Environment

Japan's Oi Nuclear Plant Restart is Dangerous: Greenpeace

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Greenpeace today criticized Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's approval of the restart of the Oi nuclear power plant and once again, called on Japan to move towards a renewable energy future.

"Prime Minister Noda's rushed, dangerous approval of the Oi nuclear power plant restart ignores expert safety advice and public outcry, and needlessly risks the health of Japan's environment, its people and its economy," Greenpeace Japan Executive Director Junichi Sato said in a statement.

The Japanese government decided Saturday to bring two idled reactors back into operation for the first time since the nation's worst-ever nuclear crisis erupted 15 months ago.

Prime Minister Noda made the decision to restart the reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in the central Japan prefecture of Fukui at a meeting of relevant ministers. Prior to the meeting he had obtained the agreements of local governments that host the plant, which is operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., or KEPCO.

The Oi No. 3 and No. 4 reactors, which had been taken offline for regular checkups, will be the first reactors in Japan to be reactivated since the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Noda has said that the restart is aimed at preventing serious power shortages this summer.

"Japan has already survived the peak summer and winter periods of energy demand once with little nuclear power online, as well as a full month with none, and despite continued fear-mongering statements from industry and government about the need for restarting Oi, the economy has still grown remarkably well and there have been no significant energy shortages," the Greenpeace statement said.

"The restart of Oi will make little difference to the summer peak nationally, and considering the peak amounts to a few hours on the hottest days of the year, the fact that the government has chosen to compromise safety instead of planning properly is a damning indictment of its management of energy demand to safely steer Japan through this crisis."

"Nuclear power is too expensive, too dangerous, and too unreliable - particularly for earthquake-prone Japan. If Prime Minister Noda wishes to ensure energy security and safety for his people, he must climb out of the pocket of the nuclear industry and put all of his energy into rapidly moving Japan towards the renewable energy future its people overwhelmingly demand."

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