Nuclear Power Plants and Inequality in Japan

by Mari Sunagawa

The accident of nuclear power plants in Fukushima occurred in 2011. The radioactivity spread in vast areas and a large quantity of debris was contaminated. This debris hasn’t been dealt with yet. The accident has a big influence. A lot of countries decided to decrease the dependence of nuclear power. There are many demonstrations and social movements to stop the plants. In Japan, there are 54 nuclear power plants. Where did Japan construct them? How did Japan choose the area?

There are nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Takahama, Shimane and so on. The common point among them is poor finance. They don’t have particularly popular special products and famous sight seeing spots. They had been in trouble before the construction of nuclear power plants. The government in Japan suggested building the plants. The poor area couldn’t reject the plan because they wanted the subsidy. Once the local government accepted the nuclear power plants, they tended to construct more plants. The area relied on the industry of nuclear power. The plants created the employment in local area so people were not able to remove them. Now, even after the accident in Fukushima, some people in local area want the rework of the plants.

There are some reasons why not-poor areas do not accept the nuclear power plant. First, it has the high risk that huge accident might occur someday. Every Japanese know the accident in Chernobyl. They understand how damage it suffered. The nuclear power plant lacks of safety. Second, the plants require wide space. People cannot live in the area near them. Moreover, the plants produce radioactive wastes. The way to disposal them is not decided completely. The waste is accumulated and stays in the plant. The nuclear power plant has many problems.

People had lived depending on the energy of nuclear power until 2011. However, they didn’t imagine the people in areas near the plants. The rich areas pushed the plants which they don’t want to accept onto the poor areas. There is the economic inequality among the areas in Japan. It creates new inequality of danger. The situation that certain areas can do nothing but depend on the nuclear power plants should be improved. The government must provide poor areas with economic support without the plants. It is important to do social movement in order to decrease the gap among the areas in Japan.

Reference

Nihon Genshiryoku Gijutsu Kyoukai http://www.gengikyo.jp/facility/powerplant.html

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