12 September 2012

Japanese Government Expected to Announce Zero Nuclear Option

The Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun reveals on 12 September 2012 that the government could announce within days its decision to adopt a zero-nuclear policy that would see all nuclear reactors shut down by 2030 at the latest. The country, which has officially shut down only four Fukushima Daiichi reactors after the 3/11 disaster of its 54 reactors. However, currently only two units at Ohi are operating (see Japan : Second Ohi Reactor Restart) as massive opposition, locally and nationally, has prevented further restarts. The apparent government decision comes also as a response to huge pressure inside the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). On 10 September 2012 Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda confirmed that the government will abide by the three principles proposed by the DPJ: no new build, strict application of a maximum of 40-year lifetime and the restart only for reactors that get approval from the nuclear regulatory commission. The adoption of the zero-nuclear option will have far-reaching consequences for Japan’s nuclear fuel system and will likely accelerate the end of the spent fuel reprocessing and plutonium fuel (MOX) fabrication plans at the Rokkasho-mura site in Aomori Prefecture. Aomori local authorities oppose the government plans in a last attempt to maintain the local plutonium industry.