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Start of construction of a coal-fired power plant in Hiroshima sparks opposition by residents

The Electric Power Development Company (J-POWER) announced on March 3rd, 2013 that they have started construction on the new No. 1 Unit of the Takehara thermal power plant in Tadanouminagahama which is located in Takehara-city, Hiroshima. On March 4th, The Hiroshima Prefecture Geinan Area Thermal Power Plant Prevention Liason Committee expressed their opposition against the construction and sent J-POWER an open letter concerning the project’s environmental impact assessment.

The construction of the new No. 1 unit is progressing while the existing No. 1 and No. 2 units are still operating. One of the concerns of locals is that according to the layout plans, private residences west of the power plant will be sandwiched between the plant and the new coal storage facility. Regardless of this concern and the fact that there is no concrete plan as of yet, residents are on edge about the potential noise pollution, vibration and lack of sunlight the plant may cause. Residents are also angry because it is unclear whether the company had considered the option to close the No. 1 and No. 2 units and built the new No. 1 unit on the same site. The concerns don’t end there. As the plant will use low-grade coal, there is concern over high amounts of heavy metals such as sulfur, arsenic and mercury, but the reliability of the data contained in the EIA is questionable to locals.

Furthermore, with climate change as a primary concern, the group states in the letter that “emissions from coal-fired power generation being on the same level as that of oil-fire power generation” is no longer true. Instead, CO2 emissions are judged by whether best efforts are being made to reduce the plant’s environmental impact by using the best available technology (BAT) according to the EIA. However, the locals also doubt the validity of the company’s efforts.

The final message of the letter goes on to say that if civilization harms the well-being of others, we must question the very manner of the civilization itself. The group hopes that this message gets through to the proprietors of the project.

Open letter concerning the construction plan for the Takehara thermal power plant No. 1, February 28th, 2014
Protest against the construction of the Takehara thermal power plant No. 1, February 4th, 2014