Deep divide runs through Japan’s nuclear policy


The Fukushima NUCLEAR power plant needs more space for storage of cooling water. Operator Tepco does not want to pass it into the sea, what was politically possible. Now Prime Minister Abe is taking a new approach. Martin Fritz, Tokyo.

Almost a year before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the destroyed nuclear power plant in Fukushima Daiichi unit mill back in the headlines and brings Japan’s government in a bind. Because operator Tepco asked her an Ultimatum, the most pressing issue in the decommissioning of the nuclear ruins to finally solve. The storage capacity for contaminated cooling water was not later than be exhausted in three years, Tepco clearly in the beginning of August and continued for the Discharge of the water in the Pacific ocean. All other solutions are “difficult”, said Tepco. The same position of the previous Minister of the environment, Yoshiaki Harada took it.

However, the Ultimatum will not bring the government for the time being to Act. Because at the Olympia award in September 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, then in office had received the bid for Tokyo due to his statement, the nuclear ruins of Fukushima are under control. In the case of a NUCLEAR power plant visit in June of this year, Abe was without the protection of clothes in front of the broken reactor blocks and repeated, the disaster was “under control”. Therefore, he could explain an initiation of the water in front of the Play. Then it would come to a debate on the health of many athletes, such as the Surfer, the fight in Tsurigasaki on the Pacific ocean, 250 kilometers South of the Fukushima NUCLEAR power plant for medals.

(Archive) Tepco workers go on huge water tanks over

For eight years the same Problem

The cooling water can be used as a Symptom of the gap between claim and reality in Japan’s nuclear policy understand it. Officially, the NUCLEAR power plant decommissioning is progressing, but Tepco has been fighting for the core melt over eight years ago still with the same Problem: groundwater seeps into the basements of the reactors and is contaminated with radio active. Only the amount of water contracted by a gigantic ice wall in the soil, and other measures on a daily basis to 150 cubic meters. A radio that filters out the active substances from the water. But Tritium remains, a glowing isotope of hydrogen. From this reason, Tepco couldn’t convince the fishermen of the Region, so far from the Launch, with 1.1 million cubic meters of cooling water in over 1000 Tanks have accumulated.

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After Fukushima, Tepco wants to start a new plant

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After Fukushima, Tepco wants to start a new plant

There is a gap between Plan and reality also exists in the energy policy. The conservative government wants to increase the share of nuclear power in the electricity mix by 2030, to 20 to 22 percent, so that Japan can meet its climate goals. The island state may not operate in contrast to Europe, with neighbouring countries in energy trade. The reactors, which emit no carbon dioxide, to compensate for the heavy use of coal as an energy carrier. For about 30 nuclear power plants would have to be run, currently, there are only six.

Shinzo Abe as a Super Mario on the closing ceremony of the Olympic games in 2016 in Rio

“The Japanese government supports nuclear power as a Central component of a carbon dioxide-neutral energy policy,” explains the Economist Martin Schulz of Fujitsu research Institute in Tokyo. “After the Fukushima disaster, this is no longer consistent with the reality of regional Resistances and the increasing decommissioning of old reactors.” The final From seized 24 plants, while only 15 reactors of the nuclear regulatory authority, received a new operating license. However, four of the nine reactors have been restarted threatens, in the next year, again with the shutdown, because the operators have not taken the necessary measures against a terrorist attack.

Young politicians with trust capital

In this complex situation, Prime Minister Abe has called last week, the young politician Shinjiro Koizumi, as the Minister of environment and Minister of state for atomic energy-civil protection in the umgebildetes Cabinet. Thus, the popular son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for the nuclear regulatory authority and the issue of Water is responsible. Koizumi had received a “Cup with radioactive water,” wrote the Financial Times after his appointment. Because the head of government, Abe has calculated the move well. Koizumi enjoys – unlike nuclear power friend Abe and the NUCLEAR plant operator Tepco in Fukushima, a lot of confidence that he has through numerous visits, as a former Minister of state for reconstruction is acquired. His wife Christel Takigawa brought also an adopted Golden Retriever from Fukushima in the August marriage. With this confidence, of capital, Koizumi, is to prevail, apparently, the introduction of the cooling water in the Pacific ocean.

The new environment Minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, and his wife, Christel Takigawa

The 38-Year-old made a first visit to Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori right to work. “I need to build up relations with the population in Fukushima and, on this basis, to make progress,” said Koizumi, without specifying its own Position to the cooling water. At the same time, he signaled in his inaugural press conference, a critical attitude to nuclear power. He would like to continue to think about how to get rid of all nuclear power plants and not, as you keep you could, said Koizumi sent. “We will be lost, if we allow another nuclear accident.” So he increased his credibility with the nuclear power critics, without directly against Prime Minister Abe.

“The new environment Minister needs the regional support for the solution of the problems of Fukushima,” says Economist Schulz, the Statements by Koizumi. “Therefore, its Position close to the concerns over the nuclear power in the affected regions.” The young Koizumi is likely to help, that will be also more and more popular dad has become after the Fukushima accident, a vociferous opponent of nuclear power. Under what circumstances can the cooling water could be initiated, remains open. In the final analysis, rely on the government, a group of experts to develop proposals.