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USG had plan to build atomic power plant in Okinawa in 1960s

Okinawa Times gave top coverage to a report claiming that the USG planned to construct a nuclear power facility in the town of Kin, Okinawa, in the 1960s. According to the piece written by freelance journalist Jon Mitchel, the alleged plan envisaged two atomic reactors producing a total 80,000 kilowatts of electricity. The project was reportedly aborted for unknown reasons, with the USG instead building a thermal power plant at the same location in 1965, which closed 21 years later. The writer speculated that as the U.S. administrations at the time promoted the “peaceful use of nuclear energy” amid the global opposition to the atomic bombings and repeated nuclear tests in the northern Pacific, the construction initiative was probably intended to deflect criticism of U.S. nuclear policy.

 

The reporter noted in a separate piece that the U.S. military has been studying the development of small, moveable atomic reactors to generate power for use on base, quoting Joshua Frey, DOD spokesperson at Office of the Secretary of Defense, as saying: “At present, there are no U.S. small nuclear reactors in Japan. All U.S. military personnel and hardware are deployed in accordance with agreements with host countries.” A USFJ spokesperson was separately quoted as saying that Japan’s private sector supplies a large portion of the electricity for U.S. bases, suggesting that there are no atomic reactors at U.S. installations in Japan.      

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