A countdown is starting in Japan for restarting some of the 48 nuclear reactors that were idled after the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns caused the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl.
The nation's Nuclear Regulation Authority will receive applications for switching on plants starting July 8, and more than five utilities plan to seek permits. Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the wrecked Dai-Ichi plant that spread radiation in the Fukushima area, said yesterday it will seek permission to start its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant as soon as possible. Its shares jumped 19 percent yesterday.
Meeting new safety rules to restart is urgent for utilities bleeding cash from importing extra oil and gas for backup generation. Japan paid 24.7 trillion yen ($241 billion) for fossil fuels in the year ended in March, up 36 percent from the 12 months before the disaster. Imports this year are even more expensive with the yen's 14 percent drop against the dollar.
"The decision to seek this safety review is an important one," Tokyo Electric President Naomi Hirose told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo yesterday. "In our existing turnaround plan, restarts were scheduled from this past April. It's almost impossible to become profitable again when conditions are different from the ones anticipated in the plan."
Japan's nine utilities with atomic plants reported combined losses of 1.59 trillion yen ($16 billion) in the year ended March 31. Only Hokuriku Electric Power Co. posted a profit, ending the year 100 million yen ahead, and only two reactors are currently running, both belonging to Kansai Electric Power Co.
UNESCO announced Saturday that it has added two items recommended by Japan, including Return to Maizuru Port, or documents related to Japanese troops and civilians who were interned in labor camps in Siberia after the end of World War II, to its Memory of the World Register. (Jiji Press)
Tokyo police found there were at least 10 suspicious phone calls in the Japanese capital linked to the My Number 12-digit identification number system for social security and tax this month, it was learned Thursday. (The Japan News)
Child welfare authorities dealt with nearly 90,000 child abuse cases in the fiscal year ending March, a government survey showed Thursday, with experts blaming the record-high figure on increased poverty and the isolation of some families. (Japan Times)
Nagano Prefectural Police announced on Wednesday that a member of a newly formed organized crime group who had been shot at a hot springs resort in Iida City has died, reports TV Asahi (Oct. 7). (Tokyo Reporter)
Niigata Prefectural Police on Tuesday raided headquarters of the troubled Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group as a part of an investigation into a baseball gambling case, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 6). (Tokyo Reporter)