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New Kagoshima governor to request halt of reactors via Japan Today

New Kagoshima Gov Satoshi Mitazono, elected on an antinuclear platform, said Thursday he will request a temporary halt of reactivated nuclear reactors in the southwestern Japan prefecture, currently the only reactors operating in the country.“There are concerns over nuclear power plants following the Kumamoto earthquakes (in April),” Mitazono said in a press conference held after his first appearance as governor, adding that Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant should be “halted once to conduct checks and reviews again.”

The No. 1 reactor of the Sendai plant is scheduled to be taken offline for regular checkups on Oct. 6, but Mitazono may submit his request for the suspension as early as late August.

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The governor is not authorized to stop the operation of reactors, but a safety accord reached between the prefectural government and the plant operator allows local government officials to enter the plant to confirm necessary safety steps are being taken.

Kyushu Electric Power is likely to make the case that the Sendai reactors are safe.

In the July 10 gubernatorial election, 58-year-old Mitazono, a former TV Asahi Corp. commentator, defeated previous governor Yuichiro Ito, 68, who was seeking his fourth four-year term with the support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito.

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