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Shinzo Abe’s nuclear marketing trip to India not a success

assurances don’t reassure. Abe’s visit provoked widespread protests against the proposed agreement and for a change these were actually covered by the mainstream press. As most of those in protest presumably realize, the primary goal should be to have the idea of reactors at Jaitapur and Mithi Virdi and Kovvada abandoned. And there is some hope for that. Recently even the nuclear establishment seems to have realized that the cost of imported reactors is prohibitively high and the secretive “negotiations” they have been involved in for several years now don’t seem to be making the price come down to anywhere close what they think they can get away with.

Abe to India

Abe,-Shinzo-nuke-1Resisting Abe’s Sales Pitch  Dianuke.org, 5 Feb 14 After all the build-up over the last few weeks, it seems that the best that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could come up with after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was: “Our negotiations towards an agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy have gained momentum in the last few months”. The blandness of the statement suggests that the momentum cannot be all that great and the pace of movement on the agreement is quite slow.

This is reinforced by a comparison to the best that Manmohan Singh and then Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan could say about their meeting in 2010…..

Much changed after the accidents at the reactors in Fukushima Daichi. One was former Prime Minister Kan’s change of mind and his realization that nuclear reactors are hazardous and that Japan should aim to be “a society… without nuclear power” ……

Exports “of nuclear components and technology, as well as conventional arms” are said to be a key element in Prime Minister Abe economic program, dubbed “Abenomics” by many. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Soviet Union after the Chernobyl disaster, when the Soviet nuclear industry was desperate to improve its image and Soviet leaders were willing to sell nuclear reactors at concessional prices.The result of that drive was the 1988 agreement to buy the Koodankulam reactor
We do not know what the Soviet population then thought of that idea, but we do know that the majority of Japanese do not support the export of Japan’s nuclear technologies. A public poll found that a mere 24 percent are in favour of such sales
Abe’s democratic credentials are evident from his various attempts at peddling reactors despite this overwhelming opposition. In October of last year, Abe reached an agreement with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, another head of state who doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about democratic sentiment, to sell two nuclear reactors. The majority of the Turkish public too opposes the construction of nuclear power plants [See here and here]. –

All this at a time when TEPCO was struggling—and failing—to contain radioactive water at Fukushima plant. For Prime Minister Abe, not surprisingly, the leaks were not a problem. When trying to persuade the international Olympic committee (IOC) to hold the 2020 Olympics in Japan, Prime Minister Abe said (in Japanese, of course), “It poses no problem whatsoever…There are no health related problems until now, nor will there be in the future…I make the statement to you in the most emphatic and unequivocal way”. So it is no surprise that as radioactive water leaked from Fukushima, Prime Minister Abe has led sales promotions in at least 21 countries.

His current sales trip to India comes just after the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) acknowledged for the first time, nearly three years after the accident started, that water was leaking from the reactor containment vessel in Unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. According to Tatsujiro Suzuki, the vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), “the leakage is a significant finding [and] could indicate that the Unit 3 containment vessel has significant damage”.

While this possibility of disastrous accidents should be evident to anyone who examines the long history of accidents at nuclear facilities, Prime Ministers Abe and Singh continue to reassure the public with promises to “make our nuclear power generation increasingly safe” and to “ensure that the safety and livelihoods of people are not jeopardised in our pursuit of nuclear power”.

These assurances don’t reassure. Abe’s visit provoked widespread protests against the proposed agreement and for a change these were actually covered by the mainstream press. As most of those in protest presumably realize, the primary goal should be to have the idea of reactors at Jaitapur and Mithi Virdi and Kovvada abandoned. And there is some hope for that. Recently even the nuclear establishment seems to have realized that the cost of imported reactors is prohibitively high and the secretive “negotiations” they have been involved in for several years now don’t seem to be making the price come down to anywhere close what they think they can get away with. One hopes that the opposition that developed before the Abe visit will, like the negotiations of the would-be Indo-Japanese agreement, gain momentum and force the government to call off the entire idea of importing nuclear reactors.

– See more at: http://www.dianuke.org/resisting-abes-sales-pitch/#sthash.ug3w4MvO.dpuf

February 5, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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