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Town tries to shift away from heavy dependence on nuclear plant via The Japan Times

TAKAHAMA, FUKUI PREF. – In the wake of the disastrous nuclear accident in northeastern Japan nearly five years ago, the Fukui Prefecture town of Takahama has been seeking ways to reduce its heavy dependence on a nuclear power plant for its livelihood.

“It is true that we’ve depended on the nuclear industry,” said a local official responsible for community buildings in the municipality, home to Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear plant.

The town and the nuclear power station have “become inseparable” since the plant’s No. 1 reactor started operations in 1974, according to the official.

The plant has provided jobs for the community, with the much of the town’s economy geared towards providing services for those who work at the facility.

On Friday, the plant’s No. 3 reactor was brought back online after a hiatus of nearly four years, becoming the third reactor in the nation to restart operations under the country’s new safety standards compiled after the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Kansai Electric plans to reactivate the No. 4 reactor at the plant in late February.

In fiscal 2014, which ended in March last year, the town’s revenues related to the nuclear plant, including subsidies and fixed-asset tax income, totaled ¥5,072 million, accounting for 51 percent of its total general-account revenue.

However, the Fukushima No. 1 plant accident changed the town’s way of thinking.

“We’ve come to think seriously that the town must not depend solely on the nuclear industry,” the town official said. “We are now aiming to reshape the town into a community that does not rely on nuclear power.”

As part of its effort, the town is looking to its beaches with their beautiful landscapes and pristine waters.

In 1985, nearly 1.2 million people visited the town’s eight swimming beaches.

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