Japan’s environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi has called for the country’s nuclear reactors to be scrapped to prevent a repeat of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Koizumi’s comments, made on Sept. 11, hours after he became Japan’s third-youngest cabinet minister since the war, could set him on a collision course with Japan’s pro-nuclear prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
“I would like to study how we will scrap them, not how to retain them,” Koizumi, 38, said. “We will be doomed if we allow another nuclear accident to occur. We never know when we’ll have an earthquake.”
Koizumi faced an immediate challenge from the new trade and industry minister, Isshu Sugawara, who said that ridding Japan of nuclear power was “unrealistic.”
“There are risks and fears about nuclear power,” Sugawara told reporters. “But ‘zero-nukes’ is, at the moment and in the future, not realistic.”
Japan’s government wants nuclear power to comprise 20 percent to 22 percent of the overall energy mix by 2030, drawing criticism from campaigners who say nuclear plants will always pose a danger given the country’s vulnerability to large earthquakes and tsunamis.
Abe, however, has called for reactors to be restarted, arguing that nuclear energy will help Japan achieve its carbon dioxide emissions targets and reduce its dependence on imported gas and oil.
All of Japan’s 54 reactors were shut down after a giant tsunami caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011.
Nuclear power accounted for about 30 percent of Japan’s energy production before the disaster. Today, just nine reactors are back in operation, having passed stringent safety checks introduced after the Fukushima meltdown.
But the government is unlikely to meet its target of 30 reactor restarts by 2030 amid strong local opposition and legal challenges.
Although he faces potential opposition from inside the cabinet, Koizumi should at least receive the backing of his father, Junichiro Koizumi, a former prime minister who has emerged as a vocal opponent of nuclear power.
While Japan debates the future of nuclear energy, the younger Koizumi, who has been tipped as a future prime minister, is now at the center of a controversy over the future of more than a million metric tonnes of radioactive contaminated water stored at Fukushima Daiichi.
On September10, the previous environment minister, Yoshiaki Harada, said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power, had no choice but to dilute the water and release it into the Pacific Ocean rather than store it indefinitely.
The prospect of dumping the water into the sea has angered local fishermen and drawn protests from neighboring South Korea.
1. What is the Japanese government’s stance on nuclear energy? Do the prime minister and environment minister agree with each other on this matter?
2. Why is the Japanese environment minister considering scrapping nuclear power?
3. What are pro-nuclear politicians basing their arguments on?
4. What is the Japanese government’s plan for dealing with the radioactive contaminated water stored at Fukushima?
(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)
1. nuclear reactor phr.
(he2 fan3 ying4 lu2)
2. scrap v.
(fei4 qi4; chai1 hui3)
3. nuke n.
(he2 neng2 fa1 dian4 chang3; he2 zi2 wu3 qi4)
4. tsunami n.
5. meltdown n.
(he2 dian4 chang3 fan3 ying4 lu2 xin1 rong2 hui3)
6. radioactive contaminated phr.
(shou4 fu2 she4 wu1 ran3 de5)
Astronomers believe they may have found the first direct evidence of a new planet being born. A dense disc of dust and gas has been spotted surrounding a young star called AB Aurigae, about 520 light years away from Earth. Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in Chile, the researchers observed a spiral structure with a “twist” near the center, which suggests a new world may be in the process of forming. The swirling disc was one of the telltale signs of the star system being born in the constellation of Auriga, the scientists said.
The Dunhua Eslite branch is to shut up shop at the end of this month. During a news conference held on the afternoon of April 23, Mercy Wu, chairwoman of Eslite Spectrum Corp, spoke candidly about the bookstore founded by her father Robert Wu, and about how it stirred up emotions inside her still. She also spoke of her decision, made in this very store, not to study overseas, and instead to stay in Taiwan to run the store with her father. When speaking about the special place the bookstore had in her heart, she compared it to the rose
A : First she wounded her leg, and now she has heart problems. B : I’m not sure how serious it is. It might just be the heat, and the fact that she needs to lose a bit of weight. A : So what are you going to do? B : I don’t want her exerting herself in this heat, or putting weight on that leg. I’m taking her around in a stroller. A : 牠先弄傷自己的腿，現在又有心臟問題。 B : 我不太確定有多嚴重就是了。也許只是天氣太熱，再加上牠需要減一點重。 A : 那你打算怎麼辦？ B : 我不想讓牠在這種高溫底下太過勉強自己，也不想讓體重施加在受傷的那條腿上。所以溜狗時都把牠放在推車裡。 English 英文: Chinese 中文: