Some people in Japan are freaking out this week as the country restarts its second nuclear reactor since the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011. The aptly named Number Two Reactor at Sendai kicked back into business for the first time, as protesters gathered outside the power plant. Despite the unrest, government officials are pressing forward with plans to return Japan to a nuclear-powered nation, largely due to the low financial cost. The people of Japan, rightly, are concerned about the other costs tied to the deadly energy source.
The first post-Fukushima reactor was restarted this August, leaving local residents nervous about potential dangers. It’s been four years since the quake-spurred tsunami triggered Fukushima reactors to meltdown and spread radiation throughout the region, forcing over 150,000 people from their homes and leaving lasting impacts on the area and even in the West. Despite public outrage, the Japanese government continues to push to restart nuclear reactors to cut energy costs. Prior to the 2011 disaster, around 30 percent of the nation’s power came from nuclear power plants. When Japan forced all 50 of its nuclear reactors to shut down in 2013, the landscape of energy in the country changed, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has argued that atomic energy is key to stabilizing Japan’s economy.
The second reactor, operated by Kyushu Electric, was restarted yesterday, and engineers will be tending to it in earnest, aiming to resume all commercial operations next month. It’s not clear when another reactor might be restarted or how many will resume operation in the coming months and years, but it does seem likely the government will hold fast to its commitment to atomic energy despite the opinion of the people.
Via The Guardian
Images via Kyushu Electric and Flickr