Japan Joins The Lemmings

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

From the Spectator:

Japan has just raised its target for reducing carbon emissions from 26 per cent to 46 per cent (by 2030 from 2013 levels). But how was this figure arrived at, environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi was asked? Through a careful analysis of the threat and a realistic assessment of what could be achieved, taking all relevant factors into consideration? Well, er no, according to Koizumi, the number 46 just appeared to him in ‘silhouette’ in a sort of vision.

Shinjiro Koizumi, son of former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, made the comments in an interview with the TV station TBS last weekend. The interviewer, despite her face mask, was clearly stunned by the revelation that the country’s emission target did not appear to have any scientific basis. She asked the minister to confirm what he had said; and he did.

Clearly, the country is in the best of hands …

So once again I take up my quixotic quest to stop countries from emulating lemmings and following each other jumping off the cliff. Here is the ugly truth.

In 2013, Japan emitted 1.3 gigatonnes (GT, 109 metric tonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2). In the most recent year, Japan emitted 1.1 GT of CO2. To get to the magic number of 54% of 2013 emissions, they have to cut emissions down to where they’re emitting 709 megatonnes (Mt, 106 metric tonnes) per year. So they need to reduce their emissions by 396 Mt/yr. (Note that this does not mean reducing emissions by 396 Mt every year. It means reducing their yearly emission rate by 396 Mt.)

How much do they need to reduce their fossil fuel use to do this? Well, Japan emits about 245,000 tonnes of CO2 per terawatt-hour (TWh, or 1012 watt-hours) of fossil fuel energy use. That means that they’ll have to reduce fossil fuel use by about 1,620 TWh per year. (Current Japanese fossil-fuel use for energy is about 4,540 TWh/yr.)

To calculate the extra CO2-emission-free generation capacity they’ll need, we have to divide the terawatt-hours/year by 8,760 hours per year to convert to TWh of generation capacity … and then double it.

Why double it? Because that’s average usage, and any electrical grid needs to be able to handle peak use plus have reserves available for when some part of the generation system inevitably fails or needs maintenance. You need about double the average usage to cover peak use plus required reserves. So that means they’ll need about 369 gigawatts (GW, or 109 watts) of new emission-free generation capacity.

Susquehanna steam electric nuclear power station

Now, the only currently available CO2-emission-free baseline power source is nuclear power. Oh, you can add meaningless expensive unreliable intermittent renewables to it if you wish, wind and solar. But you still need the baseline power for when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow …

From now until the first day of 2030 is 452 weeks. Japan needs 369 additional GW of nuclear power to meet the goal.

And that means that to achieve Minister Koizumi’s dream-driven target, Japan would have to find a site for, get all permits and licenses for, excavate, manufacture, install, test, and commission a brand-new 1.6 GW nuclear plant every two weeks from now until 2030. (By comparison, each of the six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant was half of that, 0.8 GW …)

A. New. Nuclear. Plant. Every. Two. Weeks. Until. 2030.

Yeah, that’s totally legit …

In the US, from the preliminary feasibility studies to the final hookup of a nuclear power plant typically takes more than ten years. Here’s an overview of the process … and people in the industry have said it’s optimistic.

Not only that, but switching from burning fossil fuels to nuclear power for heating and transportation means that the entire electrical grid will have to be upsized, including substations, switching, transmission lines, transformers, and power lines both into and around the houses. The costs of building the nuclear plants plus upsizing the electrical grid will be a stupendous burden for generations to come.

Look, somebody in charge has got to stand up and say “This is airy-fairy impossible feel-good madness!” Me’n my gorgeous ex-fiancee are watching “The Right Stuff” tonight … how did we ever get from that kind of personal strength to our current politicians who perfectly embody “The Wrong Stuff”? Very few of these modern pussycats have the albondigas that Maggie Thatcher had—they just like to prance, and pose for the camera, and virtue signal with noble-sounding woke policies that can never be implemented.

As I’ve said about this claim in other countries, Minister Koizumi’s vision-given plan is like a 12-year-old boy putting on blue tights with red skivvies on top of them, donning a cape, proudly declaring he’s Superman, and jumping out of a fourth-story window …

… ain’t gonna fly, and there’s going to be lots of pain for everyone involved.

And all of this to fight an imaginary “climate emergency”.

Sigh … sadly, it seems innumeracy roolz …

Regards to all,


My Previous Equally Quixotic Analyses: The calculations for the world going to net-zero by 2050 are in my post Bright Green Impossibilities. The calculations for the US to get to 50% of 2005 CO2 emissions by 2030 are in The Latest US CO2 Fantasy.

And the unmeasurably-small theoretical cooling by 2050 if the US went to zero CO2 emissions tomorrow is calculated in Going To Zero. TL;DR version—as you go up in altitude the air gets cooler. The US going to zero emissions tomorrow would theoretically cool the globe by 2050 by the same amount as you’d get by climbing up three flights of stairs …

My Usual Request: When you comment please quote the exact words you are discussing. This avoids at least some of the misunderstandings that plague the intarwebs.

Data: All of the data for these analyses are available from Max Roser’s most informative website, “Our World In Data”. Fossil fuel use is here, and CO2 emissions are here.

Lemmings: Yeah, I know they aren’t lining up to jump off a cliff to their deaths, that was just a Disney fantasy … but the US, UK, Japan, and many other countries sure are.

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May 2, 2021 10:12 am

Good of you to remind everyone that the lemming leap was staged by Disney, and that the climate crisis is the same sort of malign fantasy.

