Statement by FoE Japan
“The Proposal for the National Energy Basic Plan (Draft)” should be retracted:
A return to nuclear power and the promotion of nuclear fuel cycle is unrealistic

December 16, 2013

On Dec 6, during the 12th session of the Strategic Policy Committee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, one of the councils in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) submitted ”The Proposal for the National Energy Basic Plan (Draft)”. The METI posted it for public comments on the same day. Then, on Dec 13, the Strategic Policy Committee slightly revised the draft and reposted it for public comments. Although reconsideration of Japan’s energy policy is a major issue that concerns all Japanese citizens, the government currently has no plan to listen to citizens’ voices except through public comments.

The revised draft defines nuclear power plants as a key base-load power source for Japan’s energy stability and proposes the “steady promotion” of the nuclear-fuel cycle. However, the draft offers no clear discussion of feasibility of and basis for this plan. In addition, the plan completely reverses the zero-nuclear policy previously adopted through the 2012 national debate.

FoE Japan protests against the “Proposal for the National Energy Basic Plan (draft)” presenting a return to nuclear power--as if no accident had happened in Fukushima--and demands that the draft proposal be retracted for the following reasons.

1. The draft proposal completely disregards the national debate in the summer 2012: engagement with Japanese citizens is missing from the decision-making process.

2. The draft proposal should present a vision for moving toward a nuclear-free society based on lessons from the accident in Fukushima. In this regard, the following aspects of the proposal are problematic

: i) Insufficient incorporation of lessons from the nuclear accident into the decision-making process;

ii) Misleading definition of nuclear power as “a sub-domestic energy resource”;

iii) Unfounded justification of nuclear power as a “sustainable and low-cost energy resource”;

iv) Misrepresentation of “the new regulatory standards” as something that guarantees nuclear safety;

v) Infeasibility of the nuclear fuel cycle policy.

The draft proposal should also present a vision for achieving a sustainable society with the following actions:
i) Reducing energy demands and moving away from an electricity-dependent society;

ii) Moving away from reliance on fossil fuels to mitigate global warming;

iii) Stopping the export of technologies related to nuclear power;

iv) Highlighting a sustainable society as an ideal goal.

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