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Nuclear plant scheme halted in eastern China after thousands take part in street protests

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The government in Lianyungang in Jiangsu province issues brief statement saying work on nuclear fuel reprocessing plant project suspended

The authorities in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, have ­suspended plans to build a ­nuclear fuel reprocessing plant after several days of street protests against the project.

Observers said the decision could put other nuclear projects under greater public scrutiny, and urged backers of similar schemes to improve transparency.

The Lianyungang city government announced the halt in a one-sentence statement issued early Wednesday morning.

The government has decided to suspend preliminary work on site selection for the nuclear recycling project,” the statement said.

It came after thousands of protesters launched a series of street demonstrations from Saturday, protesting about the potential ­radiation risks and the alleged lack of transparency in the decision-making process for the project.

Residents used social media platforms to question the process but the comments were soon deleted by censors. “What if there is any radiation leakage? Why does the government want to make a decision on such a big issue on its own, a decision that will affect ­future generations?” they asked.

China National Nuclear Corporation planned to use technology supplied by French firm Areva to develop the spent ­nuclear fuel reprocessing plant.

Residents of Chinese city protest for third day over possible plans to build nuclear fuel reprocessing centre

The companies previously said construction would start in 2020 and be completed by 2030, but had not settled on a site.

The process has been shrouded in secrecy, with Lianyungang residents discovering that their city could be the site for the plant after the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence announced in a press ­release that a deputy head visited the city on July 26 and claimed “much progress has been made on site selection”.

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The Lianyungang city government issued a statement on ­Sunday to try to calm the public, saying the plans were still at an early stage and no location had been confirmed.

Sporadic protests continued on Monday and Tuesday, with video footage posted online showing police mobilised to protect the city government’s office building from protesters.

Xiamen University energy policy specialist Lin Boqiang said the plan was shelved as a result of a lack of transparency and communication by the government and state-owned nuclear companies.

Residents come out in force to protest against Sino-French nuclear project

Public concerns can be contagious and spill over to other ­cities, as has been the case with various incinerator and PX [chemical] projects,” he said.

Many local governments have been forced to scrap plans for such projects after public protests over health and safety concerns.

A series of deadly blasts at industrial sites over the years has only worsened public fears and deepened distrust of government.

China’s PX industry suffered a severe setback. If the developers of nuclear projects do not learn a lesson, they could be faced with similar problems in future,” Lin said.

China is the world’s most ­active builder of nuclear power plants. It has 32 reactors in operation, 22 under construction and more planned.

The government has also spent heavily to build up its ability to produce nuclear fuel and process the waste.

http://m.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2001726/nuclear-plant-scheme-halted-eastern-china-after

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August 11, 2016 Posted by | China | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre-election rallies across Japan blast Abe, security laws

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Demonstrators call for abolishing national security laws in front of the Diet building in the Nagatacho district of Tokyo on June 5.

 

Tens of thousands of anti-Abe government protesters held simultaneous demonstrations across Japan on June 5, demanding the abolishment of national security legislation and urging voters to support opposition parties in the Upper House election.

The Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism, founded by members of five citizens groups, including the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy-s (SEALDs), and a pro-Constitution organization jointly arranged the rallies at more than 50 locations around the nation.

They also called on other local citizens groups to hold their own demonstrations against the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

About 40,000 people gathered around the National Diet building in Tokyo’s Nagatacho district, protesting the national security legislation enacted under the Abe administration that allows Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, according to organizers.

“We shall show the nation’s wish for peace through the Upper House election,” Sanae Hoshino, 35, a member of the Hino branch of Mothers Against War, said at the rally.

Official campaigning starts on June 22 for the July 10 Upper House election.

The national security legislation was enacted after the Abe administration changed the government’s traditional interpretation of the pacifist Constitution.

Abe’s ruling bloc is now seeking a two-thirds majority in the Upper House to start the process of actually revising the Constitution, which has remained untouched since its promulgation after World War II.

Key members of the opposition parties, including the Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, joined the protesters outside of the Diet building.

“Don’t forget to vote,” opposition party members said. “Let’s make a political change.”

Postgraduate student Aki Okuda, 23, a SEALDs member, stressed the fact that four opposition parties are throwing their collective support behind just one candidate in all 32 single-seat constituencies in the Upper House election.

“Depending on the election result, the Constitution could be altered. We do not know if we can win so many single-seat districts, but we must keep trying to upset the election,” Okuda said to the crowd.

