What we can see from the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant (Part 1)
(From a lecture recording)
The Fukushima power plant accident and the impasse of human society
In 2007, I published the book, “A Country’s Ideal and the Constitution?The
Road to a Nation for International Peace and the Environment” (Japanese), and
in 2008, the English translation was published under the title, “Beyond
National Egoism”. At age 22, I encountered the concept that is presented in
this book. This book was a compilation of more than 40 years of contemplation
The present world is at an impasse because of various difficult problems such as
war, conflicts, terrorism, environmental problems, food supply shortage,
poverty, famine, and energy shortage. Human society is facing an unprecedented
Further, amidst this, in Japan there are not only environmental problems, but
also educational issues such as bullying, school absenteeism, and classroom
disruption and chaos. Considering the young people, many of them say that in
this society, they cannot find a worthy purpose or motivation in living. Of
course, there are many young people who are working hard and doing their best,
but overall, we can see a tendency of extremely weak will. I feel this is
something that should be very alarming regarding the future of Japan.
In addition, the direction toward strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance and
having Japan participate in wars along with the U.S., has gradually gained
strength. Through all this, it appears that Japan has reached an impasse because
of various factors, such as whether the Constitution, which is the key point of
Japan’s future, should be revised or not.
This unprecedented crisis of humankind did not begin recently. The survival of
humankind itself was endangered in the Cold War era in which the U.S. and Soviet
Union confronted each other over decades in a state of extreme tension with the
possibility of an all-out nuclear war because they held several tens of
thousands of nuclear arms that were said to have the potential to kill all
humankind many tens of times over.
Fortunately, the collapse of the Soviet Union signaled the end of the Cold War.
However, although the situation is no longer as tense as before, the U.S. and
Russia still have a large quantity of nuclear weapons. After the end of the Cold
War, besides the U.S. and Russia, there has been an increase in the number of
countries including China that possess and are strengthening their nuclear
weapons. Certainly, it is thought that there is no longer a threat of an all-out
nuclear war for now, but the risk of nuclear war has not necessarily gone away.
In addition, from 30 years ago, the problem of global-scale environmental
destruction has emerged in a big way. We have come to understand that if we
continue production and economic growth in the present form, the earth
environment itself will be destroyed and the survival of humans will be
threatened in the future.
In my youth, when I learned that we might end up destroying ourselves, I felt
greatly shocked, and thought, “Humans are so foolish.” At the same time, I
thought, “Humans absolutely cannot be such foolish beings. Humans will
unfailingly realize their mistakes, correct them with their own hands, and
should be able to bring to reality a world where everyone is happy and at peace
”. Since that time, as my life theme, I have been contemplating a solution for
the impasse faced by Japan and the world, and the realization of a happy and
The main theme of those contemplations is as follows. In order to resolve the
impasse faced by human society, find the most fundamental cause of the impasse
of human society and determine what can be done to remove the cause. The work
was complied together as the book, “Beyond National Egoism”.
The nuclear power plant catastrophe that was forewarned frequently
This book explains about the impasse condition of the entire human society,
including Japan, from various angles. The risks of a nuclear power plant
accident are described in considerable detail.
Already two months have passed since the accident occurred at the Fukushima
Daiichi Power Plant this year, on March 11. That day, at our house, we also felt
tremors with an intensity of a weak 6 on the Japanese seven-level seismic scale.
After a while, we heard news of this nuclear plant accident, and my first
thought was, “It happened, after all”. If I were to express my feelings of
that time, only the word “chagrin” comes to mind.
What I mean is that already 4 to 5 years ago, in this book, I had written that
the risk of a nuclear power plant accident is very great, and that if an
accident were to occur, undoubtedly, it would happen in the way that occurred
this time. Indeed, it happened exactly as described.
Actually, I felt perplexed that my prediction was accurate. What I mean is that
I am not an expert regarding nuclear power, nor am I an expert in social
So, when I was working on the book, “Beyond National Egoism”, I read books
from various related fields of study in order to examine what is actually
I looked over about 10 to 20 books related to nuclear power. What I learned from
reading those books is that already from several decades earlier, although their
numbers were not at all large, reliable researchers and concerned experts warned
based on scientific knowledge and research, “Nuclear power plants are extremely
Despite these warnings, finally, a large-scale nuclear power plant accident
occurred this time. I was stunned and appalled as I thought anew about what on
earth we had been doing until now.
