Survey: No municipalities around Oi nuke plant want restart

May 14, 2012

Eight of the 11 municipalities within 30 kilometers of the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture expressed opposition or are taking a cautious approach to the restart of its reactors, an Asahi Shimbun survey has shown.

The Asahi Shimbun conducted the questionnaire survey, starting on May 7, of the 11 municipalities that are located in Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga prefectures and are designated as an “Urgent protective action planning zone” (UPZ).

Municipalities subject to the designation are located within a radius of 30 kilometers from a nuclear facility. If they are designated as an UPZ, they are required to have local disaster prevention programs.

In the survey, The Asahi Shimbun asked the 11 municipalities on whether they currently support the restart of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Oi nuclear plant, which is operated by Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO).

Of the 11, 10 responded by May 12. The remaining one was Oi town where the nuclear plant is located.

Of the 10, Maizuru city and Kyotamba town, both in Kyoto Prefecture, expressed clear opposition.

Maizuru Mayor Ryozo Tatami criticized the government for concluding, based on provisional safety standards, that a restart is appropriate.

“The safety standards are not ones that were worked out based on the clarification of the causes of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.,” Tatami said.

The mayor is seeking the establishment of a system in which a neutral and international third-party organization will confirm the safety of a nuclear plant.

Kyotamba Mayor Toyoji Terao added, “It cannot be said that the (central) government has conducted sufficient verification of the supply and demand situation for electricity, which will serve as the basis for the people to judge. The (government’s) supply of information is also insufficient."

The remaining eight municipalities did not clearly support or oppose the restart of the two reactors, but chose “other answers.” Of these, six expressed a cautious attitude toward the restart. One is Takashima city in Shiga Prefecture.

Takashima Mayor Kiyoji Nishikawa expressed concern that measures to construct a quake-resistance office building in the compound of Oi nuclear plant and make sea walls higher have been postponed.

He said that safety declaration by the government’s watchdog organization and support by residents in neighboring municipalities are necessary for a restart.

Zenya Yamazaki, mayor of Ayabe in Kyoto Prefecture, cast doubts on restarting the two reactors on the grounds that the clarification of the causes of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is still insufficient and the direction of the nation's energy policy has yet to be determined.

“We seek a system in which we can take part in decision-making on the nuclear power plant as a neighboring city,” Yamazaki said.

The remaining two municipalities, Takahama town and Mihama town in Fukui Prefecture, both host nuclear power plants operated by KEPCO.

Takahama Mayor Yutaka Nose said that whether to restart the two reactors at Oi plant is up to the Oi town government and the Fukui prefectural government to decide. He added, however, “If the Oi plant has met the safety standards shown by the (central) government, the reactors should be restarted.”

Mihama Mayor Jitaro Yamaguchi also said that if the Oi town government and the Fukui prefectural government agree to the restart, the central government should restart them.

“The reasons why nuclear power plants are necessary (such as global warming and securing the supply of energy) are unchanged,” he said.

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The Oi nuclear power plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, is seen from Obama city, foreground, on the opposite side of the bay. (Reo Takahashi)

The Oi nuclear power plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, is seen from Obama city, foreground, on the opposite side of the bay. (Reo Takahashi)

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  • The Oi nuclear power plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, is seen from Obama city, foreground, on the opposite side of the bay. (Reo Takahashi)
  • The Asahi Shimbun

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