Tag Archives: Nuclear

Opinions on the Draft Basic Energy Plan

Consumers Union of Japan submitted the following opinions on 1 October 2021, in response to the Japanese Government Agency for Natural Resources and Energy’s call for opinions on the formulation of the Sixth Basic Energy Plan.

Opinions on the Draft Basic Energy Plan

Please change “(6) Restructuring of nuclear power policy” in “(5) Policy responses toward 2030 with a view to 2050” to “(6) Transformation of nuclear power policy” and state “Immediately stop restarted nuclear power plants and realize zero nuclear power plants.

The accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has completely destroyed what has become known as the “safety myth” of nuclear power. It also revealed that the accident was a “man-made disaster” caused by the fact that TEPCO’s management knew in advance about the danger of tsunami, but neglected to address it.

In fact, everyone is well aware of the dangers of nuclear power plants, including local residents, citizens who call for zero nuclear power plants, and even residents of the so-called “nuclear village.” Even if a major accident does not occur, it is hard to argue that nuclear power plants are economically viable when decommissioning and other expenses are factored in.

Looking back at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, it is clear that the world has come to recognize that we cannot coexist with nuclear power plants, especially in Japan, a country of frequent earthquakes.

The Sixth Basic Energy Plan has as its key theme to show the path of energy policy toward the realization of carbon neutrality in 2050.

As climate change is occurring around the world, efforts to create a decarbonized society are accelerating, and more than 120 countries, including Japan, have already declared zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Renewable energy sources account for 70-80% of the electricity generated in Austria, Denmark, and Sweden, and more than 40% in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, in France, where the percentage of nuclear power plants is high, it is only over 20%. As for Japan, where the percentage is still around 18%, it is clear that Japan is lagging behind, even though solar power generation has been increased in recent years.

For example, in Germany, which relied on nuclear power for nearly 30% of its electricity in 2000, and renewable energy accounted for only 5-6% of its electricity. It has since reached the 40% level and has decided to go “zero nuclear” by 2022.

Japan also had no nuclear power plants immediately after the Fukushima nuclear accident, so it has already proven that it can sufficiently meet its electricity demand without relying on the restart of nuclear power plants. It is appropriate to follow the example of European countries and raise the renewable energy target for 2030 to 36-38%, and achieve zero nuclear power plants.

In 2016, the total deregulation of electricity retailing led to a shift from the 10 major power companies to new municipal power companies and small local power companies. By decentralizing and bottoming up the energy system, this movement will lead to the revitalization of local communities by establishing “lifestyles suited to one’s size” (local economic zones) through local production for local consumption. In order to achieve this, it is desirable to have the participation of residents, and the key points are involvement and participation in the decision-making system politically (secured by ordinances, etc.) and involvement in the business as economic participation (investment, etc.).

Energy-saving lighting and heating/cooling in offices and houses, building insulation, switching to electric vehicles, using public transportation and bicycles in urban areas, are among the efforts needed to make it possible to achieve 100% renewable energy for local low-voltage electricity in the near future.

At the prefectural level, Akita Prefecture, with its large amount of hydroelectric power generation, Kagoshima, Gunma, and Miyazaki Prefectures, with their large amount of solar power generation, and Oita Prefecture, with its large amount of geothermal power generation, have already achieved about 50% self-sufficiency in electricity from renewable energy sources.

By municipality, it is said that more than 100 municipalities in Japan have a regional energy self-sufficiency rate of more than 100%.

While it is true that the formation of regional economic zones based on local production for local consumption faces various challenges, the power shift is becoming more widespread in Japan through the various efforts of each region.

Thanks to the power of these regions, the shift away from nuclear power and toward renewable energy is steadily progressing in Japan, albeit belatedly.

The draft of the Basic Energy Plan assumes dependence on nuclear power plants, stating, “Nuclear power plants will be used on the necessary scale in a sustainable manner. Consumers Union of Japan notes that the draft of the Sixth Basic Energy Plan assumes that Japan will depend on nuclear power plants, but such reasoning will probably be overcome by reality sooner or later.

Fukushima 10 Years Later: Voices From the Continuing Nuclear Disaster

On the 10th anniversary of one of the worst nuclear accidents at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, and amid the controversial decision of the Japanese government to dump “treated” radioactive water into the ocean, Japanese NGOs Friends of the Earth Japan and Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC) co-produced a documentary film Fukushima 10 Years Later: Voices from the continuing nuclear disaster. The film sheds light on the ongoing suffering of victims of the accident and poses critical questions about the Japanese government’s poor responses to the accident.

