2013年07月09日

13参院選 エネルギー政策 電力安定で経済再生に弾みを

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 8, 2013
Stable supply of power essential for reinvigorating the economy
13参院選 エネルギー政策 電力安定で経済再生に弾みを(7月7日付・読売社説)

 ◆「原発ゼロ」の弊害を直視せよ

Electricity, the “blood” of the economy, must be cheaply and stably secured to revive the Japanese economy.
 日本経済を再生させるには、「経済の血液」の電力を安く、安定的に確保する必要がある。

There are 50 nuclear reactors in Japan, but only two of them, at the Oi nuclear power station of Kansai Electric Power Co., are operating. The nation’s supply and demand of electricity are as shaky as a tightrope now.
 全国の原子力発電所50基のうち、運転中は関西電力大飯原発の2基だけで、電力需給は綱渡りだ。

Nuclear reactors whose safety is confirmed must be restarted one by one to eliminate the power shortage.
 安全性が確認された原発を着実に再稼働し、電力不足を解消しなければならない。

 ◆再稼働は政治の責任

All the parties except the ruling Liberal Democratic Party state in their policy platform for the upcoming House of Councillors election that nuclear power generation should be terminated in the future. But none of them have presented an effective plan to secure power. They should face up to the harmful effects on business, employment and the global environment that denuclearization would cause and discuss more realistic energy policies.
 参院選の公約では、自民党を除く各党が「原発ゼロ」を掲げた。しかし、電力確保について有効な処方箋を示していない。脱原発が景気・雇用や地球環境などに及ぼす弊害を直視し、現実的なエネルギー政策を論じるべきだ。

The LDP stipulates in its election pledges that the state should make utmost efforts to obtain the consent for reactivation from local governments hosting nuclear power plants. This is an appropriate pledge as a responsible government party.
 自民党は、原発再稼働に地元自治体の理解が得られるよう最大限努力するとの方針を公約に明記した。責任ある政権与党として、妥当な対応といえる。

Check N-plants quickly

New safety standards for nuclear power plants become effective on Monday. Based on the new standards, electric power companies will ask the Nuclear Regulation Authority to check the safety of their nuclear reactors for reactivation.
 原発の新規制基準が8日に施行される。これを受け、各電力は原子力規制委員会に、再稼働のための安全審査を申請する。

The authority should carry out safety inspections without delay.
 規制委には遅滞なく審査してもらいたい。

A worrying factor is the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Niigata Prefecture. Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida has presented difficult demands for restarting the reactors. If the reactors are not restarted, power supply in TEPCO’s service area will not become stable, and this could cause TEPCO to post an ordinary loss for the third straight year, resulting in a management crisis.
 気がかりなのは、新潟県の東京電力柏崎刈羽原発だ。泉田裕彦新潟県知事が、再稼働に厳しい注文をつけている。再稼働できなければ、電力供給が安定しない。東電の経常利益は3年連続の赤字となり、経営危機に陥る恐れもある。

After the House of Councillors election, the LDP and the government must jointly do their best to obtain the consent of local governments hosting nuclear power plants.
 参院選後、自民党は政府とともに、原発立地自治体の説得に全力を尽くさねばならない。

In its policy platform, the LDP has also presented a policy of increasing official assistance for exports of Japanese technologies related to infrastructure, including nuclear power generation. It is important to accelerate exports of infrastructure as a pillar of the government’s growth strategy.
 自民党は、原発などインフラ輸出の支援体制を強化する方針も示した。成長戦略の柱として加速させることが重要である。

The LDP also needs to coordinate policies with its coalition partner, New Komeito. In its policy platform, Komeito has not rejected restarting nuclear reactors, but it stipulates that the party aims to stop the use of nuclear power generation as soon as possible.
 連立を組む公明党との調整も必要だろう。公明党は公約で、原発再稼働の可能性は否定しなかったが、可能な限り速やかな「原発ゼロ」を目指すとしている。

We expect the LDP and Komeito to explain to voters in an easy-to-understand manner to what degree the two parties differ in their perceptions concerning nuclear power generation.
 自民党と公明党の認識に大きな違いがあるのかどうか、有権者にわかりやすく説明してほしい。

DPJ policy unrealistic
 ◆「電気代2倍」どうする

Among the opposition parties, the Democratic Party of Japan, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party approve the restart of nuclear reactors at present, but they also stipulate they would aim to terminate the use of nuclear power in the future.
 野党のうち、民主党、日本維新の会、みんなの党は、当面の再稼働を事実上容認しつつ、将来的な「原発ゼロ」を掲げた。

The DPJ’s electoral pledge of “reducing to zero the nuclear power generation in the 2030s” is in line with the energy policy adopted by the administration led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, which ended in December.
 民主党の「2030年代に原発稼働ゼロ」は、野田内閣のエネルギー戦略を踏襲した。

The content of the policy, worked out in the autumn of last year, was unrealistic, so the Cabinet did not adopt the policy because of adverse reactions from various quarters, including the business world and the Aomori prefectural government, which has taken the approach of expediting a nuclear power policy, and even the United States.
昨年秋にまとめられたが、経済界や原子力政策に協力する青森県、米国などの反発を受け、閣議決定できなかった非現実的な内容である。

