« 防災教育 自ら危機回避できる力育もう | トップページ | 参院問責決議 防衛相の資質には疑義がある »

2011年12月11日 (日)

社説:原子力協定承認 拙速にすぎはしないか

(Mainichi Japan) December 10, 2011
Editorial: Japan needs more discussion before exporting atomic energy technology
社説:原子力協定承認 拙速にすぎはしないか

The Diet's approval of atomic energy agreements, which the government has signed with Jordan, Vietnam, Russia and South Korea, has opened the way for exports of nuclear power plants to these countries, but the decision came too hasty and has not been thought through.
The pacts are expected to come into force as early as January.
However, the crisis at the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has not been brought under control and the cause of the accident needs to be clarified. The Diet has endorsed the accords without in-depth discussions on how to ensure safety of nuclear power stations.

Atomic energy agreements are aimed at preventing exported atomic-energy-related technology and materials from being diverted to military use, and are a prerequisite for exporting nuclear plants.

Japan has already signed such accords with seven countries including the United States, France and China as well as the European Atomic Energy Community.

Under the agreements, Japan is expected to construct nuclear power plants in Jordan and Vietnam and commission Russia to enrich uranium while exporting parts for nuclear reactors to South Korea.

During Diet deliberation on the pacts, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, "If we receive requests for cooperation despite Japan's current situation based on lessons learned from the crisis, we should do whatever we can to contribute to international efforts to enhance the safety of atomic energy."

However, one cannot help but wonder how Japan can prove its nuclear technology can contribute to global safety.

True, the Japanese nuclear power industry is quite advanced, but it alone cannot ensure the safety of operations at nuclear power stations.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, is highly unlikely to participate in such an international deal even though it had been expected before the crisis to play a leading role in operations at these nuclear power stations abroad.

Moreover, even if Japan emphasizes that its nuclear technology is safe without clarifying the cause of the crisis, it cannot win confidence from the international community.

At the same time, the prime minister also emphasized that it is Japan's responsibility to share its experiences learned from the nuclear crisis with the international community.

While this is correct, Japan should put greater emphasis on sharing with the world its knowledge on how to prevent nuclear accidents based on its thorough investigation into the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The Diet had only 10 days to deliberate on the atomic energy pacts.

It failed to carry out thorough discussions on safety measures even though Jordan is an earthquake-prone country and it is reportedly difficult to secure the massive amount of water needed to cool down reactors that are expected to be built in inland areas of the country.

It has been pointed out by some critics that the government was desperate to ensure the pacts clear the Diet within this year so that Japanese companies will not be put in a disadvantageous position amid international competition for contracts on the construction of nuclear power stations.

However, some members of the ruling coalition voted against the pacts.

Deliberations that fail to convince even some ruling coalition legislators can never win confidence from the Japanese public and the international community.

The government is currently negotiating atomic energy agreements with India, South Africa and Turkey.

In particular, Japan should exercise prudence in its negotiations with India, which is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty even though it possesses nuclear arms.

To prevent Japan from exporting danger and anxiety to the world while decreasing its reliance on nuclear energy, the executive and legislative branches of the government are urged to hold more in-depth discussions on nuclear energy safety based on its verification of the cause of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

毎日新聞 2011年12月10日 東京朝刊


« 防災教育 自ら危機回避できる力育もう | トップページ | 参院問責決議 防衛相の資質には疑義がある »





« 防災教育 自ら危機回避できる力育もう | トップページ | 参院問責決議 防衛相の資質には疑義がある »