Late Sunday evening in a closed-door session, the nuclear committee of Fukui Prefecture comprised of nuclear and earthquake experts accepted most parts of a draft report that the Central Government says guarantees the safety of the Ohi reactors if restarted.
The meeting was temporarily disrupted by some members of the public opposed to the restart but the commission later issued its approval.
Some members of the public tussled with prefectural government staff, chanting, “This commission should be for the people,” and “Pushing it through is an act of violence,” while holding fliers opposed to nuclear power plants.
The report will be submitted to Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa as early as Monday. Nishikawa will then inspect the plant and is likely to make a decision within a week on restarting the plant.
The report says the new safety standards decided by the central government reflect all the available information at this point.
The draft calls on the central government to set up a new regulatory organization as soon as possible, and also proposes that the government make adequate preparations for accidents.
The government has said it will step up monitoring the system at the Ohi nuclear power plant, announcing plans to extend the video conferencing system connecting Kansai Electric Power Company with the plant to include the Prime Minister’s Office and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
It also plans to dispatch the senior vice industry minister and the parliamentary vice industry minister to the power plant to oversee the operation. No one is asking how the Government can guarantee the safety of the Ohi reactors, while still clinging to inadequate accident preparations.
Another specific inquiry should be made to ensure that residents living in areas close to the Ohi Nuclear Power Plants are not subjected to doses over national limits from the combined radiological impact of the standard operation of a nuclear reactor in combination with the constant release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Regardless, Kansai Electric Power Company will push even harder to be able to bring back two of the suspended reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant to full operation before late July.
Noda’s approval ratings in freefall
Prime Minister Noda’s approval ratings have been dropping, a recent poll by NHK showed that only 25 percent of respondents said they approve of his decision. Thirty-two percent are against it, and 38 percent are undecided.
Noda has stated that Japanese society cannot afford to keep all nuclear reactors idle, suggesting that other nuclear reactors will be resumed once their safety is established.
Mayor Shinobu Tokioka of Oi, Fukui Prefecture, will likely agree to restart reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant, and the Fukui prefectural assembly will leave the final decision to Gov. Issei Nishikawa at its all-member conference.
Although Nishikawa had already essentially approved the restarts, he delayed his final decision because of distrust toward the central government’s policy on nuclear power plants.
Source: The Japan Times
Source: The Yomiuri
Source: Osaka News
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