14 Mai 2012
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The assembly of Oi town, Fukui Prefecture decided Monday to support the restart of two idled reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear power plant.
The assembly made the decision in consideration of the damage to the local economy and employment that a prolonged halt of the reactors could bring, and is expected to convey its view to town Mayor Shinobu Tokioka later in the day.
The mayor will make a decision on whether to approve the reactors' restart after taking into account the assembly's decision as well as the results of an appraisal by the western Japan prefecture's nuclear safety commission and other matters. The mayor's decision will then be conveyed to Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa.
Since the massive earthquake and tsunami in March last year triggered the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, no Japanese reactor halted for scheduled checkups has been restarted amid heightened public concern over the safety of nuclear power.
Japan's last operating commercial nuclear reactor at Hokkaido Electric's Tomari plant went offline on May 5 for mandatory routine maintenance, resulting in the complete idling of nuclear power sources. Nuclear power had supplied about 30 percent of the nation's electricity before the Fukushima crisis.
At the mayor's request, the Oi town assembly has been examining the central government's steps to ensure the safety of the Oi plant, located on the Sea of Japan coast, as well as its measures to support the local economy. At its meetings, there were many opinions voiced that although safety concerns remain, the town should support the reactors' restart to protect the local economy and jobs.
The central government is trying to resume operation of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors of the Oi plant to help ensure the stable supply of electricity ahead of the summer when demand for electricity peaks with the use of air conditioning.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and key members of his Cabinet judged in mid-April that the two Oi reactors meet the government's safety standards for reactivation. But leaders of municipalities near the plant, such as the Kyoto and Shiga governors, remain cautious and have been voicing reluctance to see the reactors restarted.
Tokioka has called on the central government to offer sufficient explanation about the reactors' safety as well as the nation's energy policy, claiming that insufficient explanations so far have led to the cautious views among municipality leaders.
Town assembly to accept Ohi nuclear plant restart
The Ohi Town assembly is set to approve a resumption of nuclear reactors at the Ohi power plant.
Assembly members have agreed that restarting the plant is necessary to help maintain jobs and the town's finances. The decision will become official when assembly members meet on Monday. They also plan to convey their decision to Mayor Shinobu Tokioka.
The assembly had been discussing the issue since local people were briefed by the government and Kansai Electric Power Company in late April about plans to restart the nuclear reactors.
Some local residents expressed their concerns over resumption. Assembly members of the township were asked to consider opinions of local people as well as those in other municipalities.
In April, the government asked officials of Ohi Town and Fukui Prefecture to approve the plan to restart the nuclear reactors.
Mayor Tokioka has said he will make a decision after considering the opinions of the local assembly and a prefectural panel of experts.