London, Jan 21: In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan has decided to build the world's largest offshore wind farm to replace the crippled nuke plant.
The country plans to build a total of 143 wind turbines on platforms 16 kilometres off the coast of Fukushima by 2020, which is home to the stricken Daiichi nuclear reactor that hit the headlines in March 2011 when it was damaged by a severe earthquake and tsunami.
The wind farm will generate 1 gigawatt of power once completed, and is part of a national plan to increase renewable energy resources following the post-tsunami shutdown of the country's 54 nuclear reactors. Only two have since come back on-line, the 'New Scientist' reported.
The project is part of Fukushima's plan to become completely energy self-sufficient by 2040, using renewable sources alone. The prefecture is also set to build the country's biggest solar park.
The wind farm will surpass the 504 megawatts generated by the 140 turbines at the Greater Gabbard farm off the coast of Suffolk, UK – currently the world's largest farm.
The first stage of the Fukushima project will be the construction of a 2-megawatt turbine, a substation and undersea cable installation. The turbine will stand 200 metres high. If successful, further turbines will be built subject to the availability of funding.
Project manager Takeshi Ishihara of the University of Tokyo insists that the area's seismic activity won't be an issue for the turbines. His team have carried out computer simulations and water tank test to verify the safety of the turbines not just in the event of an earthquake or tsunami but also in other extreme conditions such as typhoons.
"All extreme conditions have been taken into consideration in the design. This project is important - I think it is impossible to use nuclear power in Fukushima again," he said.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the eastern coast of Japan in 2011, destroying the nuclear power plant that lay on the coast of Japan's Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture.