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Comments by Fukushima Prefecture Governor Eisaku Sato Concerning Japan’s Pluthermal (MOX fuel utilization) Program and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.

カテゴリー: @ 2002年8月20日

Fukushima Prefecture is currently carrying out a review of Japan’s national energy policy from the point of view of an energy producing prefecture. Since the December 1999 BNFL MOX data falsification scandal, governor Sato has refused to give his consent to the loading of MOX fuel into Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 3 nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric is seeking to load 32 MOX fuel assemblies during the current scheduled outage, but it is expected that Sato will continue to refuse implementation of the pluthermal program.

Reported on June 4, 2002

The following comments were made by governor Sato at a meeting with regional mayors at the Fukushima Prefecture Office in Fukushima City on June 3, 2002. During this meeting the pro-pluthermal mayors called on the governor to allow loading of MOX fuel into the Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 3 reactor.

  • "(The prefecture) is pursuing a review of energy policy from various angles. The pluthermal program, however, is costly and will lead to the separation of more plutonium, and I don’t see why it is necessary to implement this program." (NHK)
  • "From an economic point of view, I don’t understand why it is necessary to implement (such a program)." (NHK)
  • "I don’t understand your demands to push forward the pluthermal program, given that terrorism and the three non-nuclear principles are in the news now." (Asahi)
  • "(If the nuclear fuel cycle is implemented), plutonium will rapidly build up. At some point in time we need to really think about this." (Asahi)
  • "With the prospects for Monju fast breeder reactor development still far from certain, and the nuclear fuel cycle in the unsatisfactory state it is in, (reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel) will only lead to a rapid increase in plutonium." (Kahoku)
  • "For approximately 50 years (while there are still reserves of uranium) another method would be to pursue a once through fuel cycle policy, and if an energy crisis occurs, consider the project at that point in time. The national government should disclose this to the public and both sides should think about this option." (Kahoku)
  • "In a deregulated electricity market, if the costly pluthermal program is implemented, it might lead to worker layoffs." (Kahoku)
  • "One option is for Fukushima Prefecture to say, ‘We’re freezing this program.’" (Mainichi)
  • "For 50 years a once through policy could be implemented, and in that time if there is an energy crisis, then the pluthermal program could be implemented." (Mainichi)
  • "Is this program really necessary? Freezing (the program) should also be considered." (Yomiuri)
  • "I gave advance permission for the [pluthermal] program, but is [the program] really necessary? Opinions have been given which point out that the outlook for Monju and the nuclear fuel cycle is unclear, and that the [pluthermal] program will not solve the surplus plutonium problem." (Yomiuri)
  • "I do not understand why such a costly project is necessary." (Jiji)
  • "In the absence of a firm recycling plan, it will only result in a huge amount of excess plutonium." (Jiji)
  • "If someone doesn’t think seriously about this issue, then something unfortunate will happen." (Fukushima Minpo)
  • "It is not hard for me to understand demands for building more nuclear power plants, but I can not understand demands for implementing the pluthermal program." (Fukushima Minpo)

Reported on June 5, 2002

The following comment is an excerpt from an interview published in Fukushima Minpo on June 5, 2002.

  • "The national government’s nuclear energy administration is a black box, and there is no civil sector control." (Fukushima Minpo)Reported on Aug 6, 2002
    The following comments were made by governor Sato at a meeting with all five commissioners of Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Fukushima City on August 5, 2002.
  • "In 1998 Fukushima was the first prefecture to give prior consent to the pluthermal program and we have cooperated with government policy. However, even though the time and state of affairs has changed, nuclear policy has not changed. From the point of view of an electricity producing region, I am concerned about the future. Has not atomic energy policy, including the pluthermal program, entered into a second stage?" (Denki Newspaper)
  • "The central government’s nuclear energy policy is decided without listening to regional opinion, and the grounds for nuclear energy being cheap have not been clarified." (Kyodo)
  • "If reprocessing is continued, surplus plutonium will pile up. Shouldn’t reprocessing be considered after abundant supplies of uranium have been used up?" (Kyodo)
  • "Not enough is being done to provide information to the public and allow everyone to think about what should be done." (Kyodo)
  • "Society as a whole is going through a period of change. Hasn’t the time come for nuclear energy policy to be returned to the drawing boards and rethought?" (Kahoku Shinpo)
  • "(The Atomic Energy Commission) should make public information such as whether nuclear power is expensive or cheap. This should be explained to the public and the public’s views should be sought." (Asahi)
  • "The nuclear fuel cycle is different from the recyling of other resources. It imposes a burden on the environment because of issues such as nuclear waste." (Denki Shimbun)

- End -

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