Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nuclear restart in Japan

This was inevitable, given Japan's energy profile, but let's see what the political fallout will be:

Japan has restarted a nuclear reactor for the first time under new safety standards put in place since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to reassure a nervous public that the industry is now safe.
Abe and much of Japanese industry want reactors to be switched on again to cut fuel bills, but opinion polls show a majority of the public oppose the move after the nuclear crisis triggered by the earthquake and tsunami four years ago.
Kyushu Electric Power began the restart on Tuesday of the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai plant, a spokesman said. The reactor will take a few days to reach full power if all goes to plan.
The head of Japan's atomic watchdog said that new safety rules meant a repeat of the Fukushima disaster would not happen, but protesters outside the Sendai plant are not convinced.
"You will need to change where you evacuate to depending on the direction of the wind. The current evacuation plan is nonsense," said Shouhei Nomura, a 79-year-old former worker at a nuclear plant equipment maker, who now opposes atomic energy and is living in a protest camp near the plant on Kyushu island.
Abe has said only reactors that were deemed to have cleared the "world's most stringent regulation standards" would be allowed to restart.
The Sendai plant is the furthest away of Japan's reactors from the capital Tokyo, where protesters regularly gather outside Abe's official residence to oppose atomic energy.
The protesters in Sendai included Naoto Kan, who was prime minister during the Fukushima crisis and now fiercely opposes nuclear power. [my bolding]
Maybe seeing the nuclear industry's (not to mention his government's agencies') clueless incompetence during the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima made Kan rethink nuclear power.

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