While then-Prime Minister Abe vainly declared to the world that “the situation in Fukushima is completely under control”, nuclear decays are continuing inside the molten fuel rods, and the exploded plants are still emitting radioactive particles to this day. In the meanwhile, evacuees are torn apart in limbo, with grim hopes of returning to their homeland, continued fear of radioactive fallout, and a dire socio-economic situation. Fisherfolk, who overcame the initial fear of ocean contamination, are forced to relive the experience each time TEPCO and the Japanese government repeatedly choose to release contaminated water into the ocean.

This happens all under the propaganda that Fukushima is pressing ahead with “Fukkou (Recovery)”. This video aims to highlight the current situation of the victims of the man-made disaster, and challenge the government propaganda of Fukushima’s Recovery.

Fukushima 10 Years Later: Voices from the continuing nuclear disaster
Produced by Friends of the Earth Japan and Pacific Asia Resource Center
Supervised by Hosokawa Komei (Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy)
Directed by Matsumoto Hikaru (Friends of the Earth Japan)
Running time: 43 min.

The English subtitled version of the film is now available on Vimeo on Demand:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fukushima10years
Cost: (rental) 600 Yen (purchase) 4,950 Yen
For further information on the film, please contact OKUMURA Yuto, Pacific Asia Resource Center
E-mail: video@parc-jp.org

Japan Resources – No 169

Please click here CUJ-JR-169 for the latest issue of Japan Resources, our English newsletter.

In this issue we introduce our new campaign against genome-manipulated food, part of our strong resistance against GMOs in general. Field trials have started even though the government is slow to act to protect consumers or farmers. The debate about nuclear power is also high-lighted with Monju, the controversial fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture in the news.

We hope you will continue to stay updated with CUJ’s activities and news on our English website, and support our campaigns!

Contents:

From the Editors: Resistance and Resilience
Campaign Against Genome-manipulated Food
Press Release: Appeal for World Food Day
Food Security: Japan’s Self-sufficiency Rate for Sesame Seed Only 0.1%
Is the Consumer Agency in Fact the Industry Agency?
Pluto and Monju
News Flash: Monju Reactor Set for Decommissioning Lacks Sodium Removal Method

Please download the PDF file or read it here on our English website.

Pluto and Monju

In the old Greek mythology, Pluto was name of the god that ruled the underworld, where souls go after death. Someone who has recently been thinking about this is Nakajima Tetsuen, the head priest of the Buddhist temple Myoutsuu in Obama City, Fukui Prefecture. He currently serves as the chairperson of a local group of citizens that oppose nuclear power in the prefecture.

In December, 2016 the decision was finally taken to decommission and scrap the infamous nuclear reactor called Monju in Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture. To celebrate this, the citizens met on November 5, 2017 where Mr. Nakajima explained: “We should not walk the path to hell of Pluto, but instead follow the path of the Buddha, which is the path of the living.”

In Obama City, there are no nuclear power plants, but nearby, as many as 15 reactors are located around Wakasa Bay. The reason is the strong opposition by people in Obama City, led by Mr. Nakajima. In other locations that accepted nuclear plants, a splendid gymnasium or huge hot spring facilities were built using special government grants, while Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and old roads greet visitors to Obama City.

The priest of a Shingon temple with traditions dating back from the 9th century uses Buddhist teaching to communicate his message: “Maybe we can believe that Monju (also known as Manjushri) is a compassionate bodhisattva who will wake us all from the nightmare of multiplying hellish rulers…”

By Sugiura Yoko, CUJ

November 20, 2017

Japan Resources – No 166

Please click here CUJ-JR-166 for the latest issue of Consumer Union of Japan’s English newsletter, Japan Resources (pdf). The theme this time is nuclear energy and the many problems facing this country and all of us as energy consumers.

We hope you will continue to stay updated with CUJ’s activities and news on our English website, and support our campaigns!

Contents:

From the Editors: Thinking about Nuclear Energy

Japan on the Wrong Track with its Export of Nuclear Plants

Do Not Shift Nuclear Power Plant Related Costs to Our Electricity Bills

Withdraw the Proposed New System to Shift Nuclear Power Plant Related Costs to Our Electricity Bills

Smart Meters: Saying No, and Yes, You Can Switch Back to an Analogue Meter

Newsflash:

The Ecologist: The Collapse of Toshiba