2020 年 59 巻 293 号 p. 1-17
This paper examines controversy during the safety examination of the first commercial nuclear power plant (NPP) in Japan, the Tokai Nuclear Power Plant, focusing on the issue of major accidents. Politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders, and engineers generally pushed for the plantʼs construction, while scientists̶mainly physicists̶opposed it. At the time, nuclear power technology was a rapidly growing field, with the knowledge of its safety yet to be established. The controversy revolved around four key issues: 1) how to develop NPP technology; 2) how to mitigate the risk of a major accident; 3) how to estimate the potential effects of such an accident on people; and 4) how to determine the "safety" of NPPs. In addressing these issues, scientists consistently upheld the three basic principles on nuclear research and development in Japan, namely democracy, independence, and public disclosure, emphasizing the importance of free discussion and rigorous scientific standards. By contrast, advocates of power plants opposed such an approach and supported the approval of the construction plan on the basis of administrative procedures. In this way, the knowledge on reactor and radiation safety offered by scientists was intentionally and politically disregarded.