May 2, 2021 10:21 am

Koizumi just picking a number out of thin air means that he doesn’t take any of this seriously and neither should the reporter. With the recent conference in Washington DC they are just paying lip service. With the Japanese watch what they actually do. The Japanese tend to put practical realities ahead of idealism.

Reply to  KT66
May 2, 2021 6:55 pm

Yes, my guess it is all double talk. I think by now Japan is far enough away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to think about re-engaging with nuclear power. And with the potential security issues it now faces should the US-China-Taiwan dispute heat up, it can’t be reliant on imported fuel. So, I would expect to see a re-engagement with nuclear power as the initial step… while they wait out the Biden-Blinken misguided foreign policy train wreck that is inevitable.

And should a miracle occur, the whole thing could be completely reversed in four years anyway. Meanwhile, better to tell Biden what he wants to hear. IMHO

Reply to  KT66
May 3, 2021 8:17 am

Has anyone sat down and calculated the carbon footprint of a nuclear reactor? I keep hearing about how they’re “carbon neutral” but that’s obviously a big fat lie; the reactors themselves require thousands? tens of thouands? of tonnes of raw materials like steel and concrete that need to be mined, refined, smelted and transported, not to mention the fuel that needs to be mined, refined, and then enriched with thousands of centrifuges before being processed into rods and transported some more.

Then there’s all the handling of the spent fuel and decommisioning the plant itself.

To produce all this “carbon neutral” electricity would probably quadruple our CO2 emmissions between now and when they’re all in place (not that they could possibly commission that number of nukes in so short a period, but nonetheless, it would be nice to have some actual figures to throw into the debate; like “every nuclear power plant that replaces a gas power plant of the same output requires an outlay of triple that gas powerplant’s annual CO2 emissions” kinda thing).

May 2, 2021 10:25 am

Another prove, that no one talking about CO2 reducing has any clue at all what they are talking about, despite the fact that there is no reason at all to reduce CO2, only for imaginary ones.

May 2, 2021 10:27 am

People who claim that all humans must reduce their carbon footprint in order to “save the planet” should start first and lead by example. I recommend that they change their diet from a carbon based one to a silica based one. When pounded into round cakes it looks surprisingly similar to flour.

Curious George
May 2, 2021 10:34 am

The world will end in 10 years (it was 12 years two years ago) according to Greta. Planning beyond year 2031 is futile.

Reply to  Curious George
May 2, 2021 9:26 pm

Don’t forget Lurch Kerry who is on lockstep with saint Greta!

David Dibbell
May 2, 2021 10:35 am

Thanks again, Willis. These scenarios you describe are right on the money if the promises are to be taken seriously. Ah, there’s the thing. And when push comes to shove, and the authorities try to tell the people they can’t have fossil fuels any more, it will be time to say, “Yes, we can.”

Tom in Toronto
May 2, 2021 10:38 am

If it keeps even one destitute person in poverty, it will all have been worth it.

May 2, 2021 10:39 am

The green future is rosy, according to these fools:


Cherry-picking from heavily-biased sources, I’d guess. Comments/analysis, anyone?

William Astley
Reply to  Don
May 2, 2021 11:50 am

The fundamental issue is intermittent energy sources are not power ‘supplies’, they are intermittent power producers. Intermittent electric power producers, require 100% backup with real electrical power supplies that are powered by natural gas or fission energy, to ensure there is 24/7 electricity.

Does that statement make sense? Our cities/industries require 24/7 electricity. It is only sunny in the day time. There is less sun in the winter. And there are days and months when it is almost no wind or less wind than the windiest days and windiest months.

German legislators/the writers of fake engineering ‘reports’ are making promises that are not possible because the green scams saturate… at the point when a magic battery is required. Saturates means installing more intermittent wind farms and solar panels, in Germany no longer results in significant real reduction in German CO2 emissions.

See these studies for more details.


“A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;

“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.””



And it gets worse. The green ‘plan’ is that the entire country will be ‘powered’ by green scam electricity. This is analysis that at least quantifies what that would mean.

“The UK electrical grid power supply output would be required to INCREASE by a factor of THREE (with zero emissions) as all heating, manufacturing, and transportation, is going to be powered from electricity”


Reply to  Don
May 2, 2021 1:04 pm

Sorry, that was certainely a link griff would have posted 🙁

Reply to  Krishna Gans
May 2, 2021 3:08 pm

I did say I thought they were fools, and obviously heavily biased given the fellow’s title. The more I looked at it, the more I rolled my eyes – clearly one-sided cherry picking, given where the cited “data” was sourced from.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
May 3, 2021 12:46 am

and why is that? Is it particularly accurate or informative?

The Germans add tax to their electricity price (I have no idea why) which is not related to renewables. They also use less electricity and are far more likely to be getting cash and electricity supply from solar or wind they own/share in ownership of

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Don
May 2, 2021 9:57 pm

The last few years are missing from the graphs. If you add them in, you can better claim that germany has had insignificant emissions reductions in the last 10 years. Geoff S

Stephen Fitzpatrick
May 2, 2021 10:41 am

“A. New. Nuclear. Plant. Every. Two. Weeks. Until. 2030.
Yeah, that’s totally legit …”

I suspect the prancing virtue signalers understand no body is going to reach their CO2 reduction targets. I just can’t happen. But that is not really the point. It is rather that 1) the politicians get so say things that help them get re-elected, and 2) when (and if) push comes to shove, the answer is going to be to make people a lot poorer than they are today.

