Japan Restarts Oi Nuclear Plant Amidst Protests
By Srinivas Laxman | Top News
July 3, 2012
On Sunday evening amidst huge public protests, engineers at the Kansai Electric Company pulled out the control rods in the Oi reactor core number three allowing nuclear fusion to resume.
AsianScientist (Jul. 3, 2012) – On Sunday evening amidst huge public protests, engineers at the Kansai Electric Company pulled out the control rods in the Oi reactor core number three allowing nuclear fusion to resume.
It was a historic moment since it marked the restart of a nuclear plant which had been shut down along with 49 other units post-Fukushima.
The operator hoped to have a sustained nuclear reaction by Monday morning and the first transmission of electricity on Wednesday. Japan depends upon nuclear energy for about one-third of its electric supply.
The decision to restart the reactor was taken during a cabinet meeting by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on June 17, 2012. The PM explained that it was necessary to restart the reactor to avoid power shortages in the heavily urbanized Kansai region.
But at the same time Noda also said that Japan must think of ways to do away on its dependence on nuclear energy in a phased manner.
The restarting was marked by a series of public protests, and over the weekend more than 200 protestors blocked the road to the plant. Kansai Electric said that it had enough employees to restart the reactor.
But a report in the Monday’s edition of The New York Times stated that a senior vice president from the ministry in charge of nuclear power had to be ferried to the plant by boat.
In Tokyo about 1,000 protesters marched on Sunday in the central part of the city, two days after tens of thousands of people chanted anti-nuclear slogans outside the PM’s residence.
Meanwhile in India officials of the Nuclear Power Corporation have indicated that the first unit of the controversial Kudankulam atomic power station in Tamil Nadu could become operational by August 2012 and the second unit by March 2013.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.