Fukushima Aims To Become 100% Renewable Energy Reliant, Nine Years After Nuclear Disaster

Science

Amid its massive clean-up of one of the worst nuclear disaster in 2011, Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is planning to become renewable energy hub

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
Fukushima

Amid its massive clean-up of one of the worst nuclear disaster in 2011, Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is planning to become a renewable energy hub by 2040, as per international reports. Reports state that the local government has vowed to meet the area's power needs by 100% renewable energy by 2040. Currently, the area's 20% power needs are met by renewable energy sources.

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Fukushima: A renewable energy hub?

Reports state that the $2.75 billion project will be undertaken by the government-backed Development Bank of Japan and Mizuho Bank. Under the meg renewable project, 11 solar and 10 wind farms will reportedly be constructed by end of March 2024. The power generation will be connected to the Tokyo metropolitan area which was previously powered by the Fukushima atomic plants by an 80 km long grid, as per reports.

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Japan delays Fukushima cleanup

On the other hand, the Japanese government has delayed the removal of thousands of spent fuel units that remain in cooling pools since the 2011 disaster. The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., still keep a 30- to 40-year completion target. More than 4,700 units of fuel rods remain inside the three melted reactors and two others that survived the 2011 earthquake and tsunami posing a high risk because of their uncovered storage pools releasing massive radiation.

Fuel rods removal at No. 1 reactor pool will begin sometime in 2027-2028, while Fuel removal at Unit 2 pool is to begin in 2024-2026. Work at No. 3 reactor pool began in April 2019 and all 566 units will be removed by March 2021. TEPCO has emptied the pool at Unit 4, which was offline and only suffered building damage, and aims to have all remaining rods in reactor pools removed by 2031 for safer storage in dry casks.

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What was the Fukushima disaster?

The worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, occurred on 11 March 2011 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima Prefecture. On that fateful Friday, the Tohuku area was hit by an earthquake and 14-meter high Tsunami which resulted into three nuclear meltdowns, three hydrogen explosions, and the release of radioactive contamination in Units 1, 2 and 3 in the consequent days between March 12 and 15. All of Japan’s 54 reactors were shut down and the government declared a 20 km-wide evacuation zone - with almost 1,54,000  residents being relocated. Currently, only 9 reactors are functional in Japan after passing stringent tests.

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