Subject: [cwj 36] Japan sticks by nuclear energy despite German decision
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 11:25:26 -0700
Seq: 36

Thursday, June 15, 2000
Japan sticks by nuclear energy despite German decision

TOKYO, June 15 (AFP) - 

Japan will stick to its nuclear power program despite a German decision to
shut down the country's 19 nuclear power stations, a government official
said Thursday.

"We will study Germany's decision, but it will not directly affect our
nuclear power program," said the official from the trade ministry's nuclear
power industry bureau.

"Nuclear power generation is very important for our country in terms of
stable energy supply, support for economic growth and contribution to a cut
in global warming," said the official, who declined to be named.

"We will continue promoting our nuclear energy program on condition that we
will maintain a strict safety system on nuclear power plants across the
nation," he said.

Japan relies on 51 reactors to produce about one-third of its electricity.

The German government and energy companies reached agreement to gradually
shut down the country's 19 nuclear power stations, Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder said Thursday.

Under the deal, Germany will close down its nuclear plants after a
life-span of 32 years, becoming the first leading economic power to
officially renounce the use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear power presently accounts for some 30 percent of all German energy use.

While the Japanese government has repeated its pledge to keep its nuclear
power program, the nation's energy advisory committee is now working on
recommendations for energy policy.

The recommendations are likely to include a cut in the number of nuclear
power plants planned for construction and greater use of alternative energy
sources, including wind and natural gas, the Kyodo News agency said.

In March, trade minister Takashi Fukaya said plans to build 16-20 new
nuclear power plants by March 2011 would be abandoned, admitting a major
accident which exposed hundreds of people to radiation had forced a cutback.

Fukaya blamed an accident last September at a uranium plant in Tokaimura,
120 kilometers (70 miles) northeast of Tokyo, in which a critical reaction
exposed 439 people to radiation and killed two workers.

The committee, which includes three members opposed to the government's
nuclear energy policy, plans to submit the recommendations early next year,
Kyodo said.

On Wednesday, Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co. Ltd. repeated its demand
for compensation and the removal of British nuclear fuel which arrived here
with fake quality control data.

Britain is refusing to order the mixed plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel be
shipped back to the reprocessing plant in Sellafield, northwest England,
from where it was sent last year.

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