Japan’s 2012 GDP Could Drop 5.6% If Reactors Remain Shut
• Tokyo Electric Power Co. reports that the water decontamination system recycling accumulated water to cool the Fukushima Daiichi reactors stopped working Sunday after several pumps failed. TEPCO is working to reduce the volume of contaminated water in the basements of the reactor and turbine buildings, but the decontamination system continues to perform below capacity. The company is pumping the water into temporary storage tanks and has begun testing a system to reduce its volume by evaporation. TEPCO says about 21,000 tons of untreated water remains at the plant.
• A short-term energy outlook report released by Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics estimates that if the country’s nuclear plants do not begin to restart this fall after shutting down for periodic inspections, there will be a 7.8 percent shortage in the primary energy supply by next summer and a 5.6 percent, $98 billion drop in gross domestic product. Presently only 15 of Japan’s 54 reactors are generating electricity, all of which could be shut down for inspection by next summer.
• Japan’s Ministry for National Policy has begun deliberations to consider Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s call to gradually reduce the country’s “dependence on nuclear power.” The Ministry’s Energy and Environment Council said it will “thoroughly examine” Japan’s energy policy and will promote a national debate on the “best mix” of energy sources. Meanwhile, the cabinet confirmed that Japan should continue to export nuclear power technology and to engage in nuclear technology cooperation with other countries.
• The Japanese government has issued guidelines on compensating people affected by the Fukushima accident. The rules cover evacuees and businesses, including cattle farmers, green tea producers, travel agents and merchandise exporters. The Japanese parliament last week passed a bill providing government support for TEPCO to pay compensation claims.
• A new issue brief on emergency preparedness can be found on NEI’s safety first website.