Hilarity (depravity, head in the sand, selective hearing/seeing, whatever you want to call it) continues in Japan. Keidanren (or Federation of Economic Organizations in English), Japan's powerful big business lobby, has been unabashedly pro-nuclear, as if Fukushima never happened. For that matter, as if Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl never happened.
Just so you know before you read the Yomiuri article below, this particular plant is built practically on sand dunes (liquefaction anyone?), with reactor buildings closer to the ocean protecting the turbine buildings. The plant has been plagued with troubles even after the cold shutdown in May last year at the order of then-PM Naoto Kan, like condenser pipe breakage. (For more about Hamaoka Nuke Plant, read my posts here.)
But worst of all is its location - it is right near the expected epicenter of the Tokai earthquake when it comes.
But Mr. Yonekura, MBA 1965 from Duke University, is pleased that Hamaoka will be safe.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (10/4/2012):
If restarted, Hamaoka will be a role model for the world, says Chairman Yonekura [of Keidanren]
Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura of Keidanren visited Chubu Electric Hamoka Nuclear Power Plant (Omaezaki City, Shizuoka Prefecture) on October 3. The plant has been stopped since May last year at the request from the national government. Mr. Yonekura was briefed by Chubu Electric on safety countermeasures against earthquake and tsunami.
It was the first time that Chairman Yonekura visited any nuclear power plant. He shared his understanding that Hamaoka Nuke Plant should be restarted upon confirmation of the safety.
Chairman Yonekura and his group of Keidanren members toured the plant, visiting the site where a seawall (18 meters above the sea level) is being built that would prevent the tsunami from breaching the compound, and the installation of the reinforcement doors to the exterior of the reactor buildings. Chubu Electric has been carrying out construction projects for tsunami, which are scheduled to be finished by December next year.
In the press conference after the visit, Chairman Yonekura said, "I felt the safety was being strengthened steadily, and I felt relieved. If we could win the trust of the residents and restart the plant, it would be a role model for the world."
Oh yes the plant is safe. It even has the nuclear safety research laboratory on site.
The plant has put in place measures to prevent hydrogen gas from accumulating inside the reactors. What are the measures? Electric drills and cutters on top of the roof of the building so that 5 workers can climb up the roof and use the tools to cut out a hole in an emergency where a core melt may be happening after the cooling of the reactor stops for whatever reason (earthquake, tsunami, power outage, etc.).
I still remember the scene from a Godzilla movie where Godzilla was destroying the nuclear power plant modeled after Hamaoka. I wish I could find the video again.