Japan Nuclear

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The Japanese government and four regional power companies will announce electricity rationing contingency plans by mid-June. With all of Japan’s nuclear reactors offline, the government is predicting power shortages in the western and northern areas of the country. Blackouts are expected to be limited to a few hours per day in each area, and essential services such as railways, hospitals and fire departments will be exempt. Japan posted a record $6.5 billion trade deficit in April. It was the second straight month that the country’s imports exceeded its exports, mostly due to the need for liquefied natural gas and crude oil for thermal power plants.

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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The governors of Kyoto and Shiga prefectures oppose the restart of Ohi’s reactors, which the Ohi town assembly had approved last week. The governors say that the government should first finish investigating the causes of the Fukushima Daiichi accident and complete a long-term energy plan. The Japanese government said it would set up a joint council composed of representatives from Fukui, Shiga and Kyoto prefectures to monitor the Ohi plant. Ohi is in Fukui prefecture.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Assembly members of the town of Ohi today approved the restart of two nuclear reactors in Fukui prefecture. The assembly last week agreed that restarting the Ohi facilities is necessary to help maintain jobs and the town’s finances. The town was briefed last month by central government and Kansai Electric Power Co. officials on the safety of the facilities’ reopening. Ohi’s mayor has said he will make a decision after considering the assembly’s approval and the opinion of a panel consisting of experts from Fukui prefecture. Once the Ohi reactors are given the go-ahead they will be the first to restart since the Fukushima accident. The last of Japan’s 50 operable reactors shut down for maintenance earlier this month, and government officials have been warning of power shortages this summer without some nuclear reactors in operation.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari 3, Japan’s last operating commercial nuclear reactor, shut down for regular inspections March 5, marking the first time in 42 years that Japan has not had a reactor generating electricity. Japan has 50 operable commercial units. The national government’s ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan, continues to work with local communities that host nuclear facilities to allow reactors to return to operation.
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

The United States and Japan are forming a bilateral commission to foster “comprehensive strategic dialogue and joint activities” on nuclear safety and cleanup as a follow-up to last year’s nuclear accident in at Fukushima Daiichi.

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced plans this week for the Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, which will coordinate research and development in nuclear safety, security, environmental management and nonproliferation. The establishment of the commission builds on an agreement the two nations reached in March.
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