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Japanese city withdraws plans for nuclear project

Minamisoma City “’
withdraws from plans
to host future
nuclear plant
Tokyo, Japan — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 04 August 2011 – As safety concerns cast doubts over nuclear power’s future, Japan’s Minamisoma City “’ which is located about 20 km north of the crisis-hit Fukushima nuclear plant “’ has become the country’s first city since the crisis to pull back from plans to host a future nuclear plant by giving up a windfall from government subsidies.

Reuters reports that Minamisoma has decided not to request infrastructure subsidies offered by the central government since 1986, in conjunction with Tohoku Electric Power’s plan to build a plant on the city’s southern border.

Communities have shown increasing wariness toward new nuclear power projects since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan triggered a protracted radiation crisis at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi plant “’ the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

Japan has yet to hammer out a new nuclear energy policy after Prime Minister Naoto Kan called for a clean-slate review and said Japan should wean itself from nuclear power.

Before the March 11 disaster, Minamisoma had planned to use US$680,000 of the subsidies in its budget for the fiscal year to March 2012. It has received about US$6.5 million in nuclear power-related subsidies since 1986/87.

The subsidies are financed by electricity bills paid by end-users via a scheme in place since the 1970s to promote nuclear power, as Japan sought to reduce its dependence on foreign oil, to boost energy security and to lower electricity costs.