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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 February 9 - 15  > JCP Yamazoe criticizes gov’t move to relax regulations on export of radioactive waste
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2022 February 9 - 15 TOP3 [POLITICS]

JCP Yamazoe criticizes gov’t move to relax regulations on export of radioactive waste

February 10, 2022
Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Yamazoe Taku on February 9 at a meeting of the House Research Committee on Natural Resources and Energy said that it is unacceptable for the government to relax the rules pertaining to the export of radioactive waste.

Yamazoe noted that the government’s basic energy policy states that regarding radioactive waste generated in association with the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and other retired facilities, the government will revise the current rules to allow exports to other countries of large equipment and materials that are difficult to be disposed of safely in Japan.

Yamazoe demanded that the current rules associated with disposing of all radioactive waste inside the country in principle be maintained. In response, an official of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency said that the revision is necessary to carry out the decommissioning of targeted nuclear power plants smoothly.

Yamazoe pointed out that under a situation in which no power company in Japan has a policy regarding overseas disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear power facilities, the head of the Federation of Electric Power Companies Japan in July 2020 urged then Trade and Energy Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi to introduce measures for overseas disposal of large metal components from nuclear power plants. The JCP lawmaker also pointed out that a senior official of the U.S. Department of Energy had approached Japan’s Trade and Energy Ministry about possible imports of such wastes from Japan.

Yamazoe criticized the government’s move not only for opening the door for U.S. companies to earn profits from Japan’s nuclear power plant decommissioning projects, but also for releasing Japanese power companies from their responsibility to dispose of radioactive waste themselves. He added that together with the move toward overseas disposal, the government is strengthening its reliance on nuclear power generation as evidenced in the recent development of a small modular reactor, which is totally unacceptable.

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