Both Kashiwazaki Mayor Hiroshi Aida and Kariwa Mayor Hiroo Shinada are backing Tokyo Electric Power Co to apply for safety assessment with the Nuclear Regulation Authority as they seek to restart the reactors in the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture. However, they still have not received the approval of Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida so it is still uncertain when they will be able to officially file their application.
The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant is the world’s largest nuclear station that has been offline since 2011, together with the 48 other nuclear reactors all over the country. This was part of the safety measures taken in the aftermath of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, also operated by TEPCO, on March 2011. Governor Izumida has been hesitant in giving his approval and one of his reasons is that there has been no indication that the utility operator has thoroughly investigated the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said he is willing to meet with the governor to answer whatever questions need to be asked in order to gain his endorsement. TEPCO is eager to have the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant back online as it would cut their fuel costs and lessen the numerous issues they face at the Fukushima plant. But it is for this very reason that their application would be met with a lot of criticism and protest. It’s only lately that they admitted the contaminated water from the Fukushima plant has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean. The government has also vowed to take on more responsibility in the clean-up process, which is estimated to finish in 40 years, as it has reached “urgent issue” status.
[ via Mainichi ]