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核燃料サイクル 政府の責任で軌道に乗せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Get nuclear fuel cycle program on track for government initiative
核燃料サイクル 政府の責任で軌道に乗せよ

The nuclear fuel cycle project — which aims to reuse spent nuclear fuel to generate power — is undoubtedly an important undertaking for Japan, a country that lacks sufficient energy resources.
 エネルギー資源に乏しい日本にとって、原子力発電所から出る使用済み核燃料を再利用する「核燃料サイクル」は、重要な事業である。

A solid framework must be constructed to ensure that the plan is carried out.
 着実に進展させる体制を構築せねばならない。

An expert panel of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry is poised to establish a working group that will study the future management structure of Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL), the company at the heart of the project.
 事業の中核企業である「日本原燃」の今後の経営形態について、経済産業省の有識者会議が、作業部会を設けて検討を始める。

One issue of key importance is whether the government should become more deeply involved in the firm’s operations.
 焦点は、日本原燃の経営に政府がどこまで関与を深めるかだ。

Japan’s nuclear energy programs have been implemented on a “government-led, privately operated” basis, whereby utilities address the task of materializing specific projects based on government policy.
 日本の原子力事業は、政府が立案した政策に基づき、電力会社が具体化に取り組む「国策民営」方式で進められてきた。

The JNFL has been overseeing the planned reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, in which uranium and plutonium will be recovered to produce a new type of nuclear fuel. In terms of personnel and funding, the company has been fully supported by electric power companies.
 日本原燃は、使用済み核燃料を再処理してウランやプルトニウムを取り出し、新たな核燃料に加工する事業を担う。電力各社が人材と資金面で、日本原燃を全面的に支えてきた。

But the current situation is serious. Though the construction of the firm’s spent nuclear fuel reprocessing complex in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, is now in its final stages, the project has fallen nearly 20 years behind schedule.
 だが、現状は深刻である。青森県六ヶ所村で進む再処理工場の建設は最終段階にあるものの、予定より20年近く遅れている。

Once the Nuclear Regulation Authority completes its evaluation of the Rokkasho project, the start of the reprocessing plant’s operations will be in sight. Now is a critical time for getting the envisioned nuclear fuel cycle program on track. The government must act responsibly in tackling the funding and managerial challenges facing the JNFL.
 原子力規制委員会の審査が完了すれば、ようやく操業開始が見えてくる。核燃料サイクルを軌道に乗せるうえで大切な時期だ。政府が責任を持って、資金や経営の課題に対処すべきだ。

Utilities must pull own weight

The idea of converting the JNFL into a government-authorized corporation has been circulating within the government. The proposed transformation, which is aimed mainly at strengthening the government’s supervisory power, would allow the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry to have a say in the appointment of the corporation’s executives and related matters.
 政府内では、日本原燃を認可法人とする案が浮上している。監督権限を強めることが、主な狙いだ。役員選任などの際に、経産省が関与できるようになる。

However, some believe that the move could deprive its operations of flexibility. Concerns are also being voiced in Aomori Prefecture, which is hosting the facility, that the transformation plan could have an adverse impact on employment and the regional economy by reducing the chances of local residents being hired.
 一方で、認可法人化は、経営の柔軟性を奪いかねないとの指摘がある。青森県では、地元採用の減少など、雇用や地域経済への悪影響を懸念する声もある。

The ministry panel’s working group of experts must hold in-depth discussions on the pros and cons of giving the JNFL the status of a government-authorized entity.
 有識者会議の作業部会では、認可法人化の是非について、踏み込んだ議論が求められる。

The prolongation of the NRA’s safety screening process has left every utility in difficulty. If the retail electricity market is fully liberalized next spring as scheduled, industry competition is certain to intensify, making the business climate even more stringent. The negative repercussions of liberalization could even affect the JNFL, which has been heavily dependent on power firms for its own revenues.
 規制委による原発の安全審査の長期化で、電力各社は苦境に陥っている。電力の小売りが来春から全面自由化されれば、競争が激化し、経営は一層厳しくなろう。影響は、電力各社に収益を依存する日本原燃にも及ぶ恐れがある。

The estimated total cost of building the reprocessing complex is about ¥11 trillion. To finance its construction, the JNFL plans to have the reprocessing plant operate for 40 years.
 再処理工場の総事業費は、約11兆円と見積もられている。日本原燃は、工場を40年間稼働させ、資金を回収する方針だ。

Should the business of the JNFL come to a standstill, it would likely become difficult to continue the nuclear fuel cycle program. In such an event, there would be nowhere to dispose of spent nuclear fuel, which would thereby jeopardize the stable operations of nuclear power plants.
 事業を手がける日本原燃の経営が行き詰まれば、核燃料サイクルの継続は難しくなる。各地の原発から出る使用済み核燃料の行き場がなくなり、原発の安定的な稼働に支障が生じる。

To establish a sustainable nuclear fuel cycle, it is imperative that each utility uphold its share of the burden in backing the JNFL, even after the electricity market is fully liberalized.
 持続可能な核燃料サイクルを確立するためには、電力各社が、電力の全面自由化後も、応分の負担を続けることが欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 12, 2015)
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by kiyoshimat | 2015-07-14 10:51 | 英字新聞

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