Energy Shift: Urgent Statement Against the Resumption of Nuclear Power Plant Operations on the Pretext of Tight Power Supply and Demand Due to the Extreme Heat
The rainy season ended about 20 days earlier than usual this year, and since the last week of June, there have been extremely hot days in many parts of Japan. As a result, the government has issued an “Electricity Supply-Demand Stress Alert” in the service areas of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and other areas, and has issued a request for power saving. As if in response to this situation, there is a growing demand for the restart of nuclear power plants. Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ) feels a strong sense of crisis over this trend toward restarting nuclear power plants, and we hereby express our clear opposition to it.
Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, nuclear power plants, which had provided nearly 30% of the nation’s electricity needs, were completely shut down. Until now there has never been a problem with the supply and demand of electricity because there is enough absolute capacity.
The current tight power supply-demand situation is a result of the government’s decision to shut down aging thermal power plants with low profitability during this period, while leaving it up to individual power companies to make their own decisions. The danger of nuclear power plants is not only a matter of the government’s own judgment but also that of the public.
The dangers of nuclear power are self-evident to both those directly involved in nuclear power plants and to local residents, especially in Japan, where earthquakes and disasters are frequent.
The power supply must be converted to renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind power, and biomass as soon as possible. However, mega solar power plants and giant wind turbines are causing various problems such as environmental destruction in the surrounding areas. Rather than relying on huge power capital, it is desirable to decentralize and bottom-up energy systems so that local residents can participate in building systems that contribute to local revitalization.
At the same time, along with appropriate energy-saving lighting and air conditioning in offices and houses, we should also promote insulation and energy saving in buildings without going all-electric, use of public transportation and bicycles in urban areas, and other efforts. It is necessary to clarify the power generation capacity and other aspects of in-house power generation owned by companies and other entities, and to formulate measures to address electricity supply and demand.
Let us urgently work on an energy shift away from dependence on nuclear power and fossil fuels.