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Safety of Genkai nuclear plant via The Japan Times online

The Nos. 2 and 3 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s nuclear power plant in the town of Genkai, Saga Prefecture, may be restarted this summer. After meeting with trade and industry minister Banri Kaieda, who visited the prefecture last week, Mayor Hideo Kishimoto of Genkai approved the restart plan and Gov. Yasushi Furukawa said that the reactors’ safety was confirmed. Gov. Furukawa, who had been careful about restarting the reactors, changed his position in less than 30 minutes after he met with Mr. Kaieda. In explaining the change of his stance, he said that he gave importance to Mr. Kaieda’s statement that the government will take responsibility for the safety of nuclear power plants. (The governor is expected to make a final decision in mid-July).

But how can the government take such responsibility? Mr. Kaieda’s statement means almost nothing. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, supposedly a regulator of nuclear power industry, is under the wing of his ministry, which has been pushing nuclear power generation. Following the accidents at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, power companies have taken measures to deal with tsunami and severe accidents at NISA’s instruction.

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