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Oct 13, 2012

[Mainichi Shimbun] Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant: Yamaguchi Prefectural Government Turns Down Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Request for Extension of License

Information from one of our readers posted on our blog – October 7, 2012 –

If the Chugoku Electric Power Company’s license expires, efforts of Iwaiija residents, who have fought to protect the nature and fishing ground of Kaninoseki, will be paid off.  
(Kaoru Shirai, Representative of Shanti Phula)
English translation of an excerpt from a Japanese article: Mainichi JP (Mainichi Shimbun) – October 5, 2012 –

Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant: Yamaguchi Prefectural Government Turns Down Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Request for Extension of License

Site where a Kaminoseki nuclear power plant is planned to be built.    In the right back is Iwaijima island = Photo taken by Shinji Kako on a helicopter of Mainichi Shibum’s head office, flying over Kaminoseki Town, Yamaguchi Prefecture

On 5th, Chugoku Electric Power Co. applied to Yamaguchi prefectural government for a three-year extension of license, which is necessary to reclaim land for Kaminoseki nuclear power plant planned to be built in Kaminoseki town, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

On the same day, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano said that the Kaminoseki nuclear complex is “subject to the principle of not constructing new reactors” and indicated the government’s intention not to allow the utility company to start construction work.  Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s application in spite of the government’s decision showed its aspiration for construction.  However, the prefectural government has a stance not to allow license extension for the reason that “national energy policy is indecisive.”  The plan for construction of a nuclear power plant may be practically dropped.

The license is due to expire at midnight on 7th of this month.  The prefectural government decides whether to accept the extension within 32 days and during the time the license is effective.  On 5th Governor Shigetaro Yamamoto told reporters, “We cannot approve it at this point.  We will not grand license.”

If the license expires, “The reclaimed site has to be restored to its original state.” (Comment by an executive official of Agency for Natural Resources and Energy)  It is very difficult to put the plan into action.

On 5th, with regard to Minister Edano’s remarks, Kaminoseki Town Mayor Shigemi Kashiwabara said in a press conference, “I don’t understand his real intention.  He changes his opinions every day.  I cannot trust his remarks unless I receive official notification.”  He showed mistrust in Minister Edano.  There are voices in local communities and neighboring municipalities that “If a change of government takes place, the use of nuclear energy is likely to gain momentum again.”

With regard to Minister Edano’s remarks about non-approval of construction, at first the person in charge of public relations of the utility company emphasized that the company interprets the remarks of Minister Edano as his personal opinion.  In the afternoon press conference, reporters asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura about the minister’s remarks for confirmation.  He refused to give his comment, saying “I cannot answer it.  I cannot give a reason for it.”

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