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2014年4月13日 (日)

エネルギー計画―これがメッセージか

April 12, 2014
EDITORIAL: New basic energy plan offers no convincing vision for Japan’s future
エネルギー計画―これがメッセージか

The government formally decided its new basic energy plan on April 11 with Cabinet approval of the primary energy policy document.
 政府が新たなエネルギー基本計画を閣議決定した。

This is the first revision to the government’s basic energy plan since the catastrophic accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011.
 福島第一原発の事故後、初めての改定だ。

The revision was a great opportunity to demonstrate the government’s commitment to tackle the challenges created by the disaster. It was a chance to clarify where the problems lay and how it intends to translate changes in the public’s attitude toward nuclear power generation into its energy policy.
どこに問題があったのか。原発に対する国民意識の変化を政策にどう結びつけるのか。政治の意思を示す絶好の機会だった。

But even though it includes a large variety of ideas, the new plan can by no means be considered a convincing message about the energy future of Japanese society.
 しかし、計画はメニューこそ豊富だが、とても新しいエネルギー社会へのメッセージとは言えない。

Although the plan calls for lowering Japan’s dependence on atomic energy, it simultaneously expresses concerns about the growing imports of fossil fuels due to a nationwide shutdown of nuclear reactors, indicating the government’s intention to maintain nuclear power generation into the future.
 原発停止による化石燃料の輸入増を憂え、将来にわたって原発を維持する意向をにじませる一方、原発依存度の低減をうたう。

While quietly changing the purpose of the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor and promising to promote the program to establish a nuclear fuel recycling system, the document stresses “flexibility in medium- to long-term policy efforts” in an apparent attempt to dodge criticism.
高速増殖炉「もんじゅ」の目的をすり替え、核燃料サイクル事業の推進を明記しながら、「中長期的な対応の柔軟性」を強調して、批判をかわす。

All this waffling is part of the devious game the Abe administration has been playing in regard to its energy policy. Its strategy is designed to avoid touching off a public backlash by hiding or soft-pedaling its real intentions.
 露骨に本音を出して国民の余計な反発は買うまい――。エネルギー政策で安倍政権が続ける焦点外し戦略である。

Three years have passed since the worst nuclear accident in Japanese history. By now, electric utilities must have realized that they can no longer continue relying on nuclear power.
 事故から3年がたつ。もう原発に依存できないことは電力会社もわかっているはずだ。

Obviously, the government’s job now is to act swiftly to work out a well-focused and practical strategy for phasing out nuclear power generation in this nation.
政府が脱原発に向けて、メリハリのきいた「実践」編の作業を急がずしてどうする。

The basic energy plan describes nuclear power as “low-carbon and quasi-domestic energy” and a “base-load” power source that should be used for continuous, around-the-clock power generation.
 基本計画で原発は「低炭素の準国産エネルギー」で、昼夜継続的に動かす「ベースロード」電源と位置づけられた。

If it really intends to make Japanese society less dependent on atomic energy, the government should promote the development of power sources that can substitute for nuclear power, such as geothermal and hydraulic power generation and high-efficiency coal-burning thermal power stations, instead of seeking to build or expand nuclear power plants.
原発依存度を減らす以上、その新増設より、同じ機能をもつ地熱や水力、高効率の石炭火力などの開発を優先させるのが筋だ。

Nuclear power generation can never be free from the risk of severe, large-scale accidents that entail devastating consequences. It is unacceptable for the government to press for early restarts of idled reactors when sufficient safety measures to prevent serious accidents have yet to be put in place.
 原発は巨大事故のリスクから免れられない。対策が整わないのに再稼働を急がせることなど許されない。

To be sure, the problem of rising costs due to increasing imports of fossil fuels should not be taken lightly.
 たしかに化石燃料の輸入増に伴うコストの上昇は軽視できない。

But the government's claim that growing fuel imports are causing Japan to lose 3.6 trillion yen ($35 billion) worth of national wealth every year has raised doubts about the calculation formula among various experts.
ただ、「国富が毎年3・6兆円流出する」との言いぶりには、計算方法に各方面から疑問の声があがっている。

Electric power companies have accumulated relevant data for three years. Instead of using a simple macroeconomic estimate, it is vital for the government to obtain accurate data concerning amounts and prices of imported fuels from utilities. Then, it should take steps to deal with the problem based on objective data assessments and factor analyses.
 すでに電力各社には3年の実績値がある。マクロでの推計ではなく、各社から輸入量や金額などの正確な数字を出させ、客観的なデータ検証と要因分析のもとに対策を論じることが不可欠だ。

Restarting offline reactors could serve as a strong disincentive for new entries into the power market and investment to develop new power sources.
 原発の再稼働は、電力への新規参入や新電源への投資意欲をそぐ面もある。

Unless the government quickly offers a medium- and long-term road map to a future less dependent on nuclear power, there will be no substantial progress in the efforts to re-energize the power market.
政府が脱原発への中長期の見取り図をはやく示さないと、電力市場の活性化も進まない。

The new basic energy plan points out the need to create a system that allows the public to become involved in the entire process of developing and executing the energy policy.
 基本計画は、エネルギー政策の立案から実施に至るプロセスに国民が関与する仕組みの必要性を指摘している。

The March 11 disaster has made us painfully aware of how the closed nature of the process in which the nuclear energy policy was developed and implemented contributed to the enormity of the damage.
 原発政策の閉鎖性がもたらした被害の大きさを、私たちは3・11で痛いほど学んだ。

We clearly need a system for public participation in the policy process to ensure that more than halfhearted efforts are made to provide information to the public and listen to the voices of the people.
おざなりの広報・広聴ではない、「参加」の仕組みへ。

The government needs to match its words with action.
 ここは有言実行を求める。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 12

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