Alarm over rebooting of Japan’s 44-year-old nuclear reactor


The chairman of a major investigation into Japan’s nuclear accident, as well as a former senior Cabinet adviser, have raised concerns over plans to restart a 44-year-old reactor this week, claiming that the industry and government have failed to learn from the Fukushima tragedy. On Wednesday (June 23), Kansai Electric Power will restart the No. 3 reactors at its Mihama plant in western Japan, serving Osaka and its industrial surroundings – an area with about the same economic output as Mexico.
The reactor is the oldest to be reactivated after the catastrophe in 2011, and it required special permission to prolong its life beyond the usual 40-year limit. The majority of Japan’s reactors are still shut down due to the disaster, which exposed regulatory and supervision flaws.
Mr. Tatsujiro Suzuki, a former deputy head of the Cabinet Office’s Atomic Energy Commission, expressed reservations about the restart’s clearance process.
He expressed worry about a lack of openness and subsidies to sway local opinion to get approval for the restart. In March 2011, a massive earthquake off Japan’s northeast coast triggered a tsunami that killed over 15,000 people and knocked off cooling at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
As reactors melted down, explosions shook the site, scattering enormous clouds of radioactive materials across land and water.


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