JAPAN | Fukushima should turn its back on nuke power

Posted on June 16, 2011

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JAPAN | ASAHI SHIMBUN | 16 June 2011

A committee developing a vision for rebuilding Fukushima Prefecture will propose creating a society that does not depend on nuclear energy, sources said.

The panel plans to recommend Fukushima distance itself from the nuclear energy industry to mitigate negative publicity about local products and the outflow of residents following the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The committee was established by Governor Yuhei Sato and is expected to submit its proposals in July.

According to sources, the draft proposal for the vision was completed June 15.

Heading the list of basic principles for rebuilding the prefecture is the proposal “to create a society which is not dependent on nuclear energy, but which can achieve sustainable development and in which residents can feel safe and have peace of mind.”

According to Hiroshi Suzuki, professor emeritus at Fukushima University and chairman of the committee, “unlike the other prefectures struck by the natural disasters, Fukushima Prefecture cannot begin rebuilding measures without first defining how it intends to handle nuclear energy.”

However, in discussions until now, prefectural government officials have only proposed that the “problems at the nuclear power plant be overcome.”

Committee members argued that a clearer stance moving away from nuclear energy should be included in the rebuilding vision.

According to Fukushima prefectural government officials, before the nuclear accident there were about 10,000 individuals with jobs at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants. Those plants supported the livelihood of 30,000 people, including family members.

However, after the nuclear accident, about 100,000 residents have evacuated either to other parts of the prefecture or other parts of Japan.

The radiation from the nuclear accident has also led to bad publicity about agricultural and industrial products made in Fukushima Prefecture.

For those reasons, the committee is expected to decide that the prefecture should clearly declare its intention to make a clean break with the nuclear energy industry.

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