The Japanese Communist Party and People’s Life Party, for their part, even oppose reactivation of nuclear power plants that have been idled.
 共産党や生活の党などは、再稼働すら認めていない。

The facile argument seeking to break away from nuclear power generation seems to be pandering to the voters. It appears to be aimed at ramping up public support for the parties making the argument by exploiting people’s insecurities caused by the March 11, 2011, accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
安易な脱原発路線は、東電福島第一原発の事故で生じた不安に乗じて支持拡大を狙う、大衆迎合ではないか。

Although no major power blackout has taken place since the Fukushima accident, it is Pollyannaish to assume the nation’s electricity demand can be met without nuclear power. Due attention must be paid to the current stringent supply-demand situation of electricity in which thermal power stations, including superannuated ones, have been run at full blast.
 大停電は起きていないが、「原発なしで電気は足りる」と考えるのは楽観的すぎる。老朽化した火力発電所まで酷使している厳しい現状を踏まえるべきだ。

Additional fuel costs of utilities to make up for power shortages because of the stoppage of their nuclear power stations stand at nearly 4 trillion yen a year. As a result, a colossal amount of the nation’s wealth has been flowing abroad to import fuel for thermal power generation, while electricity charges have continued to rise.
 原発を代替する火力発電所の追加燃料費は4兆円近くにのぼる。巨額の国富流出と、電気料金の上昇が続いている。

TEPCO, KEPCO and Kyushu Electric Power Co. have already raised power rates, while three other utilities, including Hokkaido Electric Power Co., have applied to the government to boost charges.
 すでに東電、関電、九州電力の3社が値上げに踏み切り、北海道など3電力も申請中だ。

According to one estimate, electricity charges could double from the current level in the event of “zero nuclear power generation.”
「原発ゼロ」になると、電気代が2倍に跳ね上がるとの試算もある。

Various assertions are being made to defend the wisdom of abolishing nuclear power, such as the claims that hikes in electricity charges can be curbed by reforming the current power supply system and that the nation can attain economic growth without nuclear power generation through investment in renewable energy projects such as solar power. These arguments, however, are mostly cases of wishful thinking and lack convincing grounds.
 電力制度改革で料金は抑制される。原発をやめても、太陽光など再生可能エネルギーへの投資で経済成長できる。こうした主張も聞かれるが、多くは期待先行で根拠に乏しい。

The parties advocating abolition of nuclear power must produce credible measures regarding how to avoid the negative impact on the national economy and people’s livelihood that would result from denuclearization.
 脱原発を掲げる政党は、経済や生活への打撃をどう回避するか、説得力ある方策を示すべきだ。

Instead of the futile dichotomous debate over the use of nuclear power versus zero nuclear power, a cool-headed discussion should be conducted in a way that suits the reality of Japan’s energy circumstances.
 「原発ゼロ」か否か、という不毛な二項対立ではなく、日本のエネルギー事情に即した、冷静な議論が求められる。

Renewable energy sources have a number of shortcomings, including the fact that the amount of electricity they produce can erratically fluctuate due to climate conditions. Renewables cannot replace nuclear power generation, at least in the near future.
 再生エネは、天候によって発電量が大きく変動するなど様々な欠点もある。当面は原発に代わる主力電源となり得ない。

Thermal overload
 ◆人材の枯渇が心配だ

Currently, about 90 percent of the nation’s power generation depends on thermal power generation, an extremely precarious situation from the viewpoint of energy security. Under the circumstances, greenhouse gas emissions have been sharply rising.
 発電量の約9割が火力で占められ、エネルギー安全保障の観点で極めて危うい状況だ。温室効果ガスの排出量も急増している。

With a view to concurrently addressing many challenges such as enhancing the safety of nuclear power generation, realizing economic growth and conserving the environment, such options as replacing old thermal power stations with ones of the latest design should be considered.
 安全性の向上、経済成長、環境保全など、複数の課題を解決するため、古い原発を最新型に更新する選択肢も考えるべきだ。

After the Fukushima nuclear plant accident, enrollments of students in faculties and courses related to nuclear energy have fallen below quotas at undergraduate and postgraduate schools.
 原発事故後、大学・大学院では原子力関係の学科や専攻の定員割れが相次いでいる。

If nuclear power generation technologies are not handed down to younger generations, Japan may become unable to solve on its own such problems as settling the Fukushima nuclear accident and decommissioning the plant’s reactors and realizing the final disposal of nuclear waste, still less maintaining and managing existing nuclear facilities.
原発の技術が継承されないと、維持・管理はもとより、福島の事故収束と廃炉、核廃棄物の最終処分などを、日本は自力で解決できなくなる。

Yet another problem is the possibility of this country losing its special status as a nuclear strategy partner of the United States.
 米国の核戦略パートナーという特別な地位を失う問題もある。

In the upcoming upper house election, the electorate should determine which parties have been seriously pondering how to effectively cope with the mountain of problems confronting this country.
 どの政党が、山積する課題の解決を真剣に考えているか、有権者はしっかり見極めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 7, 2013)
(2013年7月7日01時32分 読売新聞)
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