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The dilemma of "peaceful atom"

What does the accident at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant really mean for Japan?

The dilemma of "peaceful atom"

"Will everything be the same?" - I asked myself after the disaster at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant. From the point of view of the deputy chairman of the government committee on nuclear energy, I could not suppress doubts about the policy of the Abe government in the field of nuclear energy: the "peaceful atom" in Japan has been used for more than 30 years.

Before the accident, Japanese atomic energy flourished. After the war for nuclear-poor Japan, the emergence of atomic energy was a real miracle. After the oil crises of 1970, the “peaceful atom” became a means of getting rid of oil dependence, and in 2000 the nuclear power industry was steadily developing, becoming the main trump card in the fight against the increase in CO2 emissions, which is the cause of global warming.

The accident at the Fukushima-1 plant slowed the implementation of the course to increase the number of nuclear power plants of this type that were promoted under the auspices of the "myth of safety". It is not necessary to assume that even before the catastrophe that caused radioactive contamination, the emergence of a large number of refugees and, in general, had a great impact on Japanese society, energy policy was traditionally something good. There are also natural opinions that the level of dependence on nuclear energy will gradually decrease, which marks the transition to a more mature society and fully corresponds to the current situation in Japan, for which unstable time began.

Change course, which was followed for many years - it's not an easy thing. It is inevitable to revise all kinds of systems aimed at expanding the use of atomic energy, subsidies and subsidies allocated to local governments, budgetary support of industries and organizations adjacent to the industry, and promotion of the nuclear fuel cycle. To implement structural reforms, the country's energy policy needs an equivalent type of energy. After the accident, the leadership of the Democratic Party of Japan pointed to the need to create a structure that somehow will deal with the gradual curtailment of nuclear energy in the country. A council on energy and environment was established, chaired by the Minister of National Strategy. Conducting a public opinion survey in the form of discussions also provoked a change in Japan's energy policy. However, due to weakness and limited time, the committee did not engage in structural reforms.

On this occasion, representatives of the Abe government stated that structural reforms are not only not being implemented, but even seem to be going back to where they started. In the spring of the "main energy plan" there are points relating to the continued reduction of dependence on nuclear energy and finding an important source of electricity that would take on the main burden of nuclear power plants. The plan to make the “peaceful atom” the main method of generating electricity has not changed, and one way or another there is a high probability that we will return to the idea of ​​updating and creating new nuclear power plants.

- Why did it happen? There are two reasons. The first is that, compared with the implementation of structural energy reforms that require tremendous efforts, in the current situation for the Abe administration, the policy of economic growth is more priority.

- The second reason - the resistance of industrial circles. During the energy crises of the 1970-X due to a sharp jump in oil prices, almost all enterprises supported the government's policy of abandoning oil, but this time, even if the government will strive for structural reforms, the industry that hopes for nuclear energy As a source of cheap electricity, will not meet halfway.

I am not in favor of the idea of ​​an immediate abandonment of the "peaceful atom." It should be left as an option for choosing the way to produce energy in the future. Nevertheless, I believe that it is necessary to embark on the path of implementing structural reforms in life.

“What is worth doing for this?” First, create a different decision-making mechanism in energy policy. Taking into account the reviews of the atomic energy committee, I agreed with the proposals of intelligent people who said that it is necessary to reform the “neutral and fair” structure, which does not share the position regarding support for the “peaceful atom”. This time it did not come to reorganization. Expectations are more than modest.

- As for energy, which is the basis of everyone's life, it is necessary, without leaving the question to the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, to think through the whole country and make a conclusion on this issue. The conduct of a nationwide referendum on which to raise the question of how to obtain energy in the country - one way to hear the opinion of ordinary people. Of course, one should be cautious about emotional statements, but if, by providing objective data and expert opinions, competently conduct a discussion on this issue, we will see a result that will reflect people's opinion. Until the decision was made, the government, in the eyes of which the problem was developing, should seriously tackle such tasks as disposal of radioactive waste, storage of spent fuel, decommissioning of nuclear power plants, development of personnel, and so on.

Taking carelessly of structural reforms, returning to the old energy policy and not receiving the approval of society, it is impossible to resolve the dilemma as to whether to promote the nuclear power industry or resist it.

The Japanese have not learned any lessons from what happened 11 March.

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