Various people have been fervently warning about the risks of nuclear power. Of
course, there are many people who lent an ear to those warnings, and worked
hard, raising their voices and taking action to abandon nuclear power. But,
despite these efforts and activities, a large-scale nuclear plant accident
occurred this time.
This means that overall, still, only a small number of people seriously lent an
ear to the warnings of these people and assertively took action based on those
warnings. As a result, doesn’t this indicate that they could not become a
definitive force to change this country of Japan?
Search for the essence of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
A large-scale nuclear power plant accident already occurred in Fukushima, but to
avoid this kind of accident from ever happening again, I feel that now of all
times, we must address anew the importance of “thinking seriously and acting
As I mentioned before, I am not an expert regarding nuclear power. In this
aspect, I am a complete amateur. However, as of four years ago, since I read
various books and studied in order to write “Beyond National Egoism”, I was
better informed than the general level people regarding nuclear power.
But, after the nuclear plant accident in Fukushima, various people have spoken
out about nuclear power on television, in the newspapers, on the Internet, etc.
Even people whose voices were small until now have received great coverage.
Accordingly, many of you probably already know well about what I will discuss
So, even though this is the case, the main topic of today’s talk is to search
for the essence of the problem as we verify anew the information one more time.
The myth of the safety of nuclear power was disproved
First, the biggest thing that has become clear until now is that the electric
power companies and the government or Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
have been saying that nuclear power is absolutely safe, and that this myth of
the safety of nuclear power has been completely disproved.
Concomitantly, it became clear that until now, the electric power companies had
been saying lies upon lies. This means that from now, the situation has become
such that no matter what the electric power companies such as Tokyo Electric
Power Company, Chubu Electric Power Company, and Kansai Electric Power Company
try to say, we have reached the point where we will not be able to trust them
To put it simply, we were being deceived by the government and the electric
power companies. In other words, it means we were completely taken for fools. It
is something I had realized, but anew, I feel deeply chagrined.
Furthermore, in the announcements by the Tokyo Electric Power Company and the
government, the word, “unexpected” is used very frequently. Various things
have been said about this point, but with just a little studying, even an
amateur like myself could “expect” the possibility of this kind of accident
What on earth does it mean when a person who is said to be a specialist, uses
the word “unexpected” regarding something that an amateur like me can
Although I am an amateur regarding nuclear power, in the past, I was a
researcher in the sciences. From that perspective, I feel that it is extremely
disgraceful for an expert to overuse the word “unexpected”. Their intent to
want to evade the issue and continue nuclear power even now is obvious.
Is nuclear power cheap?
There is another point to consider. Until now, as one of the grounds for
supporting nuclear power, the government and electric power companies have been
saying that nuclear power generation is less expensive than thermal power and
other power generation methods.
For example, according to the “Energy White Paper” (2010 edition) of the
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the costs of power generation per
kilowatt hour are 7 to 8 yen for thermal generation using liquified natural gas,
8 to 13 yen for hydraulic power, 10 to 14 yen for wind power, and 49 yen for
solar power. In comparison, nuclear power is 5 to 6 yen per kWh.
However, until now, many experts have been saying that based on data, nuclear
power is certainly not cheap, and is also not less expensive than thermal power.
Recently, in the April 30 issue of the Tokyo Newspaper, Professor Kenichi Oshima
of Ritsumeikan University presented data comparing the costs until now of
nuclear power generation with other methods such as thermal and hydraulic
generation. These can be found through a search on the Internet. Starting from
the reports of the electric companies, Professor Oshima calculated the costs
more precisely by adding factors such as taxes to promote development of nuclear
power and expenses for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel that were not included in
the calculations of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
By doing so, the costs of power generation per kilowatt hour are 9.90 yen for
thermal power, 7.26 yen for hydraulic power, and 10.68 yen for nuclear power, so
nuclear power is the most expensive. Furthermore, this is approximately twice
the 5 to 6 yen calculated cost that the government used in the “Energy White
Paper” mentioned above.
