Thursday, July 07, 2011

The nuclear industry doesn't have to be quite so stupid.

Today a new and fantastically stupid scandal broke when it was revealed that a nuclear power company in Kyushu tried to influence public opinion by instructing its employees to pose as members of the public and write emails supporting restart of the local nuclear plants.

The emails were sent on June 26 during a live televised debate on whether to restart the reactors or not. The reactors have been shut for maintenance since the March 11 quake and the owners of the plant were also apparently trying to persuade the governor of Saga prefecture, where the reactors are located, to support the restart.

The scandal looks like it will force the resignation of Kyushu Electric Power, Toshio Manabe.

Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the emails received that night supported an immediate restart for the reactors. It is even believed that some emails supporting nuclear power were read out on air, supposedly from normal residents but actually from employees of the Kyushu Electric.

The Japanese nuclear industry has enough public relations problems without actually behaving idiotically and adding unnecessarily to their woes. The eventual restart of all the reactors in Japan is inevitable; Japan cannot survive without them. But it doesn't help anybody when you alienate the public so cheaply and pointlessly.

Truly, this kind of madness is the last thing Japan needs.

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