Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Japan's Nuclear Club

Much to my surprise and delight, Gavan McCormack has produced a wonderfully thought-provoking article on Japan's attitude toward the military and civilian sides of nuclear power.

Japan as a Nuclear State
Japan Focus

For sixty years the world has faced no greater threat than nuclear weapons. Japan, as a nuclear victim country, with its `three non-nuclear principles' and its `Peace constitution', has had unique credentials to play a positive role in helping the world find a solution, but its record has been consistently pro-nuclear - that is to say, in favour of nuclear energy, nuclear reprocessing, and, as detailed below, nuclear weapons...

McCormack lays out an indictment of both Japan's hypocritical refuge under the U.S. nuclear umbrella (which Tobias Harris looked at in reference to the August 6 anniversary) and the domestic civilian nuclear industry. The case he lays out is difficult to dismiss.

I tend to accept a certain level of hypocrisy in international behavior as an irreconcilable given. So I may not see eye-to-eye with McCormack on the level of Japan's complicity in U.S. intransigence as regards nuclear disarmament. I also to rely on human creativity to find, after a period of fumbling around, solutions to seemingly intractable problems--necessity being the mother of invention and all that.

Nevertheless, maintaining security over long-term high-level waste storage facilities (or intermediate, above-ground air storage) over centuries and the immense cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants are rarely mentioned consequential costs attached to Japan's nuclear power-based electrical generating capacity (I glance briefly at my air conditioner. It hums ominously).

Sadly, the audience for the skeptical, iconoclastic wisdom McCormack offers up is smaller than it should be.

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