Please Care, Rural Japan Is Protesting, Do Need More Support

Sendai in Kagoshima in southern Japan is in the spotlight. As all Japan's 50 nuclear reactors here are still off line, the government and the powerful industrial agencies are doing their best to find one nuclear plant that they can get re-started.

The government will argue that summer heat "need" these power plants to go online. We heard that in the summer of 2011 and in 2012 and in 2013.... They will also try to keep quiet the fact that 120 million Japanese are doing OK without a single nuclear power plant.

So, we managed to reduce our electricity consumption, and turned down a few lights. We showed that it can be done.

The pressure is on Sendai, a very rural town in southwestern Kagoshima. Of course there is concern about the volcanoes, Sakurajima and Aso, and the general earthquake activity. Glad to see so many people turn out to protest against the restart.

People in rural places like Sendai, Kagoshima will need to know that you care. Where ever you are.

Credit rating agency Moody's Japan said in a March report that Sendai could restart in the second quarter, ahead of all other Japanese reactors.

Kagoshima prefecture and the city of Satsumasendai intend to hold three meetings for the NRA and Kyushu EPC to discuss plant safety at Sendai, Shitanda said.

Local government officials will likely discuss restart before Kagoshima Governor Yuichiro Ito makes a final decision, Shitanda said. He estimated that these local procedures could take two weeks to complete.

However, NRA has informed Kagoshima that it has no idea when it can complete a draft safety review summary, which is a prerequisite to the local discussions, Shitanda said.

NRA cannot predict when it can complete the summary, Hideka Morimoto, deputy secretary general, said in an interview after the commission meeting Wednesday.

The NRA draft summary will incorporate technical information from Kyushu EPC on changing the original reactor systems and from two subsequent documents, Shitanda said.

Rally held against restarting Sendai nuclear plant
A rally has been held in central Tokyo to oppose the restart of a nuclear power plant in southern Japan. The Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture could be the first to return online under stricter safety standards.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Diet on Sunday carrying placards and banners. Senior citizens and families also joined the demonstration.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority is in the final phase of safety screenings for the plant. All of Japan's reactors have to meet the stricter standards introduced last year in response to the 2011 Fukushima accident.

The protest was organized by opponents of nuclear power who have been holding rallies every Friday near the prime minister's office.

A woman who brought her 2-year-old son to Sunday's rally said she cannot accept the restart of the Sendai plant for the sake of future generations.

She urged the government to put priority on people's lives rather than the economy.

A man praised a recent court ruling that ordered the operator of another nuclear plant not to restart its reactors.

He said the ruling tells people that nuclear power plants must not be operated in a country where earthquakes occur frequently. He added that all the reactors in Japan should be scrapped as soon as possible.

NHK World: Rally held against restarting Sendai nuclear plant

Top photo from Asahi:

March 17, 2014

KAGOSHIMA--An estimated 6,000 anti-nuclear activists rallied on March 16 here to protest the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s decision to short-list reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant for safety screenings--a prelude to their restart.
A Fukushima evacuee who was forced to flee her home after the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that were triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami denounced the NRA’s decision to grant priority to the facility for the screenings.
“Although three years have passed (since the disaster started to unfurl), the situation facing Fukushima has not changed,” said Masumi Kowata, 58. “Please don’t restart the reactors.”
Marching in the central part of Kagoshima city, the demonstrators shouted, “Their restarts will never be forgiven” and “We want to live on an Earth that has no nuclear plants.”
The No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co., have remained shuttered as a consequence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. They may resume operations as early as this summer barring any unforeseen problems during the screening process.
“Han-Genpatsu Kagoshima Net” (Anti-Nuclear Kagoshima Network) and other citizen groups who organized the event estimated the size of the demonstration. If the number is accurate, that would make it the largest-ever anti-nuclear gathering in the prefecture.
By HIROKI KOIKE/ Staff Writer


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