” KITAKATA, Fukushima Prefecture–Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he was “dumbfounded” by his protege’s push to restart nuclear reactors and his claim that the situation at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was “under control.”
In his strongest tone so far, Koizumi repeated his anti-nuclear arguments at a lecture here on March 11, the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant.
Persistent leaks and the accumulation of radioactive water at the nuclear plant have long hampered efforts to decommission the reactors there.
But in front of an international audience in September 2013, during the final presentation in Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the water problem was “under control.”
“It is not under control at all,” Koizumi said of Abe’s comment. “I cannot believe he could ever say something like that.”
Koizumi also questioned the rationale behind the Abe government’s plans to restart reactors whose operations were suspended after the 2011 disaster.
“The chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority has said that even if nuclear power plants meet the NRA’s new regulation standards, that itself does not guarantee their safety,” the former prime minister said.
He added that nuclear power is the “least cost-effective method of power generation.”
Koizumi also criticized the government’s plan to unilaterally select the location for the final repository of spent nuclear fuel, which has been piling up at nuclear plants around the nation.
“It is irresponsible for the government to make the decision and force other parties to obey it when the resumption of idled nuclear power plants is set to produce even more spent fuel,” he said.
Koizumi said a political decision is needed to end the nation’s dependence on nuclear energy.
“If the government shifts to a policy of having no nuclear power plants, then the nation can see economic growth through natural sources of energy,” he said. ”