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2013年1月 9日 (水)

エネルギー戦略 現実的な原発政策を推進せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 9, 2013)
Government must promote realistic nuclear power policy
エネルギー戦略 現実的な原発政策を推進せよ(1月8日付・読売社説)

 ◆政府は再稼働の準備を着実に◆

Revitalizing the Japanese economy will require a stable supply of electricity. This year will be important in that the energy and nuclear power policy, on which the nation's fate rests, needs to be drastically reformulated.
 日本経済の再生には、電力の安定供給が欠かせない。国家の命運がかかったエネルギー・原子力政策を、抜本的に再構築する重要な1年だ。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shown his intention to review the "Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment" drawn up by the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration, which set a target of having zero nuclear reactors operating by the end of the 2030s. Abe also expressed support for allowing the construction of new nuclear plants with enhanced safety features. We think his position on these issues is reasonable.
 安倍首相は、「2030年代に原発稼働ゼロ」を目指す民主党政権の革新的エネルギー・環境戦略の見直しや、安全性を高めた原発の新設に意欲を示している。妥当な認識と言えよう。

The government should immediately craft a realistic energy strategy that includes the use of various sources of power generation--including nuclear energy.
 政府は、原発を含む多様な電源の活用を盛り込んだ現実的なエネルギー戦略を、速やかに打ち出すべきである。

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Restore stable power supply
 ◆安定供給の回復が急務◆

A severe accident like the one at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant must never be allowed to happen again. In saying that, if Japan, as a nation with scarce energy resources, hastily changes track and breaks away from nuclear power, the resulting electricity shortage would seriously affect the economy and people's daily lives.
 東京電力福島第一原発のような重大事故は再び起こしてはならない。とはいえ、性急に脱原発へとカジを切れば、資源小国の日本は電力不足で経済や国民生活に重大な打撃を受ける。

Of the nation's 50 nuclear reactors, only two at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear plant are generating power. Although no major blackout has occurred while all these reactors are offline, the power supply continues to walk a tightrope. Nuclear power opponents are missing the point when they argue that enough electricity has been provided even without nuclear power generation.
 全原発50基のうち稼働中は関西電力大飯原発の2基に過ぎない。大停電こそ起きていないが、綱渡りの電力供給が続く。「原発なしでも電気は足りている」という脱原発派の主張はあたらない。

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has said the government, on its own responsibility, would proceed with the processes to restart reactors whose safety has been confirmed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. His remarks are heartening.
 茂木経済産業相が「原子力規制委員会が安全性を確認した原発は、政府の責任で再稼働を進める」と述べたのは心強い。

Still, the nuclear authority will begin screening reactors no sooner than this summer, when new safety guidelines are expected to be compiled. The government should not waste anytime during that period. It must not neglect intensive preparations such as establishing confidence-building measures with local governments and residents in the areas concerned, and devising procedures to ensure reactors can be restarted without delay.
 ただし、規制委の審査は、新たな安全基準ができる今夏以降となる。政府はそれまでの期間を空費せず、地元との信頼醸成や、遅滞なく再稼働する手順作りなど、入念な準備を怠ってはならない。

Because even aging thermal power generation facilities have been fired up to compensate for the idled nuclear reactors, the costs of liquefied natural gas and other fuel have increased by 3 trillion yen a year.
 原発の代わりに、老朽化した火力発電所まで動員しているため、液化天然ガス(LNG)などの燃料費は年3兆円も増えた。

Although it is natural for power companies to strive to cut costs through restructuring, there are limits. TEPCO started raising power rates from April last year. KEPCO and Kyushu Electric Power Co. also have asked the government for approval to hike their power rates from this spring.
 電力会社がリストラでコスト削減に努めるのは当然としても、限界はある。昨年4月から東電が料金値上げを開始し、関西、九州の2電力も今春からの値上げを政府に申請している。

Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, is known as a metalworking industry city. In a survey conducted last autumn by the Kawaguchi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one in four companies said their business would collapse or be badly affected if power rates are increased. The survey covered midsize and smaller companies that are members of the chamber.
 鋳物の街・埼玉県川口市の商工会議所が昨秋、会員の中小・零細企業に電気料金値上げの影響を聞いたところ、4社に1社が「経営が立ち行かなくなる」「多大な影響を受ける」と答えた。

If nuclear reactors cannot be restarted within fiscal 2013, TEPCO and other utilities will likely be forced to further raise power rates. A crisis in employment caused by mass bankruptcies and closures of smaller companies is becoming an ever more realistic prospect.
 2013年度中に原発を再稼働できないと、東電などがさらなる値上げを迫られる恐れが強い。中小企業の大量倒産・廃業による雇用危機が現実味を増す。

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Don't overly rely on renewables
 ◆再生エネ過信は禁物◆

According to a government estimate, electricity charges would double if nuclear power generation was abandoned. This would impose a heavy burden on household finances. Low-income households have little scope for reducing their electricity use because they already have been making power-saving efforts. We should be keenly aware that a policy of no nuclear power would hurt the weaker members of our society the most.
 政府試算では「原発ゼロ」にすると電気代は2倍になる。家計の負担も大きい。普段から節約している低所得世帯は節電の余地が少ない。弱者ほど脱原発による痛みが強いことにも留意したい。

