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Govt keen to get local authorities' support

April 14, 2013


Edano seeks support for Fukui gov. to restart Oi nuke plant



FUKUI (Kyodo) -- Industry minister Yukio Edano on Saturday tried to drum up support for Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa to reactivate two idled reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear power plant in the prefecture.

Edano traveled to the prefecture on the coast of the Sea of Japan after he, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and two other ministers confirmed Friday the safety and necessity of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi plant. He is also scheduled to meet later Saturday with Shinobu Tokioka, mayor of Oi town in Fukui, to explain the government's view.

Nishikawa has said the prefectural government will decide on whether to approve the reactivation of the reactors by taking into consideration experts' views, while Tokioka welcomed the central government's safety endorsement of the plant.

The Fukui governor is scheduled to hold a press conference after meeting with the economy, trade and industry minister.

After taking into account local opinions, Noda, Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura and nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono are due to make a final decision before July on whether to authorize the restart of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi plant.

Since the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, no Japanese reactors have resumed operation after being shut down for mandatory periodic checks, and the two Oi reactors are the first to be considered for possible resumption by the central government.

With a number of reactors shut down for periodic checks, only the No. 3 reactor at Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s Tomari plant in Hokkaido is currently in operation among Japan's 54 commercial reactors. If no others resume operation by May 5, Japan will have no operating reactors.

Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada and Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada have aired concerns about possible adverse effects on their prefectures if an accident occurs at the plant.

Parts of Kyoto and Shiga prefectures fall within a 30-kilometer radius of the plant, and Lake Biwa in Shiga provides water for many people in western Japan.

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