Three major economic organisations in Japan have issued an urgent appeal for the government to accelerate the process of restarting nuclear power reactors whose safety has been confirmed, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum has said.
The Japan Federation of Economic Organisations (Keidanren), the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) and the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (JACE), said they are concerned that sharp increases in fossil fuel imports, made necessary by the shutdown of all the country’s 50 commercial nuclear reactor units, will continue to hinder economic growth.
The three organisations said “the most urgent issue” was the early restoration of a stable supply of inexpensive electricity.
They called for the restart of the country’s reactors, a review of feed-in tariffs and imposition of a “global warming tax”.
The three organisations said the country’s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), should speed up the safety examination process for reactor restarts.
They also said the NRA’s “personnel structure” should be improved and called for clarification of “processing periods” for restarts.
The NRA has already said it is working to speed up the restart of some of the nation’s offline nuclear reactors.
The NRA, an independent body created in 2012 in response to the March 2011 accident at Fukushima-Daiichi, said in February 2014 it would create “a priority list” of nuclear power stations which meet new earthquake and tsunami criteria.
The NRA is in the process of reviewing reactors to confirm that they meet new nuclear safety standards, which came into force on 8 July 2013.
Only two of Japan’s 50 reactors, Kansai Electric Power Company’s Ohi-3 and Ohi-4, have been restarted since the Fukushima-Daiichi accident. They have since been taken offline for scheduled refuelling and maintenance.