Japan nears switching on reactors after Tepco's meltdown
fuelfix.com -- Jul 03
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.

Source: fuelfix.com
Oct 31
The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Friday tentatively removed part of the cover shrouding the No.1 reactor building installed in the wake of the 2011 disaster to keep radioactive materials from dispersing. (Kyodo)
Oct 31
Police in Tokyo have arrested a 39-year-old member of the Air Self-Defense Force on a charge of attempted murder after he pushed a man onto the train tracks at JR Okubo Station in Shinjuku Ward. (Japan Today)
Oct 31
The Tokyo metropolitan government on Friday reopened all of Yoyogi Park, 57 days after dengue-carrying mosquitoes were found there. (Japan Today)
Oct 31
The Japanese government has drafted a new space development policy that will enhance its ability to provide security. The plan includes increasing the number of intelligence-gathering satellites. (NHK)
Oct 31
A 63-year-old man who died in Waikiki Saturday has been identified as a deputy mayor from Japan. (khon2.com)
Oct 31
Until only recently, Japan never celebrated Halloween. And why would it? The nation honors the spirits of its ancestors in August, during the ancient Buddhist festival of O-bon, when ancestral spirits are said to revisit the family altars -and when reported encounters with ghosts and spirits reach a fevered peak. (marketwatch.com)
Oct 31
A 41-year-old man, who was arrested in August for abusing his 14-year-old stepson, has also been charged with coercing the boy to commit suicide. (Japan Today)
Oct 30
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced the bust of a risque bar in Machida City for licensing violations, reports Jiji Press (Oct. 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
Oct 30
Police in Komae City, Tokyo, on Thursday questioned the owner of a beauty salon over the murder of the salon manager whose body was found on the premises. (Japan Today)
Oct 30
A 25-year-old man who works as a host at a club in Tokyo's Kabukicho district has been arrested for trying to extort 3 million yen from his girlfriend by threatening her. (Japan Today)
Oct 30
Japan's Crown Princess Masako attended a banquet for visiting Dutch royals on Wednesday in her first such appearance since developing a stress-related illness more than a decade ago. (abcnews.go.com)
Oct 30
In spite of a recent fall in organized crime membership, Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Monday released a manga comic to discourage participation in yakuza gangs, reports the Nishi Nippon Shimbun (Oct. 27). (Tokyo Reporter)
Oct 29
Japan's Crown Princess Masako on Wednesday is attending a banquet at the Imperial Palace for the first time in 11 years. (NHK)
Oct 29
Three types of Japanese-style paper, or "washi," are to be added to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage. (NHK)
Oct 28
Parts of Hokkaido experienced the first snowfall of the season on Tuesday morning. (Japan Today)