When they tell you the lights will go out without nuclear …
There are Fox News Neanderthals in every country. When we talked about closing reactors in Bulgaria or Germany we would often hear that without these plants the lights would go out. The Fukushima meltdowns have proven otherwise and in my mind not just for Japan.
Since shortly after the 3 meltdowns on March 11, Japan has been instituting a national energy conservation campaign (which is called Setsuden). It has raised the weekday rates for power (which has caused heavy industry to start working on the weekends to avoid these costs). It has raised the air conditioning temperature (which has created the “super cool business style” in which business men take off their western suits and wear short sleeve shirts instead). Japan is idling some elevators and escalators and cutting back on lighting and fans. And the country has made energy-saving something of an obsession. And while some additional fossil fuel plants have been brought back on-line, but mostly it is conservation which is leading the way.
The conservation effort is so successful that with 38 of 54 nuclear power plants shut down, there is regularly enough surplus energy in Japan now to run Manhattan.
No rolling black outs and no recession means Japan is starting to think that it might be able to get by without nuclear, something which was generally unthinkable just 4 months ago. Recent polls show 2/3s of the country want to phase out of nuclear.