Japan to proceed with Sendai nuclear plant restart despite volcanic eruption risks

29 September 2014 (Last Updated September 29th, 2014 18:30)

The Government of Japan intends to push with its plans to restart two nuclear reactors, depite the sudden volcanic eruption in its central region.

The Government of Japan intends to push with its plans to restart two nuclear reactors, depite the sudden volcanic eruption in its central region.

The two nuclear reactors scheduled for revival are located near active volcanoes.

Public concerns are high over the restart of the nuclear plants following the Fakushima disaster in 2011.

Located 200km from Tokyo, Mount Ontake erupted on 27 September, killing ten people.

The government said the latest eruption was difficult to forecast; however, the critics were quick enough to point out the government had said the same about the tsunami and earthquake, which led to the Fukushima disaster, reports Reuters.

Yoshitaka Mukohara, a candidate in the 2012 elections for the governorship of Kagoshima, was quoted by the news agency as saying: "No one knows when natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis will strike. The fact that they could not predict the Mt Ontake eruption highlights that."

The Sendai nuclear plant is located only around 50km from Mount Sakurajima, which is an active volcano.

Japan has more than 100 such active volcanoes.

"The fact that they could not predict the Mt Ontake eruption highlights that."

Earlier this month, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said that the Sendai nuclear plant met the new stringent safety parameters.

This approval was considered to be the first step to reopening an industry that has been lying idle for three years following the Fukushima disaster.

Despite the NRA approval, the Sendai plant needs to pass operational safety checks and approval from local authorities.

The plant is not likely to recommence operations till 2015.

In July, when NRA's gave its initial approval, it said that the likelihood of the volcano erupting during the plant's lifespan was negligible, although critics and the public had raised several concerns.

Most people in Japan are opposed to the restart of the nuclear plants, although their electricity bills have gone up as the country has been forced to import costly fossil fuels for power generation.

Energy