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Don't build new reactors, says Edano

September 26, 2012


Gov't to urge power companies to withdraw plans to build nuke reactors



The government is planning to urge power companies to voluntarily withdraw plans to build new nuclear power plants whose construction has not started, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano has revealed in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun.

"The government's Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment has a certain binding force on nuclear power and the energy industry," Edano stressed during the interview on Sept. 25, referring to the government's zero-nuclear policy set to be achieved by the 2030s.

"We will examine whether the government will have power companies take voluntary responses in light of the government strategy or if any legislative measures are necessary," Edano said.

The government's energy and environment strategy clearly stipulates that "no new or additional nuclear reactors will be constructed" in accordance with the zero-nuclear policy, which seeks to halt the operations of all nuclear plants in Japan by the 2030s.

According to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, there are currently plans to build nine new nuclear reactors, including those in Aomori, Fukui and Shimane prefectures. Edano had earlier demonstrated his willingness to permit the continuation of three of those reactors, including the No. 3 reactor at the Shimane Nuclear Power Station.

However, the minister had not clarified how to handle the six remaining reactors whose construction is yet to be started -- including the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Tsuruga Power Station in Fukui Prefecture and the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Utilities have already applied with the government for permission to construct reactors after obtaining approval from local municipalities.

Edano's latest remarks during the interview indicate that no new commencement of construction of nuclear reactors will effectively be permitted in order to achieve the zero-nuclear policy.

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