Non-profits irked. Say lessons not learnt from Fukushima
Even after being hit by one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters, Japan is pitching for inclusion of nuclear energy as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). India and Japan opposed the option of banning nuclear power plants from earning carbon credits under CDM at the United Nations climate negotiations in Panama. The move has drawn severe criticism from several environmental non-profits.
The negotiations which ended on October 7 have set the stage for United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban later this year.
“Japan’s support to expand CDM to nuclear energy means that it still wants to get credits for exporting to developing countries the very technology that brought tremendous hardship upon its own people,” says Climate Action Network, a network of over 700 non-profits.
It asks, “Nuclear is neither safe nor clean. If the ongoing, dreadful tragedies in Fukushima cannot make this simple fact clear, what will it take for Japan to realise the problem is incomprehensible?”
World Wildlife Fund also condemned Japan’s move. “Japanese power industry’s inability to deal with the aftermath of a partial meltdown of the Fukushima reactors in March should prevent the country from building nuclear power plants in poorer countries,” says Naoyuki Yamagishi, a policy analyst with WWF.
Nuclear energy under CDM will help Japan
Japan’s aspirations to earn carbon credits can be gauged from a bilateral deal it signed with Vietnam in January. Japan is funding and building Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant. This may help Japan meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, nuclear energy is excluded from CDM. Despite reducing green house gas emissions, nuclear energy has been a contentious matter because of concerns like safety, radioactive waste disposal, and proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Kyoto Protocol expires next year and countries are reconsidering whether to include or permanently drop nuclear power from CDM basket.
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