Japan celebrates one year completely nuclear-free and the birth of a clean energy future
Today, Japan celebrates a unique and inspiring anniversary, a full year nuclear free, a year without the constant risks and threats of nuclear power.
Hisayo Takada, Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Japan, said:
“This exciting day sends a clear message that the Japanese people want a safe, sustainable energy future and are willing to make it a reality. Now we need government leadership to be nuclear-free forever.”
On 15 September, 2013, the last operating reactor in the country, Kansai Electric’s Ohi #4 reactor in Fukui Prefecture, was taken offline. This made Japan, with the third largest nuclear reactor fleet in the world, free of electricity produced from nuclear reactors for the first time in half a century.
Even without strong government leadership, Japan has forcefully stepped into the global renewable energy arena. It has rapidly become the world’s second largest solar PV market after China. Much of this is small family-sized solar projects, or rooftop-type installations; in fact 23,000 of these family-scale installations are installed every month.
In addition, ordinary people and industry have voluntarily reduced the amount of electricity consumed by the equivalent of 13 nuclear reactors.
“The people of Japan have filled the leadership void of the Abe government, which continues to push restarting reactors, and made the country the second leading player on the global solar stage. This leadership from the public is certainly something to celebrate.”
“During the nuclear-free year, there have been no blackouts or brownouts as a result of the nuclear shutdown. Yet the Abe government has failed to build on this achievement and bring in strong energy policies that would support renewables and energy efficiency, and free Japan from dependence on fuel imports. Such leadership would provide long-term energy security and let Japan meet its international climate commitments.
”Major obstacles remain to restarting nuclear reactors with none likely to operate before 2015. For example, the owners of the two Sendai reactors that passed the first stage of restart approval by Japan’s nuclear regulator on 10 September must still submit tens of thousands of pages of vital safety documentation for assessment.
“There is a long way to go before Sendai will be in a position to restart. Key safety issues remain unresolved, including seismic and volcano risk, as well as public and political opposition in Kagoshima and a legal challenge. The people of Japan are determined to stop nuclear power from returning and embrace the renewables future,” said Takada.
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