In addition, for nuclear power generation, a pumping-up hydroelectric power
plant is necessary. In other words, the nuclear power plant and pumping-up
hydroelectric power plant are a set, and in this case, the cost becomes 12. 23
yen. So, nuclear power is certainly not cheap.
Does nuclear power save on petroleum?
Another grounds for the theory of promoting nuclear power is the assertion,
“Nuclear power saves on petroleum”. Is this really true?
To check this, we only need to calculate the electrical power productivity
ratio. For a power generation method, the electrical power productivity ratio is
the ratio of the amount of energy of all the petroleum input for generating
electricity to the electric power generated, converted into the amount of
This means that if the output energy is greater than the input energy (converted
into petroleum), that is, if the electrical power productivity ratio is greater
than 1, the energy balance is positive, and it would be meaningful to implement
that power generation method. Also, the larger the electrical power productivity
ratio, the more efficient the power generation method from the perspective of
energy balance. In short, it would mean that method is also profitable
economically and saves on petroleum.
In contrast, if the productivity ratio is less than 1, the energy balance would
be negative, and it would mean there is no point in implementing that power
generation method. Even worse, if the method were implemented, it would be a
loss economically and a wasteful use of petroleum.
For example, in the case of coal-fired power generation, the power created from
coal that was mined by using 1 unit of petroleum is said to be equivalent to
about 100 units of petroleum. That means the electrical power productivity ratio
is 100, and coal-fired power generation makes sense.
However, for petroleum-fired power generation, in which petroleum is used to
drill for petroleum that is burned to generate electricity, the electrical power
productivity ratio is much larger than 100. This means that from the energy
balance perspective, petroleum-fired power generation is much more efficient
than coal-fired power generation. For this reason, usage of coal-fired power
Now, how about nuclear power generation? According to the calculations by the
U.S. Bureau of Energy Development in 1976, the electrical productivity ratio was
3.8 for nuclear power in the U.S. The figure was 4.0 according to a report of
the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry in Japan in 1991,
although the details of the calculations were not made public. It is believed
that these figures are nearly the same because the calculations were based on
similar presumptions such as the model set-up and processes.
It is clear that when calculating energy balance, if there are oversights of
conditions that ought to be assumed in the calculations, that is, if some
elements are left out, it will not lead to accurate results.
First, to calculate the energy input, all of the energy input for generation of
electricity must be totaled. For example, everything must be incorporated, such
as mining and refining of uranium, expenditures for construction of the power
generation plant, costs of operating the power plant, and expenditures for
construction of the pumping-up hydroelectric power generation plant needed to
run the nuclear plant. From the output energy, it is necessary to subtract
factors such as expenditures for processing the nuclear waste materials, and
losses from factors such as transmission and nighttime electricity usage at the
pumping-up hydroelectric power generation plant.
Dr. Atsushi Tsuchida, a physicist, has pointed out that there were considerable
oversights in the calculations of the U.S. Bureau of Energy Development, and
correcting for these, he calculated the following results.
Regarding the “energy input”, construction of a pumping-up hydroelectric power
plant required for operating a nuclear power plant, construction of an electric
power plant and electricity used for operation, and construction of a long
distance electrical transmission facility were overlooked elements, so these
were added. In addition, regarding “energy output”, nighttime power loss in a
pumping-up hydroelectric power plant and losses in transmission were subtracted.
By doing so, it is said that the energy balance becomes almost 1.
From this alone, it means there is no meaning in implementing nuclear power.
Further, by adding the considerable amount of energy consumed over a long period
of time for such things as processing radioactive waste, no matter how
optimistically you look at it, the energy balance will become less than one.
Professor Takeshi Murota, a mathematical economist, also calculated nearly the
From these results, we can say that nuclear power generation makes no sense at
all for power generation. Rather, nuclear power generation does not save on
petroleum and is a big wasteful use of petroleum.
