Nuclear Power Opposition Increases in Japan, Nikkei Poll Shows

Opposition to nuclear power is increasing in Japan following the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi atomic plant, the Nikkei newspaper reported today, citing the results of its own poll.

A total of 69 percent of respondents oppose the restart of nuclear reactors currently shut for maintenance, the newspaper said citing a phone poll of 893 people from June 24 to 26. Some 47 percent of those polled want to reduce the number of atomic plants, an increase of 5 percent from a month earlier, the paper said.

Nuclear power accounted for a third of Japan’s electricity before an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 knocked out cooling systems at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima nuclear plant, causing a meltdown of three reactors and radiation to leak. Across the country, 35 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are closed for maintenance, safety checks or disaster recovery.

Japan’s electricity prices may rise 18 percent next fiscal year without nuclear power, the Nikkei reported in a separate story today, citing Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics.

Antinuclear protests were held across Japan on June 11, three months after the Fukushima plant began spewing radiation. More than 60,000 people marched in demonstrations, including in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukushima, local media reported.

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