I hope you all enjoyed your Golden Week holiday, although as many of you are mothers, I suppose it is not really much of a holiday at all.
I saw the news about the tornado in Ibaraki last night, and I couldn’t believe it when I watched the video of it on YouTube. If any of you live in that area, I hope that you were not too badly affected. I always knew that Japan had earthquakes and tsunami, but I never knew about the tornadoes! Can you imagine what would happen if that storm had hit Fukushima? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
As I’m sure you all know, Japan is now generating all of its electricity from non-nuclear sources because the last online reactor in Hokkaido was shut down on Saturday. I have seen lots of stories in the press about how there are going to be power shortages in the summer, and apparently, using alternative sources of power is costing Japan an extra $100 million per day. The problem with these stories is that it is impossible to know whether we should believe them or not, because the nuclear industry and the government have been lying to the Japanese public about nuclear power for decades. The power companies want to get the nuclear generators turned back on because they make lots of money from them, and the government bureaucrats are backing them up because they want to make sure their future amakudari will be safe. It is heartening to see that many more Japanese people are starting to oppose the government, but Japan is in a very difficult position at the moment because it has been reliant on nuclear power for too long.
Going back to the problem of trust, it is unbelievable that the government still has not set up an independent group to review the safety of nuclear power stations. As I understand it, the systems in place today are exactly the same as the ones that were in place before the disaster. Nothing has changed at all. How is that possible after a disaster that killed tens of thousands of people?
My own view is that the government should:
1) Set up an independent body to review the safety of all reactors. This body should include experts from outside Japan.
2) Choose ten or fifteen of the newest, safest reactors, and turn them back on when all the proper safety checks have been done.
3) Close down all the old reactors and the ones that are built on fault lines.
4) Set a target date for becoming nuclear free.
5) Invest heavily in other power sources such as geo-thermal and solar.
So my question this week is simple: do you think the nuclear power stations should be started up again – yes, or no? Would you prefer to have some power shortages in the summer or live with the risk of another nuclear accident?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.