Nuclear Power Shutdown in Japan Possible by 2012

Japan can switch off all nuclear plants permanently by 2012 and still achieve both economic recovery and its CO2 reduction goals, according to a new Greenpeace report. Released today, the Advanced Energy Revolution report for Japan, shows how energy efficiency and rapid deployment of renewable technology can provide all the power Japan needs.

The report – with calculations by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) – shows that Japan’s wind energy and solar power generation capacity can be ramped up from the existing 3,500 MW to 47,200 MW by 2015. This represents around 1000 new wind turbines deployed per year, and an increase in the current annual solar energy photovoltaic market by a factor of five, supplying electricity for around 20 million households. At the same time, load reduction strategies would cut Japan’s energy demand by 11,000 MW, equal to the capacity of 10 to 12 nuclear reactors.

Wind power generation capacity will increase from 220 MW in 2010, to 5,000 MW/a between 2012 and 2015, and around 6000 MW/a between 2016 and 2020, according to Greenpeace. Alongside this, capacity from photovoltaics would increase from 990 MW in 2010, to 5000 MW/a between 2012 and 2015 and around 6700 MW/a between 2016 and 2020. By 2020, 43% of electricity will be produced from renewable sources, increasing to 85% by 2050.

“The tremendous potential of Japan’s renewable energy industry not only allows it to retire its existing nuclear plants, but provides a huge opportunity to boost the economy by creating thousands of green jobs”, said Sven Teske, Greenpeace International Renewable Energy Campaign Director.

New Prime Minister Yoshihoko Noda claims that nuclear power is needed to save the economy, however, under the Advanced Energy Revolution scenario energy sector jobs would triple by 2015, reaching 326,000 compared to projections of 81,500 for a business-as-usual approach.

“With only 11 out of 54 reactors online at the height of summer and little impact to daily life, Japan has already proven that by conserving energy it does not need nuclear power”, said Hisayo Takada, Greenpeace Japan Climate and Energy Campaigner. “The Greenpeace plan is ambitious, but this is exactly what Japan needs: ambitious solutions that provide jobs, energy independence, and ensure a safe, clean and sustainable future for its people”.