Japan: Seeking higher ground, abandoning nuclear plans, ramping up plans for renewables | The Guardian

May 19th, 2011 | By | Category: Energy

It took 10 years to rebuild Kobe after the earthquake in 1995, but that timeframe is now looking optimistic for the reconstruction needed along the north-eastern coastline of Japan. Two months ago, the black wave of the tsunami engulfed 16 towns, 95,000 buildings, 23 railway stations, hundreds of miles of road, railway tracks and sea walls. Over 60,000 acres of agricultural land were contaminated. It will take three years just to clear the debris.

In spite of the enormity of the task ahead, there are signs that Japan is moving away from disaster management. It may not be, however, politics as usual. Hauled over the coals, not least by his own party, for the way his government dealt with the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the embattled prime minister, Naoto Kan, has begun to make decisions which are political in nature. He ordered the temporary closure of Hamaoka – the nuclear plant which sits on an active faultline – while a new tsunami wall is built, and he has abandoned plans to build 14 reactors over the next 20 years, opting instead for a 20% increase in renewables.

Read more here: Japan: Seeking higher ground | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian.

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