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

Is the wind turning ?

March 19, 2012


Heads of 4 municipalities favor restarting N-reactors after govt OK

The heads of four municipalities hosting nuclear power plants are in favor of allowing reactors currently idle for safety checkups or other reasons to be restarted if the central government approves their reactivation, a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun has revealed.

A Yomiuri questionnaire was sent to a total of 34 prefectural and municipal heads in areas where nuclear power facilities are located. Responses were received by Thursday.

Seventeen of the respondents were city, town or village mayors in areas with nuclear complexes. They did not include municipality heads in Fukushima Prefecture.

One question in the survey was, "What do you think about the advisability of restarting the nuclear reactors that are located here, if the central government decides in favor of resuming their operation?"

The four who said they would "respect" the central government's judgment were the mayors of three villages--Tomari in Hokkaido, Higashidori in Aomori Prefecture and Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture--and the mayor of the town of Genkai, Saga Prefecture.

The government will decide whether to restart the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture through consultations among the prime minister and three Cabinet members in charge of nuclear power generation affairs, after obtaining the understanding of local entities involved.

The government is expected to apply this approach to the reactivation of reactors at other nuclear power plants as well.

Mayor Hiroo Shinada of Kariwa said in his response to the survey, "The government should act responsibly in line with its judgment" regarding reactivation.

None of the 17 municipality heads supported the idea of restarting the reactors right now, while seven said they would support reactor reactivation with some conditions attached.

Nine said they were undecided about the resumption issue, while Mayor Tatsuya Murakami of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, said he opposed putting currently idled plants back into operation.

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