Using taxpayer money to help finance a company’s project to build a new nuclear power plant overseas would force the public to shoulder the huge risks of a questionable policy undertaking to rescue the embattled nuclear power industry. It is highly doubtful that massive public financing for such a project will receive broad support from the public. The government is considering providing enormous loans to aid Hitachi Ltd.’s project to build and operate a new nuclear plant on the island of Anglesey off northwest Wales. But the risks involved in the nuclear power business have surged globally since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, due mainly to sharp rises in construction costs caused by stricter safety standards. Toshiba Corp.’s nuclear debacle in the United States, which has thrown the company into a financial crisis, is still fresh in our memories. As Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s predicament has dramatically demonstrated, should a severe nuclear accident occur, the operator of the plant would face financial liabilities of a tremendous magnitude related to damages caused by the disaster. If Hitachi’s nuclear project fails, the government-affiliated financial institutions that provide financing for the project will incur heavy losses, which may eventually have to be covered with taxpayer money. The government should rethink its headlong rush to help finance the project and make careful reassessments of the risks involved as well as the necessity of the measure from a policy perspective.
Asahi Shimbun 22nd Jan 2018 read more »