As you may have noticed after Fukushima Daiichi Disaster, only a few nuclear experts, like Arnie Gunderson of Fairewind Associates, are giving their opinions in public even in the US.
Koide Hiroaki is assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute (KURRI).
He has been advocating to abandon all nuclear power for last 40 years; one of small group of nuclear researchers in Japan that is against nuclear power .
The reward is that he is still assistant professor, the lowest rank of teachers at age 61.
He says it is perfectly fine, as the position allows him to do only what he wants to do. And it was only possible at Kyoto University where still spirit of free research exists and minority can exist. Not at Tokyo University (the most prestigious university in Japan).
His latest book titled “原発のウソ” (Genpatsu no Uso – Lies on Nuclear Plants) sold 200,000 copies and I read his interviews in Japanese major papers, Mainichi and Asahi.
But until recently things were totally different.
After Fufushima Daiichi disaster, he is the person who has been most interviewed by local radio programs, independent Internet news sites and who gave lectures at local communities, but not on main stream media. You will find many of his interviews on YouTube.
His replies are always simple, straight forward. He says the reason he is against nuclear power is simple:
We do not know what to do hazardous nuclear waste. A nuclear power plant is like a mansion without toilet. Nuclear does not allow an error. But there is no such an operation with no error. Regardless whether we have sufficient electric power or not, we should not use nuclear power. But we actually have enough other sources of power and does not need nuclear power.
When he was asked if he was happy with the popularity of the latest book, he replied that:
He was not happy at all, as the book was selling because of Fukushima Daiichi Disaster and he failed to stop that happen.
Recently his lectures attract many more people than capacity of halls. He says that in the past, nobody showed up at his lectures and he appreciates that so many people would like to listen to him now. But he regrets that he could not stop the disaster.
He is soft-spoken, pleasant whatever subject he is talking, seems to have no bitterness after all those years fighting against odds. But in one radio interview, I think I sensed his emotion when he used a few times word ‘Munen” (deep regret) about the outcome – a nuclear disaster – of his long campaign to prevent it from happening.
I don’t know if it is his nature or if he has obtained during his long and lonely fight against nuclear power. He is more than a nuclear researcher with integrity. He not only makes sense of what’s happening now, but people sense his kindhearted character listening to him in the middle of national disaster.
Mr. Koide says that:
He entered the field, thinking that nuclear power is the energy of future. But soon after he discovered actually nuclear power is a poor source of energy: Uranium is not abundant as coal or natural gas for example. And we do not know how to make nuclear products safe and pass them on to future generations.
Statement that nuclear power makes 30 percent of energy is misleading. Japan can generate enough electric power from coal, natural gas and from hydraulic dams. They are just not being used at full capacity. They are also cheaper than nuclear power on the contrary of common belief.
Someone made an issue that Mr. Koide does not have a doctorate. Someone with PhD replied that no one would give you a doctorate if you are working on a subject against national policy and that he respects Mr. Koide immensely.
I am glad that we found him. Irony is that without the disaster, we would have not known someone like him exists.
Hiroaki Koide (Assistant professor at Kyoto University) – Unofficial Site – List of his interviews videos and more:
The interview by Mainichi News Paper in English:
Longtime anti-nuclear engineer prepared to fight from within field to right wrongs http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110711p2a00m0na014000c.html