Restarting of nuclear plant reactors: Whose responsibility?

Name of article: Responsibility for reactor restarts a hot potato


This article highlights the question on where the responsibility lies with regards to the plans to restart two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co’s nearby Sendai nuclear plant, which is located about 50 kilometers from Mount Sakurajima, an active volcano. The authority has repeatedly claimed that natural disasters like volcanic eruptions are unpredictable.  Following the meltdowns at the Fukashima Daiichi plant and eruption of Mount Ontake, concerns from the public, regarding the operational safety checks, has escalated. The public’s attention has fallen on the regulators, with many accusing them of being inadequate in the management of nuclear disasters. However, the both the government and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) refused to take up responsibility of the touchy issue.

Being positioned on the “Ring of Fires” with more than 100 active volcanoes, it is literally impossible to prevent the occurrence of natural disasters. Furthermore, it is simply impossible to find a location that is hundred percent safe and economically viable to build a nuclear plant. Japan is constantly struggling with the need to uphold its “green nation” slogan and keep up with the world’s economy at the same time. Nevertheless, the trade off between environmental sustainability and economical progress has always been a challenge that most modern nations face. However, what that put Japan in an even more difficult position is its geographical constraints. It is necessary for Japan to activate nuclear power to reduce imports of “expensive fossil fuels, pushing electricity bills higher”, if the nation wants to achieve economic efficiently. From this aspect, the government is definitely more relevant in the matter of restarting the reactors.

 Obtaining nuclear power comes with a risk that is entirely unavoidable. One would not find fault with the occurrence of natural disasters, as it does not jeopardize the notion of “greenness” of a nation. In fact, it is part of the green and nature environment. However, what is problematic is the presence of human civilization in the midst of the greeneries. In light of the article, the greenness of Japan is only compromised when nuclear power intersects with the aftermath of a natural disaster. Therefore, as long as humans exists within the Japan’s national boundary, the demand for rapid economic development is nonnegotiable and Japanese have to be prepared to embrace the environmental threats that comes along with it.  In this case, the responsibility essentially falls on the government, since the national interest is at stake. The NRA can be viewed as merely an actor in the facilitation of the national economy.