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  Stephen Fitzpatrick
May 2, 2021 11:04 am

If a lot of people could be persuaded/manipulated/coerced into becoming a lot poorer, then the fortunate few entitled persuaders/manipulators/coercers could become a lot richer.

Pat from kerbob
May 2, 2021 10:44 am

“ the US, UK, Japan, and many other countries sure are”.
Don’t forget us here in canada, whichever direction the parade of stupid is going, you can find us out in front.
Joe Biden seems rational and sensible compared to our idiot.

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
May 2, 2021 11:52 am

In the world of CO2 reduction, there are consumer items like LED bulbs, more house insulation, etc…In the utility world changing from coal to natural gas cuts CO2 emissions….These type of energy efficiency reductions have been under way for 2 decades already. But it gets exponentially more difficult and costly after that level of effort. I think politicians are listening to guru-types who are extrapolating that the low hanging fruit success rate will continue for a couple of decades, so make wild promises on the international stage that they can’t possibly keep.
And that’s IF they believe CO2 emission reduction is necessary. Most politicians just believe the carbon taxes are necessary for their budgetary purposes and don’t really want the reduced revenue stream that would result from “program success” and are happy to present it as a sin tax.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 2, 2021 4:19 pm

Re; Low hanging fruit. I was assigned management responsibility for a group of laboratories at a subsidiary of a large corporation. The previous managers enjoyed their positions, titles, perks and salaries, sucked up to the bosses and ignored the obvious production shortcomings.Within two years I had corrected most of the problems and more than doubled productivity in all of he labs. I was hailed as the second coming and promoted and upper management assigned more responsibilities and expected more improvements. I told them the first 90% of improvement is doable and inexpensive;but, the last 10% is expensive and all but impossible.It was obvious they had attained and maintained their status the same way my predecessors had.
And so it is in politics

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
May 2, 2021 3:50 pm

Let’s call it a tie. The people pulling Joe’s strings are marvelous fools.

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
May 2, 2021 5:00 pm

Pat, Willis didn’t forget Canada.

He described Trudeau perfectly –

. . . like a 12-year-old boy putting on blue tights with red skivvies on top of them, donning a cape, proudly declaring he’s Superman . . .

Reply to  Mr.
May 3, 2021 6:23 am

It’s more like a 52-year old persuading a planet of 12-year old boys that they’re all Supermen, selling them blue tights, red skivvies and capes, and persuading them all to jump out of a 4 storey-building.

The people pushing this nonsense won’t be harmed by it – they stand to personally gain from it.

Too bad they can’t (or won’t) consider the consequences for their countrymen and even their own descendents.

May 2, 2021 10:46 am

Virtue signaling is free and it keeps the beggars away. Ask any country that has signed up for the Paris agreement (except maybe the UK – they’re in whole hog). Countries have learned in the past decades that it’s like telling the judge “I promise not to do that again if you let me go free. But I really mean it this time”. All they are signing up for is more time with hopes that that either technology will save them or the whole AGW scam will go away and they’ll maintain their standard of living.

Reply to  markl
May 3, 2021 5:44 am

Don’t forget that the Paris Accord (note the missing word, ‘Treaty’) is a wealth transfer scheme from the ‘able-to-still-print-money‘ countries to the poor ‘all-that-transferred-money-will-be-pocketed-by-the-corruptocrat-at-the-top‘ countries.

I’m sure skimming and kickbacks will figure in there somewhere. A couple of hundred $billion cookie jar, which is all the Paris Accord is, will be hard to keep the lid on and greedy paws out of it.

Did someone mention CO2? I think so, but it seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

Abolition Man
May 2, 2021 10:53 am

You have to patient with the former prime minister’s son! Besides pulling numbers out of thin air, he hopes to pull the design for an inexpensive, high capacity storage battery from his back side soon, to make all the other virtue signaling kiddies even Greener with envy!
If only we could wake from this horrible nightmare where the elites of our governments and media have gone terminally insane or gotten collectively stupid! The best we can do is keep trying to spread the truth to the benighted, even when they cast stones and cry, “Heresy!”
Thank you, for the yeoman’s work you do in that regard, and keep pushing the Emergent Phenomena Theory! I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be a big part of talking the nihilistic alarmist crowd down off that high ledge to which they have retreated for safety!

Bruce Cobb
May 2, 2021 10:58 am

Hey! You’re not supposed to do the math. How dare you! That’s raaacist!

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 2, 2021 11:55 am

Math is an old white man’s tool of subjugation of the masses. Been that way since at least Euclid.

Ron Long
May 2, 2021 11:07 am

“Typical timeline of a nuclear plant construction”? I have presented, attended, and reviewed many Critical Path and Fatal Flaw meetings, which are held by responsible companies when thinking about spending shareholder money. One look at the “optimistic” timeline suggests the critical path is at high risk of being extended, and there are fatal flaws lurking everywhere (like now in the Biden administration). No thanks. So where is this substitute energy going to come from? No idea, so, good luck.

May 2, 2021 11:16 am

To get to the magic number of 54% of 2013 emissions
They could reduce population by 46%. Load all the politicians and bureaucrats into the B Ark and send them on their merry way. thus saving them from global warming and piranha bees.

