Untold costs of nuclear energy

The March 14 “Views From the Street: Tokyo” survey question “Do you support Japan abandoning nuclear power even if it means increases in electricity prices?” sets a trap for the interviewee due to the bias in the wording of the question.

It is assumed, without the presentation of evidence, that nuclear power helps keep electricity costs low. This has been refuted by the very fact that the Fukushima nuclear disaster will cost untold billions of dollars for activities related to decontamination and decommissioning, not to mention permanent and catastrophic damage to the economy and ecology of Japan and the world.

The technically astute website SimplyInfo (http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=9453), which supplies objective analyses of nuclear issues, refutes the nonsense that average people are the main users of electricity. It is heavy industry that is overwhelmingly the major consumer of natural resources.

Despite the dangers, the big push to restart Japan’s nuclear reactors is being promoted by nine industry bodies, including the Japan Iron and Steel Federation and the Japan Mining Industry.

Governments and industries that greedily use more than their fair share of energy, and enjoy the inordinate financial benefits accrued from this use, do not have to share the human costs of contamination from deadly radiation exposure or the life-wrenching tragedy of being torn from one’s home, as happened to thousands of evacuees in Fukushima.

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 and which represents tens of thousands of doctors, medical students and other health workers and concerned citizens, has predicted that tens of thousands of incidences of cancer will occur because of the radiation that spewed from the triple meltdown in Fukushima following the March 11, 2011, 9.0-magnitude earthquake.

Interviewees who think we need nuclear power have no interest in preserving the planet or public health, have not properly done their homework, or are presenting disingenuous opinions that do not fairly represent the person on the street.

Numerous polls show that the vast majority of Japanese people oppose the now-obsolete nuclear power industry in any form and are worried about the future nuclear direction of the country.

richard wilcox

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.