Today Japan's electrical power companies held shareholder meetings across the country. TEPCO, the company responsible for the Tokyo region and also the owners of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant, held their meeting in a huge hall in Tokyo. Amongst other things, management passed a proposal to accept a massive injection of funds from the government, to the tune of 1 trillion yen ($12.5 billion) from the government, effectively nationalizing the company. During the meeting some shareholders heckled the speakers, and outside the TEPCO meeting environmentalist and civic action groups demanded an end to nuclear power in Japan.
One protestor said, "I don't want TEPCO to take taxpayer money and raise electricity rates in order to avoid responsibility for the Fukushima accident', a statement which betrays an extraordinary ignorance of reality - specifically a 100 billion dollar reality, which is the estimated cost of the accident, including dealing with the accident itself, cleanup, contamination, evacuation, compensation and decommissioning. TEPCO has been charged with paying for much of this. Which makes one wonder where the protestor thinks the money will come from, if not from the government or increased electricity prices.
And in a massive display of unintended irony, a group of shareholders and their environmentalist allies put forward the motion that the Kashiwazaki nuclear plant in Niigata prefecture be decommissioned and a gas power plant built in its place. Is it possible to imagine an action that will have a more detrimental effect upon the environment than building a gas-powered plant? Building a pollution-producing plant that pours massive amounts of CO2 into the atomosphere, and mothballing a building that produces massive amounts of cheap safe power that is CO2 free?