September 9, 2011
Structure of reliance on NPP money (Part 5)
The government along with the financial and industrial worlds together created a mechanism to entice local municipalities to promote nuclear power generation by throwing money at them. The money appeared in the form of subsidies based on three energy-related laws: an energy development tax law, a law on special accounting, and a law on development of areas in proximity to electricity generating facilities.
324 billion yen for Fukui
Based on the three laws enacted in 1974, subsidies are granted to localities hosting nuclear power plants and related facilities. Fukushima Prefecture, with ten nuclear reactors including the ones causing the serious accident following the Great East Japan Disaster, received a total of 271.7 billion yen by FY 2009. To Fukui Prefecture, where nuclear power plants with 15 reactors are located, 324.5 billion yen in total was granted by FY 2009. Aomori Prefecture, hosting both NPPs and a reprocessing plant for spent nuclear fuel, received a cumulative 214.3 billion yen by FY 2010.
Why were the three energy-related laws enacted?
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s “50-year history” pamphlet points out the problem of widespread anxiety among residents regarding NPPs, saying “(At that time), there was widespread anxiety and distrust regarding the safety of nuclear power generation,” and “radical, organized opposition movements began to develop.” The three laws were enacted to gain the support of local municipalities and subdue local anxieties.
In 1973, the year before the enactment of these laws, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc. (JAIF) outlined its request for a law on development of local municipalities related to nuclear power generation. It called on the government for an early establishment of a tax system capable of enabling the permanent stabilization of the finances of local municipalities related to nuclear power development.
Encouragement to construct NPPs
The Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) in January 1974 submitted to then International Trade and Industry Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro a written request urging legislation to promote construction of NPPs. In June 1974, three NPP-related laws were established. The FEPC “35-year history” report highly praises the legislation as the series of measures needed “to make NPPs acceptable.”
(To be continued)