Friday, July 5, 2013

Japan Upper House Election Promises from Political Parties on Nuclear Power

The campaign is already in full swing. Half of Japan's Upper House - House of Councilors - will face election, where Liberal Democratic Party is already rumored to take as many as 73 seats of 122 that are being contested. Combined with 50 seats it already has, LDP could hold the majority in the Upper House, even without the coalition partner Komei Party.

With that wonderful prospect, let us turn to what the parties are promising in terms of nuclear power, 2 years and 4 months after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.

In these 2 years and 4 months, food contaminated with varying amounts of radioactive materials (now mostly cesium) continue to be grown and sold, people continue to live in the contaminated middle-third of Fukushima Prefecture and people there continue to grow food for the rest of the country, reduction of radiation contamination has been achieved not by decontamination work by the government and municipalities but by natural reduction through weathering.

In other words, not much has changed since the early days of the nuclear accident. The only difference is that reactors are no longer blowing up one after another at Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

Liberal Democratic Party (自民党)(Uggghhh the top page is a huge photo of Abe's face, with too much photoshopping....):

(page 5 of PDF)東京電力福島第一原発事故に関し、新しくかつ友好な除染・減容化技術の導入や中間貯蔵施設の整備等、除染の加速化に努めます。また、除染から廃炉までの道筋を明らかにし、国がより前面に立って具体的な事業展開を加速化します。また、風評被害対策にも万全を期します。

About the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, we will try to accelerate decontamination by introducing new and effective decontamination and volume reduction technologies and by preparing the intermediate storage facilities [for contaminated soil, etc]. We will make clear the pathway from decontamination to decommissioning, and have the national government closer to the forefront in accelerating the business [of decontamination and decommissioning, I suppose]. We will do our best in countering baseless rumors.

(Note that it does not say "the national government will be at the forefront". It will be closer to the forefront than where it is now. Note also that they won't decontaminate. They will accelerate the work. Whatever that means.)

(page 9 of PDF) 原子力発電所の安全性については、原子力規制委員会の専門的判断に委ねます。その上で、国が責任を持って、安全と判断された原発の再稼動については、地方自治体の理解が得られるよう最大限の努力をいたします。

We will leave the safety of nuclear power plants to the expert judgment of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. we will make our maximum effort to obtain the understanding (consent) of the restart from the local municipalities once the nuclear power plants are deemed safe, on the national government's responsibility.

(Hmmm. It looks as if the national government's responsibility is not about the safety of the nuke plants but about its max effort to obtain the local consent.)

Democratic Party of Japan:

(Well, beyond the first page with nice calligraphy, the PDF refuses to load on Firefox.)

Komei Party (公明党) (section headlines):


1. Revive Fukushima
2. Create a roadmap toward decommissioning
3. Stricter safety control
4. Accelerate decontamination

(In other words, nothing new. Komei Party doesn't seem to be aware that we already have a roadmap for decommissioning for nearly 2 years now.)

Japan Restoration Party (日本維新の会) (aka Boy-wonder's party on this blog):



"Smarter and stronger" energy supply system

Promote wind, biomass and other renewable energy to create jobs in local economies.
Go beyond the system that rely on nuclear power plants and lead advanced nations.
Fundamentally revise nuclear policy mechanisms and rules and make them stricter.
Set the world number one safety standards, and make operation of nuclear power safer.
Make the path to decommissioning clear.
Make the responsibility of the government and electric power companies clear by revising the laws regarding nuclear accident compensation.
Make decisions soon on spent fuel recycling and final disposal sites.

Japanese Communist Party (日本共産党) (headlines from the long page on nuclear policy):


Japan without nuclear power plant - stop the reckless restart of nuke plants and nuclear exports, make a political decision on "zero nuke plant" immediately

原発事故は「収束」どころか、危機的事態の真っただ中です 政府が再稼働のテコにしようとする「新基準」も、「破たん」しています

[Fukushima] nuclear accident hasn't "ended"; it is still in the middle of crisis. "New standards" that the government wants to use to restart nuke plants are already "broken". [JCP says an interesting thing - that Nuclear Regulatory Authority has stopped using the word "safety standards" and started using the word "regulatory standards", because it cannot guarantee safety.]


