Nuclear Nation: Why is Japan Relaunching its Reactors?

July 26th, 2012 - by admin

In the Stream / Al Jazeera – 2012-07-26 23:16:57

Nuclear Nation
More than a year after Fukushima, why is Japan relaunching its reactors?

In the Stream / Al Jazeera

(July 26, 2012) — Prior to the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake, Japan depended on nuclear reactors for more than 30 per cent of its electricity. After the meltdown at the Fukushima power plant, the government shut off more than 50 reactors, scrapping much of its plans to increase nuclear energy.

This month, two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant were turned back on, prompting massive protests and public outcry.

The revival of nuclear power sparked widespread opposition, bringing tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets. Some are calling the protests a “Hydrangea Revolution”, saying it marks the first widespread political movement in Japan in decades. Japan’s prime minister says the shutdown caused power shortages and expensive fuel imports that have hurt the economy.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Charles Ferguson (@FAScientists), co-chair of the US-Japan Nuclear Working Group and Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of Green Action.

What do you think? With major safety concerns and protests by citizens, do the risks of pursuing nuclear power outweigh the benefits? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using #AJStream.

The Stream crowdsourced an interview with Dr. Ryugo Hayano, a physicist who gained prominence for his tweets after the Fukushima disaster.

The video below shows a July 16 rally in Tokyo and was posted with a message from environmental activist Yu Tanaka, who said, “The time has come where citizens present a vision for an alternative future.

There is no hope in the politics when its actors are doing nothing but seek for compromise and middle grounds among themselves. Electricity is not worth risking our lives for. Electricity can be produced everywhere in a small scale and consumed within the area. Let each of us show that it is possible to create an alternative future”.