News Watch 149 July/August 2012 Nuke Info Tokyo No. 149
Hitachi-GE to Accept Order for Lithuanian Nuclear Plant
Demands for Nuclear Plant Decommissioning: A Succession of Lawsuits
Around 7.5 Million Signatures for Nuclear Phase-out Submitted to Government and Diet
New Law Establishes Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Demand for a Citizens’ Referendum Ordinance Fails to Pass
Construction plans for the Visaginas Nuclear Plant, close to the border of Latvia and Belarus, aim for completion in 2021. Latvia and Estonia will also receive electricity and are being requested to bear a part of the cost burden. It is planned to conclude the official contract after the investment amounts are approved. Hitachi, the nuclear plant’s operating company has also become an investor, and should the investment figure for the three countries decrease then Hitachi’s burden will increase. Some of the surrounding countries also have anti-construction movements, and thus this is a major risk for Hitachi.
Lawsuits filed this year include: Kyushu Electric’s Genkai Nuclear Plant on January 31, Tokyo Electric’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant on April 23, Kyushu Electric’s Sendai Nuclear Plant on May 30, and Hokuriku Electric’s Shika Nuclear Plant on June 26. It seems as though lawsuits are about to be filed against all of Japan’s nuclear plants.
Eminent writers and critics such as Kenzaburo Oe have called for a petition named “Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plants”, and have obtained around 7.5 million signatures. The petition was submitted to both the Chairman of the Lower House on July 12th, and to the Chief Cabinet Secretary on July 15th. On July 12th, eighty Diet members participated in a report meeting in the Diet Member’s building to listen to Mr. Oe’s appeal.
In NIT Issue 147, News Watch reported that a bill for restructuring Japan’s nuclear regulatory organizations had been submitted to the Diet. In the bill, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency was to be created under the Ministry of the Environment, but the LDP and Komeito parties submitted a counterproposal stating that there should be a Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The ruling DPJ party met the opposition parties halfway and withdrew its first plan. The three parties submitted to the Diet a revised plan based on a new agreement, which was enacted on June 20. Accompanying this enactment, the provision “contribute to Japan’s national security” was added to the three laws, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Establishment Act, the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law and the Basic Law on Atomic Energy, raising concerns that this may lead to the abrogation of the principle of peaceful use of nuclear power.