Shimane Prefecture citizens seeking to enact a local ordinance that would phase out nuclear power and develop renewable energy sources have collected more than 92,000 signatures of support from registered voters, well over the minimum needed to force the governor to introduce the ordinance to the prefectural assembly.
The latest move is part of a series of attempts by citizens’ groups around the nation to pass anti-nuclear power ordinances, none of which has succeeded so far.
Kenji Nanki, a spokesman for the group pushing for the ordinance, said local governments are checking the signatures against their voter registration lists but will present them to Shimane Gov. Zenbei Mizoguchi in early February. The governor is then expected to bring the issue to the assembly.
The ordinance calls on Shimane to establish a plan of action for getting out of nuclear power by an unspecified date, to up the use of natural and renewable energy sources, and to establish a committee to develop a concrete policy for that purpose.
Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear plant, in Matsue, has two reactors. About 469,000 people in Shimane and Tottori prefectures live within 30 km of the plant. Last month, Chugoku Electric formally asked the Nuclear Regulation Authority to inspect reactor 2 to determine whether it meets new safety standards established last year.
Reactor 2 was built in 1989, making it one of Japan’s newer reactors. Shimane’s reactor 1, on the other hand, turns 40 years old this year and its future is uncertain.