Editer l'article Suivre ce blog Administration + Créer mon blog
Le blog de fukushima-is-still-news

information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Clear pro-nuke message from Obuchi


 September 21, 2014

Obuchi starts nuclear power pitch




New industry minister Yuko Obuchi started to spin a clear pro-nuclear message Sunday, seeking to convince a deeply skeptical public of the upside of atomic power by arguing that the resource-poor Japan should be realistic about meeting its energy needs.

More than three years after the Fukushima disaster, the public remains unconvinced about the safety of nuclear power, and the tricky task of winning them over has fallen to Obuchi, the first woman to head the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

“It would be very difficult to make the decision not to have nuclear power right now,” Obuchi, who visited the Fukushima No. 1 plant two weeks ago, claimed during a debate broadcast live Sunday by NHK.

Nevertheless, Obuchi, appointed during this month’s Cabinet reshuffle, conceded that “it’s an issue that is difficult to explain in short phrases,” and acknowledged that “we have to take seriously the concerns voiced after Fukushima.”

She also made note of Japan’s soaring energy costs, which were exacerbated by the “Abenomics”-weakened yen’s further slide in value last week.

“After the Fukushima accident, the cost of fossil fuel imports jumped by ¥3.6 trillion ($33 billion), or ¥10 billion ($92 million) per day,” she said.

Before the March 2011 quake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 plant, nuclear power accounted for nearly one-third of Japan’s energy needs. Now Japan’s self-sufficiency rate is just 6 percent, versus 85 percent in the U.S. and 50 percent in France.

The need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions means Japan can’t afford to rely heavily on fossil fuels, she added, noting that electricity supply from solar and wind power remain unsteady.

Obuchi claimed the Nuclear Regulation Authority, an independent nuclear watchdog set up in the aftermath of the meltdowns, has “the world’s strictest safety guidelines.” As a result, she argued, “The government policy is to restart a nuclear plant that has passed these guidelines.” The NRA’s decision-making panel lost its only seismologist last week in a mandatory reshuffle and added a pro-nuclear engineering professor seen as having cozy ties with the industry.

An unsteady supply of electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind power and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to combat global warming means Japan cannot afford to rely heavily on fossil fuels, Obuchi argued, adding that “after the Fukushima (disaster), the cost of fossil fuel imports jumped by ¥3.6 trillion, or ¥10 billion per day.”

The NRA earlier this month gave the green light to two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture. Hurdles remain, however, in getting the consent of local host communities who may still be scarred by the Fukushima crisis.

All of Japan’s 48 commercial reactors remain offline pending beefed up safety tests.

Widespread anti-nuclear sentiment has simmered ever since the quake and tsunami sparked the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.

Tens of thousands of residents had to be evacuated as the Fukushima reactors spewed fallout on their municipalities and the central government imposed a 20-km no-go zone around the plant. Many have not been permitted to return home, and scientists warn that parts of the hot zone might have to be left abandoned forever.

 September 21, 2014


Partager cet article
Pour être informé des derniers articles, inscrivez vous :
Commenter cet article