Protesters gather as reactor in Kagoshima restarts


More than 100 people rallied Tuesday in front of the Sendai power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture to protest Japan’s first reactivation of a nuclear reactor in nearly two years.

Blasting the restart as a hasty decision, the crowd at the gates of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s complex in the city of Satsumasendai called for abandoning nuclear power amid safety concerns.

Other residents, however, were hopeful that it will boost the local economy.

“We cannot live here without a nuclear plant. Once it is restarted, we will get money from the central government and the town will thrive,” said an 81-year-old man at a local shopping arcade.

The reactor is the first to go back online under new, stricter regulations imposed after the meltdown disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

People in Fukushima also had mixed feelings. While many in the prefecture which was devastated by the disaster oppose nuclear power, some acknowledged the economic benefits of having a nuclear power plant.

“Why did they choose to restart it on the 11th (day of the month, the same day as the Fukushima disaster), when the reactivation itself is heart-wrenching enough?” asked Haruko Kanai, 66, who had to evacuate from Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, due to radioactive contamination.

“I feel a swirl of anger, sorrow and disillusionment,” she said. “I don’t want others to experience the same suffering that I have.”

The group Mayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan, comprising current and former mayors in 37 prefectures, released a statement saying people living near nuclear power stations can’t feel secure under the current framework and questioned the effectiveness of evacuation plans.

  • Hideomi Kuze

    While Japan Govt disturb spread of Natural energy on the pretext of “cost”,
    They use immense Taxes for Costly Nuclear Power.

    moreover,Japan’s nuclear policy provide immense “Nuclear subsidy” to local city who approve restart of Nuclear power plants.
    because Nobody have confidence in Safety of Nuclear power plants in japan,and Nobody hope Nuclear Power Plants itself.

    this is equal to bribe for vested interests.

    it is mere money politics by pretense democracy.
    Japan is practically colony for Nuclear power.

    therefore Japan’s Nuclear power stations are still unsafe.
    behavior of authority in Japan show unreliability of Nuclear safety in Japan.

    Economic Group in Japan is unconcern to Nuclear Safety yet.
    For Them,”Money than Life”,”Profit than Safety”.

    • Sam Gilman

      I’m sorry, but this comment is based in quite serious ignorance.

      – Japan is currently one of the biggest installers of solar panels
      – it is at the forefront of developing floating wind turbines
      – it is at the leading edge of developing hydrogen fuel cells and other technologies to electrify and thus decarbonise transport
      – already installed nuclear power is clearly cheap
      – in several recent elections, major anti-nuclear candidates and parties have lost; popular opposition is less vociferous than you portray.

      The challenge for Japan is that the density of power demand relative to the available land means that relying on renewables to provide power is a huge challenge. Decarbonising using renewables alone would be tough.

      Out of curiosity: how seriously do you take the threat of global warming? It doesn’t appear in your analysis.

  • Hideomi Kuze

    opportunism nuclear power policy of Japan still regard Nuclear disaster as “Domestic problem”.
    but Nuclear Disaster causes unforeseeable extensive contamination beyond border.

    for the world ,
    it need international inspection and investigation against Self-righteous Nuclear Policy of Totalitarianism country Japan.