In short, the truth is that nuclear power is first of all, extremely dangerous,
incurs a high cost, and also does not save on petroleum.
Can we get by without nuclear power?
There is another point to consider. It is often questioned, “Can we get by
without nuclear power?” Certainly, if there is a shortage of electricity, it
would cause hindrances including in daily life, industrial and economic
activities, and all activities related to subsistence, so we can say it is a
very big issue. Accordingly, now, many people are saying, “Without nuclear
power, there will be an electricity shortage”, and they are using this as a
major grounds for continuing or promoting nuclear power.
Is this really true? Let us look at the actual figures. Dr. Hiroaki Koide of the
Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute has pointed out that in Japan
overall, thermal power generation is operating at 50% capacity, and hydraulic
power generation is at 19% capacity. Thus, if the operating rates of thermal and
hydraulic power generation were increased, there would be a sufficient surplus
in power generation capacity even without operating nuclear plants.
In fact, the total of thermal and hydraulic power generation capacity is 170
million KW. Except for the few hours in the afternoon in mid-summer, with the
sum of thermal power and hydraulic power, the electricity demand can be covered
even without nuclear power. The highest electricity consumption on record so far
in Japan is 182 million KW, and that exceeds the sum of thermal and hydraulic
power generation by 12 million KW.
There would be a slight electricity shortfall only in the period of a few hours
when air conditioners are used in summer and electricity consumption peaks.
Therefore, by taking effective measures to suppress the overall amount of
electricity used in this peak time, it is fully possible to abandon nuclear
To suppress the overall amount of electricity used during the peak time,
suppress the electricity consumed by air conditioners by setting the air
conditioner temperature just a little higher. As an alternative, to suppress the
electricity consumption during peak times in places such as factories,
production adjustments can be made such as staggering the operating times for
the various types of equipment. Furthermore, measures, such as setting the
electricity rates for peak times higher, as in France, are fully effective for
suppressing the overall amount of electricity used. In short, we can survive
sufficiently well without nuclear power.
Let us consider this by referring to a more concrete example.
At present, the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant has been suspended, that is,
operations have stopped. According to the “Electrical Power Supply Plan” for
the year 2011 in the Chubu Electric Power Company home page, the generation
reserve margin was 2.95 million KW for the year 2010. In mid-summer last year,
which was a heat wave, only reactors 3 and 4 at Hamaoka were operating, and they
had a total supply capacity of 2.237 million kW.
That means if reactors 3 and 4 at Hamaoka had not been operating, 2,950,000 -
2,237,000 = 713,000 kW would have been left in the generation reserve margin.
In addition, the generation reserve margin this year was 4,390,000 kW. Chubu
Electric Power Company itself has forecast that even if the Hamaoka nuclear
plant were completely stopped, which is a reduction of 3,617,000 kW, more than
773,000 kW would be left. Even without nuclear power, other types of power
generation such as thermal and hydraulic power generation will suffice.
In addition, the following article appeared in the June 12, 2011 Asahi Newspaper
with the title, “Summer electricity demand, and securing supply capacity. Tokyo
Electric Power Company moves toward restarting the Hirono Power Plant”.
“All five of the reactors (total output power 3.8 million kW) at the Hirono
Thermal Power Plant (Hirono Town, Fukushima Prefecture) of Tokyo Electric Power
Company that had stopped operations after being damaged by the tsunami in the
Great East Japan Earthquake, are expected to be able to restart operations in
the middle of July. Therefore, the probability has increased that Tokyo Electric
Power Company will be able to secure power supply exceeding the forecasted
highest demand this summer of 55 million kW. (omission of middle part)
If the Hirono Thermal Power Plant starts up, it will become possible to add more
power with the pumping-up hydroelectric power plant that draws up water with the
leftover electricity at night.”
In short, it is an article saying that even in the Tokyo Electric Power Company
district, they can likely manage without nuclear power this summer. Therefore,
for example, if everyone sets the air conditioner temperature about 1 degree
higher, it would easily save on about one nuclear reactor’s worth of
electricity. So including businesses, if we make a point to conserve electricity
in our work and daily life, it is fully possible to avoid a shortage of
electricity without forcing people to endure great hardship.
