Banri Kaieda, minister for economy, trade and industry, has now said that for nuclear to remain one of Japan’s key energy sources, “It is indispensible to obtain lessons we should learn from the accident in order to present a general image of nuclear safety measures and to put such measures into practice.” He added that it is also important to “clarify the actual situation of the accident” at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (Tepco’s) Fukushima Daiichi plant.
A shortage of electricity would be the greatest obstacle to economic recovery in Japan following the huge earthquake and tsunami in March, according to the country’s industry minister. He said that this makes local permission for restarting Japan’s nuclear power plants essential.
Twenty units, with a combined generating capacity of 17,705 MWe (or 36.2% of total nuclear capacity) were not operating as they had been shut for periodic inspection, while another two units had been shut for unplanned inspections or equipment replacement. It is not yet known when these units will be restarted.
METI noted that if those reactors currently not in operation in western Japan are not permitted to restart by local authorities, the supply capacity in that region during the coming summer months will decrease by 8.8 GWe, or about 11% of expected supply capacity.
Kaieda said. “For future development of the Japanese economy, I would like the people to allow the restart of nuclear power stations. If necessary, I will visit the regions where nuclear power stations are located and will directly explain the situation and ask for restart of these facilities.”