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Nuclear power and coal? No, thanks

Japan freezes toxic energy projects - Friends of the Earth Japan calls on the government to promote the use of renewable energy

Japanese company Hitachi, through its subsidiary Horizon, announced it will suspend the building of a new nuclear reactor on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales (UK), the site of the British oldest nuclear power plant closed in 2015.

The project was announced in 2017, but in January 2019, Hitachi officially announced that it would “freeze” the project due to lack of public and private investment funds.

The suspension of this new nuclear reactor was celebrated by Friends of the Earth Japan which, together with the Welsh “People Against Wylfa B – PAWB” antinuclear group is carrying out a campaign against nuclear energy.

Both organizations reminded about the need to stop all nuclear power projects due to the risks for human beings and pollution: “Nuclear power will place residents at great risk of accidents, and the future generation will also be burdened with unsolvable nuclear wastes”.

That´s why they demanded Hitachi and the governments of Japan and the UK to “fully withdraw from nuclear business and the building of any new nuclear reactors, and instead, invest in more economically viable, safer, renewable options”.  They also urged them to invest funds for the victims of nuclear disasters, such as the one that took place on March 11, 2011, in Fukushima power plant.

No more coal

Increasingly more European countries are putting an end to their coal-based energy sources, such as what has been happening in several regions of France and Germany. Asia seems to be joining this initiative of “decarbonizing” energy. In this case, several Japanese companies have decided to cancel in January a project for the installation of a coal-fired power plant called “Chiba Sodegaura”, after assessing that “it cannot yield initially expected investment returns”.

Near the construction site there are kindergartens, a middle school and hospitals, that would be affected by the carbon dioxide emissions that were estimated in 12 million tons of CO2 per year, contrary to the world trend of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Within 3 km from the project there is also one of Japan´s most important wetlands, which could be affected by the thermal discharges.

Friends of the Earth Japan, together with other organizations, have been demonstrating in the Tokyo Bay area since 2016 to stop this coal-fired plant due to the environmental and health impacts of these projects.

The environmental organization warned that there are still 39 coal-fired power plants projects: 10 already in operation and 29 under consideration / construction, so they announced that they will continue fighting with the local communities to cancel all coal-fired power plants in Japan.

Instead of building the “Chiba Sodegaura” coal power plant, companies Idemitsu Kosan (owner of the land where the power plant would be built), Kyushu Electric Power and Tokyo Gas are considering building a liquid natural gas plant as an alternative source for power generation.