A new liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Louisiana, United States has seen new investments coming from three big Japanese traders in Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Corp., and Nippon Yusen K.K. who will all jointly share a one-third stake in the LNG export facility to be built for as much as 10 billion US dollars. This move is seen as still part of Japan’s desire to tap cheaper fossil fuel sources, like U.S. shale gas exports, following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Lawmakers from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) launched a group on Tuesday that looks to move forward the plans to restart the country’s mothballed nuclear reactors, as they state that a stable power supply is key to achieving economic growth. The LDP acknowledges that there is strong public opposition to the planned restarts, coming from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant triple-meltdown disaster, but argues that the nation’s economic stability hinges on being able to provide non-fossil fuel-generated power to the Japanese population.
Mayors of eight Shizuoka Prefecture municipalities in Japan – all located around the currently idling Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant – have expressed strong opposition to the reactivation of the facility in its current situation. The Hamaoka power plant was one of the nuclear facilities that was shut down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, with the Japanese population suddenly growing concerned at the safety of nuclear plants in general. Some leaders have demanded that Chubu Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, establish safe methods of disposing spent nuclear fuel as a precondition for reactivation.
The prefectural governments of Japan are backing solar power in a big way, fueling the push towards renewable energy sources. 17 prefectures across the nation either have a solar power facility, or are planning to build one – these local governments represent one-third of all prefectural governments in Japan. The solar power plants they are currently maintaining or planning to build will at least capable of generating at the very least 1,000 kilowatts (equal to 1 megawatt) of electricity, and in some cases, some prefectural governments are planning more than one facility.
Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has asked the United States to quickly approve exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. Motegi was in a meeting on Friday with Acting Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman to forward this request from the Japanese government, as the Asian country continues to look for cheap thermal energy sources. Japan's heavy dependence on fossil fuels for power generation stems from the shutdown of the majority of the country’s nuclear reactors after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In what was the last stop of his four-nation trip, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured Turkey that Japan will be employing the highest safety standards for building the country's second nuclear power plant. Abe’s visit to Ankara comes in the wake of a Japanese-French group winning the contract to build a new nuclear reactor in the Black Sea coast, and the Japanese premier said that Japan has learned from the Fukushima disaster.
Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso visited Sri Lanka on May 2, with the official trip yielding a positive promise of stronger relations between the two island nations. In a report by the Asahi Shimbun, this strengthening of ties between Japan and Sri Lanka is allegedly part of a wide range of diplomatic actions planned to decrease China’s influence in the region, as well as in other areas in Asia.
Japan and the United Arab Emirates have closed out a nuclear cooperation agreement during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Abe is currently on a Middle East tour to strengthen partnerships and to push Japanese nuclear technologies. The agreement was signed in the presence of Abe and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashif al-Maktoum.
A partnership between Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and France's Areva have been granted a multi-billion dollar contract to build a new nuclear power plant on the Black Sea, this according to Turkey's prime minister in an interview with Japanese newspaper The Nikkei. The article, which was published on Thursday said that according to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the partnership between Mitsubishi and Areva had won the rights to construct four nuclear reactors, the project reportedly costing around 2.0 trillion yen (20.5 billion US dollars).
The Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant located in Japan's northern Aomori Prefecture is capable of putting out nine tons of weapons-grade plutonium in a year, and this is exactly why the United States is opposing Japan’s plan to reprocess its nuclear fuel. The annual output of the facility, once at full capacity, is enough to build as many as 2,000 nuclear weapons, a fact not lost on Washington, as Tokyo insists that the program is non-military in nature.