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News New economy minister pushes to restart nuclear reactors

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Japan's newly appointed economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said in an interview he is prepared to bring more than ten nuclear reactors back online to cope with a possible supply shortfall next summer. Nishimura expects nine reactors to come online to prevent this winter's feared power shortage. However, this statement is at odds with the government's energy plan to reduce reliance on nuclear power.

To date, only 10 reactors have gone back online with approval from their host communities after they cleared more stringent reactor safety regulations put in place by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Nishimura's vow, given during interviews with media outlets Aug. 12, came after the government announced its policy to "make maximal use" of reactors, citing efforts to lessen the nation's carbon footprint and anticipated shortage of power supply due to the shutdown of thermal power plants. The government expects nine of the nuclear reactors to be online in time for this winter, when power supply is projected to be precarious.

In Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, home of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant, a rising number of residents of nearby cities now embrace the idea of restarting the plant, which was shut down in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The results of Kakegawa's study, released July 11, show that 24 per cent of respondents said the "reactors should be decommissioned" while 12 per cent thought they should "be continuously suspended." This brought the total of local residents who view a restart negatively to 36 per cent. However, 33% said the reactors "should be returned online if their safety can be assured." In last year's survey, 32 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively, called for the reactors' decommissioning and continual suspension. Both figures were down this year.

Is it just ignorance?

"More young people today have little knowledge of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which explains the higher ratio of supportive individuals," noted Kakegawa Mayor Takashi Kubota. "The outcome was also undoubtedly influenced by rising energy prices and Chubu Electric's campaign to foster greater understanding over the issue of a restart."

Here's an interesting blog entry by fellow cyclist Joe Wein on why TEPCO and consorts start chilling the champagne and why more investment in renewable energy and an HVDC grid backbone would still be the more reasonable path. 💰🤑💰🤑



6 May 2015
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I reckon the nuclear power question could be solved as follows:
  • Nuclear power is absolutely allowed, free of government regulation.
  • However, nuclear plant power plants are subject to strict liability: doesn't matter how much care you take, if it breaks and leaks, you're liable for any consequences.
  • A nuclear power plant may not be owned by a corporation with limited liability for shareholders.
  • Directors of a nuclear power plant company must live near it, and drink a glass of any water the plants dump at least once a year.
I imagine all other energy suppliers will happily accept that deal, so fair is fair.
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