Peaceful Utilization of Nuclear Energy
JAPAN HAS FEW NATURAL RESOURCES, and so strives to maintain its
energy security by promoting the use of nuclear energy, particularly
nuclear fuel recycling. However, the use of nuclear materials
for weapons could have disastrous consequences, and Japan is firmly
committed to ensuring that they are not diverted to non-peaceful
Japan has long pursued a fundamental national policy of utilizing
nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes, in accordance with
the Atomic Energy Basic Law. The Japanese government and the electric
power industry have taken and continue to take steps to promote
understanding of this policy within the international community.
In order to ensure that the atom is harnessed only for peaceful
purposes, Japan cooperates fully with the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) in facilitating the application of safeguards
at all Japanese nuclear facilities.
Japan has a safeguards agreement with the IAEA in compliance
with the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Under this agreement, all nuclear materials in all nuclear facilities,
including power plants, uranium enrichment plants and spent fuel-reprocessing
facilities, are subject to safeguards. In 1998, Japan also ratified
the Additional Protocol with the IAEA, which gives the IAEA broader
access to information about the Japanese nuclear program as well
as enhanced inspection authority. In addition, Japan has bilateral
nuclear agreements for the peaceful use of nuclear energy with
the United States, Britain, France, China, Canada and Australia,
wherein Japan has pledged to accept IAEA inspections, together
with a range of other non-proliferation assurances and controls
with respect to nuclear materials transferred from those countries.
In accordance with national laws, Japanese electric utilities
submit reports on material accounting and safeguard activities
to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology,
and accept joint inspections by the IAEA and Japanese regulatory
authorities to check the reports. By following the procedures
illustrated here, inspections are conducted to ensure that nuclear
material accounting is carried out properly and that nuclear materials
are properly controlled by sealing and monitoring. By holding
these inspections, the IAEA and Japanese regulatory authorities
confirm that nuclear materials are not used for improper purposes.
We estimate that approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of IAEA
inspections are performed for Japan.
Japan is eager to promote and expand the use of nuclear energy
through nuclear power generation, nuclear fuel transport and nuclear
fuel recycling, while observing both international and domestic