The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized that they will be sticking to their pro-nuclear policy, despite the slight setback of the court ruling against a restart of one of the currently offline nuclear reactors. Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi however said that the restarts would only happen if the operator passes the rigorous safety standards of the regulatory body.
The ruling by the Fukui District Court against Kansai Electric Power, preventing them from restarting operations at the Oi nuclear plant, is seen as a major victory for the anti-nuclear activists in Japan. But Motegi is making it clear that they are not budging from the energy policy which they approved just last month and part of this would be to push for the restart of the nuclear reactors that will meet the “world’s toughest regulatory standards,” enforced by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. He said the central government cannot comment on the Kansai ruling, since the case was filed against a plant operator. He also believes this will not affect the ongoing safety checks at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co. The reactors at the plant are expected to be the first to be approved by the NRA, paving the way for its restart.
There are 18 nuclear reactors in the country who applied for a restart, including the two at the Oi nuclear plant. While the checks are still ongoing, the government is seemingly frustrated at the slow pace of the safety assessment, as they believe the country’s expensive importation of fossil fuel is affecting the economy. Japan has been without nuclear power since September 2013 when the Oi reactors had to go offline for maintenance checks and the rest of the others have been shut down since the 2011 disasters that led to the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.
[ via Mainichi ]