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ECONOMY

Nuclear contracts between local gov’ts and utilities double since Fukushima accident

  • April 18, 2021
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 2
  • JMH Translation

Through interviews with power companies and local governments, Tokyo Shimbun found that the number of local governments that have signed “safety agreements” and “memoranda” with power companies has increased significantly compared with the number prior to the Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. 108 local governments in 18 prefectures within a 33-kilometer radius of a nuclear power plant, excluding the decommissioned Fukushima Daiichi and Daini plants, had such agreements. This number is more than double the number prior to the Fukushima accident—44 local governments in 13 prefectures.

 

Before the Fukushima accident, the Japanese government had stipulated areas within a 10-kilometer radius of a nuclear power plant as priority areas for disaster prevention measures. The target area was expanded to a 30-kilometer radius because the Fukushima accident emitted radioactive substances over a wider area and residents were forced to evacuate. It appears as though the number of local governments signing agreements has increased as a result of the accident. There have been noticeable moves to clearly state obligations to report accidents and be responsible for compensation.

 

Mito City and four other cities were the only local governments in areas adjacent to nuclear plants whose agreements stated that power companies should “obtain the understanding and consent [of local governments] before resuming operations,” a clause included in agreements with local governments hosting nuclear power plants. Mito is close to Japan Atomic Power Company’s Tokai No. 2 power station.

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