Reply to  Ferdberple
May 2, 2021 11:48 am

Or perhaps carbon credits for extinction cosplay rebellion types by weight. 1 exreb == 1 greta unit. 3 gretas == 1 nye. 25 nye == 1 gore.
Submersion at > 1km should capture the carbon nicely. If we could get them to row themselves out…

May 2, 2021 11:30 am

Not so much lemmings as thinking like a Spanish prisoner. Except for a few dictators, for whom it doesn’t matter, most elected officials know that they will not be in power, without opposition, for more than the next 5 years at best. Add in that no government is responsible for anything, especially failure. Now, anyone can happily promise anything; free bubble-up, chickens, pot(s), bread, circuses, that strengthens the today position without the complication of worry whether the benefit is reasonable, likely, affordable, desireable or even possible. If still in power and the promise fails to come through, they can blame their advisors, their opposition, or slightly more honsestly and much less likely, their ignorant past selves
Remember story of the Spanish prisoner, who promised to teach the horse to sing. GIven his possible likely outcomes, the slim chance of the horse singing far outweighed the problem of the immediate alternative of a quick death.

Rud Istvan
May 2, 2021 11:34 am

I did a little research before commenting. Japan imports about 90% of its energy (coal, oil, LNG). That is why nuclear electricity was made a national priority in 1973. At the time of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi tsunami induced disaster, nuclear generation was 30% of the electricity total. The current hope is that it might get back to 20% by 2030 as more existing nuclear plants are granted restart licenses. Koizumi’s dream goal is just that, a dream. Nowhere close to reality.

Climate believer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2021 11:53 am

France’s nuclear push came out of the very real petrol crisis in the seventies, when they realised that their country could be held hostage by foreign entities.

They set out to rebuild their energy sector with the new technology, finishing up with 58 reactors by the end of the century.

An impossible feat in this age of woke virtue.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Climate believer
May 2, 2021 12:49 pm

France still has no place to put the over 85,000 cubic meters of long lived highly radioactive waste from their nuclear reactors.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
May 2, 2021 2:19 pm

WE, there is potentially another solution, written up in my essay Going Nuclear in ebook Blowing Smoke. The basic engineering has been done by an MIT spinout and links to their public white paper are provided in the essay footnotes.
Many here have advocated for thorium fueled molten salt reactors (MSR). Later. Turns out the ideal fuel cycle for the next 50 years is spent conventional fission fuel rods, disassembled to remove the zirconium cladding. They still have plenty of fissionable uranium, but their neutron flux is ‘killed’ by the radioactive byproducts. (Navy reactors last 20 years without any refueling because they use much higher enriched U235.) Per the MIT calculations, a uranium fuel cycle MSR can be started with a bit of the good stuff, then fed with spent fuel ‘forever’ because the molten salt is a great neutron moderator, slowing them so enlarging their capture cross section.There are still a few decay byproducts that must be periodically removed from the salt, but these are much less in volume and fairly simple to do chemically, and with them your vitrified ocean dart idea makes a lot of sense cost wise as you need about a hundredfold less of them.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2021 2:42 pm

Risk of proliferation because reprocessing spent fuel rods generates plutonium. This was done at Hanford Washington, and they are still cleaning up the mess roughly 75 years later.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 3:04 pm

Jay, you perhaps misunderstood. The dry cask stored spent fuel rods are NOT reprocessed. That was the whole point. The uranium plugs are extracted from the zircon case tubes as is, then just ‘dumped’ into the MSR a few at a time, over time. All the U235 and plutonium is ‘burned up’, along with a lot of the radioactive decay byproducts. (Better still, the unfissionable U233 self breeds to U235, so in the end it is almost all used up.)
The secret is that the molton salt (typically a fluoroborate salt) is a more diffuse but ‘3D universal’ unlike conventional rod moderators, therefore a much more effective neutron moderator. Slower neutrons have higher capture cross sections, so more ‘nuclear’ stuff happens. All good.
What we need to do is built one at pilot scale and see if MIT is correct. Been advocating that since essay Going Nuclear was published late 2014.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2021 4:46 pm

1) “along with a lot of the radioactive decay byproducts.” Thermal neutrons are not very good at “burning” actinides, fast neutrons do much better. The salt moderator slows them down, and the reactor’s neutron economy is negatively impacted.
2) Spent fuel rods do not contain unfissioned U233. You are confusing the thorium fuel cycle with the contents used in today’s reactors.
3) You posted: “There are still a few decay byproducts that must be periodically removed from the salt,”…..which is REPROCESSING where you can *also* extract the plutonium bred from U238.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 5:18 pm

Also Mr. Istvan,
then just ‘dumped’ into the MSR a few at a time, over time”

You seem to forget that UO2 (which is the prevalent content of most fuel rods) does not dissolve into fluoride salts very well. Helps if it is converted to UF4 first, The MSRE used LiF-BeF2-ZrF4-UF4

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2021 6:32 pm


I have read the CANDU reactors can burn the waste fuel products directly. There aren’t enough CANDU reactors in the world to keep up with the production of spent fuel from all the other light water reactors, but it’s a start.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
May 2, 2021 7:06 pm

No Alan, no reactor burns waste. Once an atom’s nucleus is fissioned, there isn’t any more energy in it to “burn.”

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 8:35 pm

Most of what is called nuclear “waste” is simply un-fissioned U235. Only a small part of the original uranium is fissioned in light water reactors before the fuel rods need to be changed. The “waste” can be reprocessed and U235 recovered to make new fuel rods. CANDU can use spent fuel directly without the reprocessing step.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
May 2, 2021 8:48 pm

No Alan, the “waste” products of nuclear fission poison the U235 and absorb neutrons hampering the continued chain reaction. CANDU cannot use spent fuel rods.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
May 2, 2021 2:37 pm

Not bad, except that there is a good chance that the stainless steel and concrete will not withstand salt water corrosion long enough for the mud to accumulate.

Also decay heat may crack the containers.

