Matthew Hulbert has written about the decision of the Japanese government to bury nuclear energy in Japan at Forbes. Reading that article, one might get the impression that nuclear is still not dead in Japan. Let’ s take a couple of moments to debunk some of his more glaring mistakes.
He starts off in his first sentence with “Japan has taken the decision to phase out nuclear power by 2040 – a mere 28 years from now.”
That is false. Just read the new Government strategy paper.
It does not decide on phasing out until 2040, though it does say that they want to be able to get away from nuclear power until that year. What it does decide is that no reactor will be allowed to operate longer than forty years, and no new ones will be approved.
He then leads off another paragraph with this mistake: “Prices have cooled in Asia now that Japan has filled most of its nuclear gaps, but in large part, that helps to explain why Japan is in no rush to take their nukes offline at breakneck speed.”
Does he even know that there are only 2 nuclear reactors running now in Japan? Japan has shut down the nuclear fleet much faster than Germany.
He follows up with this interesting analysis:
Debate will obviously rage in Japan as to the relative merits of the DJP 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’.
The decision on getting plants back online is not up to the utilities. Actually one of the three principles on nuclear power in the new strategy paper makes that very clear. But it was clear for anyone with the slightest idea about nuclear energy in Japan before already.
Having conclusively shown that he knows nothing about Japan, Hulbert then goes on to demonstrate the same thing for Germany:
Germany has had little choice but to massively expand coal fired plants (‘clean dark spreads’ aren’t exactly hurting in Europe these days given a collapsed carbon price), coupled to increased quantities of expensive Russian gas through the Nord Stream pipeline.
In his fantasy world. Meanwhile, in reality, electricity from coal fired plants in Germany went down to 111,8 TWh in 2011, from 117,0 TWh in 2010.
He then adds the fantasy of Germany buying French nuclear power:
Whether Berlin will continue on their path of ‘nuclear nonsense’ remains to be seen once the true political and economic costs become clear – the most galling of which will be signing power purchases agreements across their borders for French nuclear power.
Again, in reality, France needed bailing out from Germany when things got somewhat tight in February of this year.
And, again in reality, those fantasy power purchase agreements from French nuclear won’t happen, because nuclear can’t compete on price with renewable energy.