There are high expectations that renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, will be able to replace nuclear power. However, as things stand now, there is no visible prospect of renewable energy becoming a major power source. Electricity produced through renewable energy sources is unstable because it depends on weather conditions, and it is expensive.
 原発の代替電源として太陽光や風力など再生可能エネルギーへの期待は大きい。だが、現時点では主要電源に成長する展望が見えない。天候などによって発電量は不安定で、コストも高い。

Especially problematic is the system introduced in July under which the government obliges power companies to purchase renewable energy at fixed prices. The system is intended to encourage the spread of renewable energy.
 特に問題なのが、普及促進のため昨年7月に導入した再生エネ発電の「固定価格買い取り制度」である。

Indeed, solar power output has increased under the new system. However, the system imposes additional burdens on consumers, as the power companies' cost of purchasing renewable energy is passed on through power bills.
確かに太陽光発電は拡大したが、買い取り費用は電気料金に上乗せされ、利用者負担が増える仕組みだからだ。

In Germany, which introduced a similar system before Japan did, power charges for households have doubled as the cost of purchasing renewable energy swelled. The cost of buying renewable energy in Japan is about twice as high as that of Germany. The government should cut the purchase price to prevent power charges from surging.
 先行するドイツでは買い取り費用が膨らみ、家庭の電気代が倍増した。ドイツより日本の買い取り価格は約2倍も高い。電気料金の急騰を防ぐため、政府は買い取り価格を引き下げるべきだ。

Due to the DPJ administration's wavering attitude on nuclear power, local governments that host nuclear plants have become increasingly skeptical about the central government's nuclear policy.
 民主党政権の迷走に振り回され、原発立地自治体は国の原子力政策への不信感を強めた。

It is important that the Abe administration carefully explain to these local governments how it will put the nation's nuclear policy back on track after the repeated missteps by the DPJ.
 これまでの失政をどう軌道修正するのか、政府が自治体側に丁寧に説明することが重要だ。

The government has tightened safety inspections on nuclear power plants, which could lead to the early decommissioning of some of them. If this happens, the government will need to consider how to find employment for plant workers who lost their jobs and provide alternative methods for boosting the local economy.
 安全審査の厳格化で、早期の廃炉を迫られる原発も出かねない。雇用対策や新たな地域振興などでも特段の配慮が求められる。

The Nuclear Damages Compensation Law requires electric power companies to bear all liabilities for nuclear accidents. We believe this is another reason why the credibility of the government's nuclear policy has crumbled. A review of the law was shelved by the administration of Abe's predecessor, Yoshihiko Noda. Abe should quickly start this review.
 原子力損害賠償法(原賠法)は、原発事故の賠償責任をすべて電力会社に負わせている。これも国の原子力政策の信頼を低下させる一因だ。野田政権が先送りした原賠法の見直しを急ぐ必要がある。

The financial cost of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and decontaminating areas polluted with radioactive substances remains unclear, but it is apparent TEPCO will be unable to pay the entire amount by itself. Drawing up new measures to support the utility also will be a task for the Abe administration.
 福島原発事故の除染・廃炉の総費用は不明だが、東電だけで全額を払えないのは明らかだ。新たな支援策作りも課題となろう。

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Show clear future vision
 ◆技術磨き国際貢献を◆

We want to remind the administration of the need to secure talented people who underpin the safety of nuclear power. If experienced employees in charge of field-work management at power suppliers and their related companies leave their jobs, it would hinder the smooth restart of idled reactors.
 重要なのは、原子力の安全を支える人材確保だ。現場管理を担ってきた電力会社や関連企業の熟練作業員が他の仕事に転じれば、原発再稼働などに支障が生じる。

Unless the government shows a clear future vision on nuclear power, such as whether to continue the nation's nuclear fuel cycle program to recycle spent nuclear fuel, people who aspire to work in the nuclear sector will eventually dwindle. If such a thing happened, it would become difficult to maintain the nation's nuclear power technologies and hand them down to future generations. It will also mean that Japan will become unlikely to resolve the long-standing issue of the final disposal of spent fuel by itself.
 核燃料サイクル継続を含めた原子力政策の将来戦略を明示しないと、原子力分野への志望者もいなくなり、技術の維持・継承は困難だ。核廃棄物の最終処分という宿題も自力で解決できなくなる。

An increasing number of emerging economies have started nuclear power generation or are increasing their nuclear power plants. We believe the best way for Japan to contribute to the international community is to refine its nuclear technologies to build power plants more resistant to not only natural disasters but also to accidents and terrorist attacks.
 新興国では原発の新増設が相次いでいる。日本が技術を高め、自然災害はもちろん事故やテロにも強い安全な原発を作ることが、正しい国際貢献の道と言えよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 8, 2013)
(2013年1月8日01時15分  読売新聞)

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