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2013年5月 8日 (水)

トルコ原発受注 官民でインフラ輸出の加速を

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 8, 2013
Accelerate nuclear, infrastructure exports with public-private efforts
トルコ原発受注 官民でインフラ輸出の加速を(5月6日付・読売社説)

A consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and major French nuclear firm Areva SA is set to receive an order from Turkey for the construction of a nuclear power plant.

The agreement was made during a summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two nations also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement, which serves as a prerequisite for nuclear plant exports.

This economic diplomacy, in which the prime minister himself acted as the top sales promoter, is laudable.

In the wake of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, the then Democratic Party of Japan-led administration announced a policy of abandoning nuclear power. This caused concern that Japan's nuclear plant exports could be stalled, including an order already received from Vietnam.

1st deal since 2011 quake

The Turkish project marks the first time since the start of the Fukushima crisis that a deal has been struck over nuclear plant exports through public-private joint efforts.

This successful regaining of lost ground came after the Abe Cabinet clearly showed it would promote nuclear plant exports.

The project in Turkey is a major one involving the construction of four nuclear reactors at a cost of 2 trillion yen. It is significant that Japan's technology, including that related to quake resistance, has been highly evaluated, beating out Chinese and South Korean rivals. It is hoped the success of receiving the order will boost Japan's nuclear plant exports.

It is estimated that as many as 180 nuclear reactors could be built globally by 2035, mainly in Asia and the Middle East, where energy demand is certain to grow.

Exports of nuclear plant technology and other infrastructure, for which a huge amount of external demand can be expected, could serve as a key piece in the growth strategy of the nation, where the domestic market is shrinking due to a declining population.

Regarding nuclear plant construction projects in emerging nations, negotiations in many cases have the strong commitment of the governments concerned and also involve aid and security issues. Japan may lag behind such rivals as Russia, whose leader is active in sales promotion in those countries.

The government should remain at the forefront and extend comprehensive policy support by fully utilizing public financing and other means.

Setting up a council on overseas economic cooperation and infrastructure export strategies comprising Cabinet members in March, the government has just begun discussions on prospects of nuclear projects and other businesses overseas. We hope the government closely cooperates with the private sector to hammer out effective measures.

Policy vagueness worrying

A cause of concern is the vagueness of the nation's mid- to long-term policy direction on nuclear power.

If the nation enthusiastically promotes sales of Japan-made nuclear plants overseas while refraining from building new nuclear plants or expanding existing facilities at home, it will be difficult to win the confidence of partner nations.

Replacing old reactors at home with the most advanced, safer models one after another would also contribute to significant improvements in the nation's nuclear technology and the nurturing of high-caliber human resources. The government must clarify its energy strategy, which should realistically acknowledge that nuclear power will continue to be used as a major power source.

The nation should export nuclear plants whose safety has been enhanced with the use of knowledge obtained from dealing with the Fukushima crisis and cooperate with other nations in operating those plants. We consider this is a duty Japan is required to fulfill.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 6, 2013)
(2013年5月6日01時32分  読売新聞)


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