In our last meeting “Let’s talk about nuclear decommissioning,” we realized the nuclear decommissioning produces nuclear waste. But we did not talk about what do we do about the nuclear waste. A nuclear decommissioning is about what do we do for a reactor after its lifespan ended or cannot use the reactor anymore when it is broken by any reason (e.g., an accident). What we learned was that a decommissioning costs money (e.g., 1 billion dollar/reactor) and time (e.g., 30 years). Even then the decommissioning has finished, the nuclear waste still remains. The last meeting ended here. Then some of our members asked: “What do we do about the nuclear waste?” “How much does they cost?” “Who need to pay that?” “What is the current plan?”
The members of SNB (Sayonara Nukes Berlin) originally asked both questions: nuclear decommissioning and nuclear waste management. However, two and half hours were not enough to talk about both themes. So, we have this second meeting.
There are two parts alternately in this report: Fukumoto’s lecture and Yamauchi’s memorandum. Yamauchi’s memorandum is the part of how the reporter understood.
In the first meeting, Fukumoto pointed out the importance of “think through what I can do as a citizen,” when anyone thinks about the energy problem. He would like to add one more point in this meeting:
After the Fukushima incident, we had blackout days. When the power companies explained that this is because we do not have nuclear reactors running. Can you still be against the nuclear reactor? Please think through this once more.
He mentioned the importance of thinking about the problem first and having an opinion. It is important to understand the problem yourself and also important to find the information by yourself. It does not matter whether you are in favor of the reactor or against the reactor. But you need to find the correct information and you need to think about the problem based on that information.
The sections of Yamauchi’s memorandum shows the reporter’s opinion and research; how we think in the current situation, how we think about our future. Under our current political system, these ideas will be shown in the vote. After the meeting, I reconsider this.
What I thought was that: Do I want to have a future with nuclear reactors? Do I agree with the nuclear reactors because the electric company said they are needed. Do I disagree with the nuclear reactors if the electricity is enough? I thought first I needed a clear vision for our future. The vision should not depend on whether the current electricity is enough or not. The reality would have some compromises, but the vision should not. I would like to think about what I could do, or what each of us could do for our future. Of course this also includes the near future, tomorrow. Shall I make a compromise tomorrow? Another idea is that there is no future without tomorrow. So we could put the highest priority on tomorrow. It is not a simple problem. Still I think I should have a clear vision for the future. Because we and our children will live in that future. In my personal opinion, I could not agree with the idea that now is important enough, so that we can destroy the future.
We see a lot of potential in our technology. I understand that we cannot stop using electricity now. However, we have some technology that generates sustainable energy. For example, a combination of solar energy and hydrogen energy, we might have a stable energy source. We could develop a technology to produce this energy at low cost in the future. Investing in such technology is also a way of working on the future. One day we could export such technology to the people who need all over the world.
We also have a lot of possibility in politics. We can provide a way to only buy natural energy for the people who want this. This means we can also provide a way to only sell nuclear energy to the people who want it. I see that the current problem in Japan is that the people cannot choose in either way. (There is an official plan to make this possible.) We can work on these political problems together.
In the end, I need to have my own opinion based on the current situation. It will be cumbersome, it will be hard, but I need to understand the current situation. I hope this report is of use to someone who would like to understand the current situation.
We tend to avoid the politics, we can leave it alone. But politics will catch you. — Richard Stallman.