All Japan’s nuclear reactors shut down
The Annual General Meeting of Abolition 2000 Global Network for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons unanimously adopted a statement: “Welcoming the Shut-Down of All of Japan’s Nuclear Reactors. The news that the last of country’s 54 nuclear reactors went offline for maintenance also sparked celebrations among Japan’s anti-nuclear protesters.
Hundreds of Japanese demonstrators marched at the weekend to celebrate the last of the country’s 54 nuclear reactors being switched off. The crowds gathered at a Tokyo park last Saturday unmoved by government warnings that the reactor shutdowns will lead to electricity shortages.
One of three reactors at the Tomari nuclear plant, on the north island of Hokkaido, was taken offline for routine maintenance checks, meaning that for the first time in decades there was not a single producing nuclear reactor in the country! – though given the modus operandus of nuclear power they were still ‘alive’.
After the earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year set off meltdowns at reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, not one of Japan’s reactors, having gone under maintenance, has returned to online service.
Two to date unusual measures are in effect: one that the government requires that new tests on withstanding earthquakes and tsunamis be carried out on all reactors. Second, the government also requires that local residents’ approval be sought before reactors are restarted.
The Hokkaido Electric Power company, which runs the Tomari plant, said that control rods inserted to halt the chain reactions in the reactor Saturday, meant a “cold shutdown” would occur Monday.
It is the first time since the 1970s that the country has been without any form of nuclear power. Before the meltdowns at Fukushima, Japan was generating a third of its electricity from nuclear power plants.
Last month, Kansai Electric Power, which supplies mid-western Japan, including the industrial-commercial hubs of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, said a hot summer could see supply fall nearly 20% short of demand after the shutdowns.
Kyushu Electric Power, covering an area further west, as well as Hokkaido Electric Power, also said they will struggle as air conditioning units come in to use in Japan’s sweltering summer.
With the reactors into ‘cool and cooling’ mode will this allow attention to be placed on the remaining and outstanding problem of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool.
Also: will the voices of the nation’s mayors be heard…?
See: Mayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan
The mayoral network has declared that they will work together for the following aims:
− No new nuclear power plants to be built
− A move to zero nuclear power plants as soon as possible
The mayors want to achieve an understanding of the real situation of nuclear power plants (costs, nuclear fuel cycle, final disposal sites etc); Clarifying the programme to move to zero nuclear power plants; Creating concrete policies for the regional promotion of renewable energies; Exchange and sharing of information through international solidarity; Supporting the evacuation of and provision of safe food for children.