JAPAN | Panel to urge Fukushima Pref. to stop relying on nuclear power plants

Posted on June 16, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | June 16, 2011

In this photo taken on Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and released by Japan Defense Ministry Friday, April 1, Top parts of explosion-damaged reactors from left, Unit 4, Unit 3, Unit 2 and Unit 1 of the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex are seen with ravaged waterfront facilities in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/Japan Defense Ministry)

FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) — An advisory panel set up by the Fukushima prefectural government plans to propose that the prefecture should seek to create a “safe, secure and sustainable” society without relying on nuclear power plants following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a draft plan showed Wednesday.

The proposal was included in a set of basic ideas compiled by the 12-member panel at its fifth meeting to provide the basis for deliberations on how to rebuild the disaster-ravaged prefecture in the northeastern Japan region of Tohoku.

With the central government continuing to retain nuclear power as a pillar of its energy policy, the panel’s proposal could influence Japan’s overall energy policy and other municipalities hosting nuclear power plants or related facilities.

The prefectural government set up the panel on May 13 to seek advice on reconstruction following the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant in the prefecture, which has been crippled since the disaster.

The panel consists of university professors and other advisers, including corporate executives, and is chaired by Hiroshi Suzuki, a professor emeritus at Fukushima University.

In its proposals, the panel envisions the prefecture drastically increasing the use of renewable energy for power generation and promoting energy-saving and recycling measures while ending its reliance on nuclear power plants.

Japanese policemen gather as they prepare search for bodies in the area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, April 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

Before the disaster, a total of 10 nuclear reactors were in operation at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Daiichi and Daini power plants in the prefecture.

The panel also proposed that each area in Fukushima become energy-independent through a mix of various energy sources and that the prefecture host many businesses related to renewable energy to achieve environmental protection and economic revitalization at the same time.

In addition, the prefecture should introduce a variety of necessary measures related to transportation, information and telecommunications, and other infrastructure to cope with emergency situations so as to create a society where all residents can live in safety and peace, the panel said.

The panel is scheduled to compile a final set of recommendations as early as the end of July. Based on the final recommendations, the prefectural government expects to compile specific plans for post-disaster reconstruction work by the end of this year.

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