In other words, from now, we need to change and correct the way we had been
squandering electricity like water, and endeavor to conserve electricity as much
as possible. By doing so, and by using only thermal power, hydraulic power, or
natural energy sources, we can make do even without nuclear power. This can be
done without lowering the present level of our daily lives or work efficiency of
businesses, and without raising production costs.
These past several decades, the government has promoted nuclear power as a
national policy. For this reason, along with thermal power, nuclear power has
become one of the two large pillars for generating electricity. In other words,
even though we could have sufficiently met the electricity demands from the
beginning with methods other than nuclear power, such as thermal power, as the
main source for generating electricity, nuclear power has been firmly
incorporated into our daily electricity generation system as a national policy,
and this structure has left our lives, economic activities and other areas
dependent on nuclear power.
As a consequence, if we were to suddenly abolish all nuclear power now,
realistically, adjustments could not be made in time, and in some regions, there
may be temporary electricity shortages. In this sense, it is certain that how to
get by through periods of potential electricity shortages is a major issue, and
we must deal with this carefully.
The potential for a catastrophe from factors such as a terrorist attack
The accident this time arose from an earthquake and tsunami, but there is
something else we must consider.
It has not been mentioned often, but in fact, there is a very strong possibility
that if a nuclear power plant were struck in an airplane crash, missile attack
or terrorist attack, a catastrophe would occur.
Based on the principle or structure of a nuclear power plant, it would not be
possible to prevent a catastrophe if a nuclear plant were struck in an airplane
crash or military attack.
In short, nuclear power plants were not designed and built assuming a military
attack or plane crash. The structures were designed and built on the premise
that they would be operating during a so-called “era of peace” in which there
is no war or terrorism.
In the case of Japan, there are 54 nuclear reactors, and they are located along
the coastline almost all across the country. If there were a country that
planned to attack Japan, this would be exactly the same as setting nuclear bombs
throughout the country.
If a nuclear plant were struck by an airplane, missile, or another form of
terrorism, it would be the same as having dropped several nuclear bombs on
Japan. If so, Japan would virtually be annihilated, and there would be no longer
any place where humans could live in Japan. This would be an extremely terrible
In this sense, as long as Japan has nuclear power plants, no matter how much the
military power is strengthened, it would be impossible to prevent attacks from
other countries against nuclear plants. This may be black humor, but it means
that if Japan continues to maintain nuclear power plants from now also, there is
no way for Japan to survive except by completely abolishing all military forces
and aspiring toward becoming an absolutely peaceful, friendly country that would
never be attacked by other countries.
Incidentally, Western countries have conducted research and implemented training
assuming a terrorist attack on a nuclear plant. In 1981, a nuclear reactor in
Iraq was actually bombed by Israel.
(Supplementary note: According to the Asahi Newspaper of July 31, 2011, prompted
by the bombing incident of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs started damage prediction research in absolute secrecy for the case of
an attack on a domestic nuclear plant. In 1984, findings were submitted stating
that an attack on a nuclear plant would cause enormous damage. Nevertheless, it
was not made public for fear of expanding the anti-nuclear power movement.)
We have been deceived about everything
Now, I would like to summarize the various things that we have considered up to
this point. In a word, perhaps we have been deceived about everything after all.
With the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear plant this time, not only has it
been proven by actual fact that nuclear plants, which the electric power
companies and government have been saying are absolutely safe until now, are
extremely dangerous, but also, all of the factors that have been considered as
advantages and grounds for promoting nuclear power were in fact disadvantages.
What does this mean? To put it simply, from the beginning, there was absolutely
no meaning in implementing nuclear power. With nuclear power, we, the general
public, only suffer major losses, and nuclear power is extremely dangerous.
Perhaps this has become clear to many people through the nuclear plant accident
As I mentioned earlier, one more very important point here is that from several
decades ago, concerned people have been warning repeatedly about these facts.
