A report by NHK has shown that operators of nuclear power plants in Japan charge the public users over 90 million dollars per year, in order to cover payments made to local authorities in the areas which host the nuclear sites. Last year, the central government announced that it did not consider these charges as an expense, and that it would no longer allow utilities to charge users to cover them.
Osaka University Professor Tatsuo Hatta says utilities may be able to find other ways to compensate themselves for the payments, and is calling for further transparency.
Kansai Electric has been charging their users around 40 million dollars per year, TEPCO charges around 22 million, Kyushu charges around 10 million, Chugoku charges about 8 million, and Chubu charges about 4 million.
Government authorities are beginning to see the attempt to buy support, or silent acquiescence of communities, by hooking them on generous subsidies and pay outs, as a detriment to the sustained growth and development of these areas, as it promotes a false market and leaves local communities dependent on the additional sources of income.
“This structure of dependency makes it impossible for communities to speak out against the plants or nuclear power,” said Shuji Shimizu, a professor of public finance at Fukushima University told the New York Times after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
One Japanese resident, who ran for the office of May of Kashima spoke out against the effect that these payments have on local authorities. “They call it a nuclear power plant, but it should actually be called a political power plant,” he said. He explained how local communities and leaders use the jobs and money they receive to secure the support of key voters and industries and make them more reliant on the local leaders and the compensation from nuclear sites.