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Opinions on Energy Policy

Agora Conference "Considering Sustainable Energy Strategy" Report GEPR Editorial staffs REPORT

Agora Institute held its second conference, "Considering Sustainable Energy Strategy", on December 8. (Program) (Panelist Profiles and Studies) (Nico Nico Live)

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The Second Agora Conference “Considering Sustainable Energy Strategy” GEPR Editorial Staff REPORT

The accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant posed a serious problem whether we can live with nuclear energies. On the other hand, its risks of climate change and air pollution makes fossil fuels hazardous, therefore issue we face is not so simple. Can we build a sustainable civilization while maintaining sufficient energy and good environment?

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Are we not forgetting about energy security? — The impact of the shale gas revolution [Agora Channel Report] GEPR Editorial staffs COLUMN

Agora Incorporated operators of GEPR, broadcast video content on the Agora Channel. On May 17, it broadcast a dialog on the theme of energy policy and the shale gas revolution between former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Nobuo Tanaka and Director Nobuo Ikeda.

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The Goal of Nuclear Regulation is Comprehensive Risk Reduction Koji OKAMOTO COLUMN

The Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) uses the same Japanese name with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Unfortunately, the quality of Japanese NRA is completely low, comparing with that of US-NRC.

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Inconsistent “Innovative Energy and Environment Council” Nobuo Ikeda COLUMN

“Innovative Strategies for Energy and the Environment” (hereafter “Strategies”) has been determined by the state Energy and Environmental Council. Usually, bills in accordance with this are submitted to the Diet, and a new policy can be made. However, this time, since the Democratic Party of Japan administration is running scarce, it is not known to what degree this will be implemented as a bill. With less than one year of debate for such a long term problem as the energy policy until the 2030s, it is incomprehensible to make a last-minute decision during the waning years of the administration.

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Innovative Strategies for Energy and the Environment(in Japanese) Energy and Environmental Council of the Government of Japan REPORT

On September 14th, Energy and Environmental Council of the Government of Japan, published. It determined the aim of the country to have zero nuclear power generation by the 2030s. Regarding this document, the government at first said it will “aim for decision by the cabinet council” with strong binding effect, however, on September 17th, changed it to ambiguous challenge, probably due to domestic repulsion. [c.f. Cabinet decision document “ About future energy and environmental policy” There is less interest towards Japan due to slump of its economic power, however, switch of energy policy of a country with 3rd largest quantity of generation of nuclear in the world in 2010, drew attention.

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“Japan’s zero-nuclear dream” the Washington Post ARTICLE

Editorial column, on September 17th. It views zero-nuclear negatively and as a “dream”.

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“Noda’s nuclear phase-out is decisive – but not final” Financial Times ARTICLE

Its editorial column of September 17th . It evaluates this policy as decisive, though its handling may change with future change of government, an economical argument and so on.

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The U.S.- Japan Alliance” CSIS REPORT

We introduce the report published in August by Richard Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, and Joseph Nye, Proffessor at Harvard University, together with CSIS. “The U.S.- Japan Alliance” The report proposes such as use of nuclear power generation, the international joint ownership of the lessons of the Fukushima accident, and the sale of the American shale gas.

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It was not radiation that caused the deaths of over 600 people in the nuclear disaster Nobuo Ikeda COLUMN

In the final report by the government's Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations of Tokyo Electric Power Company, there are some important yet less than eye-catching findings. The account of the incident involving the deaths of approximately 50 patients at Futaba Hospital (Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture) and its associated nursing facilities stretches over eight pages.

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From 2011 Emergency Power Savings to 2012 Sustainable Power Savings Yumiko Iwafune COLUMN

It has been some time since I started studying the energy supply problems in Japan from the standpoint of the consumer-side and I have never been so busy than in the last year. In April 2011, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I set up a website called “Power Savings in an Emergency” with other volunteers in order to organize and provide information on power savings. Subsequently many people have accessed it.

