via theguardian.com / September 10, 2014 / Japan’s nuclear watchdog has given the green light for two reactors to restart but the operator still has to persuade local communities they are safe. sendai-plant

Widespread anti-nuclear sentiment has simmered in Japan ever since an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant, sparking the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.

The country’s nuclear reactors were switched off after the catastrophe. Two reactors were briefly restarted last year but all of Japan’s nuclear plants are currently offline.

The go-ahead from the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) for two reactors at the Sendai plant (pictured) in southern Japan comes after it issued a more than 400-page safety report in July and follows a month-long public consultation period.

But any restart is unlikely before the year end as the operator, Kyushu Electric Power, is also required to get two more NRA approvals for other facilities at the site.

More challenging, perhaps, is gaining the consent of communities living near the plant in south-western Kagoshima prefecture, who must sign off on the restarts before they can happen.

Much of the job of convincing a sceptical public will fall on the shoulders of new industry minister Yuko Obuchi.

“If people say they are worried, I think it is only natural. If you are a mother, I think it is a kind of feeling that everyone has,” Obuchi said soon after being appointed as Japan’s first female industry minister. “The central government must offer a full explanation to these sentiments.”

Obuchi has highlighted the importance of earning the “understanding of hosting communities” who may be hostile to the prospect of firing up nearby reactors, despite beefed up safety rules.

The minister has reportedly dispatched five central government officials to help local bodies in Kagoshima draw up evacuation plans in case of an accident.

Communities living right next door to nuclear plants, who often enjoy grants from utility companies and depend on the power stations for employment, are frequently sympathetic to restarts.

However, there is often hostility from those living further afield who enjoy no direct benefits but see themselves as in the firing line in the event of another accident like Fukushima.

Greenpeace Japan, which is campaigning for Tokyo to abandon nuclear power completely, said the government of the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, appeared to be glossing over the last year, in which Japan has survived without nuclear power.

“The government … is ignoring the lessons of Fukushima and attempting to prevent the renewable energy revolution, trying to take the nation back to its dependence on dangerous and unreliable nuclear power,” said Kazue Suzuki for the organisation.

Abe has been trying to persuade a wary public that the world’s third largest economy must return to an energy source that once supplied more than a quarter of its power.

Obuchi visited Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Sunday, wearing a protective jacket and face mask to observe work at the crippled facility.

SOURCE: The Guardian

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By Broc West| 7 Comments | Featured, News

7 comments

  1. I kinda hoped Japan would keep all the nuclear power stations offline and employ a few new methods of creating electricity.

  2. An accident waiting to happen is the notion to restart these nuclear reactors. Insanity reigns supreme, sad, sad, sad.

    Why doesn’t Japan move forward with the concept of a treaty with Russia to pipe natural gas to Japan? Does the Japan governmental nuclear watchdogs fear that Russia might stop the flow of natural gas from those pipelines should any significant political difference occur? Russia has used energy pipelines as a tool to coerce the European Union previously.

    Below is a link to the final chapter of a book entitled, “”Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization?”” The theme of this book is: Will Fukushima Become an Extinction Level Event? It’s the final chapter of this book, it’s a lengthy read, with videos and diagrams.

    http://themillenniumreport.com/2014/09/will-fukushima-become-an-extinction-level-event/

    • The last 2 paragraphs from the book, “”Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization.””

      “””””Japan should never have sited 55 nuclear reactors (plus 12 others) on its coastlines. Which begs the question: Why did they?

      The following observation has been made by many experts and laypeople alike since March 11 of 2011.

      “Quite purposefully, no one ever stopped to consider the obvious and far-reaching ramifications of constructing 55 nuclear reactors on the most seismically active piece of property on Planet Earth! And, that doesn’t count another 12 reactors in various stages of planning or development.”
      (State of the Nation)”””””

    • Do you really think Japan should be primarily burning gas for energy?

      It is the cleanest fossil fuel, but it is still many times more polluting than atomic energy and most renewable energy sources!

  3. I don’t trust TEPCO to restart my kitchen blender because TEPCO the Japanese nuclear power company continues to lie to the people of Japan and to the world about the true levels of radiation released into the atmosphere, ground and into the Pacific Ocean! TEPCO also continues to dump millions of gallons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean nonstop every single day to contaminate the plant life, insects, fish, ocean life and animals. There is now verified proof of DNA damage and mutations throughout the food chain and we humans are next to suffer! and if we don’t detox our bodies suffer we will! Experts recommend to commence detoxing with the natural mineral called zeolite that is proven to safely remove both radiation and heavy metals from the human body.This detox is VERY important to help prevent DNA damage that will cause disease and future ongoing mutations! For more quality information do an online search for the single word Zeolite.

    • Really? You are profiteering on this disaster by pushing your ‘Zeolite’ cure?

      Anyhow, this power station has nothing to do with TEPCO! Did you actually read this article or are you a bot? I’ve seen this ‘Zeolite’ “information” copy-and-pasted across many websites!

  4. I believe this is wonderful news and a step in the right direction *provided* the many lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi plant have been learnt.

    The disaster of 2011 and the sight of the aftermath, along with enhanced media coverage (biased in ‘both’ directions and sensationalised by many), has cast a terrible light on the future of atomic energy. It is certainly not without risk and should not be trivialised however it can easily be a safe source of clean and efficient power if it is treated with the respect it deserves and is not allowed to be over-commercialised and under-regulated (especially due to complacency over time).

    I look forward to seeing the plans for the changes to be implemented at the Sendai plant and surrounding area. I most certainly do not condone simply restarting any of Japan’s reactors in their current state, however I think people need to become more open to the ability to safely do so with suitable changes and precautions.

    Just to add, I don’t understand why people believe that this will stop development of other energy sources. In my own opinion (please note that last word) atomic energy (of current and more importantly future technology) has it’s place in providing consistent and clean energy to back up other renewable sources, especially solar thermal (not so much in Japan) and tidal generation.

    We must see the end of burning fossil fuels which is an inherently dangerous source in itself that provides no benefit to offset it’s use (I am aware of the research into carbon sequestration directly from the power plants however that doesn’t fix the issue of mining and poor efficiency of burning a fuel and may cause further potential problems).

    I’m sorry if this isn’t a suitable place for my message, but I was quite overjoyed to read this news and then very disappointed to see that only negative comments were left.

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