22 Mai 2018
May 22, 2018
Power plant operator seeks consent for new reactor
Chugoku Electric Power is seeking the consent of local governments to start the screening process to switch on a new nuclear reactor in western Japan.
The power company's No. 3 reactor at the Shimane Nuclear Power Plant was almost completed before the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. It's in the city of Matsue in Shimane Prefecture.
Under new regulations introduced after the Fukushima accident, the facility must pass a stringent screening process. Local governments must give their consent for the process to go ahead.
Chugoku Electric President Mareshige Shimizu visited the city and the prefectural offices on Tuesday.
Shimizu told Governor Zembee Mizoguchi that the reactor is essential for establishing a stable supply of power, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and stabilizing electricity rates.
The president handed the governor a consent request.
Mizoguchi replied that he will give the prefecture's response after consulting a safety committee whose members include local residents, as well as the prefectural assembly and neighboring municipalities.
This is the second time an operator has begun to start procedures to operate a new reactor since the Fukushima accident.
Meiji University professor Tadahiro Katsuta, who specializes in nuclear power policy, says he believes technological advances have made reactors safer.
But he says other aspects should be considered, including the social circumstances, such as the demand for power and the effectiveness of evacuation plans.
He said residents should be allowed to express their views and time should be given for discussion.