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Conditions for Liberalization of Electric Power, Lessons from Liberalization of Telecommunications Nobuo Ikeda COLUMN

METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) has pronounced policy for the complete liberalization of, and separating transmission and generation of electric power. This initiative is not recent. Actually, it was the final target for MITI (predecessor of METI), which started the liberalization of electric power in the 1990s. The third program reform of 2003 established the electric power wholesale exchange, and liberalized electricity retailing to high-voltage customers of 50 kW or more. The next step envisioned was complete liberalization. The fourth program reform in 2008, however, deferred the liberalization of low-voltage (small accounts). In addition, the separation of transmission and generation met with strong resistance from the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPCO), and came to nothing.

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Restarting Nuclear Power Plant and Fixing Errors Due to Lack of Communication = When the Entire Nation Thinks About a Stable Energy Supply – Asking Public Policy Maker Kazuo Ishikawa Kazuo Ishikawa COLUMN

Starting with the Kansai Electric's Oi Nuclear Plant, there is an ongoing state of disarray surrounding the restarting of nuclear power plants across the country. The government has been trying to proceed with restarting the reactors, but with local mayors and residents standing in opposition, it is still unclear whether this will happen. Then on May 5, all of Japan's reactors were shut down.

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Nuclear Plant Restart: Government Leaders Must Make Decisions and Stop Hiding! Yoshito Hori COLUMN

The government has decided to institute electrical power-demand countermeasures over an extended three-month period running from July to September. Businesses and homes will be asked to broadly conserve electricity. Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO), in particular, is facing a 15% power conservation requirement referenced to peak demand during the summer of 2010—a consequence of not being permitted to restart Oi Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 and 4. Although a power usage restriction order was avoided, business activities, home life, and consumption could sustain a serious negative impact in the Kansai Region, whose weakened economy will be further harmed.

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Opinion Paper on Basic Specifications for Smart Meter Communications Issued by TEPCO Society for Smart Meter Study COLUMN

This Research Group considers the specifications for smart meters that TEPCO is presently studying procurement under have the following four drawbacks.

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Concern over Premature Smart Meter Introduction to Homes: Current Smart Grid Situation in Japan Takayuki Shintani COLUMN

A growing interest in the smart grid and smart metering, which can enable the smart grid, has emerged in Japan since the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. The current situation is analyzed, and the author offers his insights.

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What to Do about Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) — Concerns for On-Site Capability under Unavoidable Organization Change Takeo Kikkawa COLUMN

The most important agenda items associated with the pending TEPCO “problem” are as follows:

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America’s Energy Future American Energy Innovation Council ARTICLE

It expects for innovation and technology development in the field of clean energy with the support of federal government.

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Preparing for the Arriving Era of Natural Gas Akira Ishii COLUMN

Ever since the severe nuclear power plant accident of 3.11, Japan and the entire world — to greater and lesser degrees — are now facing the need for alternatives to nuclear power. A lively discussion over a nuclear-free and fossil-fuel free future has ensued, which portends a shift to renewable energy like solar power generation. Many arguments assert this possibility for the mid- and long-term, even if it is impossible now. Many other arguments assert achievement of this possibility mid- to long-term, with efficient usage, during the unavoidable interim, of natural gas, which imposes a much smaller environmental burden (starting with CO2 emissions) than other fossil fuels.

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Organizations under Large Uncertainty: An Analysis of the Fukushima Catastrophe Masahiko Aoki and Geoffrey Rothwell (STANFORD INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC POLICY RESEARCH) ARTICLE

[ABSTRACT] This paper analyzes the impacts of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, which were amplified by a failure of coordination across the plant, corporate, industrial, and regulatory levels, resulting in a nuclear catastrophe comparable in cost to Chernobyl. It derives generic lessons for industrial structure and regulatory frame for the electric power industry by identifying the two shortcomings of a horizontal coordination mechanism: instability under large shocks and the lack of “defense in depth." The suggested policy response is to harness the power of “open-interface-rule-based modularity" by creating an independent nuclear safety commission and an independent system operator owning the transmission grid module in Japan. We propose a transitory price mechanism that can restrain price volatility while providing investment incentives.

