight of public opinion has made the German government go into the damage control phase (though too late in my opinion). German power companies too know that going against popular opposition will be quite fruitless. Note Germany faces problems as the replacement of the 7 shutdown nuclear reactors will be difficult to replace. Solar Power has played an important role but in winter this problem may become acute. According to some analysts, Germany will have to import power (nuclear as well) from other European countries. This will lead to increase in electricity prices. However its a great win for all forms of Green Energy as Germany has no alternative but to go with Green Energy as Germany does not have abundant reserves of Cheap Gas (like USA). Also Coal has its disadvantages which make it very difficult in an environmentally conscious country like Germany.
Japan has restarted the first nuclear reactor since the meltdown at the Fukushima power plant last year. Hundreds gathered near the plant in the town of Ohi to protest against the move, which has divided public opinion. Last month, the prime minister urged support, saying a return to nuclear power was essential for the economy.
All 50 of Japan’s nuclear plants were shut after the meltdown at Fukushima, which was triggered by a tsunami and earthquake. The crisis was regarded as the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.