Energy policy key to Tokyo Olympic bid

25 May 2012

Tokyo is on a shortlist of three candidate cities to host the 2020 Olympic Games, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that Japan's decision on whether to restart its idled nuclear power reactors could have a significant impact on its chances of hosting the event.

2020 Olympic host selection (IOC)
The three candidate cities for the 2020 Olympic Games are announced (Image: IOC)

The IOC based its selection of Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as candidate host cities on technical assessments made by a working group. While concluding that Tokyo "presents a very strong application and offers athletes the conditions to be able to compete at their best," the assessment raised concerns about Japan's energy situation.

The IOC noted that the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami "has generated a reappraisal of nuclear generation, which constitutes a reasonable risk, as does the financial situation of the utility company supplying electricity to Tokyo. The city has experienced power shortages at peak times and the current investigation/review of all nuclear plants may further increase the risk."

"A better understanding of Japan's long-term energy strategy is needed to fully understand the potential impact of hosting the Games in 2020," according to the committee. Japan is expected to release its new energy policy within the next few months. However, the IOC said, "If there are no unexpected findings from these investigations and the lost generating capacity is replenished, the situation can be remedied and service levels could return to pre-tsunami levels. This would be sufficient to host the 2020 Olympic Games."

The IOC said, "The results of an on-going national study and review of Japanese energy production would need to be closely monitored."

The committee also noted that Japan is "still recovering socially, economically and environmentally" from the earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It noted, while radiation levels in some parts of the affected area "have not been within limits set by relevant national and international agencies ... radiation levels in Tokyo are consistently within limits." The IOC said that radiation testing of air, water and the food chain in Japan will "continue for the foreseeable future."

The IOC is set to announce its selection for the host city of the 2020 Olympic Games in September 2013.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News