Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

US-China trade war is 'on hold'

Read more

#TECH 24

Is GDPR a good thing for EU tech companies?

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

'The internet is like water, we need to help children understand how to swim'

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Horse massacres in Iran, fake news turning deadly in India, and Ivory Coast's drought

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Iran's violent bird poaching, a Yemeni youth orchestra beneath the bombs, and more

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'A totally legitimate election free of fraud': Bolivarian News

Read more

ENCORE!

The Best of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: and the Palme d'Or goes to....

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: Lebanese film 'Capharnaum' wows critics

Read more

Asia-pacific

Japan restarts nuclear power plant despite protests

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-01

Despite popular protests across the country, Japan restarted reactor No. 3 at Ohi nuclear power plant Sunday. It’s the first to go online again since all the reactors were shut down for safety checks in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

AP - Dozens of protesters shouted and danced at the gate of a nuclear power plant as it restarted Sunday, the first to go back online since Japan shut down all of its reactors for safety checks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Ohi nuclear plant’s reactor No. 3 returned to operation despite a deep division in public opinion. Last month, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restarts of reactors No. 3 and nearby No. 4, saying people’s living standards can’t be maintained without nuclear energy. Many citizens are against a return to nuclear power because of safety fears after the Fukushima accident.

Crowds of tens of thousands of people have gathered on Friday evenings around Noda’s official residence, chanting, “Saikado hantai,” or “No to nuclear restarts.” Protests drawing such numbers are extremely rare in this nation, often known for orderly conformity. A demonstration in Tokyo protesting the restart and demanding Noda resign was planned in a major park Sunday.

Anti-nuclear protesters

Although initially ignored by mainstream local media, demonstrations across the country have grown as word spread through social media, sometimes drawing Japanese celebrities including Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe and Ryuichi Sakamoto, who composed the score for the movie “The Last Emperor.”

All 50 of Japan’s working reactors were gradually turned off in the wake of last year’s massive earthquake and tsunami, which sent the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into multiple meltdowns, setting off the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

But worries about a power crunch over the hot summer months have been growing. Oil imports are soaring. Officials have warned about blackouts in some regions.

The government has been carrying out new safety tests on nuclear plants, and says Ohi No. 3 and No. 4 are safe to restart.

Protesters like Taisuke Kohno, a 41-year-old musician among the 200 people trying to blockade the Ohi plant, aren’t so sure. He said protesters were facing off against riot police and planned to stay there day and night.

“It’s a lie that nuclear energy is clean,” he said. “After experiencing the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, how can Japan possibly want nuclear power?”

Kansai Electric Power Co., the utility that operates Ohi in central Japan, was not immediately available for comment Sunday. It said on its website that a nuclear reaction restarted Sunday afternoon at the No. 3 reactor, a key step for it to begin producing electricity.

Fukushima Dai-ichi, in northeastern Japan, went into meltdowns and exploded after the March 11 tsunami destroyed backup generators to keep the reactor cores cool.

In the latest problem at the crippled plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., its operator, said the cooling system for the spent nuclear fuel pool at reactor No. 4 broke down Saturday, and a temporary system was set up Sunday.

The cooling system had to be restored within 70 hours, or temperatures would have started to rise, spewing radiation.

Date created : 2012-07-01

  • JAPAN

    Japan approves nuclear restart despite opposition

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    Japan's last active nuclear plant closes

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    Japan eases Fukushima restriction zone

    Read more

COMMENT(S)