Here is how they do it now:

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
May 2, 2021 5:33 pm

No Willis, the dart will not be travelling at a high enough terminal velocity IN WATER to penetrate more than a foot into the mud. It would be a shame if the uncontrolled dropping of the dart lands it on top of a rock.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
May 2, 2021 8:16 pm

given the abyssal mud’s softness,”

So, tell us Mr Eschenbach, how “soft” is mud when it is located underneath 5000 meters of water at 500 atmospheres?

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 8:33 pm

The terminal velocity at sea level in air is about 120MPH. Water is “soft” so jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet over a body of water should not be a problem for you because the water is “soft.”

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 10:32 pm

People need to think about conventional pressure differently in such geologic settings. For example, think of a high brick wall sitting there, stable. The bricks at the bottom are under pressure from the weight of bricks above. Yet, one can remove a brick from the bottom without the wall falling down. Mining engineers can give you information about making tunnels underground in rock without the huge conventional pressure concept causing the tunnel to collapse as you are building it. Read about finite elements analysis for more of this line of thought. Geoff S

Abolition Man
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
May 2, 2021 2:56 pm

An elegant solution, and lawn darts is definitely a game deserving a revival! Maybe a new Green version where the kiddies try to hit targets like enough renewable energy to power the US for 5, 10, or even 15 seconds! What could go wrong?
That being said, I am under the impression that some newer reactor designs actually use nuclear waste as fuel. Wouldn’t it be better to explore that possibility more ere we go tromping off across the abyssal plains, dropping giant stainless steel darts willy nilly?
Also, in an unaccustomed oversight, you neglected to include a scoring system! You know that without hard and fast rules many will cheat and run up their scores!

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Abolition Man
May 2, 2021 4:48 pm

Let me issue a couple of minor MSR fact corrections after rereading essay Going Nuclear, written 7 years ago. The thorium MSR cycle breeds fissile U233, again because of slow neutrons. The uranium spent fuel cycle already separated fissile U235 from non fissile 238. The later is bred into fissile Pu239 or higher by neutron capture in MSR, then utterly consumed. Of no matter for basic physics how all ‘slow neutron capture’ MSR work.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2021 5:50 pm

Dear Mr. Istvan, you post: “The uranium spent fuel cycle already separated fissile U235 from non fissile 238.”

What utter giberish.
The spent fuel cycle does no such thing. LEU for commerical reactors is less than 20% U235, with the rest being U238.
Please do not confuse “spent fuel cycle” with uranium enrichment which is how U235 and U238 are separated. One does not run spent reactor fuel through a centrifuge, a gas diffusion plant , a calutron etc.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 6:18 pm

Your problems are two. First, I said no such thing. Second, you have still not read the transAtomics spinout whitepaper from MIT, previously referenced. I try to fix a minor memory error, you pile on with major physics errors. Bye.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2021 7:09 pm

“The uranium spent fuel cycle already separated fissile U235 from non fissile 238.”

You sure did post that giberish.
I have made no error in physics. You however have already made a few you needed to correct. .
Also Rud, “The company discovered that in 2016 it had made errors in its early analysis and realized that the design couldn’t consume nuclear waste”
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatomic_Power
That was like five years ago Rud.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 7:24 pm

Rud: Transatomic Power ceased operation on September 25, 2018

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 7:32 pm


“Let me issue a couple of minor MSR fact corrections”

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 8:50 pm

How many “fact corrections” do you need to make to your ebooks Mr. Istvan?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 10:35 pm

I noted that on first reading and simply assumed that Rud had meant to use one extra word so it read “The uranium spent fuel cycle already has separated fissile U235 …”

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
May 2, 2021 6:06 pm

Willis — lawn darts should be filled with ecoterrorists. Japanese industry figured out how to make repurposing nuclear waste long ago: dielectric peltier generators (like an RTG) in hardened cases to be abandoned in place when the thermal energy runs out. Nobody bought them because oil and gas were cheaper.

Abolition Man
Reply to  dk_
May 2, 2021 6:23 pm

The ecoterrorists are too lightweight; especially in the head department! They would give the darts buoyancy; causing them to bob around on the surface, interfering with ship traffic, whale migrations and probably mugging some of the Argo buoys as the travel around!

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
May 2, 2021 10:21 pm

Your solution from 10 years ago is almost identical to that of my former boss John Elliston in 1972. We needed to research a solution because we were going to mine a rather large uraium deposit that he and his team found.
If there is a difference, John was deep into colloid chemistry in geological processes like large delta sedimentation. He was musing about creating liquefaction of the dart target in the sediments so that they sank deeper, by a prior shock from means like an explosion.
Quite a few people/groups ended up with similar solutions independently, so there is no suggestion here that it was a race of ideas that someone won.

Climate believer
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 2:35 pm

A problem that is being addressed by the project that you link to. Unfortunately the construction start date has been delayed from 2020 to 2022, but they should start to open the facility in 2025.

It’s been a long time coming, but better to get these things right first time.

High level waste (HLW) arising from spent fuel reprocessing is vitrified and amounts to ~4,000m³.
Other long lived intermediate level waste (ILW) amounts to ~43,000m³.

These are official ANDRA figures.
(L’Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs)

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Climate believer
May 2, 2021 4:56 pm

Yeah, pretty sure the same thing that happened to Yucca Mountain will happen at the French site.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 6:47 pm

85,000 cubic meters? Horrors! Let’s translate that into the standard climate science volume metric: the Olympic-sized swimming pool: 50m long, 25 m wide, 3m deep, or 3,750 cubic meters. So this frightening amount of radioactive waste occupies a little under 23 Olympic swimming pools. I bet there are many wine châteaux in France with larger wine cellars than that. The tomb of Emperor Qin (of terra cotta warriors fame) is many times this size, and it stayed buried for over 2,000 years.

