After the earthquake-tsunami in Japan in March 2011 and the damage sustained by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, China officially halted the approval of new nuclear projects. However, the China Daily news reported recently that a revised plan for the long-term future of nuclear power in China is ready .. and that the State Council may approve it in the second quarter of this year. China can take advantage of newer and safer designs. Contrast that with Japan where many nuclear power stations are now 40 years old, and two-thirds of Japanese oppose atomic power. Once the world’s third largest nuclear power consumer, there is now a real possibility that all nuclear power stations in Japan will be shut down or idle by the end of this year (see picture).
As recently as a few years ago, Japan got 27% of its power from coal, 26% from gas, 24% from nuclear, 13% from oil, and 8% from hydro. The remaining 2% is occupied by renewables such as geothermal power stations, solar and wind. So the 24% is a lot of power generation capacity that will have to be replaced ! .. but it’s a number almost the same as the 23% nuclear power made up of Germany’s national electricity consumption, before the permanent shutdown of 8 plants there in March 2011.
So what’s going on in Germany? Well, a lot of things now have to come together for what is called ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’. Check out the Wikipedia entry for the term.