Residents evacuated because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster were aghast at the decision that would allow reactor restarts at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.
“I am divided between anger and resignation–the anger that I cannot forgive and the resignation that our voice cannot be reached,” said 64-year-old Mikio Watanabe, who lives in temporary housing in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said July 16 that the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture’s Satsumasendai meet tougher new safety standards.
They are set to be reactivated as early as in October.
In May 2012, Watanabe filed a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, claiming it was responsible for his wife’s death. He also demanded an apology from both the government and the utility.
But before a ruling could be reached in the landmark case that could force the utility to take responsibility for deaths stemming from the Fukushima accident, the government moved to allow the restart of Japan’s idle nuclear reactors.
“The government regards the sufferings of those who were affected by the nuclear power plant accident as someone else’s problem,” Watanabe said. “You cannot understand how it feels unless you have experienced it. But we should not make future generations pay for our mistakes. I want residents outside Fukushima Prefecture to share this feeling.”
Yuya Kamoshita, an evacuee from Iwaki who lives in public housing in Tokyo with his family, was livid with the NRA’s decision.
“It’s unacceptable to move in the direction of restarting a nuclear power plant without thoroughly considering the instabilities and difficulties being faced by the evacucees,” the 45-year-old said.
n Tokyo, an anti-nuclear rally was staged by the Sayonara Nukes 10 Million Action Group near the Diet Building on July 16. Some 50 demonstrators turned out hoisting banners and placards reading “Restarts are unthinkable” and other slogans.
Read more at Fukushima evacuees livid at NRA’s decision on Kyushu plant