Japan’s post-Fukushima nuclear future is again being questioned in the wake of regulatory authorities’ decision to extend the life of three reactors at two nuclear power plants despite another aftershock.
A decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan to extend the life of three reactors at two nuclear power plants in the Fukui Prefecture has
The decision will see the #3 reactor of Kansai Electric Power Co’s Mihama plant, along with two more, operate for another 20 years, bringing their total lifetime to 60 years. The other two reactors that received a life extension are part of the Takahama power plant.
The earthquake that
Memories of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daichii plant remain very fresh, adding support to anti-nuclear activism.
Last month, Ryuchi Yoneyama, a lawyer with no previous experience in a public office,
The Kashiwasaki-Kariwa plant, though it suffered no damage from the devastating 2011 tsunami, has a problematic history, with several of its reactors shut down in 2007 after radiation leaks following another earthquake.
The Niigata prefecture election was observed as a litmus test for public sentiment towards nuclear power. This sentiment, it turned out, is still problematic for the country’s nuclear industry.
According to a Japan Times report, there are evacuation procedures in place if any of the two NPPs whose lives were just extended suffer the effects of a strong aftershock or any other event that could compromise their safety. Still, these procedures are not deemed optimal by everyone.
These concern a population of about a quarter of a million people living in three neighboring prefectures--Fukui, Shiga, and Kyoto--half of them in Kyoto. A full evacuation of the people living within a 30-kilometer radius of the two Fukui plants was three years ago estimated to take between 15 and 29 hours, depending on the road damage associated with a critical event.
Amid these concerns, natural gas is gaining prominence as the alternative of choice for anti-nuclear activists in one of the world’s developed economies that is most dependent on energy imports.
According to a
In the meantime, the Japanese government
The rest of the world, however, isn’t necessarily giving nuclear the cold shoulder. While Fukushima has indeed brought nuclear energy sentiment to new lows, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there are presently 61 units under construction and another 149 planned.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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