At the same time, it means there was the influence of electric power companies,
government, bureaucrats, politicians, the financial world, scholars who wanted
research funds, and media under the government’s thumb, that sealed off the
voices of these warnings. In addition, many of us have lived either believing
unconditionally the words of people in high positions, such as people in the
government and electric companies, or pretending not to see even while doubting,
or being completely apathetic to these matters. Perhaps it can be said that a
combination of these led to the catastrophe this time.
Ignorance, apathy, leaving matters to others, and giving up are the fundamental
In short, what I want to say is that, here and now, we ought to properly reflect
on our own attitude in life, and not try to settle this problem only by one-
sidedly criticizing the electric power companies or government.
For example, although it is pathetic, until the nuclear accident in Fukushima,
many people did not know that there are 54 reactors in Japan. In addition, we
can hear the voices of many people who say that because of this accident, for
the first time, they realized that nuclear power is dangerous.
Regarding nuclear power, it is clear that the government, electric power
companies, and others were to blame, but at the same time, we have been
deficient in many ways. Consequently, the outcome is that we have been
supporting these kinds of electric power companies, the government, and others.
If we do not properly reflect on this fact, we cannot create a peaceful and
happy Japan in the true sense from now. Taking the nuclear power issue as one
example, I feel that without proper self-reflection, the decisions may go awry
depending on the situation from now. Further, in other serious societal issues
besides nuclear power, such as the issue of revising the constitution of Japan,
the possibility of choosing the wrong path may result. So in this sense too, it
can be said that we are standing at a major crossroad or critical turning point
To put it another way, I feel that now of all times, we must make this an
opportunity to create a country of Japan that is truly peaceful and where
everyone is happy. We must put forth all our effort to recover from this
difficult situation as quickly as possible. At the same time, we must
investigate the fundamental cause that triggered this difficult situation, so
that not only the nuclear power accident, but this kind of tragedy never occurs
again, and implement a thorough fundamental treatment in our way of living as
individuals, in addition to the government and society’s way of being.
“O-kami-shinko” (blind faith in the government) is no good
Let us consider a little further about these matters. As a general trend,
Japanese people tend to have “o-kami-shinko” (blind faith in the government).
The Japanese people, for no reason at all, tend to accept without questioning
what people “above” say, such as people in high positions in the government,
university professors, or a president of a large company.
Of course, regarding politicians, for example, we hear conversations of
complaints about the present prime minister. However, overall, although it is
odd to say “above” when there is truly no above or below, the nature of
Japanese people is that there is a tendency to accept without questioning what
is told to them from “a person above”. Regarding the nuclear power problem,
perhaps this is one of the fundamental causes on our side.
From another perspective, we do not attempt to know the details, or rather, know
accurately. This is apathy, which is saying that the matter is something for
people in high positions to consider and is irrelevant to me. It is also leaving
matters to others to do, and saying it is not something I can do. Ignorance
comes from this apathy. I may sound like I am talking patronizingly, but this
time, I myself cannot say that I do not have this tendency.
Another point is “giving up”. Perhaps an extremely large number of people feel
somewhere in their heart, “ultimately, that kind of thing can’t be helped”.
It is a sense of giving up and saying, “even if each of us raises our voice,
ultimately, it can’t be helped”.
Ignorance, apathy, leaving matters to others, and giving up. These are the
biggest causes of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Would it be going too far to
say that before reproaching the attitude of the electric power companies or
government, we ourselves, each one of us, must reflect on ourselves?
After saying this now, I, myself do not think this statement is going too far,
but I feel deeply anew that this “ignorance, apathy, leaving matters to others,
and giving up” of all things are the fundamental causes of the catastrophe at
the Fukushima nuclear plant.
In other words, in general, each one of us is lacking the proper recognition
that “this society, this country and the world are ours”. For this reason, we
ourselves were lacking the awareness that “we are to create this society, this
country, and this world with our hands”. Regarding the country, does it not
mean, “a clear vision of what kind of Japan we are going to create in the
future, and a true ideal that anyone can accept, has not been set forth in the
country of Japan”?
There are still many who are in favor of nuclear power
From what I have discussed until now, I think you have understood that with a
little investigation, anyone can understand matters such as “nuclear power is
far from being cheap”.
