Tohoku Electric has announced that they are cancelling their plans to build a new nuclear power station in the towns of Minamisoma and Namie, both located in the Fukushima Prefecture. This was a welcome announcement to a region where antinuclear sentiment has grown ever since the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which is just 10 kilometers from the planned nuclear station.
Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato, who is one of the staunchest critics of Tohoku’s initial plan, said that the decision was “natural” and noted that many of the residents in the area have still not returned to their hometowns because of the after effects of the earthquake, tsunami and meltdown. Tohoku Electric was planning to start the construction of the boiling water-type reactor by February 2016, but received resolutions from the prefecture and the municipal assemblies of both Minamisoma and Namie to stop the construction. The company said it will take a loss of $190 million in their current fiscal year after cancelling the construction of the 825 megawatt reactor.
This is the first cancellation by a Japanese utility firm after the 2011 disasters. The Fukushima meltdown, considered to be the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, led to the shutdown of Japan’s nuclear power industry, which produced 30% of the country’s electricity supply. Two reactors have resumed operations amidst protests and it looks like the government is keen on the resumption of more plants that will be deemed safe by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Japan currently has 50 workable reactors and 12 still in the pipeline, including Tohoku Electric’s plans to build another reactor in their existing plant. Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), the operators of the damaged Fukushima plant, is also planning build a reactor at their Higashidori plant.
[ via Reuters ]