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Governor states firm opposition to Hamaoka plant restart via The Asahi Shimbun

SHIZUOKA–The re-elected governor here has given an emphatic “No” to the question of whether the Hamaoka nuclear power plant, often described as the most dangerous facility of its kind in Japan, should be restarted.

Heita Kawakatsu declared his opposition to the planned restart at a news conference June 27, two days after he was re-elected for a third term as governor.

Kawakatsu had avoided taking a clear position during his election campaign on whether he will endorse resuming operations at the plant, where spent fuel pools are almost full.

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At his own news conference, Kawakatsu said there are no signs that the Hamaoka plant will resume operations during the coming four years of his term in office. “I will definitely oppose the restart if there is any move to bring it online,” he said.

He cited danger in the event of an accident and the utility’s limited reliance on nuclear power generation as reasons for his objection.

“Although the central government’s policy allows the restart of ‘safe’ nuclear plants, there are some that have no choice but to be restarted and others that don’t need to be restarted,” he said.

Prefectural governors do not have the legal authority to stop reactor restarts. However, Chubu Electric has concluded a safety agreement with the prefectural government, as well as four local governments, including Omaezaki, which hosts the Hamaoka plant.

If the governor sticks to his position, resuming its operation will be a tough challenge for the utility.

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