Lessons from the Japanese Experience with Nuclear Power
Early Fall 2017
The application will open soon. The program is still pending approval.
Program Dates: August 21 - September 22, 2017
Location: August 21-September 1 at UW Bothell; September 6-22 at Ehime University, Matsuyama, Japan
Program Director: Matt DePies, Science & Technology, email@example.com
Program Coordinator: Hiroshi Miyamoto, firstname.lastname@example.org
Estimated Program Fee: $3,200 which covers: 5 Autumn Quarter credits; local transportation, housing, most meals, cultural activities in Japan
Additional Costs: airfare (~$1,400), travel insurance ($40), study abroad fee ($250), some meals in Japan, personal expenses at UW Bothell and while abroad.
Academic Credits: 5 Autumn Quarter 2016 credits of BME 493
This early fall course explores the challenges and opportunities of deploying new energy technologies that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. The geographic focus is Japan, and specifically the island of Shikoku, though comparison will also be made to the US and Pacific Northwest.
Japan is an especially interesting case because of the sudden loss of nearly a third of the country’s electric power generating capacity when all nuclear plants were shut down after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in March 2011. Since then, electric utilities, regulators, and policymakers have scrambled to develop wind, solar, geothermal, ocean, and other alternative sources of energy, while also restructuring the electric power industry around a new regulatory framework that will increase competition and strengthen accountability. These developments have occurred in a fraught political environment, where powerful energy firms, long shielded by a protective layer of politicians and bureaucrats, face an increasingly skeptical public and local communities determined to have a say in the energy choices made on their behalf.
The course begins with two weeks of study at UW Bothell. Students will receive a primer in electric power generation with renewable and sustainable resources, and learn about the structure and regulation of the electric utility sector. Aspects of Japanese culture, language, geography, and political economy will also be introduced to prepare students for their time in Japan and provide context for understanding the energy situation.
In the second two weeks, students will be in residence at Ehime University in Matsuyama, Japan. Faculty and guest lecturers will speak to recent developments in Japanese energy policy, regional and national efforts to spur development of renewable energy, and local citizen movements to bring more transparency and accountability to decisions about the future of energy. Visits to local power plants and organizations involved in sustainable energy and electric power will give students first-hand insight into the views of key stakeholders.
After completing the course, students should be able to:
1) Describe renewable energy technologies now being developed, as well as ways non-renewable technologies may be used more sustainably.
2) Identify and critique ways in which renewable and sustainable energy technologies are being deployed in Japan and the US.
3) Describe the organization and operation of the regulated electric utility in Japan, identify differences with the US, and understand the economic and political constraints under which it operates.
4) Identify the key stakeholders in the regulation and management of energy systems in Japan, describe the process in which stakeholder interests are translated into energy policy, and identify and explain differences with the US.
5) Appreciate, and engage, the voice of Japanese citizens and citizen movements in pressing for a more accountable, ethical, and sustainable energy system.
6) Participate in a more informed way in local and national decisions about the future of energy.
Pre-requisites: This course is designed for students at UW interested in learning about developments in energy technology and policy in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Students from all academic disciplines and year are welcome, but preference will be given to those in the UW Bothell School of STEM with junior-level status or above. Applicants should be prepared for a rigorous interdisciplinary experience around culture, economics, politics, and science as they pertain to energy and energy policy. Knowledge of Japanese is not required.