In order to realize a decarbonized society, a bill to enable the operation of nuclear power plants beyond the upper limit of the operating period in order to make the most of nuclear power generation was approved and enacted at a plenary session of the House of Councillors on March 31.

The bill to partially amend the Electricity Business Act and the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Act will allow nuclear power plants to operate substantially in excess of the maximum operating period of nuclear power plants, which is currently set at a maximum of 60 years, except for periods when they are shut down for examinations, etc.

In addition, after 30 years from the start of operation, it is necessary to check the deterioration status of equipment and facilities every 10 years, formulate a management plan, and obtain approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

When the Nuclear Regulation Authority voted on a new system to deal with the aging of nuclear power plants in February, the decision was made by an unusual majority vote against the substantial extension of the operating period of nuclear power plants.

For this reason, the government decided on the bill at the end of February, believing that it was necessary to make efforts to dispel the anxiety of the people, and delayed the Cabinet decision on the bill from the original schedule.

In addition, a statement was added to the House of Representatives stating that the ruling parties in the House of Representatives would consult with the Japan Restoration Party and the Democratic Party for the People to revise the bill, and that it would be the responsibility of the national government to obtain the cooperation of residents in urban areas that consume a lot of electricity when utilizing nuclear power plants.

In the vote held at the plenary session of the House of Councillors on the 2st, the bill was approved and enacted with a majority of the LDP and Komeito Party, the Japan Restoration Party, the National Democratic Party, and others.

Citizens' groups protesting in front of the Diet against the bill

At the same time as the bill was voted on, citizens' groups opposed to the bill gathered in front of the Parliament building to raise their voices in protest.

In it, a member of an environmental NGO calling for a nuclear phase-out who called for protests said, "This bill supports the nuclear industry as a 'national responsibility' and makes a major shift toward the return to nuclear power.

The people who gathered chanted "Don't forget the nuclear accident in Fukushima" and "Oppose the return to nuclear power" and appealed to the Diet building to oppose the bill.