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Japanese cities say ‘no’ to nuke restart


The Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant, idled for five years and now guarded by a 22-meter-tall tsunami wall, is seen on May 12, 2016. Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, is seen in the background.

No municipalities near Hamaoka nuclear plant want restart: survey

None of the 11 municipalities within the 30-kilometer-radius urgent protective action planning zone (UPZ) around the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, want the power station’s idled reactors restarted, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has found.

The reactors at the Hamaoka plant, operated by Chubu Electric Power Co., were shut down on May 14, 2011 at the request of the central government, following the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March that year. The survey, sent to the mayors of each municipality as well as Shizuoka Gov. Heita Kawakatsu in April, was timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of that shutdown.

Chubu Electric is aiming to restart the Hamaoka plant’s No. 3 and 4 reactors, and has filed a request for a safety review by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). The Mainichi survey was undertaken to assess the pros and cons of restarting the plant, and has revealed persistent local concerns over plant safety.

Five response options were included in the questionnaire on whether or not the reactors should be restarted. Among these, three of the municipal leaders said that they were “against” the restart, five said that they were “unable to make a decision at the present time,” and four answered “other.”

None of the respondents said they “agree” with the restart, or even that they “agree subject to the meeting of specific requirements.”

The three mayors who said they opposed a restart were Shigeki Nishihara from the Shizuoka prefectural city of Makinohara, Kinuyo Soneya from the city of Shimada, and Norihiko Tamura from the town of Yoshida.

Nishihara, whose city lies directly above the predicted focus of a Nankai Trough earthquake, noted that “a (nuclear) accident would endanger the very existence of the nation.”

Meanwhile, Tamura commented that “(citizens’) safety cannot be guaranteed,” and Soneya noted, “There is no guaranteed evacuation plan accompanying (the proposed restart).”

Among those who said they were “unable to make a decision at the present time” or “other,” four mayors stipulated specific stringent conditions for approving the restart. These were Kakegawa Mayor Saburo Matsui, Kikugawa Mayor Junichi Ota, Fukuroi Mayor Hideyuki Harada and Fujieda Mayor Shohei Kitamura.

Mayors Matsui and Ota listed the requirement of understanding from citizens, while Harada and Kitamura indicated conditions related to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

“The investigation of the Fukushima accident’s causes has been insufficient,” commented Mayor Harada. “As long as safety cannot be completely guaranteed, I cannot approve the (reactor) restarts.”

Mayor Kitamura noted, “The discussion regarding the plant restart should not begin until there has been a complete resolution to the problems associated with the Fukushima accident, and citizens are thoroughly at ease.”

Meanwhile, Omaezaki Mayor Shigeo Yanagisawa noted that “safety checks are ongoing,” and accordingly answered that he was “unable to make a decision” on the reactor restarts.

Gov. Kawakatsu similarly responded that he was “unable to make a decision,” and added, “Unless safety can be guaranteed, there is no way (that the restart would be approved).”

Chubu Electric officials commented that they will “do everything possible to ensure safety.”


May 15, 2016 - Posted by | Japan | ,

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