日仏共同宣言 原発の安全向上へ連携深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 25, 2011)
Japan, France must heighten cooperation on nuclear safety
日仏共同宣言 原発の安全向上へ連携深めよ(10月24日付・読売社説)

To make nuclear power generation as safe as it can possibly be, it is important to examine ways to enhance the development of nuclear engineers and establish a system to promptly respond to nuclear accidents.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon issued a joint statement on nuclear and energy policies following their meeting Sunday.

The focal point of the joint statement is a set of specific principles aimed at bolstering nuclear power safety through cooperation between Japan and France, a leading country in the field of nuclear power, based on lessons learned from the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Following the outbreak of the crisis, France offered a variety of assistance to Japan, sending experts and providing equipment.

The joint statement stipulates further cooperation between the two countries to decontaminate areas around the Fukushima power plant tainted by radioactive substances.


Calming health fears

As for radiation’s impact on human health, the two leaders agreed it will be important to continue investigations, based on objective scientific data.

High levels of radioactive substances have been detected not only in Fukushima Prefecture but also in the Tokyo metropolitan area and elsewhere.

We hope the necessary decontamination work will be furthered by making use of the knowledge of the two countries.

To prevent needless worry from spreading among the public, the government must properly ensure safety with the help of French experts and provide the public with careful explanations.

To improve nuclear safety, the two leaders also agreed to establish a committee on nuclear energy.

It will be vital for the two countries to deepen relationships in a wide range of fields, putting together experts from academia, industry and government in both countries.

The joint statement also called for considering the establishment of an international force that could mobilize rapidly in response to nuclear accidents around the globe and an international center for developing human resources for nuclear crisis management.

With these agreements, the two leaders acknowledged the importance of the action plan on nuclear safety endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in September.


Looking to the future

We find it quite appropriate for the two leaders to share the view that the current crisis management system must be improved.

Emerging economies, such as China and India, are promoting construction of nuclear power plants.

For its part, Japan must bolster nuclear safety and step up efforts to cultivate experts who can be dispatched overseas in case of emergencies at other nuclear plants around the world.

Exports of nuclear power plants and other infrastructure are an important part of Japan’s growth strategy.  日本の成長戦略を推進するうえで、原発などインフラの輸出は重要だ。

However, Diet approval of nuclear cooperation agreements with Vietnam and other countries has been delayed.

The nuclear cooperation accords, which stipulate peaceful use of nuclear materials and acceptance of IAEA inspections, are a prerequisite to exporting nuclear technologies.

The government and ruling parties will need to make efforts to get the accords approved during the current extraordinary Diet session.

This further underlines the importance of urgently boosting nuclear safety and restoring trust in Japan’s technology.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 24, 2011)
(2011年10月24日01時33分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
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