Japan’s closure of its nuclear capacity continues to have obvious results. It has just announced plans for another new coal power plant. That takes the number announced this up to 7, with a total capacity of around 7 GW (a quick calculation tells me they will supply around 4% of Japan’s electricity.)
As the WSJ points out:
All of Japan’s 48 reactors are offline over safety concerns following the Fukushima nuclear accident, though four of them are expected to come back online later this year.
Before the nuclear accident in March 2011, the environment ministry had essentially blocked the building of new coal-power stations through tighter environmental assessments as Japan sought to meet ambitious greenhouse-gas reduction goals that have since been scrapped.
Fear of nuclear, then, has lead Japan reconsider the risks of coal. The possibility of death is replaced by the certainty of it.
So, Japan now seems to have a clear choice. This densely populated country must either abandon nuclear energy, and abandon any hope of near or medium term decarbonisation, or reconsider the role of it.