Spent Nuclear Storage Facility Proposed in Yamaguchi

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Chugoku Electric Power Co. executive bows his head to residents opposing the construction of an interim storage facility on Wednesday in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

KAMINOSEKI, Yamaguchi (Jiji Press) — Chugoku Electric Power Co. on Wednesday proposed building an interim storage facility in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, to keep spent nuclear fuel temporarily.

Satoshi Osedo, managing executive officer at Chugoku Electric, told Kaminoseki Mayor Tetsuo Nishi in a meeting that the power utility plans to conduct geological and other surveys in the town for the construction.

The company intends to conduct the surveys in part of a land plot set aside to construct a nuclear power plant to see whether it is possible to build an interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel there.

Preparatory work to build the nuclear plant has been stalled since a tsunami-triggered triple meltdown hit the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan in March 2011.

As a result, nuclear plant-related subsidies for the town were reduced significantly. In February this year, the town asked Chugoku Electric to come up with a fresh proposal for local revitalization. The storage facility proposal was made in response to the request.

Chugoku Electric told Nishi that it wants to conduct drilling and other surveys, jointly with Kansai Electric Power Co., the mayor told reporters after the meeting at the Kaminoseki municipal office. The mayor plans to explain the proposal to local assembly members and residents.

Referring to the stalled nuclear plant project, the mayor said he will not give it up but that it is entirely unclear. “We’ll think together seriously about what is needed for the survival of our town,” he said.

Dozens of local residents gathered at the municipal office and staged a protest against the construction of an interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.