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» [Survey by Mainichi newspaper] Mayors want more to say about nuclear power plant

The mayors of over half of the municipalities near those hosting nuclear power plants have told the Mainichi Shimbun in a survey that they oppose reactivation of nuclear power plants based on agreements with the host city and prefecture alone.

The governments of municipalities surrounding those hosting nuclear power plants aren’t given the right to express their opinions on reactivation, and there is no means to have their residents’ opinions heard in the procedures leading up to reactivation.

The survey also asked the 22 hosting municipalities’ mayors whether it was acceptable to restart power plants that meet new safety regulations adopted after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Nine agreed with this stance while five opposed it. Meanwhile, 39 of the mayors of the 117 surrounding municipalities said it was not acceptable to restart the plants, while 23 said it was acceptable, showing a difference in attitude between the mayors of municipalities hosting nuclear power plants and those of the surrounding municipalities.

Fifty-two of the mayors of the surrounding municipalities said that municipalities’ opinions were not being reflected in the national government’s nuclear power policy, while 34 said they were. Twenty-nine of the 52 mayors who said the municipalities’ opinions were not being reflected were also mayors who opposed reactivation.

“There is no opportunity to directly deal with the government,” answered the mayor of Kucchan, Hokkaido.

“The understanding of residents is of the utmost importance in nuclear power policy, but the opinions of municipalities are not being represented,” wrote the mayor of Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The mayor of Mito wrote, “There is no chance or method to express the voices of municipalities to the national government.”

The survey was conducted from late January on the mayors of 135 municipalities specified by the government as “Urgent Protective Action Planning Zones” (UPZs), plus the mayors of four municipalities within 30 kilometers of Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power)’s Oma Nuclear Power Plant, currently undergoing safety inspections ahead of possible activation.

There is no clear legal basis for the scope of municipalities included when seeking agreement for reactivation of nuclear plants. For the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant, a safety agreement between Kagoshima Prefecture, the city of Satsumasendai and Kyushu Electric Power Co. was used as the basis for defining the municipalities whose agreement was necessary. Agreement on the plant’s reactivation was expressed first by the Satsumasendai Municipal Assembly, then the mayor, followed by the prefectural assembly, then the governor.

The dissatisfaction of municipalities near nuclear plants with their inability to be a part of the process for deciding on plant reactivation is likely to affect the upcoming spring unified local elections.


<Media Report>
Municipalities near nuclear plants want more say on reactivation: survey (Mainichi Newspaper) 




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