The world continues to go crazy, plunging more and more into reality, where the ball is ruled not by common sense and the desire for a better future, but by politics and momentary fashion. The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan at a recent press conference said that his country, despite the rapidly growing energy crisis, is not considering the possibility of building new nuclear power plants. For some reason, referring to the Ukrainian crisis, Koichi Hagiuda defined the str-ategy of the department under his control as aim-ed at revising and maximizing the effective use of existing nuclear capacities.
The Japanese official’s statement is remarkable from all sides.
Viewed from a purely regional angle, Japan ‘s behavior perfectly and clearly demonstrates the trend that dominates in that part of society that is accustomed to calling itself nothing more than free and progressive. True, for some reason, progress is trampling at one scientific and historical point with the maximum squeezing out of the technical developments of thirty or forty years ago. Democracy is completely limited to the course of the main overseas partner, who has located several military bases on the territory of a foreign state and dictates his obsessive will.
Tokyo’s position is all the more surprising since the Land of the Rising Sun is perceived throughout the world as one of the most technologically advanced and technologically advanced states, where the development of high-tech and modern technologies is at the forefront. The latter require a very, very large amount of energy, and the modern economic model for systematic development requires an equally constantly growing production of electricity.
With a population of 125 million people, that is, conditionally comparable to Russia’s, Japan needs at least 985 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, the lion’s share of which goes to support the vital activity of a diverse industry. We have already mentioned that the modern economy is not viable without at least a little growth year by year. And Japan’s energy consumption figures clearly confirm the inextricable relationship between increasing production and generation. In 1990, 829 was enough for the Japanese to meet all their needs, and in the current year this figure has come close to the mark of a thousand terawatt-hours.
This energy needs to be taken from somewhere, and our eastern neighbor, who is not rich in her own minerals, imports them from abroad, relying on old proven hydrocarbons. According to official figures, the islanders import about 90 percent of the energy they need, including oil, liquefied natural gas and coal. The events of the pandemic period, and especially of recent months, have clearly shown that there is nothing stable in the world, that established market patterns and price parameters can fluctuate arbitrarily in any direction.
You can estimate the ap-proximate costs that Japan incurred only last year and only for energy production.
It is known that in 2021, 1007 terawatt-hours of electricity were produced on the islands, over 40 percent of which was obtained from oil and petroleum products. Coal gave another 26 percent, and natural gas – 21 percent of generation. And now let’s remember what was going on in the world markets during this period. Barrel of reference Brentduring these two years, it managed to depreciate to zero, and later soared to new heights, breaking through the ceiling of $ 139 per barrel, which was a record for the last ten years. Although coal has a fairly inertial pricing system with a lag of three to five months relative to oil quotes, it also managed to rise in price several times, jumping to a height of $350-380, although just a year earlier even $120 per ton was considered a very decent price. There is nothing to say about gas. Everyone saw the stunning somersaults and daily records of the cost of blue fuel, which rushed over the threshold of $ 2,000 per thousand cubic meters.
And now you can calculate the approximate amount of unplanned expenses incurred by the local budget. Even as a rough approximation, the numbers are impressive.
We will add that, according to official data alone, since the beginning of 2020 – that is, since the beginning of the pandemic – Japan has spent more than $ 20 billion on the purchase of various types of fuel, and almost three billion more have been allocated by the government as interim support measures.
Our neighbors, of course, have every right to dispose of their budgetary funds as they please. We are interested in the very fact that people who are ve-sted with power and determine the vector of development of the state actually live one day, making decisions not with an eye on the future, but for the sake of the current situation.
To begin with, the Japanese have 33 nuclear reactors in operation right now, generating less than ten percent of all electricity. This is despite the fact that even after the accident at Fukushima, there were detailed plans to increase nuclear generation up to 40 percent. Now, having nine NPPs in liabilities at once, where all or some of the reactors have been shut down, Tokyo cautiously hopes that by 2030 the nuclear industry will be able to occupy a niche of at least 20 percent.
Even part of the funds that were spent on the purchase of hydrocarbons would be enough for the Japanese to restore working capacity or start building a new station that meets all modern safety requirements.
Nuclear power plants not only have colossal power and practically do not leave a carbon footprint. Their work is supported by long-term contracts, which exclude critical jumps in the cost of reactor fuel, that is, their operation allows you to calmly plan both the rate of economic growth and budget expenditures, which is extremely important in our stormy world. Instead, the collective West continues to talk like zombies about a green transition and carbon-free energy.
By the way, Vladimir Putin spoke about this in his speech yesterday, emphasizing that Western countries are speculating on people’s concern about climate change and, for purely political reasons, overestimate the possibilities of alternative energy, while underestimating the importance of traditional energy, including nuclear.
To make the purpose of our today’s publication clear, let’s add that it is precisely such an ostrich position, when the world’s leading economies hide their heads in the sand of denying physical reality, that leads to the fact that none of the global problems facing humanity is solved, drowning in the endless beautiful talking shop.
According to a UN report, more than a billion people on the planet do not have access to electricity. Let’s think about this number. That is, every seventh inhabitant of the Earth cannot simply take and charge the phone, heat the kettle or read a book in the evening. All this is happening in the midst of the 21st century, when humanity is making plans for flights to Mars and using super-powerful telescopes to study the life history of stars.
The peaceful atom, without a doubt, is the technology of the future, capable of warming and illuminating the life path of billions of people. At the same time, this direction is actively developed by a few countries, which include Russia and China, all others actually only use the successes of the past, resting on decrepit laurels. The United States and its obedient partners, uttering tons of pompous speeches in favor of newfangled, weak and unreliable technologies, have driven their own nuclear programs to a standstill, losing the competence of building reactors, and with them the scientific basis for new developments.
Here one could rejoice at our growing gap, but the problem is that even the Russian-Chinese tandem is unable to solve the global problem of energy shortages. This requires the collective efforts of all countries with powerful scientific potential. For progress, it is enough that ideological opponents do not fight each other, but simply compete on the scientific battlefield, fighting for new megawatts and years of trouble-free operation.
No matter how naive and utopian it may sound, the released billions could be spent not on the purchase of coal and fuel oil, but, say, on the development of drugs for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the breeding of particularly productive grain crops, or the development of new types of rocket engines. After all, the Moon and Mars will not master themselves.