Panel approves nuclear plant in Yamaguchi Pref.
A subcommittee of the advisory panel to the trade minister on resources and energy endorsed Wednesday the government's fiscal 2001 power development program, which incorporates a plan by Chugoku Electric Power Co. to build a nuclear power plant in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, ministry officials said.
It will be the first incorporation into the government power program of a nuclear plant on a new site since Japan's worst nuclear accident in September 1999.
Two plant workers died and hundreds of people were exposed to radiation in the Sept. 30, 1999 accident at a uranium-processing facility in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, involving a nuclear fission chain reaction.
With the panel's endorsement, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma will formalize the program in June, after necessary administrative procedures have been carried out, the officials said.
Under the program, Chugoku Electric will start construction of the No. 1 reactor at the plant in fiscal 2007 and No. 2 in fiscal 2010, for operational launches in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2015, respectively. The reactors, with a capacity of 1,373,000 kilowatts each, will be two of the largest in Japan.
The government decided to allow construction of the nuclear power plant under the new energy development plan on April 6 on the assumption that demand will grow sufficiently to necessitate the amount of power that the Chugoku Electric reactors will supply, the officials said.
In late April, Yamaguchi Gov. Sekinari Nii agreed to host the nuclear plant on condition that Tokyo draft safety, disaster-prevention and environment-protection measures, among others.
The basic plan also stipulates new facilities with a total capacity of 49.07 million kw should begin operating by fiscal 2010, including 13 nuclear power plants currently planned by power utilities.