Top court OKs Monju, siding with government and ignoring safety
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Supreme Court on May 30 rejected the residents' claim that the government approval of the fast breeder nuclear reactor Monju run by the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute must be nullified.

The decision will give a boost to the government attempt to resume operation of the Monju plant which has been suspended since sodium leakage and a fire occurred in 1995.

The Nagoya High Court in January 2003 invalidated the government approval of the reactor on the grounds that the government pre-construction safety assessments were "too defective to be overlooked" with the "possibility of causing a leakage of radioactive materials to the external environment."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requires safety measures on the assumption of severe accidents, including a core disruptive accident.

The Japanese government argues that a core disruptive accident "is unlikely to happen technically." This is the "myth of infallible safety."

The Supreme Court decision was made in line with the government argument based on such a "myth of infallible safety." Behind the myth is the fact that safety inspections of regulations on nuclear power plants in Japan are conducted by the pro-nuclear industry itself. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency that is responsible for the safety regulations is in the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry that promotes the nuclear power stations and an N-fuel cycle program.

It is necessary to establish an independent regulatory body.

More than 800 billion yen so far has been spent for the Monju facility, and its research and development expenses have reached one trillion yen.

Continuing with development of fast breeder reactors is a foolish decisiont that only increases the waste of tax money and the risk of accidents. - Akahata, May 31, 2005

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