News Watch 148 March/April 2012 Nuke Info Tokyo No. 148
Abolition of Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Units 1-4
Fiscal Year 2011 Facility Utilization Rate 23.6%
New Standards for Radioactive Cesium in Food
Tokai Mayor demands Minister of Economy decommission Tokai-2
Inaugural Meeting of Mayors for Nuclear Abolition
Abolition of Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Units 1-4As of April 19, TEPCO decommissioned Fukushima Daiichi reactor units 1-4 (BWRs, Unit 1: 460 MW, Unit 2-4: 784 MW each). Consequently, Japan’s nuclear reactors were reduced from 54 units totaling 49,112 MW to 50 units totaling 46,300 MW.
Fiscal Year 2011 Facility Utilization Rate 23.6%In FY2011 (April 2011 – March 2012), Japan’s fifty-four nuclear reactor units set a record low utilization rate of 23.6%. Of the 54 units, 28 units did not operate at all within the year.
New Standards for Radioactive Cesium in FoodOn April 1, new regulatory standards became effective for radioactive cesium contained in food. The 500 becquerel per kilogram (Bq/kg) for general foods such as vegetables, grains, meat, and fish was lowered to 100 Bq/kg, 50 Bq/kg for baby foods. The standard of 200 Bq/kg for milk was lowered to 50 Bq/kg, and likewise the drinking water standard was lowered to 10 Bq/kg. For rice and beef, interim measures were set through the end of September, and the new values are to be applied from October.
Apart from these regulation values, co-ops and retail stores have created independent standards that are more stringent, but on April 20 the Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice requesting that the use of independent standards cease. Opposition from consumers on 23rd forced the Minister of Agriculture to defend the notice by stating that “it is not compulsory and does not negate independent standards.”
On April 4, mayor Tatsuya Murakami, who has been requesting the decommissioning of the Tokai-2 Nuclear Power Plant (BWR, 1,100 MW) since the Fukushima Nuclear accident, handed a written statement demanding the permanent shutdown and decommissioning of the Tokai plant to the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Yukio Edano.
Inaugural Meeting of Mayors for Nuclear AbolitionWith Tatsuya Murakami, Mayor of Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture, and Katsunobu Sakurai, Mayor of Minami Soma in Fukushima Prefecture, as organizers the founding meeting for the “Heads of Local Governments Seeking to End Japan’s Reliance on Nuclear Power” was held on April 28. The Conference consisted of 69 members at its inauguration. Only Tokai Village Mayor Murakami is situated in a municipality hosting a nuclear plant (though there were two or three such observers at the inaugural meeting). However, there were many heads of municipalities located within thirty kilometers of a nuclear plant present at the meeting, as well as four or five heads of municipalities from which planned nuclear power plants or recycling factories have been forced to withdraw.
The Conference is planning to make efforts for the clarification of a road map toward a nuclear phase-out and the promotion of regional renewable energy use, as well as to put forward policy proposals to the government and Diet. Also adopted at the inaugural meeting were a “Resolution requiring consensus from local governments and municipality citizens regarding the restart of nuclear plants such as the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant,” and a “Resolution demanding the determination of a new basic energy plan that will include a nuclear phase-out.”