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2014年8月29日 (金)

原発政策 「重要電源」支える工夫が要る

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Means must be worked out to revive nuclear power generation
原発政策 「重要電源」支える工夫が要る

The establishment of a stable power supply system through medium- and long-term utilization of nuclear energy is being sought.
 原子力発電を中長期的に活用し、電力の安定供給体制を確立することが求められる。

An Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry panel of experts is now discussing the nation’s nuclear power policy. Its main theme is setting the usage ratio of nuclear power to all energy sources.
 経済産業省の有識者会議で、原発政策に関する議論が進められている。全電源に占める原発比率をどのように設定するかが最大のテーマとなる。

In a basic energy plan adopted by the Cabinet in April, the government called nuclear power “a fundamental and important base energy source.”
 政府は、今年4月に閣議決定したエネルギー基本計画で、原発を「重要なベースロード電源」と位置づけた。

On the other hand, the government has also presented a policy of minimizing the ratio—which stood at 30 percent of the overall energy mix before the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011—while determining how much nuclear energy must be secured in the future.
 一方、原発事故前は3割だった原発比率を「可能な限り低減させる」とし、「確保していく規模を見極める」との方針を示した。

Yet the government’s current stance on the use of nuclear power is too vague in its content. The fuel costs of nuclear power generation are lower than those of other energy sources, and nuclear power generation also creates no carbon dioxide emissions. It is an essential energy source for maintaining stability in the people’s lives and ensuring economic growth.
 これでは、原発活用の中身があいまい過ぎる。原発は燃料費が安く、発電中に二酸化炭素を出さない。国民生活の安定と経済成長に不可欠な基幹電源だ。

The government needs to set a realistic target for an energy mix comprising nuclear, thermal and renewable sources, while taking into account the economy and the stability of nuclear power use—on the assumption that safety is assured—and the impact on the global environment.
 政府は、安全確保を前提に経済性と安定性、地球環境にも配慮し、原子力、火力、再生可能エネルギーの電源構成について、実現可能な目標を定める必要がある。

The problem is that there is no prospect of nuclear power plants being restarted, due to a delay in safety examinations by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
 問題は、原子力規制委員会による原発の安全審査が遅れ、再稼働のメドが立たないことだ。

It is difficult to draw up any numerical targets for the energy mix as long as there is no estimate of approximately how many nuclear reactors can resume operation, at least for the time being, under the new regulatory standards for safety.
新たな規制基準のもとで当面、何基程度の原発を運転できるか見通せないと、電源構成の策定は難しい。

Safety examinations by the NRA must proceed without delay and those nuclear power plants whose safety has been confirmed must smoothly return to operation. The government has a responsibility to explain in detail to local governments and communities hosting nuclear plants the safety and the necessity of restarting plants.
 規制委の安全審査を遅滞なく進め、安全性の確認ができた原発を着実に再稼働すべきだ。政府は、安全性と再稼働の必要性を地元に丁寧に説明する責任がある。

N-plant could disappear

Should the principle of decommissioning nuclear reactors after 40 years of operation be applied strictly while no new nuclear plants or reactors are being constructed, there will be no nuclear power plants operating in this country in 2049. Renewal of aged nuclear plants and reactors is an important task.
 原発を新増設せず、運転開始から40年で廃炉にする原則を厳格に適用すれば、2049年に国内の原発はゼロになる。古くなった原発の更新は重要な課題だ。

Electric power companies have also been faced with the growing burden of additional safety measures. The key to a stable power supply lies in enabling utilities to continue operating their nuclear power businesses in the long term.
 電力会社は安全対策などの負担増にも直面している。原発事業を長期的に継続できるようにすることが、安定供給のカギとなる。

The government has proposed to the expert panel its idea of establishing a system under which a standard price is set on electricity generated at nuclear plants, which would guarantee a certain level of revenue to power companies.
 政府は一案として、原発で発電した電気に基準価格を設け、一定の収入を保証する制度を有識者会議に提示した。

Under the system, utilities would be assured of a stable revenue source even if the rate-cutting competition among rivals intensifies due to the liberalization of electricity charges or other factors. Guaranteed revenues are expected to help make it possible for power firms to recoup the costs of building new nuclear reactors, which are expected to come with a price tag of ¥400 billion each. There are also such ideas as having the costs of decommissioning reactors and disposing of spent nuclear fuel covered by revenue generated through the standard pricing system.
 電力料金の自由化などで値下げ競争が激化した場合でも安定収入が得られ、1基4000億円とされる原発建設費の回収見通しを立てやすくなるという。廃炉や使用済み核燃料処理の費用を、基準価格の収入で賄う案もある。

The government is said to have come up with the ideas by referring to the framework in which a guaranteed price for electricity was adopted last year in Britain. If realized, it should also prove effective in helping utilities renovate nuclear plants and build new reactors or plants.
 英国で昨年導入された仕組みを参考にしている。実現すれば、原発の更新や新増設を後押しする効果もあろう。

In the United States, there is a system under which the government guarantees up to 80 percent of the debt that utility companies incur for nuclear plant construction. It is important for the government to study in detail both the possible merits and challenges presented by these cases abroad and adopt a system suited for Japan.
 米国には原発建設のために電力会社が負った債務の最大8割を政府が保証する制度がある。こうした海外の事例のメリットや課題を詳細に検討し、日本に適した制度とすることが重要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 28, 2014)

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