Japan's allies wary on nuclear withdrawal, wind farms gain momentum

Featured - September 14th, 2012

Japan’s nuclear allies expressed wariness over Japan’s move to become “nuclear-free” by 2030, The Nikkei reports.

US Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman voiced Washington’s concern in a meeting with Seiji Maehara, head of policy research for the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, saying that the proposed shutdown poses a security concern. The US views Japan as a key ally in nuclear engineering and urged it to attempt to “minimize the negative impact”. Law professor at Hitotsubashi University, Nobumasa Akiyama, told The Nikkei, “The US worries that the loss of Japanese-American nuclear technology would upset the global balance for nuclear nonproliferation”.

Japan is set to take back reprocessed nuclear wastes from Britain and France. British ambassador to Japan, David Warren, urged Japan to follow through the plan in a meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Tuesday. Warren’s French counterpart, Christian Masset, apparently made a similar request.

Meanwhile, Japan’s wind power is gaining momentum as offshore turbine construction and expansion projects come about. According to the Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, plans to purchase wind power-generated electricity from Windpower, a facility off the coast of Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Hitachi Ltd. and Fuji Heavy Industries, which jointly developed 2,000 kilowatt turbines for Windpower, plan to increase the number of turbines to 15 by the end of 2012, with a total output of 30,000 kilowatts.

Windpower and Marubeni Corp. plan to build another wind farm in Ibaraki with an output of 5,000 kilowatts by 2017. Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Zosen Corp. and JFE Steel Corp. announced plans to build offshore wind turbines that will come into operation within 10 years. Land-based wind turbine supplier to the US, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., is currently constructing turbines for a 2,400 kilowatt wind farm off the coast of Choshi, Chiba Prefecture.

The Environment Ministry said that Japan aims to replace the same amount of nuclear power-generated electricity, with 8.03 million kilowatts of wind power, Asahi Shimbun reports.