Yukio Nakano, 55, a nearby resident and conservationist, walks along the beach next to the Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, on April 5. | REUTERS
In test of post-Fukushima policy, town rallies for restart of reactors
BY MARI SAITO
APR 14, 2014
SATSUMASENDAI, KAGOSHIMA PREF. – On the main road leading from the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, a construction crew is laying down asphalt to widen the evacuation route in the event of a future disaster.
For many living in the area, that’s a hopeful sight. It means the authorities are edging closer to restarting two nuclear reactors that have been an economic engine for nearly three decades in a remote coastal town that has few other options.
Satsumasendai never felt the earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster some 1,600 km (almost 1,000 miles) to the north in March 2011. But residents saw their friends lose jobs and felt their future was threatened when the Sendai nuclear plant, run by Kyushu Electric Power, was idled along with the rest of the nation’s reactors for a more stringent round of safety checks after Fukushima.
“I know it was a horrible accident, but right now I’m more concerned about the economy and my job,” said Hiroya Komatsu, 28. “We saw it on TV, but it could very well have been the Philippines. It didn’t feel like it was Japan.”
Like Komatsu, many living in Satsumasendai support a pronuclear mayor who remains hopeful that a now-shelved plan to build a third reactor may some day be revived.
The Sendai plant has been fast-tracked for a safety review by the Nuclear Regulation Authority and could come back online as early as August.
Proponents hope Satsumasendai will be a test case for a nationwide effort to bring other nuclear plants back onto the grid in coming months.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government last week approved a long-delayed energy policy statement that describes nuclear power — which once generated 30 percent of the nation’s power — as a key energy source.
All 48 of Japan’s reactors are shut down. Analysts see a good chance to bring at least 14 back online in a review process that begins with Satsumasendai, a town with a population of about 100,000.
A quick restart there will be good news for Kyushu Electric, which is seeking a $1 billion capital infusion from the government-run Development Bank of Japan.
[link to www.japantimes.co.jp]
citizenperth • 2 minutes ago
Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by The Japan Times Online.
That must be the biggest peice of propganda i have read to date ... 67% of Honorable Japanese say no to Nuclear..... Find them jobs installing Solar and other technologies that we already know work....
(I bet they don't OK that one)