No thanks, says Miyama

26 November 2001

The plebiscite was the first to be held with no pending construction plans at stake.

Of the 7754 ballots cast, 5215 (67%) were against building a nuclear plant, 2512 were in favour and 27 votes were invalid. There was considerable interest in the vote, with turnout at 88.64% of the population. After the vote count, the mayor of the town, Tatsuo Shiotani, said: "Arguments over siting a nuclear power plant are over as a result of this referendum." In February this year, members of Miyama town's chamber of commerce and industry submitted a petition, representing 64% of the local residents, to the local assembly to lobby for the construction of a nuclear plant near the town. Opponents immediately filed their own petition to the town assembly, which subsequently set up a special panel to examine both petitions. After nearly six months of deliberation, the panel recommended that the residents' opinions be heard.

Although there is no nuclear plant at stake, the vote is yet another setback for the country's nuclear programme. In 1996 the town of Maki in Niigata Prefecture voted against the construction of a nuclear plant, and earlier this year voters in Kariwa, also in Niigata Prefecture, voted against loading MOX fuel at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa.

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