France has been vitrifying and storing nuclear waste for decades; finding space for what amounts to a standard Home Depot big box store isn’t a problem.

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
May 2, 2021 7:11 pm

The problem is that as you say, they are “storing” it. They have not disposed of it in a “permanent” place.

I’ll bet you the when the Egyptians buried their Pharaohs in their pyramids, they did it in a way so that nobody could get into them right?

Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 7:22 pm

Jay, are you implying that storage technology hasn’t advanced in ~ 3,000 years?

Jay Hendon
Reply to  Mr.
May 2, 2021 7:26 pm

No, I’m implying that what we think today is “guaranteed” to be safe for thousands/tens of thousands of years, won’t be.

Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 10:43 pm

But in ten thousand years, all the nuclear waste will be a mile under the ice that formed and didn’t melt because the holocene ended. So then, the climate will be back to its normal cold phase again and the nuclear waste will be protected for another 90,000 years. Win win.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 10:41 pm

Wrong, because somebody DID get into them. Better logic, please. Geoff S

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 2, 2021 10:13 pm

Sorry, it is not possible to be long-lived and highly radioactive at the same time. Some isotopes in the uranium and thorium decay chains have half lives in the billions of years, such a slow decay that it quite hard to measure their radioactivity because they show it so infrequently. Like U-238 with 4.5 billion years half life.
You might be confusing this with the weight of isotopes earmarked for storage, hence the 85,000 cubic metres figure. Either way, it is well within the mental and actual ability of engineers to cope with the left-over isotopes. The mental ability of politicians and green group activists is the problem.
Ask yourself where hospitals are hiding the bodies of those killed by left-over reactor isotopes. It has been decades since a relevant death figure was
last reported (Chernobyl 1986) then about 38 deaths, but not from planned management even then. Geoff S

Reply to  Jay Hendon
May 3, 2021 12:48 am

And neither has anywhere else with reactors!

Reply to  Climate believer
May 3, 2021 12:48 am

and now those reactors are ageing and are costing millions to keep running and in recent years they’ve had to shut a lot for repairs and rely on German electricity to cover. EDF is functionally bankrupt as a result of France’s ageing nuclear

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2021 7:26 am

LOL! yeah right, we can “rely” on Germany dumping all their un-useable green electricity at a loss.
Of course other countries are going to take it, Poland for example, it’s not just France.

France is a Net Exporter of electricity, and most goes to Germany.

The UK is the 2nd biggest importer of electricity…oops, oh dear, why’s that?

EDF is far from bankrupt, but they are being hobbled on the price they can sell their nuclear power at…. wonder why that is?

EDF has embarked upon a mammoth modernisation of their Nuclear power stations that will see them providing RELIABLE energy for many years to come, and they want to add another 6 reactors as well.

I’d buy some shares if I was you.

May 2, 2021 11:36 am

Japan has just raised its target
Willis, you have failed to comprehend the purpose of a target 🙂 A target is for practice. If you miss, well it means you simply need more practice. And if you hit the target, maybe you get a medal, or maybe the Sherrif of Nottinghan has you arrested.

Canada has been setting targets and missing them for years. With years of practice behind then, Trudeau and the Liberal Party have become very good at missing targets. So good they almost never hit one by accident.

And it is this amazing consistency that wins election after election. With the voters safe in the certain knowledge that whatever is promisd, it ain’t gonna happen.

John F Hultquist
May 2, 2021 11:47 am

I just love the vertical black line “First Concrete.”

Can anyone say “WHOOPS”?

From Wikipedia: ” … WNP-3 was placed in an extended construction delay in July 1983 while nearly 76 percent complete.”

May 2, 2021 12:45 pm

New phrase, from the Spectator article…
That’s Greta-tastic!

Reply to  Cam_S
May 2, 2021 1:37 pm

Is that the opposite of Greta-saster? Not to worry about deadlines and future dates…it’s the thought that counts…you gotta keep pursuing the goal….never stop believin’….keep on the path….one day you will succeed….you gotta keep tryin’…..high five

Abolition Man
Reply to  Cam_S
May 2, 2021 2:28 pm

Doesn’t that mean “it’s worse than we possibly could have imagined!”

Lance Wallace
May 2, 2021 12:56 pm

according to Koizumi, the number 46 just appeared to him in ‘silhouette’

Biden is #46

Mark D
Reply to  Lance Wallace
May 2, 2021 4:29 pm

Yes but the answer is 42. *

May 2, 2021 1:17 pm

Virtually every country around the world rates climate change so low in their priority that they think the path of least resistance is to cave in knowing that the fact that what they say as a target is irrelevant cause there are no consequences for not meeting its target and even if there were consequences who cares? , that’s someone else’s problem. Unfortunately the extremists just get emboldened by such behaviour and if it works for climate change it’ll work for all things on the leftist wish list. If everyone knows and accepts it’s just a charade thats fine but countries like Australia make noise that they meet their targets as if that achievement is something to be proud of. All that tells me that despite 3 elections being lost due to pandering to climate alarmists governments think they have to push their green credentials. No they don’t! What they need is to listen to the vast majority of the people they represent and reject the pressure put on them by a very noisy and vocal minority. Even paying lip service won’t cut it because whatever you do the noise won’t stop it.
The only proper way to fight back is to fight head on . Arrest people involved for fraud, audit weather bureaus, expose the real , not fake data. Appoint sceptics to key positions, Re educate the population and ignore the screaming and complaining that they use to bully you into submission.
just trust your people. The truth is on your side and if you don’t blink they’ll be exposed for the charlatans that they really are. Exposing snake oil salesman as snake oil salesman will eventually work. But you have to start the process.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Zigmaster
May 2, 2021 3:11 pm

