13 Avril 2012
Govt acknowledges need to resume Ohi nuclear plant
The Japanese government has decided that 2 reactors at the Ohi nuclear plant in western Japan need to be restarted to ensure that the region will not have a power shortage this summer.
The 2 reactors in Fukui Prefecture are currently offline for regular safety checks.
The final decision was made on Friday at a meeting of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, Nuclear Crisis Minister Goshi Hosono and industry minister Yukio Edano.
The ministers discussed whether the Ohi plant meets the government's new safety standards for nuclear plants.
They also discussed the estimated power demand this summer in the service areas of the plant's operator, Kansai Electric Power Company.
The ministers agreed that the safety action plan submitted by Kansai Electric conforms to the safety standards, and acknowledged the need to restart the 2 reactors.
But the government will need to obtain the consent of the local community before the plant's operations can be resumed.
The government has estimated a power shortage of about 18 percent if the 2 reactors at the Ohi plant remain shut down and temperatures reach the sweltering levels of the summer of 2010.
The industry minister said that after discussing the estimated power shortage and an increase in utility charges, they agreed that the 2 reactors are safe enough to be restarted and there is a need for their resumption.