Regular Sessions


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Nuclear risks & nuclear waste management

Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017
13:30 PM - 15:10 PM
Chair: Wen-Ling Tu
Room: R300(Graduate Institute of National Development)
Notes: Each presenter has 15 minutes for his/ her presentation. After all the presentations, there will be about 20-30 minutes to open the floor for Q & A for all presenters.
13:30 - 13:45
How to live near a nuclear power plant? A programme that listens to the people, case study in France
Armelle Faure
Armelle Faure

France is one of the nations that uses nuclear energy most. Most research in the social sciences in France have studied the notion of risk, and the communication process of the industry. This research focuses on local people and their activities related to natural resources in their family companies. How the economy and the social relations were transformed when the power plant was built? What do they say about the effect of such an industry in the territory? The interviews are collected with the official archives of the local government. It aims to conserve their words and descriptions. The accounts are told by the first generation of the people whose lives were transformed.

Full Paper
13:45 - 14:00
Anxiety among Residents over Nuclear Plants in its Location Area after the Great East Japan Earthquake- A Case Study of Onagawa Town -
Takashi TSUJI
Takashi TSUJI

In Japan, central government has promoted nuclear policies in a top-down manner. The 3.11. Fukushima nuclear accident damage the public's confidence in central government. After the accident, many citizens have been made objections to government's nuclear policies in a bottom-up manner. As the background of this trend, the accident raised citizen's anxiety about safety of nuclear energy. It has been pointed out that citizen who living in urban areas, that is, power-consuming areas began to feel this kind of anxiety after the accident. On the other hand, little attention has been given to resident's anxiety about nuclear plants in its location areas. Once a severe accident occurs, they would face a danger. Regardless of political conflict around issues of nuclear energy, plants continue to exist in its located communities at least several decades. It is necessary to reveal resident's anxiety about nuclear plants in its location areas to assesses nuclear energy risks adequately.
   There has been a great discussion about citizen's risk perception about nuclear energy. Some studies based on nationwide survey have proved that proximity to nuclear plants, trust in the nuclear governance institutions, education and knowledge about nuclear energy determine citizen's risk perception. On the other, some studies based on community survey have proved that periods of residence, sense of place determine resident's risk perception.
   In this study, we investigated Onagawa-town, where nuclear plants exist. This town was devastated by a tsunami, fortunately the nuclear plants were safe. After that, construction work to ensure security of the nuclear plants has been carried out. At the same time, resuming operation of the nuclear plants are being discussed. We measured resident's risk perception as their anxiety about the Onagawa nuclear plants by using a quantitative analysis. We conducted a questionnaire survey (N=731) in Onagawa-town on March 2015. We conducted contingency table analysis and multiple regression analysis with specific factors related to the nuclear plant location area to estimate resident's anxiety about the nuclear plants. The findings from the study were as follows;
   First, even we excluded residents who work for a company of the nuclear plants from samples, the percentage of residents who feel anxious about the nuclear plants exceed those who don't feel anxious about that. Secondly, a significant interaction was found between variables related to socio-political environment in nuclear plants location areas: consciousness about benefit from nuclear plants, attitudes toward resuming of the nuclear plants, and the resident's anxiety about nuclear plants. Thirdly, even though we controlled demographic variables, the consciousness about benefit from nuclear plants affects the resident's anxiety about the nuclear plants.
   These findings suggest that various benefits from nuclear plants to the community is inseparable from the resident's anxiety about nuclear plants. One of the limitations of this study is that we were not able to analyze resident's anxiety about nuclear plants by social problems: unemployment, environmental pollution, etc. Qualitative investigation on various types of residents should be conducted in Onagawa-town and the other location of nuclear plants.

Full Paper
14:00 - 14:15
Nuclear Waste as Burdensome Legacy in Japan
Yoichi Yuasa
Yoichi Yuasa

What is the specific factor to make the construction of the nuclear waste facility more difficult? The aim of this presentation is to examine a specific structure of the problem of nuclear waste disposal in Japan, from the perspective of “double standard” and “burdensome legacy”. A disposition of nuclear waste as burdensome legacy make the problem more complex by working with a criterion called double standard that host communities of nuclear facilities have. A characteristic relationship between central and local governments gives an impetus to this tendency. The Japanese government hasn’t changed the nuclear energy policy, even though the opinion poll has shown that over 50% of people oppose to restart of nuclear power plants. One of the reasons for this government’s posture is the retention of nuclear weapon’s technology. Another reason is nuclear waste management. Nuclear wastes such as spent fuels and vitrified containers are stored in Rokkasho village in Aomori prefecture where has nuclear fuel cycle facilities (Spent fuels are also stored in sites of nuclear power plant). Officials of Rokkasho village and Aomori prefecture have rejected to a construction of nuclear waste disposal facility. They have received spent fuels and vitrified containers because these are “materials” for the nuclear fuel cycle project. If the government withdraws from the nuclear fuel cycle, local authority of Rokkasho and local government of Aomori prefecture request to remove these former “materials”. The construction of nuclear waste facility can cause inequalities between urban and rural areas, current and future generations. Inequality between areas is more sensitive in the current Japanese situation. The Japanese government has been looking for a site for nuclear waste disposal but to no avail. Even communities, such as Rokkasho, where accept nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel cycle facilities have rejected it. This is because nuclear wastes are considered as the burdensome legacy. Accepting this kind of legacy put them into the most inferior position in the hierarchy of communities. Some more differences can be found between burdensome legacy and public bads like as dams, airports and nuclear power plants. Burden legacy doesn’t have any kinds of goods. Public bads contain something goods but with certain or fatal risk. On burden legacy, beneficiaries and defrayers are separated each other completely, especially in the aspect of time. On public bads, beneficiaries and defrayers are partly overlapped each other or separated but closer than burden legacy. Communities with public bads have been getting some benefit such as subsidies and tax revenue but rejecting the burdensome legacy. This means that they have a strategy with the criterion of “double standard”. On a construction of public bads, this strategy can work well under the characteristic relationship between central and local governments. However, a burdensome legacy will be never accepted by this criterion. We will analyze this structure of the problem and examine a new strategy for central and local governments.

14:15 - 14:30
Commercialized Riskscapes of developmental state: the case of location policy regarding nuclear power facilities in South Korea
Sanghun Lee
Sanghun Lee;Jintae Hwang

This paper examines the strategy in which the Korean developmental state has managed physical risks from a nuclear power related facilities. By focusing on the case of location policy regarding nuclear power facilities(power plants and radioactive depository sites) in South Korea, we demonstrate that the Korean state could locate nuclear facilities by producing a commercialized riskscape that transformed physical risk into monetary terms for the local people. The risk was exposed rather than being concealed. The more detailed research questions are as follows. 1) How and through what type of processes does the Korean state manage potential physical risks from and people’s oppositions to nuclear power operation? 2) How do non-state actors impact the state’s nuclear policy orientation, and what changes to the nuclear policy will result from their impact? 3) What brought the change of strategy of developmental state in managing the risk from nuclear power facilities? 4) What kind of riskscapes has been produced as a result?