There are people who think as follows. “Nuclear power and radiation are scary
for some reason. An accident actually occurred. Therefore, I am opposed to
nuclear power.” Nevertheless, by actually talking with people, I found that
there are many people around me who actually support and promote nuclear power.
I feel that there are still only a small number of people who absolutely oppose
nuclear power no matter the circumstances; that is, these people feel that we
will create a society free of nuclear power from now. In questionnaires by
newspapers and other sources, it seems that 70% oppose nuclear power now, but by
talking with people in actual daily life, it seems maybe about one quarter of
the people would abandon nuclear power no matter the circumstances.
It seems that the remaining three quarters now feel that it would be better not
to have nuclear power. However, it appears they think that if there would be an
electricity shortage without nuclear power, or if it would unfavorably influence
their work, or if economic growth could not be maintained, maybe continuing
nuclear power is unavoidable. In other words, I think there are a fair number of
people who feel strongly against nuclear power now, but would switch to
continuing or promoting nuclear power depending on the circumstances.
This means that assuming one quarter of the people say they absolutely oppose
nuclear power no matter the circumstances, if the remaining three quarters
support nuclear power depending on the situation, nuclear power will continue
Probably, there are electric power companies, government-related people and
bureaucrats who would gain by continuing or promoting nuclear power, and they
have united and promoted nuclear power, but I believe the number of these people
is about 1% of the total population or less.
The remaining 99% is the general population. So, if we, the general population,
just clearly understand that nuclear power truly makes no sense, has no
advantages, and of course, does not even save on petroleum, nor reduce carbon
dioxide emissions, and on top of that, is tremendously dangerous, it will be
possible to abolish nuclear power permanently.
Not even one advantage to nuclear power
This is an important topic, so I will go over it again. Many people think there
are advantages and disadvantages to nuclear power. In addition, they try to
decide whether to support or oppose nuclear power by weighing the advantages and
disadvantages on a balance, and seeing which is heavier.
Of the disadvantages, the biggest factor is the fact that nuclear power is
excessively dangerous. Assuming nuclear power has some advantages, even so, the
disadvantage of being excessively dangerous far outweighs all of the advantages
combined, and I, myself, feel that nuclear power should be abolished
Yet, here is a problem of a difference in sense of values. For example, some
people say as follows. Economic growth is more important than anything else.
Electricity is needed for economic growth. Even if nuclear power is dangerous,
it is necessary for supplying electricity.
In other words, it is the theory that nuclear power is necessary for the sake of
economic growth, even if there is a dangerous aspect of nuclear power. Perhaps
the words, “economic growth” could be replaced by, “maintaining the present
lifestyle”, “continuing the present work”, or “securing and maintaining the
It would mean that support or opposition to nuclear power would depend on each
person’s sense of values, and further, a person’s way of thinking would change
according to the social conditions of the time. Under such circumstances, it is
only natural that a clear conclusion could never be reached. Furthermore, even
if a conclusion were forcibly drawn, if the conclusion were mistaken, it would
mean leaving problems in the future.
However, what I have described so far is, “The fact is that there is absolutely
no advantage to nuclear power.” If you investigate the actual situation
regarding all of the factors that were said to be advantages, there is nothing
that can be called an advantage peculiar to nuclear power, and instead, they are
In this way, if it becomes clear that there are absolutely no advantages to
nuclear power, what remains is only the disadvantage that nuclear power is
excessively dangerous. That means, no matter what, nuclear power ought to be
abolished as soon as possible and permanently.
Just understanding is not enough
I think you have already agreed with what I have discussed so far. However, by
that only, nothing will change.
Some people comment as follows. “I read books on nuclear power. I also looked
at some websites. I went to listen to some lectures. I see now that nuclear
power is dangerous. There are no advantages to nuclear power. I understand very
well that there is no meaning in implementing nuclear power. Therefore, I oppose
nuclear power.” Perhaps, we can say this is some progress, but I think that
with this only, it will not be possible to immediately and permanently abolish
all nuclear power.
In other words, nothing will change if a person just says, "I oppose nuclear
power", and does nothing more. This has been proven by many examples in history.
