Local Politics

Local politics with respect to nuclear facilities is complex and influential. Government financial incentives, called kofu-kin, reward communities for accepting nuclear-related facilities and play a large role in local politics. Once a local community accepts a nuclear facility, it receives annual payments (in billions of yen) from the Government. Kofu-kin and tax revenues from nuclear facilities become a major component of local budgets. Therefore, despite strong resentment about the cover-up after the Monju accident, the local community has a significant incentive for restarting the plant.

Another factor driving fast breeder reactor and fuel cycle policies is the difficulty of finding off-site spent fuel storage sites. Because on-site storage pools are reaching their capacity, reprocessing is seen by many as the only alternative. The rationale for reprocessing becomes more persuasive if it paves the way towards the commercialization of fast breeder reactors.

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