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Japan Starts Testing the World’s Fastest Bullet Train

The flurry of new models coincides with Japan's preparations to host the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

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Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs. Wikimedia Commons
Bullet train project will generate around 15 lakh new jobs. Wikimedia Commons

Japan has started testing its fastest-ever bullet train — capable of reaching 400 kilometers per hour (249 mph) — as it continues to develop the revolutionary mode of travel.

The ALFA-X version of the Shinkansen train began three years’ worth of test runs on Friday, the CNN reported.

Once it enters operation sometime around 2030, it will run at speeds of up to 360 kph (224 mph), comfortably making it the world’s fastest bullet train.

It will also outpace China’s Fuxing train, which runs at 10 kph slower despite being designed with the same top speed capabilities as the ALFA-X.

The model’s futuristic design features 10 cars and a long pointed nose.

It’ll be tested on the line between the cities of Sendai and Aomori, which are about 280 kilometers apart as the crow flies. Tests will take place after midnight, when the line is quiet, and will occur twice a week.

Bullet Train
Railway Board Chairman held a high-level meeting in Rail Bhavan last Thursday which was attended by Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, and Niti Aayog Vice Chairman. (Representational image). Wikimedia

The ALFA-X marks a new stage of growth for the Shinkansen, pushing the world-renowned high speed rail service even faster towards the future.

Its testing debut comes as Japan’s new high-speed Shinkansen N700S continues tests that began just over a year ago.

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That model will enter operation in 2020, but its maximum speeds of 300 kph — the same as other N700 series trains — will be easily surpassed by the ALFA-X.

The flurry of new models coincides with Japan’s preparations to host the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

No matter what speeds the train achieves during its test runs, it won’t match the record-breaking pace of Japan Railway’s magnetic levitation, or maglev, train which hit 603 kph (374 mph) on an experimental track in 2015. (IANS)

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Japan’s 2018 Greenhouse Emissions Lowest in Two Decades: Report

The Japanese government aims to tackle this problem by introducing new regulations in 2020 to strengthen control over the disposal of hydroflurocarbon-using equipment

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Wind Energy
Low-cost renewable energy technologies like Wind Energy are readily-available today, representing the most effective and immediate solution for reducing carbon emissions. Pixabay

Japan in 2018 recorded its lowest greenhouse gas emissions in two decades thanks to a warm winter and increased generation of nuclear power, according to data released on Friday.

However, the country still has a long way to go to reach its Paris Agreement goal, Efe news reported.

In 2018, total carbon dioxide emissions were recorded at 1.24 billion tons, a year-on-year decrease of 3.6 per cent and the lowest figure since data compilation began in 1990, according to the preliminary figures released by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.

The previous low was recorded in 2009 with 1.25 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Although this is the fifth consecutive year of dropping emissions, the ministry acknowledged that a lot remained to be done to achieve the 2030 goal of 26 percent cut in emissions from the 2013 levels a target set under the Paris climate agreement.

From 2013 to 2018, Japan’s cumulative reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been 11.8 percent, according to the government’s figures published a week before the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid.

U.S., Pentagon, Greenhouse Gases
FILE – Air pollution hangs over the skyline as the sun rises over Beijing’s central business district, Jan. 14, 2013. VOA

The government said the main factors that contributed to the reduction were the decreasing production in power stations that use fossil fuels and gradual return to energy generation through nuclear plants.

Japan established a stricter safety framework following a nuclear standstill after the 2011 Fukushima accident.

Although the approval to reactivate was given in 2017, it was not until 2018 that the plants started functioning.

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Household emissions fell by 10 percent in 2018 due to increased use of energy-saving appliances and a warm winter which led to lower usage of heating systems during the season.

However, an increased use of air conditioners caused a 9.4 percent rise in hydrofluorocarbons emissions and other similar compounds.

The Japanese government aims to tackle this problem by introducing new regulations in 2020 to strengthen control over the disposal of hydroflurocarbon-using equipment. (IANS)