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June 26, 2013


9 utilities want to restart idled reactors as soon as possible





Nine regional electric power companies said on June 26 that they want to restart the operations of their idled nuclear reactors at the earliest possible date


The companies, which include Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, declared their “pro-nuclear” stances in their annual shareholders’ meetings.

Of the nation's 10 regional utilities, Okinawa Electric Power Co. is the only one that does not operate a nuclear reactor.

“It is vital to continue to use nuclear power as an important source of electricity after thoroughly taking safety measures,” said Akihisa Mizuno, president of Chubu Electric Power Co., based in Nagoya.

The comment signals Chubu Electric's intent to seek the resumption of operations of reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Currently, 48 of the nation's 50 nuclear reactors are offline as a consequence of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The only two reactors currently operating are Kansai Electric Power Co.'s No. 3 and No. 4 at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

Of the nine utilities with nuclear power plants, four plan to apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart 12 nuclear reactors soon after new stricter safety standards take effect on July 8.

The four are Kansai Electric, Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co.

“It is essential that we restart operations of the Tomari nuclear power plant to stabilize our management and supply electricity in a stable manner,” said Hokkaido Electric President Katsuhiko Kawai.

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