Statement by Minister Kaieda Regarding Restart of Nuclear Power Stations
June 18, 2011
- Nuclear power is one of the four important factors along with fossil energy, renewable energy and energy conservation, which shoulder Japan’s future energy. The government will take responsibility in managing it with its safety.
- For this purpose, it is indispensable to obtain lessons we should learn from the accident in order to present a general image of nuclear safety measures and to put such measures into practice, as well as to clarify the actual situation of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station, Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO).
- The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) directed electricity utilities on March 30 to take emergency safety measures for an assumed loss of all AC power supplies, etc. caused by a tsunami. METI confirmed that the level of safety required for preventing the occurrence of core damage, etc. has been secured by steady implementation of such measures. Thus, METI considers that there is no problem regarding safety concerning the continued operation and restart of nuclear power stations. For the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station, Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (Chubu Electric Power), however, I requested a shut down of operation as an exception for “extra reassurance,” considering the special circumstances of an imminent risk of being hit by a large-scale tsunami (accompanying an assumed Tokai earthquake).
- In order to take more immediate and appropriate action in the occurrence of a possible severe accident, I directed on June 7 to implement preparatory measures to be immediately taken, including those to prevent hydrogen explosions, and electricity utilities submitted reports about this on June 14. On the basis of the reports, METI strictly evaluated nuclear power stations through on-the-spot inspections, etc. and confirmed that the measures were properly taken.
- I would like to carefully explain about the safety of these nuclear power stations, giving confirmation results of the preparatory measures for the occurrence of a possible severe accident announced today to the residents in the region where the stations are located and all other people in Japan, so as to obtain their understanding and cooperation.
- After that, I would like residents near the nuclear power stations and other people in Japan to understand that electricity restraint is the largest issue for the growth of Japan’s economy. Concerns about electricity supply and cost increase caused by substitution of thermal power generation would possibly restrict investment in Japan and prompt transfer of business to overseas countries, which may result in a hollowing out of Japanese industry.
- Speaking about electricity this summer, if power stations currently in periodic inspection outage cannot be restarted, electricity would not only be supplied from five companies in the western regions to the TEPCO area and Chubu Electric Power areas, but it would be unavoidable that the supply-demand balance of electricity would be tight even in western Japan. Considering the tendency to shift production plants etc. to western Japan, it is indispensable to stabilize the supply-demand balance of electricity including western Japan for recovery from the disaster and revitalization of the Japanese economy.
- Therefore, for future development of the Japanese economy, I would like the people to allow the restart of nuclear power stations. If necessary, I will visit the regions where nuclear power stations are located and will directly explain the situation and ask for restart of these facilities.
- Electricity supply-demand this summer (PDF:351KB) Updated on June 22, 2011
Division in Charge
Policy Planning Division, Electricity and Gas Industry Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
Nuclear Power Inspection Division, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency