Sunday 3 June 2012

Oi Plant to Re-open

It looks as if the Oi nuclear plant is to be re-opened after an abrupt U-turn on the part of the authorities in the Kansai area. Mayor of Osaka, Hashimoto, who was saying only last week that it isn't safe has changed his tune and the governor of Fukui prefecture Kada Yukiko (who incidentally always wears green, perhaps to show her green credentials) has bowed to the 'inevitable'. I don't know who said what to whom but the government was going to push it through anyway. There'd been a lot of pressure from small businesses and Kanden (Kansai Electric) had been warning of a 15% shortage in Osaka this summer and preparing for 'planned' power cuts. 

Hashimoto covered himself by getting the government to say the plant is to be opened for a limited period only (genteiteki 限定的). But on one TV programme this morning someone suggested he's setting himself up to fight in a general election in the autumn on a platform of whether to keep the Oi plant open or not. All this political posturing is pathetic. There's still no roadmap for the country's energy policy. Germany announced it would get rid of nuclear by 2020. Kan, the former PM, said Japan would get rid of nuclear but Noda has been careful not to say anything too clear cut. Up to now the discussion centred on safety but this seems to have been thrown out the window and the plant is to be opened for the simple, but pressing, reason that there isn't enough electricity.

The people have lost faith in the government and the nuclear industry. Why can't we have a simple explanation that the Oi plant will be able to cope with a tsunami like at Fukushima and needs to be re-opened just this summer? There's been a real shift in popular opinion since Fukushima. People are re-thinking their lifestyles. All the nuclear plants in the country have been stopped for a year. It could have been a golden opportunity to re-think this country's future. Not just in energy, but in everything. This country's been badly battered since the bubble burst in the early 1990s. But people are feeling let down by the government. There's a feeling that nothing's changed. 

This hasn't been helped by revelations that nuclear industry insiders on the Japan Atomic Energy Commission studying the future role of nuclear in a new energy policy had been holding numerous secret  meetings. The 'atomic village' mentality seems to be alive and well. 

It's going to take 6 weeks to get two reactors at Oi going. Do you know how a nuclear reactor works? At the moment control rods are lowered completely into bundles of uranium submerged in water in the reactor. These control rods will be slowly raised causing nuclear fission in the fuel. The heat generated makes the water in the pressure vessel boil, then water in a connected chamber boils creating steam which turns the turbines. A boiler is used to heat water for the preliminary testing of pipes etc and there's only one of these at Oi so Reactor 3 will be started first taking three weeks, then Reactor 4, total six weeks. (I'm no expert, the Nikkei did an article on this yesterday.) Reactor 3 has been closed down since March 2011 and Reactor 4 since July last year. Let's hope everything goes according to plan.

I wish I was in England. Looks like it's going to be a fun long weekend for the Queen's Jubilee.
Thinking of you all. Have fun!


  1. Your blog was excellent and thank you for giving us updated information such as current Fukushima information news in English. I would like to ask your permission that can I put up your blog on our website? If it is possible I would like to give more detail information about it. How can I contact with you?

  2. Thank you for your kind comments.
    You're welcome to put a link on your blog.
    What is your blog address? I looked up 'Goldenbridge' but couldn't find anything.

    1. Thank you for your reply. I wanted to put your blog on our WEBSITE. (appoligize to you, I don`t have any blog )Actually, I was wrote to you email before, on 6 th of June, but I didn`t know how to send it to you by email. It was:

      June 6, 2010
      Dear Mrs. Anne Kaneko,
      I` am very much impressed by reading your posts of blog “Anna Kaneko` s Fukushima”.
      My name is Kudo who is volunteering at the official website of Fukushima International Media Village (FIMV) which is NPO.

      Your blog was excellent and thank you for giving us updated information such as current Fukushima information news in English.
      I would like to ask your permission that can I put up your blog on our website for dissemination of information from the Fukushima to the world. We want to support and share your blog itself through our website and facebook to foreign people who want to know accurate information about disaster in English. This problem is not only about cities surrounding the nuclear power plant. This relates to all of Japan and foreigners who love Japan.
      In addition, if we get your permission then FIMV is going to put your blog on the category “Column” of menu “3.11” on website. We will let you know after put it on website.
      I hope you will consider accepting our request. I` am waiting for your reply to:

      We will be happy to hear any your advice, comment fromt you.