20 Avril 2012
April 20, 2012
OI, Fukui (Jiji Press)--The head of the Fukui prefectural government's nuclear safety committee suggested that Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear power plant has adequate safety measures against earthquakes and tsunami.
After inspecting the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors of the plant, Hideyuki Nakagawa, the panel head, told reporters Wednesday that he broadly confirmed that a possible severe accident at the plant could be handled safely.
He suggested KEPCO has taken steps that would allow it to continue cooling the reactors if the plant is hit by a strong quake and subsequent tsunami.
Nakagawa and five other members of the prefectural panel inspected the two reactors after Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano asked Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa and other local officials for cooperation in restarting the reactors to help avoid power shortages in the utility's service area this summer.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Edano and two other Cabinet ministers last week agreed that it is appropriate to resume operations of the two reactors.
Following the central government approval, the committee is inspecting the reactors from a technical point of view based on the government's new reactor safety standards.
The prefectural committee is expected to summarize its views in about a week. The panel will then compile a full report of its assessment of the safety measures taken at the reactors.
On Wednesday, panel members inspected the locations of emergency generators that would be used in the event all electricity sources are lost and a reactor cooling system that can run without electricity.
The inspection lasted 4-1/2 hours, two hours longer than initially scheduled.
Although Kansai Electric plans to construct a quake-resistant building, which would serve as a base in the event of a crisis, in fiscal 2015, the plant's central control room can be used as an alternative base until the completion of the new building, Nakagawa said.
No idled nuclear reactors have restarted operations since the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant began last March.