Noted as the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, an interesting and possibly foreshadowing event is taking place in Japan since the tsunami devastated the land. Wood from the decommissioned nuclear power plants will be used to fuel their Biomass Energy Program.
In this case, the old will be replaced by the new. This will also include any wood that might contain radiation as well. Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan stated before his resignation that his country will be moving in the direction of renewable energy.
The time period where the country has the highest energy needs is the during the summer months, which is upon them now. In an attempt to compensate for the energy produced by over 50 offline power plants, Japan is focusing on conserving energy and increasing alternative energy capabilities.
Even though Japan still plans on maintaining some sort of nuclear program in the future, they are working on increasing mega solar plans and wind projects according to renewableenergyworld.com. The Japanese Government is reportedly planning to provide funds to increase productivity of biomass plants within the country. Their plan is to utilize the waste from the many tons of rubble and debris created to fuel the four 2-5 megawatt biomass plants in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.
70% of the 22 million tons of waste is wood and will be used to power these plants. Once this resource runs out, wood from lumber and paper mills will be utilized. Ash from the radioactive wood will be removed safely once officials decide on the safest way of disposal. Renewable energy still has a long way to go in Japan before it will be considered a substantial energy source for the country, but this is certainly a making the best out of a bad situation.
Undoubtedly the country of Japan will rebuild and in the future not rely as heavily on nuclear energy to keep their lights on. During the rebuilding process the government has been considering moving populations affected by the tsunami off the coast where they will be building structures for a community in the hills.
Their goal would be to utilize the freed up space on the coast line for agricultural purposes. Another idea is to consolidate all the small fishing towns into big industrial fishing ports. Between renewable energy endeavors and the possible restructuring of towns, the public reaction to the government’s plans will be an interesting aspect of the rebuilding phase as time progresses.