70.4 Do people support nuclear power generation for reducing greenhouse gas? Risk tradeoffs among climate change and nuclear power generation

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 11:30 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Midori AOYAGI , Social and Environmental Systems Research Center, National Instiute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba , Japan
Tomohiro TASAKI , Cneter for Material Cycles and Waste Mmanagement, National Instiute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
In “the implementation plan for preventing global warming”, the Government of Japan chose nuclear power generation as a “key” against climate change. On March 11th, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had been seriously damaged by the earthquakes. Government ordered to examine “Stress Test” for all nuclear plant in operation, and  stop operation to the Hamaoka power plant, which is the one of the oldest plants in Japan, addition to the annual regular inspections that has been ordered in the law of the power plant utilities.

 As of the end of September, 3 plants out of 54 are currently stop operation due to regular inspection and 39 out of 54 are waiting governmental permission for operation after the inspection. Due to this, Japan’s Kyoto target is now in danger. According to the Ministry of the Environment, additional 20-30 million ton-C (approximately equivalent to 12~14% of 1990 emission level) will be emitted every year.

Under those conditions, can the Government of Japan still put priority on the nuclear power generation? If so, will people support this choice? Do people support nuclear power to tackle climate change, or vice versa?

For this situation, we carry out an opinion poll on July 2011. Interviews for this study were conducted during middle of July 2011 for respondents drawn from nationally representative sample of 1,399 people among 4,000 aged 16 years and older through face-to-face in their own homes 

 The results show as follows.

  1. Japanese people perceive higher risk perception in both climate change and nuclear power plants.
  2. After 3.11, Trust in management system for nuclear power plants has been lost.
  3.  As a result, people see higher risk in nuclear power generation than climate change. And people seem to see some hopes in renewable energy, such as solar, wind and biomass.