Namie picked for hydrogen production base, operation eyed in 2020

11 May 2017

The Fukushima prefectural government formally decided on May 10 to locate a candidate site for a projected major hydrogen production plant in the Tanashio and Ukedo districts of Namie, including the site of a once-planned Namie-Odaka nuclear power station. The hydrogen plant, expected to be one of the world's largest, is based on the national government's "Fukushima New Energy-Oriented Society Scheme" designed to make the prefecture a major supplier of the gas. The plant is to be built on a tract of land measuring about 169 hectares. Fukushima is seeking to begin construction work by the middle of 2018 to start operation in 2020 when Tokyo is to host the Olympics and Paralympics.

At a Fukushima reconstruction promotion headquarters meeting attended by senior prefectural officials such as department and bureau heads, the candidate site was narrowed down from five places. The hydrogen facility will be built in an area comprising a 128-hectare plot of land, where the nuclear plant was planned, to be offered by Tohoku Electric Power Co. free of charge, and a town-owned 41-hectare tract subject to coverage by a national subsidy program aimed at promoting collective relocation of houses for disaster mitigation.

The prefecture is poised to recommend the candidate site to the central government soon for authorization as an official construction site. Three companies -- Toshiba Corp., Tohoku Electric Power and Iwatani Corp. -- to be commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for the project will then begin developing the area by the middle of 2018.

"Hydrogen manufactured here will be used at the Olympics and Paralympics, showing at home and abroad that reconstruction has progressed in Fukushima," Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori told the meeting.

(Translated by Kyodo News)