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Nuclear Power in Japan - Essay Example

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Technological advancement that began from the industrial revolution has increased the demand for energy. If we look at the history of man's usage of energy, sun was the first energy source which provided light and heat to early humans. The discovery of fire resulted in the possibility of burning wood for cooking and heating…
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Nuclear Power in Japan
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Download file to see previous pages These are used even today as a major source of energy in different parts of the world (TERI, 2006).
Today, the usage of energy has increased so much that in no other century or no millennium in the history of man was the growth in energy use as much as it is in this century. In fact, man in the 20th century used 10 times as much energy as in the thousand years before 1900 A.D. To be more specific, man has probably deployed more energy since 1900 than in all of human history before 1900. Between the dawn of agriculture and 1900 in the 100 centuries, McNeill calculates that only about two-thirds as much energy as in the 20th century was utilized by man (McNeill, 2001). The use of energy escalated during the industrial revolution in the form of fossil fuels, from the exploitation of coal deposits to the exploitation of oil and natural gas fields. Nuclear power as an energy source is only half a century old (TERI, 2006). The Growing demand for electricity and concern for the environment have created an urgent need to find alternative energy to fossil fuels to generate cleaner electricity all over the world and Japan is no exception. The paper analyses the need for using nuclear power and renewable as part of the energy generation mix in Japan.
Japan has realized the importance of diversifying the energy sources existing without depending on a single source. It becomes extremely important to maintain a stable and economically feasible supply of energy and at the same time it is also important to attain a best possible combination among all the sources of energy available such as hydroelectric, thermal, nuclear, and renewable energy in a sustainable manner. At present, nuclear power accounts for roughly one third of electricity supply for Japan, and the rest is being resultant from a variety of other sources available (The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, 2002).
Today, in Japan the hydroelectric power, nuclear power, coal and natural gas are utilised for base load and mid-range load whereas oil is only utilised for peak demands along with pumped storage hydroelectric power (FEPC, 2007). It is said that the 52 existing nuclear rectors presently in operation supply one third of the entire country's electricity. This makes the country the third largest stock of nuclear power plants in the world, after the US and France (Chesal and Fisher, 2004). Besides, studies have predicted that nuclear power in future will provide about 41% of Japan's electricity by 2012 (see Figure 1). Currently, official sources say that 3 more reactors are under construction and additional 8 are being planned for the future electricity supply (FEPC, 2004). The question that arises in our mind is weather nuclear power is a long term sustainable answer to replace the fossil fuels to generate cleaner electricity in Japan


Figure 1: Composition Ratio of Generated Electricity by Fuel in Japan

* Projected
Source of data: Electricity Review Japan. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, (2004) http://www.fepc.or.jp/english/erj/erj2003-2004.pdf.

Experts agree that every form of energy conversion either using fossil fuel or nuclear power or any other in the process of transforming primary energy into electricity, has some environmental implications. If we take into consideration the energy situation in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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