Japanese students share views on nuclear power in their home country

Written by: 
Samone Isom ~ Multimedia Journalist

The first week of October saw a spill of 110 gallons of radioactive water from a too-full storage tank at the Fukushima plant in Japan, and another that doused six hazmat suit-clad workers in similarly contaminated water, reports AP

“The accident is the latest in a spate of leaks and other problems caused by human error that have added to public criticism of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s handling of the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi, which is still in precarious condition since its triple meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami,” says AP.

BYU-Hawaii students from Japan shared their opinions about the use of nuclear power in their home country saying the danger of nuclear power is of the utmost concern for Japanese people.

“Nuclear power plants are risky to use. There can be side effects on humans when the radiation gets in the air,” said Tatsuhiro Kitamura, a freshman in IT from Aomori prefecture.

Recently there has been a push in Japan to change their energy production technique for a nuclear powerless future. Fukushima Dai-ichi has received the most press because of its earthquake-induced failure, but plenty of other plants are operating well.

Koshin Kitagaki, a freshman in business management from Wakayama prefecture on the south-eastern coast of Japan, suggests using more natural forms of producing power. "Japan is surrounded by the sea, so we should use wave power. Thermal, hydroelectric, and wind power is enough," said Kitagaki.

Mayumi Notsu, an undeclared freshman from Shimane prefecture where a functioning nuclear power plant sits in her hometown, said, “It is kind of dangerous. Some people want to take them out right now, but we can't take out them until after we prepare a different kind of energy. I think it is good to have, because it provides a lot of energy. How else will we provide energy?”

Japan has 50 nuclear reactors, putting it behind only the USA and France in the number of power plants, says the European Nuclear Society. Notsu's rhetorical question of "How else will we provide energy?" was a struggle for Japan to answer several decades ago. Kiwamu Nakaima, a freshman in business management from Okinawa, explained why. “China has a lot of fuel to burn for energy, but Japan has not enough fuel, so that's why we use nuclear. But it is very dangerous because of common earthquakes and other disasters,” he said.