Remember the days when leaders lead, and did the RIGHT thing, not the easy one!? I can still remember US presidents being honest with the American people on occasion, like Reagan and JFK!
The nuggets of truth that Trump inserted into his bombastic hyperbole were one of the main reasons for the hatred of the Left, and the explosive rise in TDS! Since Reagan the libtards and their media sycophants have grown accustomed to politicians lying, and telling them what they wanted to hear; not what they needed to hear!

John Dueker
May 2, 2021 1:38 pm

Politicians are used to lying each time they expel warm co2. So they think nothing of pledging to whatever thing their minders say is a positive virtue signal. Those minders are completely disconnected from those who actually do things for a living. Imho most readers here are in the “do things” category. Thus leaving the doers shaking their heads as the cliff is approached.

These pompous liars all think they can become a President Kennedy by making aspirational goals but his goal was based on cold war necessity and good science advice. None of the mostly blow hard virtue signalling elected officials have a cold war necessity nor real science advisers.

(My only recent exception which will get me abused, is Warp Speed. There was a sufficient motivation but I don’t know if Trump et al was that good or that lucky. And we’ll never know because long history is written by academics with an agenda who reach their virtuous conclusions despite facts.There are a few other exceptions but they are mostly by R’s except JFK, I would welcome others.)

I don’t have a solution. I thought electing an engineer might work but we got Carter. I thought creating a vaccine would work but its release was carefully withheld. My only action that I can do is support blow yards with doer more brains and good advisors with votes and the measly $ I can afford. And I will keep trying to educate people where I can, obviously not always successful since my kids won’t listen to my physics explanations anymore.

I encourage those of you with more degrees, a larger platform, and more eloquence to continue to ward off the lemming’s followers from going over the cliff with the virtue signalers (the politicians usually retire to environmentally threatened areas in perfect safety.

Edward Katz
May 2, 2021 2:14 pm

It’s immaterial what Japan or any other country pledges when it comes to emissions reductions because we always hear a variety of them making promises, pledges and commitments; yet how many of them actually meet these targets? That’s the reason that one climate treaty/agreement after another falls short, so let’s take all these promises with not just a grain of salt but the entire box.

Richard Page
May 2, 2021 2:38 pm

How did we ever get from the ‘Right stuff’ to politicians doing this ‘Wrong stuff’? Easy – today there are no consequences for failed politicians; if they screw up really, really badly then they don’t get the book deals and interview tours – that’s all. There need to be consequences.

Peter W
May 2, 2021 3:25 pm

Whenever you read something such as this, it is always useful to take a careful look at
and consider the long term trend.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Peter W
May 3, 2021 1:28 am

Peter W,
There seems to be a time gap so that many sources of CO2 abundance in air are reporting only up to a year ago, sometimes better at a couple of months delay.
It is getting harder to obtain daily CO2 data.
Have you noticed this and/or found a reason for it?
Apart from the usual explanation of not releasing it until the checking has been done. (Can you imagine a geochemical analysis laboratory or a shipping export lab working for client explorers or exporters, with a delay of months excused by a need to check? Geoff S

May 2, 2021 4:14 pm

I suspect there’re politics driving this. News last week is that Kansai Electric has received approval to restart 3 reactors.

No how do you do that in a frightened country? Why, you frighten them with something else that’s even more frightful. So by increasing the CO2 emissions target the pollies can now say look! look! we have to do it to save us all from a fate worser even than Covid and radiation put together. (Which is all rubbish, but the millennial-on-the-street is just as clueless in Japan as anywhere.)

Hopefully next time they build a reactor though they’ll put the emergency coolant pumps high up on top of the sheds, and they stock up on transportable pumps.

Tony Taylor
May 2, 2021 4:16 pm

Surely “emulating lemmings” should be “lemulating”?

May 2, 2021 4:19 pm

Nuclear is old, well known, simple tech. Why would building NPP be long or complicated?

May 2, 2021 4:54 pm

Isn’t that a picture of Diablo Canyon in California at the head of this post?

May 2, 2021 5:15 pm

The California ISO announced yesterday that last Saturday, 24 April, 2021, the California state grid was supplied 95% by renewable energy at 2:30 PM. This result lasted for 4 seconds!!!! They did not mention what the typical renewable supply level is.
The ISO also proudly announced that we, the people, are goiung to be runnign a fantatstic experiment this summer when 2,000 megawatts of lithium-ion battery goes on line to power the state, in part, when the sun goes down.
The future of renewable energy has arrived. The Globe is Saved.

Peta of Newark
May 2, 2021 8:41 pm

Quote:”Well, er no, according to Koizumi, the number 46 just appeared to him in ‘silhouette’ in a sort of vision.”

YMMV (and I really do think that that is The Problem) but, this is pure Monty Python
Koizumi has a sense of humour, and Good One at that;
The guy is taking the piss out of the whole boon doggle dingle dangle doodly woodly boodly woodly woodly Train Wreck that is Climate Science

Quote:”The interviewer, despite her face mask, was clearly stunned by the revelation

Yes she would be. The ability to say & do the unexpected, the agile mind and the self-confidence are all exactly what every girl on this planet is looking for in a potential/actual mate.
And she would laugh in any normal boy meets girl situation.
The TV interview would not count as ‘normal’

We all know the saying/cliche:
If you can make her laugh, you’re half-way there
He ‘scored’
It’s why girls all ask for a ‘GSOH‘ in dating ads.

