Japan will be going nuclear-free this coming September when Kansai Electric Power will be shutting down the country’s only two online nuclear reactors as they will be undergoing mandatory safety checks. The reactors at the Oi nuclear plant were the only two ones that remained online out of the country’s 50 reactors after the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. The two reactors will be going offline on September 2 and 15 for an indefinite period of time.
The new guidelines issued by the Nuclear Regulation Authority last month has allowed utility operators to ask permission to restart 10 nuclear reactors. In fact, five separate plants submitted their applications on the day that the new safety rules came into place. This is just the first of many steps they have to undergo before being allowed to resume operations in their nuclear plants, if the NRA sees that they have strictly acceded to the guidelines. Observers say that this may signal the start of Japan’s return to dependence on nuclear power generation, despite opposition to the technology.
The near catastrophic meltdown at Fukushima in 2011, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, woke up the public to the inherent dangers of being overly dependent on such a technology. There rose a strong and steady anti-nuclear sentiment, mostly accusing the government of having such a “cosy relationship” with utility operators, to the point that safety regulations are taken for granted, which led to the disaster in Fukushima. This made the government establish a new industry watchdog, the NRA, and also to impose stricter standards so that a disaster of that magnitude will never happen again.
[ via AsiaOne ]