Shareholders urge utilities to end nuclear power generation, are snubbed by management

Kyodo

Anti-nuclear shareholders in major Japanese utilities called for an end to nuclear power generation at general shareholders’ meetings on Wednesday, citing safety concerns and a lack of support in local communities.

Among the proposals at the meetings of eight power producers were withdrawal from the nuclear power business and decommissioning of plants, but the utilities rejected the calls, citing nuclear power’s contribution to stable supply of electricity and lower energy prices.

At the meeting of Kansai Electric Power Co. attended by around 680 shareholders, Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa said the utility should move away from nuclear dependency amid continuing repercussions from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But Kansai Electric President Shigeki Iwane said the utility in western Japan will cut electricity rates from August along with the restart of reactors 3 and 4 at its Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast.

One shareholder pointed out that “massive damage will be caused if a ballistic missile launched by North Korea falls onto the nuclear plant.”

Hayato Saeki, president of Shikoku Electric Power Co., told the shareholders’ meeting that the company has seen “the stabilization of power supply and demand and the improvement of profitability” due to the stable operation of reactor 3 at the Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan.

Some shareholders of Kyushu Electric Power Co. questioned whether the utility has gained the support of local residents for the planned restart of reactors 3 and 4 at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture, which Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi consented to in late April.

Meanhwile, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., which held its general shareholders’ meeting last Friday, dismissed all 11 antinuclear proposals, including the decommissioning of its idled Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture.

As of Wednesday, five of Japan’s 42 commercial reactors nationwide are operating, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. They are reactors 3 and 4 at the Takahama plant, reactors 1 and 2 at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, and reactor 3 at the Ikata plant.

Kyushu Electric Power has also sought to resume reactors 3 and 4 at the Genkai nuclear power plant this summer or thereafter.