JAPAN’S pro-nuclear lobby pledged yesterday that 2015 will be the year the country’s shut-down nuclear reactors are restarted.
Despite public opposition following the Fukushima disaster, industry officials and their supporters claim the country needs atomic power to play its part in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure a stable electricity supply.
“This year marks the exit from zero nuclear power,” Japan Atomic Industrial Forum chairman Takashi Imai proclaimed to an audience of 900 people yesterday.
“It is self-evident that nuclear power plants that have passed safety tests should be restarted as soon as possible,” he insisted.
And International Atomic Energy Authority director general Agency Yukiya Amano said the power source could not be forsaken.
“Despite the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, nuclear power continues to play an important part in the global energy mix,” he insisted.
Japan’s atomic watchdog gave the green light to restart four reactors last year, to a loud welcome from pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
But the Japanese public remain deeply concerned about safety, more than four years after a tsunami sparked meltdowns at Fukushima, spreading radiation over a large area and forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Anti-nuclear activists are challenging the decisions to restart the four reactors at two power stations in court.
A ruling on the Takahama station in central Japan is expected today, while one on the Sendai plant in the south is expected on April 22.