Local news this evening reports that Makinohara City has voted to close indefinitely Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Shizuoka Prefecture. The plant was temporarily shut down by the national government on May 6 due to estimates that a magnitude 8+ quake would strike the area where the plant is located over the next 30 years. The municipal level vote is the first to be held by the 4 cities under whose jurisdiction the plant falls. Makinohara City officials reportedly made the 11-4 vote on the grounds that “Without reliable guarantees of its future safety and security, the Hamaoka plant, which is built on the focal area of the (predicted) Tokai Earthquake, should be close indefinately.”
The Hamaoka plant lies directly over the subduction zone over 2 tectonic plates, though it was reportedly built to withstand a quake in excess of magnitude 8.5. It was not affected directly by the March 11 earthquakes and tsunami. The photos above were taken a few years ago when I visited the plant. On my way down to the seafront I was stopped and questioned by local police for almost 2 hours. Apparently they had been put on alert for possible terrorist attacks. At the end I asked if they shouldn’t be more worried about the Tokai quake. They smiled.