Reactor No.1 restarted operation in August at the Sendai Power Plant of Kyushu Electric Power Co., and now the Reactor No.2 has begun working. It started on October 21to generate electricity and provide to nearby towns. For almost two years all the nuclear plants in Japan had been suspended its operation since the nationwide shutdown in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. This fact proves that electricity is sufficient in the country without nuclear power generation. The government, however, prefers economy to a risk of accident.
LIES PREVAIL AND ECONOMY-FIRST POLICY IMPLEMENTED
At the Sendai power plant reactors are of a pressurized water reactor type. Reactor No.1 began commercial operation in 1984 and No.2, in 1985, with the output of 890 thousand kilo watt for each. Due to a regular inspection Reactor No.1 suspended in May, 2011, and Reactor No.2, September, the same year. In July, 2013, when new regulatory norms were implemented, the power company applied for permission of operation to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. The application was approved in September, 2014, which was the first authorization in the country.
Optimistic Without Reason
Reactor No.2 restarted on October 15, when sit-in protest actions were staged at the front gate of the Sendai Power Plant, Satsuma-Sendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture, and in front of the parliamentary office building of the House of Representatives, Nagata-cho, Tokyo, with participation of residents and civic groups in indignation.
As for the Sendai Plants, several risks and problems have been pointed out. Firstly, a number of reactors are operated in the vicinity. At the Fukushima Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co., due to a hydrogen explosion at No.1 reactor all kinds of jobs were forced to halt for a moment. Due to the explosion at No.3 reactor a water inlet system got out of order at No.2 reactor. The phenomena are of synergism peculiar to a nuclear accident to cause more hazardous situation.
However, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, disregarding the lessons from the multiplex disaster at Fukushima, just applied new norms in examining whether individual reactors should meet the criteria.
In addition, volcanoes like Sakurajima and the Aira Crater, in which a huge eruption is anticipated, are found in the neighborhood of the Sendai Plant. Risks of accidents due to eruption and multiple catastrophes are pointed out. Residents may have difficulties in evacuation.
However, Governor Ito Yuichiro told in the September session of the prefectural assembly that ‘a risk of evacuation will not occur’. He is optimistic without any reason. People criticize the Evacuation and Coordination Plan’ led by the prefectural authority as unpractical.
The Most Rigorous Standard in the World!
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide emphasized on restarting Reactor No.2 at the Sendai Plant in the press meeting: ’the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, which has the most rigorous standard for reactors, approves reoperation. The government respects the judgment, and will not make a change in the policy.’ ‘The most rigorous’ is a flagrant lie.
Lies are found here and there. The regulatory authority did not study the evacuation plan. Look at Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant in New York State. The plant was completed, but a practical evacuation policy was absent. Thus the reactor was decommissioned without generating a single watt of electricity.
A government official has once told that ‘reliable safety of a plant itself and a practical evacuation plan in case of disaster constitute wheels of a vehicle’. However, the government has abandoned to judge reasonability and effectiveness of evacuation plans. Municipalities totally owe responsibility for the plans.
The Nuclear Regulatory Authority has acknowledged five reactors at three power plants as ‘good’. Now 20 reactors are put under investigation. Lies and an economy-first policy endorse restart of a nuclear plant. Such a decision cannot be accepted.
October 27, 2015