Japan Completing 3 new Nuclear Reactor Plants despite no-nuclear policy 2040 mandate

The government said Saturday it would go ahead with planned work to complete three new nuclear power reactors, despite saying a day earlier it would phase out nuclear power generation by 2040.

The construction of the reactors at three different plants was suspended after a massive earthquake and tsunami sparked the Fukushima nuclear crisis on March 11 last year—the worst such accident in a generation.

“We don’t intend to withdraw the permission that has already been given by the ministry,” Yukio Edano, the minister of economy, trade and industry, said on Saturday as he met local administrators in Aomori, according to reports.

Two of the reactors are located at plants in Aomori while the third is in Shimane Prefecture.

Edano added, however, that the start-up of the reactors would be subject to approval by a newly created government commission to regulate nuclear power.


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Japan Anti-Nuclear Protesters Amass Parliament

Tens of thousands of people protested against nuclear power outside Japans parliament on Sunday, the same day a proponent of using renewable energy to replace nuclear following the Fukushima disaster was defeated in a local election.The protesters, including old-age pensioners, pressed up against a wall of steel thrown up around the parliament building shouting, “We dont need nuclear power” and other slogans.

On the main avenue leading to the assembly, the crowd broke through the barriers and spilled onto the streets, forcing the police to bring in reinforcements and deploy armoured buses to buttress the main parliament gate.

The protest came as results from rural Yamaguchi showed that Tetsunari Iida, an advocate of renewable energy to replace nuclear power, lost his bid to become governor to a rival backed by the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which promoted nuclear power during its decades in power, Kyodo news agency reported, citing exit polls.

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TEPCO Ordered To Cut Rate Hike

The government said Thursday it will order Tokyo Electric Power Co. to trim its rate hike for households to an average of 8.47 percent from its planned 10.28 percent after determining the utility can further reduce salaries to limit the additional cost burden on consumers.

The rate hike, to take effect Sept. 1, along with the planned injection of ¥1 trillion in public funds, is considered essential for Tepco to overcome its financial plight stemming from the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Noting that Tepco will be asked to reduce by about ¥83 billion the total costs it initially planned to pass on to customers, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano said, “After confirming that Tepco has revised its application (on the rate hike) as ordered, I will give permission.”

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Jakucho Setouchi joins antinuclear hunger strike

Novelist and Buddhist nun Jakucho Setouchi joined a hunger strike Wednesday in front of the industry ministry in Tokyo in protest the government’s moves to restart idled reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

Setouchi, 89, together with writers Hisae Sawachi, 81, and Satoshi Kamata, 73, plans to stage her hunger strike until sunset.

The antinuclear civic group began the hunger strike on April 17 in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees nuclear power plant operators, in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district, home to a number of government buildings.

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Japan Protests: Anger over plans to restart Japans nuclear plants

“Shame on you, shame on you,” shouted protestors, as officials met to discuss plans to restart Japans nuclear plants for the first time since last years Fukushima disaster.

About 20 demonstrators carrying anti-nuclear signs disrupted the closed meeting of government agency representatives and energy officials who were there to review the stress-test results for two idled reactors and pave the way to bring the plants back online.

The meeting could be observed by the public from a television monitor in a separate room, something the demonstrators say symbolized the governments intent to bring back nuclear plants without public input.

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Can Japan’s Anti-Nuclear Protesters Keep the Reactors Shut Down?

For months after a devastating earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima power plant, sparking fears of a possible nuclear meltdown, the country’s anti-nuclear groups struggled to be heard. A few small rallies were held, but they failed to generate much media coverage. As debates raged from Germany to China about the safety of nuclear reactors, commentary in Japan, of all places, was strangely absent. Protests are just that unusual in this conservative country.

But this is starting to change. As Fukushima continues to spew more radioactivity into the air and trust in the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. plunges, the mood in Japan is slowly shifting away from nuclear power. On Sept. 19, the mounting anger and fear culminated in a rally of some 60,000 anti-nuclear protesters in Tokyo — the largest such gathering since the March 11 quake and tsunami.

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