[LA times]Japan to restart nuclear reactors despite widespread fear

Following up this article..[Hydrangea revolution] 45,000 joined demonstration against the restart of Ohi nuclear plant

<Quote> [LA times]

In a nation deeply scarred by nuclear disaster in both its military and civilian iterations, Japanese are deeply skeptical and resistant to government plans to take the first steps toward resuming nuclear energy production this weekend.

Survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the hibakusha, or “explosion-affected people” — are dwindling 67 years after the war-culminating horrors. But last year’s earthquake- and tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi complex have instilled fresh and widespread fear about radiation hazards.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has succeeded in lobbying local authorities in Fukui prefecture to approve the restart of two reactors at the Ohi nuclear complex, warning that widespread power shortages will occur this summer otherwise and undermine Japan’s already wobbly recovery. The island nation got more than 30% of its electrical energy from nuclear generation before the March 2011 chain of disasters that gradually shut down the whole nuclear production network for safety checks and improvements.

A poll published last week by the Washington-based Pew Research Center showed 70% of Japanese surveyed wanted nuclear power reduced or eliminated. It also found 80% distrustful of the government’s ability to properly manage the nuclear industry and be candid about safety and environmental concerns.

Mindful of those worries, lawmakers on Friday approved a new and independent oversight scheme to replace the “unholy triangle” of government, industry and regulators whose cozy relations have been blamed for lax safety standards. The proposed Nuclear Regulatory Commission, guided by a five-member board free of financial ties to the industry, will replace the much-maligned Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency, which has regulated nuclear production from within the government trade ministry.

Noda also sought outside evaluation of Japan’s 50 reactors. Last week, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the Japanese industry’s draft guidance on seismic and flooding mitigation, and in April the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency signed off on safety upgrades at the Ohi reactors as “generally consistent with IAEA safety standards.”

Still, many Japanese remain unnerved about the impending resumption of nuclear generation 15 months after the tsunami wiped out containment structures at Fukushima, leading to meltdowns at three reactors and unsalvable damage to the fourth unit at the complex. At least 20,000 died in the natural disasters and tens of thousands were driven from their homes by the nuclear catastrophe that followed.

Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa signaled his approval of the Ohi restart this week, noting the importance of reliable power supplies to the industry-intensive region around Osaka and Kyoto. On Thursday, Ohi Mayor Shinobu Tokioka provided the last needed endorsement.

Political and media reaction to the decisions has been mixed, and Noda’s critics have expressed disappointment with his view that resource-starved Japan must see itself as a nuclear energy producer for the long term.

“Does this reflect the sentiment of the citizens, who are seeking an exit from nuclear power?” the daily Tokyo Shimbun asked in an editorial Friday. “Won’t it instead make what was supposed to be a rare exception par for the course?”

Tetsuen Nakajima, chief priest of Myotsuji temple in Fukui and an anti-nuclear activist, warned in a commentary in Asahi Shinbum on Friday that Japan risks unleashing another nuclear disaster with “a hasty resumption” of operations at Ohi.

“The myth about the safety of nuclear energy did not collapse with the Fukushima accident,” said the priest and advocate for the hibakusha. Only after exposing the Japanese people to yet another disaster, he said, will the cabal overseeing the industry be forced to give up an energy policy that has brought such suffering and loss on the country.

The newly independent regulatory commission expected to be approved in the Diet, Japan’s parliament, by July won’t take over from the current troika any sooner than September, and that concerns some outside nuclear experts.

“Japan’s nuclear regulator has never been independent from the industry or of the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,” said Najmedin Meshkati, a systems engineering professor at USC who has closely followed Japan’s legislative and technical responses to the Fukushima crisis. He blames inadequate oversight and error-prone evaluation as contributing factors to the failure of containment structures at Fukushima when they were inundated by the tsunami.

“My only consolation is that the Ohi plant belongs to the Kansai Electric Power Co. and not to the notorious TEPCO,” Meshkati said, referring to the Fukushima operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

He said Kansai is the most safety conscious of Japan’s nuclear operators and founded the Institute of Nuclear Safety Systems in the wake of two mishaps at its plants in 1991 and 2004.

Meshkati agrees with Noda that Japan must resume nuclear energy production for the sake of its economic future. He expressed the hope that with the Ohi restart, “this milestone which puts KEPCO under the microscope of Japanese media and public will re-energize the safety culture … which slowly drifted to the back burner prior to Fukushima.”




  1. Perhaps Japan should consider increasing its electric power production using coal-fired generating plants. After America gets rid of its White House scourge in November the US can get back to coal production and enhanced trade with Japan for coal resources. It is entirely understandable why 70% of Japanese want to be rid of nuclear power generation.