To put it simply, it means, "Peace will not become reality by only praying".
Toward bringing to reality true peace, I feel that by boldly conveying one’s
thoughts to others through certain and concrete methods, we must increase the
number of people who agree. In short, perhaps the most important lesson we ought
to learn from the nuclear power plant accident is that unless each one of us
becomes "a person who truly takes action", nothing will change in this society.
Increase your ability to convey to others
For this purpose, first, each one of us must understand properly as a fact and
theoretically, "Why it is necessary to abolish all nuclear power immediately".
Next, it is necessary to develop the ability to properly explain this to others
with reliable theory and facts. In addition, I feel we must find opportunities
and boldly convey this truth to others.
For this, developing your abilities by assertively reading relevant books and
websites, and participating in lectures and study groups is very effective. In
addition, introducing good books and websites to acquaintances and inviting them
to lectures and study groups are effective methods.
For example, how would you reply to opinions such as the following? "Nuclear
power is necessary to continue economic growth". "With natural energy, power
generation is unstable and the efficiency is not good, so it will not substitute
for nuclear power that is stable and is efficient in power generation." "With
just one gram of uranium, nuclear power generation can produce the energy of two
tons of petroleum. Nuclear power is far more efficient".
Regarding the first opinion, "Nuclear power is necessary to continue economic
growth", as I already explained, you can present figures that have been reported
and say, "Even without nuclear power, thermal and hydraulic power generation are
Regarding the second opinion, ""With natural energy, power generation is
unstable, and the efficiency is not good, so it will not substitute for nuclear
power that is stable and is efficient in power generation", certainly, at the
present stage, it is a fact that power generation with natural energy is
unstable, and the efficiency is not high.
For spreading and expanding natural energy power generation, it is hoped that
from now, power generation efficiency will be increased by major technological
innovations, and at the same time, stability and control technology will improve
through computer technology such as "smart grid". By doing so, power generation
by natural energy will become increasingly important as a promising power
generation method in the future.
In addition, the efficiency of power generation with nuclear power is certainly
not high compared to thermal power and hydraulic power. From this aspect also,
thermal power, hydraulic power, and natural energy can sufficiently supply the
required electrical power.
Regarding the third opinion, "With just one gram of uranium, nuclear power
generation can produce the energy of two tons of petroleum. Nuclear power is far
more efficient", by thinking about this just a little, people might think,
"That's amazing". However, this is a numerical trick.
Indeed, it is amazing that with just one gram of uranium, the energy of two tons
of petroleum will be output. However, the refined one-gram of uranium does not
exist in that form from the beginning. By digging deep into the earth, soil- or
rock-containing uranium is extracted. Of this extracted soil or rock, only a
small portion contains uranium, and of that uranium, only 0.07% is uranium-235,
which is used in nuclear power.
This means that we are only saying that the final one-gram of uranium, which was
produced by repeatedly concentrating the uranium from the first stage where it
was contained in soil or rock, is equivalent to the energy of two tons of
petroleum. Therefore, from the initial condition of being in the soil or rock
deep underground, by no means does crude uranium have so much power compared to
There is no doubt that concentrated and refined uranium has tremendous energy.
However, to refine and concentrate uranium to that extent requires an enormous
amount petroleum or electricity produced from petroleum.
By verifying the facts one by one, as above, it is possible to disprove with
certainty the basis upon which various people say that nuclear power is
necessary and to persuade them.
Convey to others with certainty
In this way, each person conveys with certainty to others regarding the truth
about nuclear power. Convey with certainty to 5, 10 or even 100 people. Those
people to whom the information was conveyed also convey to 5, 10 or 100 people.
I feel that if this chain reaction does not reach the final goal, it will not be
possible to truly abolish nuclear power, of course, nor to bring to reality a
society of true peace where everyone is happy.
I feel that the fact that each one of us could not do so until now, is the
biggest cause of making Japan a country that would bring about the catastrophe
at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In this sense, perhaps serious
consideration of "What is true happiness?" and "becoming a person who takes
action in earnest" are the things most needed from each one of us now.
(to be continued)
Monday, August 1, 2011