I do not believe anyone in Japan, regardless of whether he/she is pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear, wants to have another nuclear accident. But according to the former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Japan then has to abandon nuclear power.
From Wall Street Journal's Fukushima Watch (3/12/2014):
Fukushima Watch: Is Japan Ready for Another Nuclear Accident?
Is Japan ready for another nuclear accident? That is a question the country must answer before returning to large-scale reliance on nuclear power, according to a former senior U.S. nuclear energy regulatory official.
“This has to be remembered — that there are certain accidents that are not preventable,” said Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “The question Japan has to ask itself is: Is the country willing to have another accident? And if the answer is no, then the answer has to be no more nuclear power,” he said Tuesday in an interview with JRT.
Mr. Jaczko made the remarks as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party debates whether to approve a new energy plan that defines nuclear power as an important “base load” electricity source that should almost always run at full capacity. During a ceremony Tuesday to commemorate the third anniversary of the March 2011 disaster that triggered the Fukushima crisis, LDP lawmaker an lower house speaker Bunmei Ibuki said “it seems as if we have reaped the benefits of electricity … while letting the people of Fukushima bear the cost.”
Reaffirming a commitment to nuclear power was one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign promises in the national election he won in late 2012. But during parliamentary deliberations Monday, Mr. Abe himself called for a reduction on dependence on nuclear power “as much as possible.” Nevertheless, he stressed the importance of nuclear power and called for the restart of reactors idled since the Fukushima accident.
Public opinion polls have consistently shown high approval for Mr. Abe’s leadership and strong opposition to nuclear power at the same time.
In the March 2011 disaster, an earthquake caused large tsunami waves that knocked out all backup power at the Fukushima plant, paralyzing cooling systems and eventually causing three of six reactors to melt down.
Investigations later showed the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.9501.TO -2.51% had underestimated the potential size of a tsunami and the chances of losing all power, ignoring studies recommending stronger safety systems.
Mr. Jaczko said it was true Tepco had failed to sufficiently prepare for the disaster. “But at the end of the day, Tepco didn’t create the earthquake, Mother Nature did that,” he said.
Japan’s new, stricter regulations meant to prevent another big accident like Fukushima took effect in July 2013. Since then, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has been reviewing the safety of several reactors that power companies want to restart. The NRA is expected to identify one or two reactors that are nearly ready to restart when its board meets Thursday.
That nuclear power plant looks to be Sendai Nuclear Power Plant located in Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu. The operator, Kyushu Electric Power Company, is likely to face power shortage this summer, and there is little opposition in the city of Satsumasendai, where the power plant is located.
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority's review of the nuclear power plants based on the new regulatory standard that NRA crafted in haste is mostly about hardware - plants, reactors, equipment, backup batteries, etc.. I don't believe NRA has even adequately investigated what went wrong on the "software" side of the Fukushima nuclear accident - how well or how badly politicians, regulators, scientists, TEPCO communicated with each other in the crucial first few weeks of the accident, for example. Or why the teleconference system at the Prime Minister's Official Residence was never turned on. Or why no one was able to tell then-PM Kan to shut up and listen to the experts.
They didn't communicate well at all, but the NRA commissioners - four scientists and one former diplomat - seem to think they can do much better and there is no need to learn from the mistakes from people like Dr. Haruki Madarame, who has publicly demanded that NRA call him and hear him out. Dr. Madarame is rather upset that the NRA commissioners don't think it necessary to learn from the mistakes he made as he was in the middle of the initial chaos after the start of the nuclear accident.
So, not for the reason that Dr. Jaczko cites - if Japan don't want another nuclear accident - but for the reason that practically nothing has been learned on the "software" mistakes from the Fukushima nuclear accident, I agree with Dr. Jaczko that Japan should stay away from nuclear power generation.