TOKYO – On Sunday the Kansai Electric Power Company reported the restart of reactor number 3 of the Ohi Nuclear Power Station in western Japan, for the first time since the accident at Fukushima in March 2011.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced June 16 the government’s decision to reactivate two reactors at the Central Ohio, saying it is an economic necessity. He cited the risk of power shortages during the summer, and its impact on the economy and life of the population.
First step in the resumption, the chain reaction of the reactor 3 resumed Sunday afternoon, said on its website Kansai Electric Power, the leading provider of energy in the region encompassing the cities of Osaka and Kyoto. The connection of the reactor 3 to the power grid and the restarting of the reactor 4 will take place later.
Before the tsunami of 11 March 2011 and the accident resulting from the plant in Fukushima, the worst since Chernobyl in 1986, Japan had 50 reactors in operation. Until Sunday, all were stopped for security checks, scheduled maintenance or decommissioning by the tsunami, as in Fukushima. Nuclear, before March 11, 2011, was approximately 30% of electricity generation in Japan.
According to local authorities of Ohio, the regional prefecture of Fukui and government stress tests performed in Ohio show that reactors can be returned to service safely.
On Sunday Taisuke Kohno, one of about 200 protesters gathered in protest before the Central Ohio, is not absolutely convinced. “It’s a lie to say that nuclear energy is clean,” said the musician of 41 years.
Friday night, a manifestation of a magnitude rarely seen in Japan has attracted tens of thousands of people to the government headquarters in Tokyo. “Not a fresh start,” chanted the protestors included, who also demanded the resignation of Mr. Noda.
Nuclear power raises the suspicion growth of public opinion, despite the initial silence of the mainstream media. Relayed by social networks, demonstrations have multiplied in the country since March 11, 2011, with the support of people like the writer Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994, or the musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, who composed the music film “The Last Emperor”.