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  • Statement by Minister Kaieda regarding the Implementation of Emergency Safety Measures, Shutdown of Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station and Measures to Balance Supply and Demand of Electricity in the Chubu Region

Statement by Minister Kaieda regarding the Implementation of Emergency Safety Measures, Shutdown of Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station and Measures to Balance Supply and Demand of Electricity in the Chubu Region

May 9, 2011

  1. I have received an answer from Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (Chubu Electric Power) that they will accept the request to shut down Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station (NPS) and will request support from the government including measures for supply and demand of electricity. I would like to express my deep respect for their speedy decision in spite of many difficulties. Taking this opportunity, I would like to explain the results of the confirmation and evaluation of emergency safety measures for all nuclear power stations, shutdown of the Hamaoka NPS, and measures for the supply and demand of electricity in the Chubu Region.

  2. In the light of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS), Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO), on March 30 I issued directives to each electric power company to implement emergency safety measures, including short-term measures, to be immediately taken and plans to enhance mid- to long-term reliability with regard to all NPSs in Japan. On the basis of reports from the electric companies, we conducted on-site inspections of their NPSs and observed drill to strictly confirm and evaluate the reliability of their measures.
    As a result, we confirmed that short-term measures to be immediately taken were properly adopted for all NPSs.

    Specifically, even if an NPS loses all of its AC power supplies due to a tsunami equivalent to the one that caused the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS, TEPCO, the reactor core can be maintained in a controlled state by cooling using water injection. Hereby, I consider that damage to the reactor core or spent fuel can be prevented and it is possible to lead such facilities to cold shutdown without discharging a high degree of radioactivity.

    Furthermore, I have confirmed that each company has plans to proceed with mid- to long-term measures specific to the geographical conditions of each NPS, such as the installation of tide embankments, water-tightening construction in nuclear buildings, and the installation of air-cooling type emergency generators on higher ground. Thus, the reliability of safety measures will further improve. I will prompt the companies to securely implement short-term and mid- to long-term measures and to continuously make efforts in reliability improvement including enhanced drill without letting their guard down in their efforts. Based on the confirmation results of these emergency safety measures, I think that there will be no safety problem for the continued operation of NPSs currently in operation and the restart of NPSs currently suspended. The government is responsible for these confirmation results and I will have the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) provide an explanation so that local governments can understand the different situations.

  3. For the Hamaoka NPS, seismic safety measures have been taken appropriately and the station satisfies the statutory safety standards such as technical standards. However, according to the long-term forecast by the Earthquake Research Committee of the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the possibility of the envisioned Tokai Earthquake with a magnitude of approximately 8 to occur within 30 years is 87% and this is a very urgent problem. At this station, the possibility of an earthquake of the seismic intensity of 6 to occur within 30 years is 84%, which is remarkably higher than the percentages for other power stations. The environment of this power station is totally different from those of other power stations. Considering an imminent risk of being hit by a large-scale tsunami (accompanying an earthquake) and the March accident caused by tsunami, I have come to make a tough decision and judged it necessary to take the action for “extra reassurance”.

    Thus, on May 6 I urged Chubu Electric Power to shut down all units at the Hamaoka NPS until the completion of mid- to long-term measures such as installation of tide embankments and water-tightening construction in nuclear buildings in addition to short-term measures. Therefore, if NISA confirms completion of mid- to long-term measures, the Hamaoka NPS will become sufficiently safe to be reactivated again according to our knowledge as we understand it at present. Shutdown was urged considering the special circumstances of an imminent risk of being hit by a large-scale tsunami (accompanying an earthquake) at this NPS and the seismic safety of the NPS itself is not considered as a problem. In addition, other nuclear power stations are not in such an urgent situation.

  4. For supply and demand of electricity after the shutdown of Hamaoka NPS, Chubu Electric Power plans to request for power saving on the demand side, in addition to taking measures on the supply side, such as the restart of operations at thermal power stations which have been shut down for a long time. I was told that Chubu Electric Power would maintain a balance of supply and demand of electricity at the minimum required level by using all these possible means.

    Mr. Mizuno, President of Chubu Electric Power demanded five items yesterday and I basically accepted them. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will support Chubu Electric Power as far as possible when the company will make efforts in supplying sufficient electricity. In addition to the measures mentioned above, METI will take the following actions:
    (1) METI will study maximum financial support measures for additional costs incurred in relation to NPS shutdown upon specific request from Chubu Electric Power;
    (2) To ensure the balance between supply and demand, METI will adopt ideas for the smooth operation of thermal power stations in the aspect of regulations, and I have just met Mr. Yagi, Chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, to directly ask him to have other electric companies provide the maximum possible electricity to Chubu Electric Power.
    (3) In addition, METI will appeal to the industry and people in Japan as electricity users to conserve electricity. I wish you to understand the circumstances and cooperate by all means.
    (4) Grants will be delivered as they were for two years and will not be reduced even after the elapse of the two year period. Including this point, METI will provide sufficient explanation to the region where the NPS is located.

    I hope that the government and local governments as well as governmental and private sectors will unite to overcome the situation, with consulting with governors in the Chubu and Kansai regions and other people concerned.

Division in Charge

Electricity Infrastructure Division, Electricity and Gas Industry Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
Nuclear Power Inspection Division, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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