More air pollution as Japan’s nuclear reactors remain inactive
Japan’s power utilities emitted 17% more air pollution in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster of March 2011.
Ten of Japan’s leading power utilities released a record amount of carbon dioxide in the year ended March 31 due to a surge in crude and fuel oil use after Fukushima. Regional power companies produced some 439 million tons of CO2, an increase of 17% from 374 million tons year-on-year.
Japan withdrew from nuclear power and began developing renewable energy sourcesafter last year’s earthquake and tsunami caused the worst radioactive contamination in Japanese history. Only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are now operational,
As a result, Japan is using record quantities of liquefied natural gas and much higher levels of fuel oil and crude to generate electricity.
Japan’s higher use of fuel oil and crude and other fossil fuels is making it tough for it to meet its target of a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. Japan has pledged to reduce CO2 by an average 6% from 2008 through 2012 from 1990 levels under the Kyoto Protocol. Japan’s emission target was based on the assumption that the country would build more nuclear reactors.
The government previously called for increasing the ratio of electricity supply from nuclear power to 45% from 26% by 2030.