Niigata governor blasts TEPCO for applying for screening to reactivate nuclear plant via The Mainichi

NIIGATA — Gov. Hirohiko Izumida has bitterly criticized Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for suggesting that it will apply for a safety inspection of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in the prefecture in a bid to reactivate the idled power station.

“It’s an act that could destroy the company’s mutual trust with local governments,” Izumida said. “TEPCO’s plan to file an application even without fulfilling its responsibilities will never gain the understanding of the public. The utility has failed to provide any explanation to the local community.”

The governor has repeatedly said he has no intention of even discussing the possibility of resuming operations at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant unless the power company gets to the bottom of the accident at the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The mayors of Kashiwazaki and Kariwa have failed to make clear-cut statements on the matter.

“We’ll make judgment after listening to an explanation from TEPCO,” said Kashizawaki Mayor Hiroshi Aida, while saying, “I’m surprised at it (TEPCO’s announcement) because it came all of a sudden.”

“The village government is in no position to comment on an application because it is something that TEPCO’s management decided. As mayor, I’d like to actively express opinions about the plant’s safety while carefully listening to an explanation,” Kariwa Mayor Hiroo Shinada said.

A leader of a citizens group that has been demanding a local referendum on the pros and cons of reactivating the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station urged the Niigata governor to place top priority on safety in making a decision on the matter.

“TEPCO is desperate to reactivate the plant in order to meet its managerial requirements. We’d like Gov. Izumida to make judgment while giving priority to the safety of prefectural residents,” said Keiko Hashimoto, co-leader of the group.

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Related article TEPCO seeks screening to restart nuclear reactors with eye on grim financial status via The Mainichi

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