Japan’s anti-nuclear movement may have lost a bit of steam the past months, but the support of two former Prime Ministers seems to have been reviving interest and support among the public. Both Juinichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa have been publicly stating that the country has to work towards weaning itself away from nuclear energy.
Koizumi, considered a mentor to current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said that while the administration is enjoying great support from the public, they should “do the right thing” when it comes to the nuclear issue. He added that while all the nuclear reactors are currently offline, this would be the perfect opportunity to begin the phase-out of nuclear power. Within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party however, opinions are divided when it comes to whether or not to restart the reactors. Abe believes that Japan can’t afford to lose the reactors, as they cannot continue to rely on fuel sources of energy, which are too expensive in the long run. The administration is reportedly working on a national energy policy that will reverse the previous government’s commitment to make Japan nuclear-free in the next two decades.
Meanwhile, Hosokawa said in an interview that he doesn’t understand how the government could think about restarting the plants when they do not have a process or place to discard the nuclear waste. “It would be a crime against future generations for our generation to restart nuclear plants without resolving this issue,” he strongly stated. This is a sentiment that has been echoed by Koizumi and other politicians. A country like Japan that doesn’t have much vacant land to work with will have huge problems when it comes to nuclear waste disposal and they say it is “irresponsible” to make people believe that there will be a “final radioactive waste storage site” in the country.
They are referring to specifically the problem at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the site of the worst nuclear accident in recent years, which will take decades to clean up. The government says they are preparing a temporary burial site to store the nuclear waste until the time comes when the permanent storage site is ready. But anti-nuclear experts say that even burying it underground will still affect future generations to the harmful effects of radiation.
[ via SF Gate ]