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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise


February 10, 2013


Tokyo ward preparing to set micro hydro project afloat



Tokyo's Koto Ward is gearing up for a local micro hydro power project -- the first among the capital's 23 wards -- earmarking 7.4 million yen to investigate the project in its draft budget for fiscal 2013.

The upper and lower reaches of rivers in the ward, which faces Tokyo Bay, have only a small height difference and the amount of electricity that can be generated is also small, but the ward hopes to use the project to help children learn about the environment as society moves toward increased use of renewable energy.

Micro hydro is a small-scale type of hydroelectric power producing up to 100 kilowatts of electricity. Seven young workers in the Koto Ward Government's global warming countermeasures section proposed the project under a worker suggestion contest this fiscal year, and were awarded the top prize.

Officials will survey three sites -- Sendai Borigawa Park, Yokojikken river water park and Furuishiba river water park -- to find the most efficient location to set up a micro hydro project, probing the amount of electricity than can be generated and the cost of setting up the system. The height difference of the highest and lowest points of rivers in all three locations is less than 1 meter, but officials say that if water turbines that can generate power from only slight water drops and small water flows are used, the project will be able to generate electricity.

Officials estimate that the project could produce enough power for 17 to 88 10-watt light-emitting diode street lights. The ward aims to complete its survey and begin construction in fiscal 2013.



February 7, 2013


Fukui Prefecture looks to replace nuclear plants with natural gas



The Fukui Prefectural Government will establish a new group on Feb. 8 to consider promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants as a replacement for nuclear energy.

Fukui Prefecture holds 14 nuclear reactors, but with reactivation delayed and the possibility of active faults lying underneath the facilities, the prefectural government appears to be strongly concerned about the local economies, as regional incomes have fallen and employment has suffered.

However, Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa has said that "nuclear plants continue to be an important power source base."

The new group will consist of 11 people, including Nishikawa and economic experts. They will look into possible locations for LNG bases and thermal power plants, effects on local economies, and other factors. Officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Special Advisor to the Cabinet Secretariat Satoshi Fujii, who has called for the need for better disaster-preparedness, will also join the group. Their participation may be due to the national government's desire to secure non-nuclear energy sources on the Sea of Japan coast in preparation against a Nankai Trough quake.


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