Anti-nuclear rally in Fukushima

Majority of Japanese oppose nuclear reactors restart

Nearly 70 per cent of Japanese oppose the restart of nuclear reactors following the Fukushima crisis, a poll has revealed.

Public fears about nuclear power have increased after the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi plant, where workers are struggling to control radiation leaks from meltdowns after reactor cooling systems were knocked out by the earthquake and tsunami.

The loss of generating capacity due to the closure of Fukushima and other plants, exacerbated by the refusal of local governments to sanction the restart of other reactors shut for routine maintenance, has raised the prospect of blackouts and higher electricity bills this summer.

Thirty-five of Japan's 54 commercial reactors are currently shut, including the six at Fukushima, 240 km north of Tokyo.

Nuclear power provided about 30 per cent of Japan's electricity before the nuclear crisis, a figure that fell last month to about 20 per cent.

The poll by the Nikkei business daily also showed that 47 per cent want to cut the number of nuclear plants.

Chugoku Electric Power in western Japan has been refused permission by the governor of Yamaguchi prefecture to build a nuclear plant on landfill in a cove at Kaminoseki on the Seto Inland Sea.

Local residents oppose the plant, which the utility aimed to have in commercial operation by March 2018.

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