"Three proposals from Japanese Communist Party toward nuclear-free Japan"
Japanese Communist Party thinks the most realistic and responsible way is to stop dangerous restart of nuclear power plants and to make a political decision on "zero nuke immediately", and proposes the following:


1. Withdraw "declaration of end of the accident", position ending the accident, decommissioning, decontamination, and compensation as a big national project that combines expertise and knowledge in Japan, and carry them through.
2. Withdraw policy of restarting nuclear power plants, halt nuclear exports.
3. Make a political decision to stop nuke plants immediately, and make a fundamental shift toward rapidly introducing renewable energy. [This includes shutting down Monju fast breeder and Rokkasho fuel recycling plant.]

People's Life Party (生活の党):


Life: Beyond nuclear is the growth strategy
We will rapidly promote latest thermal power generation and new energy such as solar, wind, biomass, methane hydrate.
In the areas that have nuclear power plant, we will promote the growth of local economy and local employment by going beyond nuclear, promoting decommissioning businesses and new energy.

LDP, DPJ, Japan Restoration Party have their campaign promises in PDF files. That's silly.

The sneakiest wording award goes to LDP, and the devoid of meaning award goes to Komei, with Boy-wonder's party close second.

Boy-wonder's party's election promises read like a textbook for elementary school kids. Everything is about making something "smarter and stronger" (their slogan). It sounds just plain silly. And their drivels about nuclear power and energy are, drivels.

I think I like Japanese Communist Party the best, though I personally disagree with decontamination (I don't think decontamination is feasible) and renewable energy.

I don't think much of Ichiro Ozawa's party (People's Life Party)'s policy. Using decommissioning work as economic growth strategy? How can you grow economy and feel good about it by exposing the workers to added radiation from decommissioning nuclear power plants? Decommissioning is what one needs to do, whether that makes money or not.

By the way, One of the reasons why Nuclear Regulatory Authority decided to start implementing the new regulatory safety standards on July 8, instead of later this month as originally planned, is rather obvious. By doing it on July 8, in the middle of the heated campaign, no one will pay attention.

I suppose the Japanese will practice what they preach to others (like secular Egyptians who demonstrated against "democratically elected" President Morsi) and support the overwhelmingly and "democratically elected" government of Liberal Democratic Party and its policies.


Anonymous said...

I don't think earthquakes are going to care much about stricter safety regulations.

Anonymous said...

ExSKF personally disagrees with renewable energy? Huh?
Are these typos or just brain mishaps? I do agree that renewable energy, in and of itself, without radical reform of our entire way of living, is silly, but it is a step forward, no? What other option, more gas and oil and nuke cartel power?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon above, as you say it yourself, "renewable energy, in and of itself, without radical reform of our entire way of living, is silly". Without change in the way of living, it is not a step forward.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust Japanese with any big systems - big solar farms, big wind farms, big methane hydrate recovery projects that they are planning, after they have proven themselves to be totally incompetent operating nuclear power plants.

VyseLegendaire said...

"Renewable' energy entirely depends on fossil fuels for its production and maintenance, and does not provide baseload energy. A simpler way of life awaits us all, in the most realistic prospectus.

VyseLegendaire said...

Check out the excellent blog for the best overview on the net about 'renewable' energy.

Anonymous said...

"Decommissioning is what one needs to do, whether that makes money or not". Well, for sure decommissioning does not make money and who carries it out (and how well) is an interesting story.

For example, in the US the utilities can wait 40 (forty) years before starting decommissioning. On the other hand, in Germany, they recently started decommissioning a phased out plant *because they have set aside the funds* to do the work, so no need to wait.

Now, what happens if the utility goes bankrupt before it decommissions all its npps...?


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