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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 August 31 - September 6  > Amid local protests, 40-plus-years-old reactor at Mihama NPP forcibly restarted
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2022 August 31 - September 6 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Amid local protests, 40-plus-years-old reactor at Mihama NPP forcibly restarted

August 31, 2022

Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) on August 30 forcibly resumed operations of the 45-year-old No.3 reactor at its Mihama nuclear power plant (located in Mihama Town in Fukui Prefecture). The No.3 reactor became the first aged nuclear reactor to operate beyond the government-mandated 40-year operation limit.

In reaction to the forcible restart of the Mihama No.3 reactor, a Fukui citizens’ group calling for an end to nuclear power generation staged protests near the Fukui Prefectural office building and the Mihama power station.

Group member Hayashi Hirokazu pointed out that problems, including a leakage of radiation-contaminated water, in the Mihama No.3 unit were frequently reported this month, and appealed for the need to conduct more rigorous safety checks.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Fukui Prefectural Assembly Sato Masao criticized the prefecture’s expert panel on nuclear safety for failing to fulfill its responsibility to examine the causes of the recent troubles experienced at the No.3 unit. He stressed the need to establish a third-party investigative team.

In addition, the JCP assemblyperson referred to a nuclear accident that took place at the No.3 reactor in 2004 in which four workers were killed and seven injured. He said, “KEPCO and relevant parties show no sign of learning lessons from this tragedy. Their stance to put profits before safety is unacceptable.”

KEPCO plans to reactivate two other aged reactors, Nos.1 and 2, at the Mihama NPP in 2023.

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