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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 28 - September 3  > TEPCO should retract its policy sticking to restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP
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2019 August 28 - September 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
editorial 

TEPCO should retract its policy sticking to restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP

August 29, 2019

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Tokyo Electric Power Company President Kobayakawa Tomoaki on August 26 met with Kashiwazaki City Mayor Sakurai Masahiro in Niigata Prefecture to explain about the utility’s policy regarding the reactivation and decommissioning of reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in the prefecture. The power company is considering a plan to decommission at least one of Nos. 1-5 reactors after restarting the operations of Nos.6 and 7 reactors. TEPCO suggested the possibility of shutting down a nuclear reactor for the first time, but the shutdown is conditioned on the resumption of operations of two reactors. TEPCO’s policy, which declares the utility’s stance to keep using he Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP tramples on the demands of local residents.

TEPCO submitted the policy in response to the Kashiwazaki mayor’s request to draw up a concrete plan for decommissioning Nos. 1-5 reactors at the NPP. The mayor made the request as a precondition for considering whether to approve the reactivation of the No.7 reactor.

TEPCO’s policy stops short of promising the decommissioning of reactors while showing the utility’s determination to emphasize the reactivation of the Nos. 6-7 reactors. The power company insists that the Nos. 1-5 reactors are necessary to produce a stable supply of electricity which is less carbon intensive at a reasonable price. TEPCO goes on to say that when the utility becomes able to secure non-carbon energy sources in a large enough scale, it may start taking steps to deal with the Nos. 1-5 reactors, which include the decommissioning of one or more of them, within five years following the reactivation of the Nos. 6-7 reactors.

TEPCO is turning its back on the decommissioning of the reactors in question and rushing to the restart of these reactors not only due to its own business strategy but also due to the government energy policy.

The Abe government in 2018 decided on its basic energy policy which aims to promote the reactivation of idled nuclear reactors and sets a goal of increasing the share of nuclear power to 20-22% of total power output by 2030. If many reactors remain closed, the government goal will be unachievable. The government policy clearly runs counter to the public demand for a Japan without nuclear power.

TEPCO refuses to seriously reflect on the 2011 nuclear meltdowns at its Fukushima Daiichi NPP. The utility shows an unwillingness to fulfil its responsibility to fully compensate victims of the nuclear accident and to stop operating nuclear power plants. The company has no qualification to continue as an NPP operator.

In the past, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP was hit by powerful earthquakes and as a result forced to suspend its operations. Local residents and municipalities have been expressing their concern about the risk of another nuclear disaster. TEPCO should retract its latest policy calling for the continuous use of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP, and move to decommission all the reactors in response to public demand.

Past related articles:
> NRA okays restart of controversial Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear reactors [October 5, 2017]
> TEPCO is unqualified to run NPPs [September 9, 2017]
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