The government's panel, 'Council of Experts', has decided to scrap the Nuclear Energy Policy Guideline (formerly called 'Long Term Program on Development and Use of Atomic Energy), which has been revised approximately every five years since 1956 by the Atomic Energy Commission. The panel added to say that the Basic Energy Plan, which is compiled by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), is sufficient.
DUTIES OF NEW COMMISSION ON NUCLEAR ENERGY
It is said that the Council of Experts will discuss a role of the Atomic Energy Commission itself, including its continuation, to compile a report by the end of the year.
That means that the council learns nothing from the Fukushima accident, a reversal. Until now both of the Atomic Energy Commission and METI (formerly MITI=Ministry of International Trade and Industry) have worked to develop nuclear industry as the two bodies are controlled by the so-called nuclear mafia. The METI, a ministry, cannot become immediately another body which should revoke the monopolies' interests.
Renewal of Commission
However, enhanced civil struggles against nuclear generation may replace commission members.
Those academicians and experts who have criticized the nation's program may be installed, while those who had enjoyed controversial business money in the name of 'a research fund' may be removed. Mr. Yukawa Hideki, a Nobel Prize winner, who was one of the initial members of Commission, resigned after a while, opposing the directions of the then-government and MITI.
Mr. Arisawa Hiromi, another member elected some years later than Mr. Yukawa, had left the post before his tenure ended, responding to voices of anti-nuclear civic movements as well as advice from Mr. Sakisaka Itsuro (an adviser of the then-Socialist Party of Japan) that the panel was defunct as it was bestowed by the nuclear energy promotion forces.
Only one or two opposing members cannot play a significant role in the commission. It is necessary for this country, which is responsible for the severe accident in 2011, to renew the commission by replacing with right researchers, engineers, economists and academicians in philosophy and ethics who are the farthest from the nuclear mafia. Germany is a good example.
However, as far as the biggest Japanese labor union, Rengo, is concerned, it is an advocate and supporter of the government; to enhance nuclear energy, to heighten the consumption tax rate to 5% and to raise consumer goods prices by 2%. The union is a faithful servant of employers. It explains that workers' wages (reproduction cost of labor) are right if a surge is made by 1% (not of the basic wage). Situation in general here is different from that of Germany.
Duties of Commission
The most urgent task of Commission is to put a right end to the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Plant; how to shut off contaminated radioactive water from the underground water in order to prevent increment and when and how to transfer to an air-cooling drive during the process of gradual declination of decay heat.
Prior to these stages the commission must prove whether it is good to inject powder zinc, a metal whose melting point is low, mixed with water.
Secondly, the commission should specify how to decommission or control all the plants, including the fast breeder reactor Monju and the reprocessing plants. It can take advantage of the advice of former Prime Minister Koizumi, who recently declared to stop nuclear development, by way of giving up re-operation at the suspended plants and averting from rebuilding and installing additional facilities.
Thirdly, the commission must stop export efforts as a prerequisite. It must show how to process and control various kinds of radioactive wastes discharged from each plant.
These are the duties that an overwhelming number of people expect the new commission to achieve.
December 3, 2013