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The Fukushima nuclear disaster meets Samsø community power

Category: Partnerships
CEO Søren Hermansen

For many years Samsø Energy Academy has collaborated closely with Japan. The organization ISEP – Institute for Sustainable Energy Policy – are our good partners in this exchange of experience.

We are working with energy democracy and the Japanese version of the co-operative movement, which is called Community Power. March 11 2016 was the five-year anniversary of the nuclear accident in Fukushima. An accident which has become an image of the collapse of the old industrial mindset. The core of the nuclear plant is still on fire, and five years after the accident the Japanese still do not have the situation under control. The quantities of waste and radioactive cooling water are rising, and still more contaminated water is pouring directly into the ocean.

Why should we care?
Japan needs Danish solutions. They have no tradition for district heating. They have very few wind turbines, and popular ownership is almost invisible. Denmark and Japan are very close partners. We buy Japanese cars and gear made from the energy generated by nuclear power – this makes us partially responsible for the damages caused by nuclear power.

The Energy Academy visited Fukushima March 9, where we gave a presentation at a big meeting for the founding of the Fukushima Foundation, a foundation created to support decentralised, sustainable development and to help introduce a Scandinavian ownership model in Japan. 900 people attended the conference. The former prime minister Koizumi gave a speech in which he, with great empathy and strong feelings, appealed to the listeners to make them realize that nuclear power is too expensive, too dangerous and too centralised. The leaders of modern society must be able to understand their citizens and create a sustainable foundation for a good life for everybody.

It is interesting to see how a former prime minister can talk about health and sustainability, when he is no longer responsible for the interests of the country – industry, the economy, and lobbyism. But he did a good job. I spoke to him after the conference, and he expressed great admiration for Denmark and for Samsø, which he said he had heard a lot of good things about!

I was invited to speak about Samsø and Danish energy policy as a good example of how we have succeeded in creating an energy system which is decentral and capable of integrating large quantities of sustainable energy. And, not least, a system in which the population feels co-ownership of the development!
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We were two participants from Samsø
Our visit also served a future-oriented perspective. Project manager Malene Lundén will facilitate a ‘From Best to Next Practice’ meeting with 50 invited leaders eager to learn about processes and how to plan good meetings. We will be meeting schoolchildren and talking about learning in Ogata Municipality, a rural municipality like Samsø. Last year the mayor visited Samsø’s mayor, and he wishes to continue our cooperation.

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