「川内」優先審査 原発を再活用する第一歩に

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 15, 2014
Sendai reactor checks must be 1st step in ending nuclear power suspension
「川内」優先審査 原発を再活用する第一歩に(3月15日付・読売社説)

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has selected the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture as priority targets for confirming their safety, a prerequisite for resuming operations.  

This must be made a step toward ending the long-running suspension of nuclear power generation.  

Currently, the NRA is screening the safety of 17 reactors at 10 nuclear plants. The Sendai plant is the first candidate likely to pass the screening, with legal procedures expected to be completed as early as this summer for resuming operations.  

With all the nation’s 48 nuclear power reactors suspended in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, fuel costs for alternative thermal power generation have jumped, resulting in higher electricity charges. Some utilities are considering additional increases in charges.

The seriousness of this situation, which is affecting industry and people’s livelihoods, should never be underestimated.

In July, the NRA compiled a new set of standards for regulating nuclear power plants that takes into consideration what happened during the outbreak of the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The NRA originally estimated that safety screenings based on the standards would be “completed in a half-year or so.”

But the NRA and utilities had been at odds for a while over the kinds of data necessary for the screenings and interpretations of the new standards, dimming prospects for completing the screenings any time soon.

New framework built To break the impasse, the NRA last month came up with a framework to set priorities in screening, a move that merits praise.

Under the framework, the NRA would deploy screening experts to plants on a priority basis and expedite compilation of a screening document equivalent to a pass certificate, if the scale of earthquakes and other scenarios studied by the utility are deemed appropriate. It may compile a draft of screening results as early as next month.

It is hoped that the NRA and Kyushu Electric will effectively proceed with screening work.

What is worrying is that the NRA is planning to solicit public opinion and hold public hearings when the draft is compiled.

A considerable number of officials will be needed to deal with the vast number of opinions expressed, which could lead to insufficient staff for the screening work at the Sendai plant. It will inevitably have adverse implications on how screening of other reactors will proceed.

Asking for outside opinion on any draft that the NRA itself compiles from a scientific perspective will harm the NRA’s credibility.

The NRA’s stance has invited criticism among many members of the Liberal Democratic Party. “It’s akin to a judge soliciting opinions on a draft document giving his or her ruling” and “It’s trying to skirt responsibility for making a decision” are some of the skeptical comments made by members of the LDP project team discussing nuclear regulation issues.

The NRA should cancel its plans to solicit public opinion and hold public hearings.

Many residents near the Sendai plant want to see it reactivated. Municipalities in the vicinity of the plant are making progress in compiling evacuation plans. The government and Kyushu Electric should make their utmost efforts to persuade local residents to accept how important restarting the plant is.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 15, 2014)
(2014年3月15日01時33分 読売新聞)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: Uncategorized パーマリンク



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