In the wake of March 11th's devastating earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima crisis, Japan dusted off its previously idle oil-fueled power plants to help fill the void left from shut down nuclear facilities. The abrupt shift from nuclear energy to fossil fuels was made out of necessity. As Friday's New York Times long read explains, the transition is a delicate process: the rapid retooling of its energy industry has major economic and environmental costs. It's also a conundrum for a country that was "until recently a vocal proponent of measures to curb climate change," the paper notes. But in order to stave off energy shortages, Tokyo Electric (also the owner of the Fukushima plant) is revving up the generators:
The generators are helping to replace the 400 million kilowatt-hours of daily electricity production lost this summer because of the shutdown of all but 15 of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Across the country, dozens of other fossil-fuel plants have been fired up, and Japan is importing billions of dollars worth of liquefied natural gas, coal and oil to keep them running.