TEPCO President Naomi Hirose and Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida met on Wednesday as the former sought the latter’s approval for TEPCO’s nuclear reactors in the prefecture to go through safety inspections. Izumida is known for being open in criticizing TEPCO, but the governor only stated that the nuclear operator’s request will not be granted for the time being, without mentioning a specific timetable.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant operator is also in charge of the nuclear reactors in Niigata Prefecture. Considered to be the largest in the world, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant’s reactors No. 6 and 7 are being sought by TEPCO to go through safety inspections by the Nuclear Regulation Authority under new safety standards. Hirose told Izumida that TEPCO will improve the nuclear plant’s safety measures by having emergency ventilators in the containing vessels of the reactors. The TEPCO president also said that they are planning for a new venting system at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
Despite TEPCO’s proposals, and the presence of the power plant’s president, the request for approval to have the nuclear plant undergo safety inspections was not granted, at least for the mean time. “I will keep this issue on hold,” Gov. Izumida told TEPCO Pres. Hirose. The former senior official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry believes that the real intention of TEPCO is to save expenses, as the defunct Fukushima nuclear power plant has cost the utility much for cleanup operations, not to mention the compensations for Fukushima residents.
Izumida also questioned TEPCO’s priority, whether it’s profit or the safety of people. TEPCO, of course, responded with people’s safety. However, although the governor used to be part of the Trade Ministry’s energy sector, Izumida finds TEPCO’s actions inconsistent to its statement and its numerous overlooked safety measures.