Volcanic eruption fires concern about Kagoshima Reactors restarts


The article is regarding how the recent eruption by Mount Ontake in Nagano prefecture creating concerns about volcano eruptions in Kagoshima Prefecture that might hinder any restarting of the Nuclear reactors in Kagoshima Prefecture. This is in light of the current situation in Japan which officials are still trying to gain back public support for nuclear power and just in August 2014, 2 reactors in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture was given the green light by Nuclear Regulatory Authority to be restarted.

The article mentioned that Kyushu Electric says that the eruption by Mount Ontake should not affect the decision to restart the nuclear reactors as the safety measures implemented are prepared for larger scale eruption as compared to Mount Ontake.  However, there are 11 active volcanos around the area, this actually increases the risk of an eruption affecting the operations of the nuclear plants in the area.  This concern is also shown in the change in attitude for the people. As the article reported, there is large number of 7500 people gathered on 26th September to protest the reopening of the Sendai reactors which was said to be the largest demonstration seen thus far. By referring to week 7 lessons, it was said that the Japanese had been taught to obey authorities but with the Fukushima incident as a learning point. It would seem that the Japanese had learned to question certain actions that the government is taking especially with issues that concern not just a region but rather the whole of Japan.

In addition to that, there is also improvement on the government part where they are less inclined to ignore public views in going through with their policy. From the article, despite how much the government head of Kagoshima wanted to restart the reactors, they are waiting to seek the public approval and not just from their own town but the towns that are around the nuclear reactors that could be potentially affected by the restarting of the nuclear plants. This is also supported by the reading in week7 by Aldrich, Nuclear future that Japan had been going forward with their nuclear plans despite local and national opposition since mid-1950s which is a big change compared then and now.

In conclusion, issues in Japan are generally the same with the government being pro-nuclear and the citizens being less inclined to use nuclear power but I would like to pose a question to end this off. Is it truly necessary/unnecessary for Japan to use nuclear power considering Japan’s current situation. This question is likely to be best answered by Japan whom is facing this crisis but the world will look towards them for lessons on how to overcome a nuclear crisis.



Daniel P. Aldrich. 2012. Networks of Power