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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 March 14 - 20  > Reactivation of Oi NPP sparks public outcry
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2018 March 14 - 20 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Reactivation of Oi NPP sparks public outcry

March 15, 2018
Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) on March 14 reactivated the No. 3 reactor at its Oi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture in defiance of public opposition, prompting protest actions inside and outside the prefecture.

This is the sixth reactor restarted under the current nuclear safety standards and is the first activated reactor among ones with a power output of over one million kw after the 2011 nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP. KEPCO also seeks to resume operations at the No. 4 reactor at the Oi NPP in May.

Within 14 km away from the Oi NPP at the Takahama NPP, two reactors are generating power. Because of this geographical proximity, there is concern that a massive earthquake and a resultant tsunami may cause serious accidents at both NPPs simultaneously, but local governments have yet to draw up evacuation plans in preparedness for this scenario.

The combined 30-km radius of the two NPPs covers the prefectures of Fukui, Shiga, and Kyoto with nearly 200,000 people living in that area. Governors of Shiga and Kyoto are dissatisfied with or opposed to the resumption of operation of the Oi NPP.

Concerning the Oi NPP, in 2014 the Fukui District Court issued an injunction against KEPCO’s plan to restart Nos 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi NPP. The court decision has yet to be finalized as the utility appealed to a higher court.

In response to KEPCO’s forcible restart, citizens assembled in front of the Fukui prefecture government office to express their protest. Tada Hatsue, who heads the prefectural branch of the New Japan Women’s Association (Shinfujin) said that if a nuclear accident occurs on a snowy day, local residents will be stranded by heavy snow conditions and be exposed to excessive radiation. Japanese Communist Party member of the prefectural assembly Sato Masao said that many people feel anxieties concerning the risk of a nuclear accident and that opinion polls show a majority of the respondents object to reactivation, calling for continuous public movements to put Oi reactors back offline.

In Kyoto, a rally was held in front of KEPCO’s local office. Lawyer Fukuyama Kazuhito, who helped bring about the 2014 court injunction against KEPCO’s reactivation plan and who will run as a candidate in the Kyoto gubernatorial election next month, delivered a speech. He said that more and more countries in the world are departing from nuclear power generation and that it is unreasonable to stick to the policy of supporting the continuance of nuclear power plants.

Past related article:
> Court orders KEPCO not to reactivate Oi NPP [May 22, 2014]

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