  2. playing games like keep away with the speedi maps or I know a secret but I’m not telling you!!!, didn’t help

  3. “People working at Fukushima plant keep saying to us “It could go any minute” kind of thing -Teacher in March 2012 Interview”> This was over at ene news.
    but tepgov said, but, but, but…
    It’s obvious in someways “in everyway? to this day?”, that the plan was to hide everything, and I mean everything, you name it, hide it “bad memories” that’s was/is the plan, it’s also the plan to deal with the contaminated soil/stuff “and boy howdy there’s a lot of it”, it doesn’t fix anything… Which brings us to today, and tomorrow, the trend line hasn’t changed it’s sharp downward direction, there wasn’t any interest in that aspect and plausibly it was impossible “I’ll go with that one.”
    Show me cold shutdown, and I’ll show you a quite a shylock.
    Hiding contaminated soil’s fine as long as it’s “locked up”, but using it as a plan for life/lives, fallout/contamination and for reactors, well that’s a no no, and I have a pretty good idea of the kind of fruit that will bear.
    It’s obvious, don’t you see, hiding in plain view.
    If they had a chance to, all reactors would be wearing a tent, I have no doubt, why they’re constructing a tent for what’s left of reactor 3 as can be seen here w w w .physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=480200&page=844
    Little games, and a nation at stake, and the hour is late, too too late.
    Accusation! spent fuel pool four burned melted/fissioned, what about the others, truthful statements are warranted, ahh but we are still playing games, how sick.

  4. FUKUSHIMA DIARY FR – [LA Times] Le Japon va redémarrer des réacteurs nucléaires en dépit de la peur omniprésente.
    Par Mochizuki le 24 juin 2012 · 2 Commentaires

    [LA times]
    Dans un pays profondément marqué par les catastrophes nucléaires, dans leurs deux déclinaisons, militaire et civil, les japonais sont profondément sceptiques et opposés au plan gouvernemental amorcé ce week-end par les premières mesures permettant de relancer la production d’énergie nucléaire.

    Les survivants des bombardements atomiques d’Hiroshima et de Nagasaki les Hibakusha, ou “personnes touchées par les explosions” – se font rares 67 ans après les pires horreurs de la guerre mais le tremblement de terre et le tsunami de l’an dernier qui ont provoqué la catastrophe nucléaire du complexe de Fukushima Daiichi ont instillé une peur généralisée sur les risques et conséquences de la radioactivité.

    Le Premier ministre, M. Yoshihiko Noda, a réussi à faire pression sur les autorités locales de la préfecture de Fukui pour approuver le redémarrage de deux réacteurs du complexe nucléaire de Ohi, en menaçant que des coupures généralisées de courant auraient lieu cet été, ce qui menacerait le rétablissement déjà bancal du Japon. La nation insulaire obtenait plus de 30% de son énergie électrique à partir de la production nucléaire avant la série de catastrophes de mars 2011 qui a progressivement conduit à arrêter l’ensemble du réseau de production nucléaire pour contrôles et améliorations de la sécurité.

    Un sondage publié la semaine dernière par le Pew Research Center de Washington a montré que 70% des japonais interrogés voudraient voir l’énergie nucléaire réduite ou éliminée. Il a également révélé que 80% doutent de la capacité réelle du gouvernement à gérer correctement l’industrie nucléaire et de son honnêteté en matière de sécurité et d’environnement.

    Conscient de ces inquiétudes, le législateur a approuvé vendredi la création d’une nouvelle institution de surveillance, indépendante, pour remplacer le «triangle impie» formé par le gouvernement, l’industrie et les régulateurs qui ont été mis à l’index en raison de leurs normes de sécurité laxistes issues de leur collusion. Le projet de création de la Nuclear Regulatory Commission, dirigée par un conseil de cinq membres sans aucun lien financier avec l’industrie, va remplacer la très décriée Agence de Sûreté Nucléaire et Industrielle (NISA) ayant régit la production nucléaire depuis l’intérieur du ministère du Commerce.

    M. Noda a également demandé un audit externe sur les 50 réacteurs du Japon. La semaine dernière, l’US Nuclear Regulatory Commission a approuvé un projet de directives de l’industrie japonaise contre les séismes et les inondations et l’Agence Internationale de l’Énergie Atomique, (AIEA) basée à Vienne, a approuvé en avril les mises à niveau de la sécurité des réacteurs de OHI comme étant «en gros conformes aux normes de sécurité de l’AIEA.”

    Pourtant, de nombreux japonais restent en colère contre la reprise imminente de la production nucléaire 15 mois après le tsunami ayant anéanti les structures de confinement de Fukushima, conduisant à la fusion de trois réacteurs et à des dommages irréversibles sur la quatrième unité du complexe. Il y a eu au moins 20.000 morts par les catastrophes naturelles et des dizaines de milliers de gens ont été chassés de leurs foyers par la catastrophe nucléaire qui s’en est suivie.

    Le gouverneur de la préfecture de Fukui, M. Issei Nishikawa, a donné son accord cette semaine au redémarrage d’Ohi, notant l’importance cruciale d’un approvisionnent électrique stable pour cette région à forte densité industrielle autour d’Osaka et de Kyoto. Ce jeudi, le maire d’Ohi, M. Shinobu Tokioka, a donné le dernier accord nécessaire.

