Introduction and translation by Sakai Yasuyuki and Norimatsu Satoko
Koide Hiroaki began his career as a nuclear engineer forty years ago drawn to the promise of nuclear power. Quickly, however, he recognized the flaws in Japan’s nuclear power program and emerged as among the best informed of Japan’s nuclear power critic. His cogent public critique of the nuclear village earned him an honourable form of purgatory as a permanent assistant professor at Kyoto University. Koide would pay a price in career terms, continuing his painstaking research on radio nuclide measurement at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute (KURRI) in the shadows. Until 3.11.
Since the earthquake tsunami and nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, he has emerged as a powerful voice and a central figure in charting Japan’s future energy course in the wake of disaster: in scores of well attended public lectures, in daily media consultations and interviews, in his widely read posts and in three books that have helped to redefine public consciousness and official debate.
I came here today to offer my candid advice to the Japanese government and its administrators who have managed the country’s nuclear power policy to today. I entered the field of nuclear engineering with high hopes and dreams, because I believed that nuclear power was the energy source for the future. Oil and coal would be exhausted some day, but nuclear power was inexhaustible, so I thought nuclear power was the way forward. However, once I entered the field, I realized that nuclear power was actually a very poor energy source. Let me explain why.
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