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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 29 - June 4  > NPP business puts profit before safety
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2013 May 29 - June 4 [ECONOMY]

NPP business puts profit before safety

June 1, 2013
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has agreed with the Indian prime minister to work for an early conclusion of a bilateral nuclear power pact with an eye to Japanese export of nuclear power plants (NPP). Abe also forged a similar deal with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates in early May, promoting the sale of Japanese NPPs.

He is trying to give a boost to NPP industry interests in order to meet requests by the community of interest composed of power utilities and NPP manufacturers such as Toshiba, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

To construct one plant costs hundreds of billions of yen, bringing about a huge profit to the nuclear industry. Toshiba partners up with U.S. General Electric (GE). Hitachi places Westinghouse Electric under its wing, which used to be the world’s largest NPP maker along with GE. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries allies itself with French Areva. All these companies will greatly benefit from the global dimensions of the NPP business.

As seen in the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, things go out of control once an accident occurs at an NPP. Japan still has no prospect of ending the crisis and decommissioning the reactors there. Nevertheless, the country is moving forward with the resumption of operations of suspended reactors at NPPs throughout Japan as well as exporting Japanese NPPs abroad.

Those nations to which Japan is making a sales pitch include an earthquake-prone nation and a politically volatile country. To increase the risk of nuclear accident or terrorist attack associated with NPP exports to such countries is equivalent to turning a blind eye to world security.

India, for example, is a nuclear weapons possessing state which refuses to ratify the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It refuses to allow international inspectors to enter its military nuclear facilities. The United States, however, treats India as an exception to the rule in regards to exports of U.S.-made NPPs. If Japan does the same as the U.S., it may help India to further develop nuclear weapons programs.

As the only atomic bombed nation in the world, Japan should play a leading role in the global movement to create a NPP-free world.
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