About 1,000 people gathered in the Umeda district of Osaka shouting, “Restore constitutionalism.” Similar rallies and gatherings were also held in Nagoya and Nagasaki.

The Upper House election will also be the first national poll to allow those 18 years old and older to vote.

Kenzo Kaifu, 42, a university lecturer from Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward who participated in the demonstration near the Diet building, noted that the number of young demonstrators has dropped.

“Perhaps young generations are reluctant to talk about political issues,” Kaifu said.

Akiko Takahashi, 53, a homemaker from Tokyo’s Nakano Ward, said: “It is important to encourage those who would not join these demonstrations to vote. I will try to pass on how I feel about the current government to everybody I see.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201606060064.html

 

June 7, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Protesters rally in front of PM office, Diet calling for end to nuclear power

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Demonstrators in front of the prime minister’s office in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward offer a silent prayer to those who died in the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, on March 11, 2016.

Protesters rally in front of PM office, Diet calling for end to nuclear power

Protestors staged demonstrations in front of the prime minister’s office and the Diet in Tokyo on March 11, calling for the elimination of nuclear power.

Demonstrators chanted slogans including, “Don’t restart nuclear reactors,” and, “Protect Fukushima.” Some 6,000 people participated in the demonstrations, according to the organizer, the Metropolitan Coalition against Nukes.

Psychiatrist Rika Kayama said during a rally in front of the National Diet Building, “I’d like to join hands with you in blocking reactivation of nuclear plants across the country.”

Takeshi Suwahara, a key member of the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), said, “I don’t want to rely on a power generation method that could cost people their lives and livelihoods.”

Toshima Ward, Tokyo resident Akira Suzuki, 66, stated Japan “should switch to natural, renewable energy sources since we’ve learned lessons from the Fukushima (nuclear) accident.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160312/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

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Participants call for a nuclear-free society during a rally held in front of the Diet building in Tokyo on March 11.

Anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo marks 187th since the 2011 disaster

Thousands of anti-nuclear activists rallied around the prime minister’s office and the Diet building in Tokyo on March 11, the fifth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that triggered the nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture.

The Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, a citizens group that organized the protest, estimated that 6,000 or so people took part.

Participants raised slogans against the restart of nuclear reactors and the lingering effects of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The activists have rallied on Friday nights since the nuclear accident. The latest gathering was the 187th.

“I intend to continue to express my opinions in order to create a society that does not depend on nuclear power generation,” said Moeko Mizoi, 20, a sophomore of Tsuda College, whose grandparents live in Fukushima Prefecture.

In a related development, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi gave a speech in an event held in Tokyo on March 11 for the screening of a documentary movie, “Nihon to Genpatsu Yonengo” (Japan and nuclear power generation, four years later).

“I want people to continue their anti-nuclear movement with patience so that the Japanese economy can develop without nuclear power generation,” Koizumi said.

“People’s voices will change politics,” he added.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201603120026

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Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor So Horie, second from right in the front row, and other plaintiffs head to the Hiroshima District Court on March 11, 2016. The banner they are holding reads “Atomic bombed Hiroshima refuses radiation exposure” and “Things past cannot be changed, but we can change our future.”

A-bomb survivors demand court shut western Japan nuclear plant

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) — Plaintiffs including survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings filed a lawsuit Friday with a court demanding a halt to operation of Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear plant in western Japan.

They brought the suit to the Hiroshima District Court, arguing that the environment would be devastated and their health affected if an accident similar to the 2011 Fukushima disaster takes place at the plant in Ehime Prefecture, their lawyers said.

Friday is the fifth anniversary of a major earthquake and tsunami that triggered the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The three reactors at the Ikata plant are currently off-line but Shikoku Electric envisions rebooting the No. 3 unit in the spring or later. The reactor cleared a safety screening last July.

The plaintiffs are a group of 67 people, including 18 survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and one Fukushima evacuee living in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Three of the plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction ordering the No. 3 unit not to be restarted ahead of the court’s final ruling, according to the lawyers.

The litigation came two days after another Japanese court issued an injunction ordering two reactivated reactors at Takahama plant of Kansai Electric Power Co. to be halted as requested by a group of local residents.

In the injunction, the Otsu District Court cited “problematic points” in planned responses for major accidents and “questions” on tsunami countermeasures and evacuation planning.

All Japan’s reactors were taken off-line following the Fukushima disaster but four reactors, including the two Takahama units, have been reactivated since last year under stricter post-Fukushima safety regulations.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160311/p2g/00m/0dm/071000c

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment