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Why Japan Won’t Abandon Their Dependence on Nuclear Power

Japan won’t abandon nuclear power any time soon—because they can’t. Not even if they would like to and here is why. Japan is the third largest consumer of oil but has no oil reserves of its own to speak of, instead relying heavily on OPEC countries for their oil imports. Japan has 55 operating nuclear facilities with more in construction and still more being planned. They have invested heavily in nuclear power in order to reduce their dependence on foreign oil imports. Japan has already reduced it’s dependency on foreign oil by thirty percent. Japan’s long history of earthquakes and seismic activity have helped Japan become world experts when it comes to earthquake related sciences. Buildings in Japan’s major cities have the highest seismic safety ratings of any buildings in any cities anywhere.

Yet the recent earthquake showed that even with the most advanced warning systems and precautions, nuclear power remains a risky business in a country so seismically active. The world]s current oil situation further complicates things for Japan. Other than China, most countries are reducing imports of oil and racing to develop new technologies and forms of energy including wind and solar power to reduce their oil dependencies. Japan is a small, overcrowded island nation with limited resources and a huge appetite for them. There simply is no other way at this time to change over to any other form of energy.

Recent events in Japan further the claim by other nervous nations close to Japan that the nuclear industry in Japan needs to be slowed and re-tooled with yet higher safety measures installed. Until Japan strikes a new balance between their energy needs and what they consume they will continue to rely heavily on nuclear power for energy. The rising cost of oil and the dwindling supply worldwide will of course affect countries just like Japan. Countries who do not have a supply of oil of their own. That dependency on a strained supply, will help to ensure Japan’s nuclear dependency. Until a viable, new source or form of energy is developed there will be 55 or more nuclear power plants sitting on one of the most seismically active regions on the planet.


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