Japan is in “a complicated relationship” with nuclear energy. One the one hand, the nation has the darkest of pasts in relation to nuclear power, as it is the only country that was ever the victim of nuclear weapons.
On the other hand, Japan depends on nuclear energy to supply around 30% of its energy demands (as measured in terms of power output composition by source). With issues of climate change and peak oil becoming an increasing concern, Japan needs to look at what options it has for a sustainable future.
Film director Hitomi Kamanaka has been exploring this issue through a series of documentary films. Her most recent film, Ashes to Honey, is the latest chapter in her journey.
Growing number of reactors
In the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II, the sentiment of the Japanese people was naturally anti-proliferation — a feeling that remains strong even today.
However, seeing the need to rebuild Japan and meet its growing populations’ demand for energy, the Japanese government in 1955 passed the Atomic Energy Basic Law that allowed for “the research, development and utilisation of atomic energy” for “peaceful purposes”.
Japan’s first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1966 and now there are 54 nuclear reactors and one nuclear reprocessing plant helping to meet the energy needs of Japan’s 127 million people.
Continue reading at “From ashes to honey: turning away from nuclear energy”.