Japan's tsunami spurred cleantech development

Japan is looking to boost its renewable energy portfolio.

Japan is looking to boost its renewable energy portfolio.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake struck Japan off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, triggering tsunami waves up to 130-feet high.

The environmental chaos threw Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into a full-on meltdown with equipment failures and the release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere and sea. It was the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986.

Despite tens of thousands of deaths, widespread power outages and billions of dollars of damage in the aftermath, the crisis now presents an opportunity for Japan to rebuild its energy infrastructure.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos said the country is now focusing on finding cleantech solutions to aid in the decontamination and decommissioning efforts at Fukushima. Roos said he lead a tour of 30 U.S. tech companies at the site to assess the ways they might be able to contribute, and the Japanese government is continuing to evaluate potential providers.

The country is planning to phase out nuclear energy altogether by 2040, in the meantime bolstering its renewable energy portfolio. The country is experimenting with green building and solar, wind and ocean energy sources to help power itself. That’s providing an opening for cutting-edge, cleantech companies in places like Silicon Valley.

From the Silicon Valley Business Journal.


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