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Strict Standards for Food: Human-Induced Disaster for Affected Fishing and Farming Households Hiroyuki Matsuda COLUMN

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has drafted a table of reference standards for radioactive substances in food since the nuclear power plant accident, and is currently soliciting public opinion. The tentative reference standard of cesium (total for 134 and 137) after the nuclear power plant accident was 500 Bq/kg. The proposed table offers a stricter standard, and sets the value at 100 Bq/kg or lower, depending on the food product, in order to hold lifetime internal radiation dosage to 100 mSv or less.

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The Energy Research Imperative Bill Gates COLUMN

Over the past three decades, U.S. government funding for energy innovation has dropped significantly while other countries such as China, Germany, and Japan have dramatically stepped up their investments in clean energy technologies. The U.S. is uniquely positioned to lead in energy innovation, but only if the federal government significantly increases spending on clean energy R&D.

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The Danger of Rushing the Separation Between Power Generation and Power Transmission Akihiro Sawa COLUMN

Since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, media and government have rekindled the debate on the separation of power generation and transmission. Such a separation, however, rests on the availability of excess power generation capacity, and has the purpose of promoting competition in the domain of power generation. Since excess capacity has dried up and continuing power shortages are a concern, Japan is hardly in a position to be debating this matter.

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Reflecting on Japan’s Energy Policy Review Nobuo Tanaka COLUMN

After enduring the Great East Japan Earthquake, the ensuing tsunami, and the resulting accident at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants, our nation has embarked on an energy policy review from the ground up. I look forward to bold efforts that proceed with needed reviews, which should follow from accurately assessing the advantages and challenges of the energy policy to date, and which consider the current circumstances of Japan’s energy position.

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Low Potentiality of Health Damage by the Fukushima Accident − from the survey of the atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Takaaki Ishii COLUMN

The medical research of survivors from the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been used by governments to plan policies on national health care or radiation restrictions. This research surveys 280,000 people over 50 years. There is no similar case to this large scale medical research on radiation exposure.

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Risks of Nuclear Power Generation and Reassessment of Its Economic Efficiency Nobuo Ikeda ARTICLE

Since the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant owned by the Tokyo Electronic Power Company (TEPCO) occurred concurrently with the Great East Japan Earthquake which brought about more than twenty thousand deaths on March 11th 2011, giving the impression that it was a massive accident. However, no one has yet been reported to have died from radiation; two workers lost their lives in the basement of the nuclear power plant as a result of the tsunami, but no one has been exposed to a fatal dose of radiation. Why has this nuclear power plant accident become such a major issue? And why is there a view that TEPCO is likely to collapse?

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Is Fukushima Dangerous? -- Distorted images of Japan - Morley Robertson × Nobuo Ikeda

What's happen? What was the cause in Fukushima? Morley Robertson, writer and DJ, talk about distorted images of Japan after Fukushima nuclear plant accident with Nobuo Ikeda.

21st Century Energy Challenges

At the ARPA-E 2012 summit, Bill Gates and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu discussed the largest energy challenges of the 21st century in the U.S. and around the world.

A Web-TV Program "Is radiation really so harmful? Considering risks of nuclear power generation" (Japanese only)

Agora Institute, who operates GEPR, broadcasted a Web-TV program "Is radiation really so harmful? Considering risks of nuclear power generation" on internet video streaming channel "Niconico Live " on January 19th (in Japanese only) . Nobuo Ikeda, President of Agora Incorporated, and three experts on radiation, risk analysis, and energy policy discussed about the situations after Fukushima nuclear accident. Their opinions were consistent that potentiality of health damage caused by the Fukushima accident is very small. GEPR will provide a summary about this program soon.


Agora Inc., who operates GEPR, releases a podcast program which was originally aired on Jan. 19th, 2012on internet video streaming channel "Nico-nico Live"; "Is radiation really so harmful? Considering risks of nuclear power generation" (Japanese only) The panel: Nobuo Ikeda, Akihiro Sawa, Jun Takada, and Hiroyuki Matsuda