Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda has called for the restart of the Ohi 3&4 nuclear reactors in Western Japan to protect the livelihoods of the Japanese people.
In a televised address on 8 June, Noda said that serious power shortages are anticipated this summer without nuclear power and that rising fuel prices are expected to impact electricity prices.
“To preserve and safeguard the livelihoods of the Japanese people we should restart units 3&4 of the Ohi nuclear power station,” Noda said.
Japanese predictions suggest that if the summer is as hot as it was in 2010, even with efforts to save power, there will be a 15% power supply shortage in the service area of the Kansai Electric Power Co. This power shortage could be decreased to less than 1% with restart of Ohi 3&4, according to preliminary calculations.
Noda said that he has met with the governor of Fukui Prefecture and with the local citizens to discuss the restart of the reactors. The government has also given explanations to Shiga and Kyoto Prefectures, which are located within 30 km from Ohi Nuclear Power Station.
Safety improvements have been made at the plant and lessons have been learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident, although they must be reviewed on an ongoing basis, Noda said.
The Japanese government plans to make a political decision on the restart of each nuclear power plant where safety measures have been applied, with the understanding of local communities.
Noda said that in August a medium to long-term energy policy will be developed outlining the role of nuclear power in the future energy mix.