    La réaction politique et des médias sur ces décisions a été mitigé, les critiques contre Noda ont exprimé leur déception sur son point de vue que le Japon pauvre en ressources doit se considérer à long terme comme un producteur d’énergie nucléaire.

    “Est-ce refléter le sentiment des citoyens qui cherchent une sortie du nucléaire ?”, a demandé le quotidien Tokyo Shimbun dans son éditorial de vendredi. “Ne veut-il pas remplacer ce qui était censé devenir une exception rare comme étant la norme ?”

    M. Tetsuen Nakajima, supérieur des prêtres de Myotsuji au temple Fukui et militant anti-nucléaire, a, dans un commentaire dans le Asahi Shinbum de ce vendredi, averti des risques d’une nouvelle catastrophe nucléaire que le Japon prend par “cette reprise trop hâtive” des opérations à Ohi.

    “Le mythe sur la sécurité de l’énergie nucléaire ne s’est pas effondré avec l’accident de Fukushima”, a déclaré le prêtre et défenseur des hibakushas. Pour contraindre la cabale supervisant cette industrie à renoncer à cette politique énergétique ayant causé tant de souffrances et de pertes au pays, il faut encore une catastrophe, a-t-il dit.

    La nouvelle commission de régulation indépendante devrait être ratifiée vers juillet par la Diète, le parlement japonais, et elle ne pourra pas prendre le relais de la troïka actuelle avant septembre, ce qui inquiète certains experts nucléaires étrangers.

    «L’organisme de réglementation nucléaire du Japon n’a jamais été indépendant de l’industrie, ni du puissant ministère de l’Économie, du Commerce et de l’Industrie”, a déclaré M. Najmedin Meshkati, un professeur en génie des systèmes à l’USC et qui suit de près les mesures législatives et techniques prises par le Japon suite à la crise de Fukushima. Il pointe la surveillance inadéquate et sujette aux erreurs d’évaluation comme facteur principal ayant conduit à l’effondrement des structures de confinement de Fukushima inondées par le tsunami.

    “Ma seule consolation est que l’usine de Ohi appartient à la Kansai Electric Power Co. et non pas au fameux TEPCO”, dir M. Meshkati, se référant à l’opérateur de Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

    Il a dit que Kansai est l’opérateur nucléaire du Japon le plus soucieux de la sécurité, celui qui avait fondé l’Institut des systèmes de sûreté nucléaire après les deux incidents dans ses usines en 1991 et 2004.

    M. Meshkati est d’accord avec M. Noda que le Japon doit reprendre la production de l’énergie nucléaire pour garantir son économie. Il a exprimé l’espoir que le redémarrage de Ohi, “cette étape qui met KEPCO sous le feu des médias japonais et du public redynamisera la culture de sécurité … qui avait lentement évolué en bombe à retardement avant Fukushima.”

    Source : http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/06/japan-nuclear-reactors-restart-imminent.html

  5. Solar panels don’t make money. They don’t use these technologies for efficiency. They use it because it makes MONEY for them.

    In Asstralia, the power companies fight hard and dirty to prevent people from actually using the solar panels they pay for. They want to still be able to leech huge amounts of electricity bills from us, especially with the increased prices for the sake of “combating global warming”.

    Look it up on the internet. Lots of articles complaining about the power companies for over 2 years now. This is exactly why humans cannot progress any further – because of selfish greed.

  6. I would like to take Sigh’s statement one step further. What I percieve is a desire by the super-wealthy to gain more control over the populus. Those who are the most wealthy across the globe are addicted not only to the aquisition more wealth but to gain more control over the people. They appear to believe they are destined to rule the world. They know nuclear power is dangerous. They know the people see the danger and don’t want it. They seem to believe they must keep building nuclear power plants in order to make the people perceive themselves to be powerless. The more the people think themselves to be powerless the easier we are to control. The biggest weakness of the Powers That Be is thier arrogance. When people think themselves to be incapabale of making mistakes they make big mistakes then make more and bigger mistakes. It usually leads to thier downfall.
    The Sleeping Japanese Giant has awakened. The people are awakening across the globe. Let us hope it leads to a better world.

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About this site

This website updates the latest news about the Fukushima nuclear plant and also archives the past news from 2011. Because it's always updated and added live, articles, categories and the tags are not necessarily fitted in the latest format.
I am the writer of this website. About page remains in 2014. This is because my memory about 311 was clearer than now, 2023, and I think it can have a historical value. Now I'm living in Romania with 3 cats as an independent data scientist.
Actually, nothing has progressed in the plant since 2011. We still don't even know what is going on inside. They must keep cooling the crippled reactors by water, but additionally groundwater keeps flowing into the reactor buildings from the broken parts. This is why highly contaminated water is always produced more than it can circulate. Tepco is planning to officially discharge this water to the Pacific but Tritium is still remaining in it. They dilute this with seawater so that it is legally safe, but scientifically the same amount of radioactive tritium is contained. They say it is safe to discharge, but none of them have drunk it.