TOKYO (Kyodo) — Industry minister Yukio Edano proposes in his book to be published Friday that nuclear reactors should be run by the state rather than private utilities to enable the government to take the lead in creating a nuclear-free society, according to a copy of the book obtained by Kyodo News on Thursday.
“Practically speaking, I see no alternative but to have nuclear plants run by the state,” Edano says in the upcoming book titled “Tatakaretemo iwaneba naranai koto” (What I must say even if I were to be criticized), adding that the nuclear business cannot be left up to private firms partly because of the huge compensation they may face when an accident occurs.
If reactors are managed by the state, the government would “have the unilateral power to decide on the operation of reactors and the timing of decommissioning them,” he says.
Edano spends one chapter on nuclear policy in the 240-page book, expressing hope to “eliminate nuclear reactors as soon as possible.”
According to his proposal, experts should spend several years assessing the safety level of the country’s reactors and those low in rank should be scrapped even before 40 years of operation — a period the government has set as the lifespan of reactors after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster last year.
In such a way, Japan would “move closer to zero nuclear power” generation, the economy, trade and industry minister who is in charge of energy issues, says.
Edano notes that he personally hopes to abolish atomic power “as soon as possible” apparently to clarify his stance at a time when a newly compiled policy aiming to phase out nuclear power generation in the 2030s has aroused controversy in the country, which had greatly relied on the energy source before the Fukushima crisis.
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