Tokyo: Do you support Japan abandoning nuclear power even if it means increases in electricity prices?

by Mark Buckton

Katsuyoshi Tanaka
“Beer sommelier,” 28 (Japanese)
Even if it’s true that electricity bills will rise, I don’t agree with using nuclear power due to the simple fact that it is not 100 percent safe. And, whilst I don’t have kids yet, I hope to be a father one day, and I don’t want them to grow up in a nuclear-dependent world.

Keika Yu
Self-employed, 33 (Chinese)
I think we should try to decrease our reliance on nuclear power in the wake of what happened two years ago in Fukushima, but admittedly that is difficult to achieve overnight, and all at once, so a step-by-step approach is what’s needed, in my opinion.

Terri Nii
Editor, 50s (American)
I think that a comprehensive, long-term [energy] plan is necessary. While nuclear power may be necessary in the short term, new technologies and the development of alternative energy sources should be explored for the medium and long term.

James Platte
Visiting researcher, 33 (American)
A nuclear phaseout could have significant negative effects on the economy, lead to increased fossil fuel imports and greenhouse gas emissions. I think Japan must strive for balance in its energy policy and not tend to extremes of all-in or all-out for any one source.

Azusa Yano
Housewife, 39 (Japanese)
I agree with going nonnuclear, but it would make my life a little more difficult when bills go up. But that is outweighed by my fear of future accidents. As there are still many people affected by the last accident, we should think of them and move toward cleaner energy quickly.

Ben Beech
Photographer/teacher, 34 (English)
I have become opposed to nuclear power after seeing the devastating effects of the 2011 disaster. But for a resource-poor, import-dependent country, nuclear power seems essential to boost the economy. I just hope the pronuclear Liberal Democratic Party puts safety first.

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp

  • phu

    Nuclear power isn’t 100% safe? Neither is breathing, and coal power makes that more dangerous than nuclear power does.

    Note how the only person interviewed who’s not on this ridiculous bandwagon is also the only SCIENTIST interviewed. Hopefully this makes someone think.

    • thedudeabidez

      The “scientists” have yet to figure out what to do with the spent fuel from decades of nuclear power use, and these future costs are still off the books, but someone is going to have to pick them up, changing the price of this “cheap” energy source considerably. This one accident has contaminated nearly 10% of Japan’s total landmass (according to govt. stats,, mind you) and when the failure rate of the technology carries risks and costs on that order, it is a perfectly reasonable position to be opposed to the technology if it’s not 100% failsafe.

      • prof1le

        The failure rate of nuclear reactors is associated with their age. Should you build a new reactor with the latest design and technology available, the probability that an accident would cause radiation leak is far less than reactors built decades ago. It is not “nuclear power” which is unsafe – it is the lack of proper “implementing rules” that govern nuclear power plants. Should the Japanese government had issued stricter guidelines, say restricting reactors to a 20-year operation lifetime, the reactors in Fukushima would have been upgraded to 1990′s or early 2000′s nuclear reactor designs. Those would have handled the situation better than reactors built in the 1970′s.

      • keithlepla

        A 20 year operational life would have a far higher cost per unit of electricity compared with present real life 30-40 years – you cannot have it both ways! It all tends to confirm my view that complete total costs of a safer nuclear operation including disposal of waste is far higher than the industry lobby is telling us

  • http://getironic.blogspot.com/ getironic

    The problem is not nuclear power, the problem is unaccountable government in charge of nuclear power.

    Why were there so many spent fuel rods in the plant? That is not normal. Maybe if the government was not so busy caving into environmentalist pressure, they would have disposed of those rods a year prior.

    • thedudeabidez

      And where exactly would they “dispose” of them? Exactly how has “environmentalist” pressure stopped this? I think you’d find that any community, environmentally conscious or otherwise, would be opposed to having a long-term storage site nearby, given Japan’s seismic risks.

  • Björn Mohns

    In Germany we already have to pay higher prices for electricity due to abandoning nuclear power. Abandoning nuclear power results in network expansion, so that the power by wind energy can be transported to other areas. But we have to pay also higher prices, because energy-intensive industry is supported.
    But the truth is the pure price for alternative electricity is less than for nuclear electricity.

    • Dan

      But, you also end up importing nuclear power from you neighbors, effectively outsourcing the risks while enjoying the benefits. It’s a bit immoral.

  • Frank Thornton

    I’ll pay my share. Shut ‘em down Dano!!