priests hold a memorial ceremony at the site of an ancient
in the irradiated town of Namie inside Japan's
exclusion zone,' Feb. 19. Is it time for a 'nuclear renaissance?'
Shimpo Hebei Shimbun, Japan
and Japan 'Too Hasty' about Resuming Nuclear Plant Construction
"The United States has issued the go-ahead for a new nuclear power plant without a detailed accounting of what happened at Fukushima. … What is needed now is a
more complete disclosure of information and a far more thorough investigation
into the causes of the Fukushima disaster. … Talk of a 'nuclear
renaissance" is far too hasty."
The United States has
approved the construction and operation of a new nuclear power plant. It has
been 34 years since the Three-Mile Island nuclear accident and the completion
of the last U.S.-based nuclear plant, both occurring in 1978. Toshiba is
heading up the design of the new plant, and will export any additional
equipment needed for the project.
[Editor's Note: The plant, a
new modular design that will make it easier to construct and maintain, will be
built in Vogtle, Georgia, about 26 miles southeast of Augusta. Toshiba’s
Westinghouse Electric unit designed the two 1,100 megawatt reactors,
which will be built by Southern Co. and Scana Corp.]
German publication Der
Spiegel dubbed this, "The beginning of a nuclear power renaissance."
But this time around, the world is far better informed.
GE Hitachi aims to conclude a
agreement with the Lithuanian government on construction of a nuclear plant
by the summer of this year. In addition, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and French
company Areva are collaborating to fill orders for a nuclear plant in Jordan.
Since Japan cannot now be
expected to build nuclear power plants within its borders, the nuclear industry
has shifted its attention to fulfilling orders overseas. The profit coming for
the construction of the plant in Lithuania totals roughly $4.9 billion [400
billion yen]. Conventional "smokestack" plant construction is also
After the accident at Fukushima,
the Noda Administration stated time-and-again that Japan “would cease its
dependence on nuclear energy.” On the other hand, Prime Minister Noda made
clear his intention to export nuclear technology, announcing last October that
a deal with Vietnam had been concluded.
Anti-nuclear groups have criticized
the strategy, calling it "double-dealing" - and rightfully so.
The chairman of Japan's Federation of Electric Power Companies(FEPC),
Kansai Electric President Mr. Yagi, told the Advisory Commission on Energy and
Natural Resources, tasked with researching alternative sources of energy,
"Nuclear plants continue to be an essential power source." In regard
to expanding the use of nuclear power in developing countries, Mr. Yagi said,
"We have a responsibility to continue to allow emerging countries to have
access to peaceful nuclear power." Other organizations interested in
promoting nuclear power agree. While the chorus of pro-nuclear groups was
reduced to a whisper after the Fukushima accident, it is now beginning to
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
East European countries
would like to reduce natural gas imports from Russia, China must reduce its
carbon emissions, emerging nations want to generate power commensurate with
China, and the United States would like to further diversify its energy
sources. For the purpose of maintaining economic growth, the demand for nuclear
power remains deeply rooted.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of
France has defended the idea of maintaining France's oldest operating nuclear
plant, which went into operation in 1977. Due to deteriorating conditions and
location, environmental groups are calling for the termination of all aging
plants. Italians overwhelmingly approved a referendum calling for the closure
of all nuclear plants, and Germany plans to close all nuclear plants within its
borders by 2022. The issue is causing great debate within the European Union.
There is a theory that the
Fukushima accident was more of a natural disaster and less of a man-made one,
and therefore, in order to improve the balance of trade, Japan should without
hesitation continue to export nuclear power. There is a lingering sense of
crisis, as the trade deficit has grown to an 11-year high [$18.2 billion].
However, at the public
hearing on whether to approve construction of the new U.S. plant, Nuclear
Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko was opposed, and set out conditions
he considered essential to be met before approval. He urged conditions that
would have stipulated that any new nuclear plant construction consider the
lessons of the Fukushima disasters and implement new safety measures.
[Editor's Note: After being
the lone dissenting voice in a 4-1 vote to approve, NRC
Chairman Jaczko is quoted as saying, “I cannot support these licenses as if
Fukushima never happened.” The chairman went on to say that he couldn’t support
the licenses without a binding agreement that Atlanta-based Southern and its
partners would operate the new reactors with safety enhancements meant to
prevent the partial meltdowns that occurred at Fukushima.]
It is obvious from the
investigations that have already been carried out that the accident at
Fukushima was not only due to an unprecedented natural disaster. What is needed
now is a more complete disclosure of information and a far more thorough
investigation into the causes of the disaster.
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