Foreign Policy Blogs

Gov't may halt building new nuke plants

Prime Minister Naoto Kan mentioned Monday a need to freeze construction of new nuclear power plants in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Even as Kan was being heckled by lawmakers from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (which is a bit of a misnomer, being neither liberal nor democratic), he said the country would not proceed with plans to build more nuclear power plants until the government can assess the safety of the nuclear industry.

I think this is a practical move both politically and realistically. The government has been criticized for allowing conflicts of interest in regulating the nuclear industry, and Tokyo Electric Power Co. has be criticized for inadequate risk-management in building power plants.

I have argued before that governments should avoid knee-jerk reactions in imposing new regulations on the nuclear industry. But I think given the bungling of the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, and the unethical politics and ignorance of risks preceding it, it is high time for Japan to review its nuclear safety. It is also prudent to question the need for more plants, as Japan has a tendency to build things just for the sake of building things (see: the concrete that is literally everywhere). There are many people, whose view of nuclear safety is largely shaped by The Simpsons, who are strongly opposed to nuclear power and won’t abide even one plant operating anywhere in the world. Others, some of whom have a private interest in the nuclear industry, argue that economic considerations should trump any overhaul of the industry. Although unlike the activists, I would not be the one to encourage Japan to give up nuclear power entirely, as it is key to Japan’s energy independence.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]