[ RadSafe ] NEW PAPER: Time to Substitute Wood Bioenergy for Nuclear Power in Japan ??
Brennan, Mike (DOH)
Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Wed Jul 20 17:21:02 CDT 2011
I think that energy from wood biomass may (but only may) work as a
byproduct of logging for wood, but I am highly skeptical that it is an
economically viable reason for destroying forests (unless someone else
has to cover the costs, in which case the profit can be large).
I agree with everything Stewart said, and would point out that logging
in general and logging for biomass in particular is non-sustainable,
unless some things are done that are usually controversial and always
energy intensive. Based on experiences in several parts of the world,
it appears that you can harvest to the equivalent of clear cutting at
most three times (and in some places only once) before the land is so
deficient in key elements that it won't support a healthy forest
anymore. One of the things that can help replenish the forest is adding
sewage sludge, but that isn't popular with all interested parties.
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of stewart farber
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:50 PM
To: 'The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing
Subject: [ RadSafe ] NEW PAPER: Time to Substitute Wood Bioenergy for
Nuclear Power in Japan ??
There is a new paper just published about managing forests for Wood
Bioenergy electricity production in Japan. The Abstract is given below
signature. If you are interested, follow the link to download a pdf copy
free. This paper uses the Fukushima accident post-tsunami to argue that
Japan 's forests [biomass] could substitute for all the power generation
There is a clear error in their Wood Biomass Equivalent by a factor of
20, underestimating in their calculations of matching biomass
how many million tons of wood it takes to replace TEPCO's 80.9 billion
See if you can find the error yourself, or do your own calculation from
or J per kg or whatever, and let me know what you derive as the number
kWh result from burning a million tons of wood biomass in a modern wood
fired power plant.
I'm writing a Letter to the Editor of this on-line journal [ Energies ]
pointing out the error by the authors in that they claim that it would
only 14.6 million tonnes of wood per year to generate the 80.9 billion
from TEPCO. Just looking at a figure of 14.6 million tones of wood, it
seemed obvious it was not enough to generate 81 billion kWh. The
state that the annual harvest of wood in Japan is about 32 million
In actuality, replacing 81 billion kWh of nuclear generation by TEPCO
take at least 290 million tons of wood based on their paper's stated
that a million tons of wood biomass produce 20 PJ or 0.28 billion kWh.
Also, there is also no accounting in their making the claim about kWh
million tons of wood in considering the net energy for a wood fuel
[i.e.: how much energy does it take per million tons of wood to remove
from the forested 25 million ha -much of it on very steep slopes] and
transport it to a biomass power plant. This is an important number. My
guestimate is that at least 40% of the energy in harvested wood would be
consumed in cutting and thinning trees in isolated forests, bulling it
the forests [with significant environmental impact], chipping it, and
transporting the harvested wood chips by large trucks to distributed
fired power plants. The late realization that the corn ethanol fuel
was a breakeven in terms of energy in and energy out, provides a
precedent of the initial euphoria of the proponents of some supposed
to our energy needs.
Intrestingly, logging is one of the most dangerous occupations on earth
terms of deaths and injuries per 100,000 person-hours. I have no doubt
harvesting even 50 million tons of biomass per year for woodchips would
to more deaths and injuries than resulted from the Fukushima accident.
And then, what energy is involved in disposing of the millions of cubic
meters of wood ash per year from burning tens of millions of tons of
per year. The ash will be slightly radioactive as a consequence of the
Cs-137 and Sr-90 uptake by biomass of fallout activity from open air
of nuclear weapons. Back in 1991, I carried out a survey of Cs-137 in
ash from around the US. Cs-137 levels of approximately 550 Bq [ 15,000
per kg of woodash were measured. Woodash from FL was measured at 925 Bq
25,000 pCi ] per kg of woodash. Not a lot but interestingly elevated as
There is also an elevated level of K-40 and daughters of the U-238 and
Th-232 decay series in woodash that won't be decaying away with a 30
half-life J. What are the pathways to man from a million tons of mildly
So, if interested, take a look at the paper accessed from the link below
about the suggestion to replace all of Japan's nuclear generation by
Also, does anyone have ready access to what is shown as Ref.6 in the
attached paper through their employer's library?:
6. Etoh, H.; Sasaki, N.; Chay, S.; Ninomiya, H. Carbon emission
potentials through thinned wood in Japan. iForest 2011, 4, 107-112.
Stewart Farber, MSPH
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
Bridgeport, CT 06606
email: SAFarber at optonline.net
Title: Time to Substitute Wood Bioenergy for Nuclear Power in Japan
Authors: Sasaki, N.; Owari, T.; Putz, F.E.
Damage to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant by the recent earthquake and
tsunami that hit northern Japan should stimulate consideration of
alternative sources of energy. In particular, if managed appropriately,
25.1 million ha of Japanese forests could be an important source of wood
biomass for bioenergy production. Here, we discuss policy incentives for
substituting wood bioenergy for nuclear power, thereby creating a safer
society while better managing the forest resources in Japan.
Citation: Sasaki, N.; Owari, T.; Putz, F.E. Time to Substitute Wood
Bioenergy for Nuclear Power in Japan. Energies 2011, 4, 1051-1057.
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