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Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005

Reactors needed for Kyoto goals, expert says


Staff writer

Japan should promote nuclear power and renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels to fight global warming, a Canadian scientist said Wednesday.

Although Japan has tried more sincerely than other developed countries to achieve its greenhouse gas emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol, its efforts won't be effective enough to reach the goal, according to Patrick Moore, chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies, a Canadian environment consultancy.

"The only solution I can see . . . is aggressive combination of renewable and nuclear energy," Moore told reporters Wednesday in Tokyo.

Moore cofounded the environmental group Greenpeace, but has since left due to his advocacy of nuclear power.

Under the protocol, Japan must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. But Japan is way behind. Emissions in fiscal 2004 were 7.4 percent higher than in the base year.

Japan now has 54 nuclear plants since a reactor in Aomori Prefecture started up on Dec. 8. Atomic power accounted for 26 percent of the electricity Japan produced in fiscal 2003, while thermal power plants supplied 63 percent, according to the government.

Moore was in Japan to give a lecture in Osaka at a symposium held by the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development, a nonprofit foundation funded and supervised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

He said Canada is having difficulty achieving its Kyoto target. Canadian emissions are 25 percent above its 1990 level and it is committed to a 6 percent reduction, he said.

For resource-poor Japan, using nuclear power makes more sense than it does in many other countries -- at least from the standpoint of energy security -- he said.

"Uranium is in Canada and Australia, which are very stable democracies, whereas much of fossil fuel is not in such stable locations," Moore said.

While environmental activists criticize Japan's difficult but ambitious plan to reprocess nuclear waste and use the plutonium gained from the process to fuel its nuclear reactors, Moore said he does not see any fundamental problems because Japan has the technological ability to use plutonium.

Moore quit Greenpeace in 1986 because he did not agree with other leaders' ideas on environmental issues, including their opposition to the use of nuclear power, he said. Moore said Greenpeace's ideas are not based on scientific knowledge and border on "religion."



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