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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Don't forget the locals

July 4, 2013


TEPCO asked to seek local approval



The governor of Niigata, which hosts Japan's largest nuclear plant, has demanded the operator seek the prefecture's approval as it prepares to restart the facility.

Hirohiko Izumida made the request Thursday to Tokyo Electric Power Company. The utility operates the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant, with 7 reactors, on the Sea of Japan coast.

TEPCO officials decided Tuesday to ask Japan's nuclear regulator to conduct safety checks of the reactors. The checks are needed to gain approval for restarting them.

TEPCO officials plan to make their request on or after Monday, when the regulator puts new safety standards into effect. The standards are aimed at ensuring that nuclear plants can withstand severe accidents like the one in Fukushima.

Niigata's governor told TEPCO officials on Thursday that before they apply to the regulator, they should get his approval for a new safety device called a "filter vent."

The device is designed to release pressure in the containment vessel of a reactor while limiting emissions of radioactive substances.

A safety agreement between TEPCO and municipalities stipulates that the utility must gain local authorities' consent before setting up any new facilities at a nuclear plant.

The governor of Niigata has expressed concern about the filter vent. He said the device reduces emissions, but still allows radioactive substances to escape.

The governor will meet with TEPCO President Naomi Hirose on Friday to convey his request.

TEPCO officials say they will take the request into consideration.


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