The actual problem in the world now is that girls need to ask.
An agile and quick-thinking mind is what defines a successful ‘hunter’ = one who could ‘bring home the bacon’
Not a successful gatherer. One hardly needs an agile mind and quick thinking to gather a few seeds or nuts.
Gatherers are fails in all ways, mentally, physically, socially and especially in their ability to ‘provide’. For the girl and her baby.

Thus a GSOH should be intrinsic in every male of the human variety.
So why do the girls have such a hard time finding one these days?

THAT is The Problem of our Modern Time
Because that is where all the babies have gone – disappeared exactly in parallel with, what should be, the intrinsic ability of boys to make girls laugh.

Geddit now?
Money and education, supposedly the cause of the baby demise, are things that you ‘gather’
Why have we become a society of gatherers (fails) rather than hunters (successful providers)
What happened?

Trouble is, as witnessed in dating adverts, Gatherers are now in the majority.
i.e. Emotional touchy-feely wimps supposedly ‘in touch with their feminine side’
Or, guys who claim to be.
Girls don’t ‘do’ liars. Folks with a GSOH have no need for mendacity, they can handle themselves (and others) without fakery or buck-passing.

When a Good Hunter does show his face, Gatherers feel threatened. He frightens them, not least they know he could, if he wanted, steal not only their ‘food’ in its broadest sense, but also their mates.
They don’t like that.

Its an experiment anyone can do.
Do two consecutive Dry January, dry in between times, then, visit a crowded pub or bar near closing time.
Feel the vibe.
It is truly scary.
They see you and they ‘know’. The menace is palpable
And what you see are unpredictable zombies, out of their bodies as much as out of their minds.
The real scare comes when you next visit a busy supermarket, side-walk or shopping-mall. The zombies are all still there, patently not drunk, but still zombie.

The menace is real, as Mr Trump discovered.
He had to be replaced with a Gatherer. i.e. A fail.

Sorry Joe.
But I think you know that. I think there is, or certainly was, a GSOH in there somewhere.
We all get old, or did the gatherers starve you of Vitamin B? Did you make the mistake of thinking you were somehow immune, or that you could ‘handle it’?

As they’re trying to do with everyone via the requirement for a Meat-Free Diet so as to Save The Planet.
There is The Really Scary Bit

May 2, 2021 10:14 pm

Meanwhile in Oz the lefties aren’t happy with Scomo offering a sop with hydrogen-
The government’s embrace of ‘clean hydrogen’ helps no one but the fossil fuel industry (msn.com)
It’s not a bad flanking move to keep lukewarm climate change voters on side when you know full well battery transport will never cut it particularly for heavy transport. Politics is a numbers game and you don’t get to hold lefties at bay in Opposition. That was Trump’s folly.

Vincent Causey
May 2, 2021 11:45 pm

What is it about 2030? It seems this magic number is appearing everywhere.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
May 3, 2021 1:56 am
May 3, 2021 12:44 am

plus have reserves available for when some part of the generation system inevitably fails or needs maintenance. ‘

Yes, grid scale batteries and other strategies cover the failures – and quicker and more effectively than the old ‘spinning reserve’

May 3, 2021 12:50 am

The coal expansion in Japan isn’t happening…

Last year, the Japanese government signalled it will decommission about 100 inefficient coal-fired power units. It aims to reduce coal’s share of the power mix to 26% by 2030 – down from 32% in the 2018 financial year. Japan’s biggest power generator JERA said in October it will shut down all inefficient coal-fired power plants in Japan by 2030 and it aims to achieve net zero emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050 to tackle climate change. Closing inefficient coal power stations is in line with government policy but this was the first time a power company declared an intention to match that policy. By 2030, JERA aims to cut 20% more carbon emission intensity of thermal power plants than the government’s current reduction target for those plants across the nation. And new build is also seeing cancellations: Osaka Gas withdrew plans to build a 1.2 gigawatt (GW) coal plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Tokyo Gas, Kyushu Electric and Idemitsu also abandoned plans to build a 2GW coal plant in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo. In total, 30% of planned investment in coal power has been scrapped since 2016.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  griff
May 3, 2021 4:23 am

Yes, Griffie-poo, they are acting exactly like other energy lemmings, closing perfectly good, reliable energy plants and refusing to build others, in favor of expensive, and unreliable energy. Uber dumb, in other words, which by coincidence describes you to a T as well.

Reply to  griff
May 3, 2021 7:05 am
Climate believer
Reply to  Brian BAKER
May 3, 2021 12:12 pm

Then you look at China with it’s 1082 coal plants, and currently building another 92, and another 135 in pre-construction, and it kind of makes you think what all the fuss is about.

Japan could produce all it’s energy from the water wheel and it wouldn’t change a thing.

May 3, 2021 3:56 am

i read theyre recommissioning older nuke plants
two? are being scrapped but the 40+yr old ones are getting a tidy up..

Pat Smith
May 4, 2021 9:38 am

You can sure build nuclear power plants fast in the US! The only one we are building in the UK is Hinkley C – the go ahead was given by the government in 2008 after many years planning, build started in 2018, due to be online by mid 2020s. In theory, it should have been easy as it is alongside A and B so planning permission, consultations should have been faster.

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