The governor of Fukushima Prefecture has lashed out at the central government’s handling of the proposed restart of the Oi nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture.
“As the governor of a disaster-stricken prefecture, I think the central government’s discussion of the restart of a nuclear power plant based on political considerations is unacceptable,” Yuhei Sato said on April 12.
Fukushima Prefecture hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
“I wonder if they really understand the severity and the reality of a nuclear power plant accident,” Sato said.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s administration initially planned to resume operations at the Oi plant’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., in April.
However, it has since put off deciding whether to approve the utility’s safety measures regarding the suspended reactors.
Pointing to the continuing investigation by a government committee, he said, “It is questionable to discuss the resumption of reactor operations before the investigation is completed.”
He also referred to the delay in the establishment of a new nuclear regulatory agency and raised questions about “a pro-nuclear organization and its regulatory body being under the same roof.”
The new agency’s predecessor, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), is part of the industry ministry, which has been actively promoting the use of nuclear power.
“I hope the government will take measures that make safety the first priority,” Sato said.
Meanwhile, the governors of Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, which border Fukui Prefecture, expressed their reluctance to approve the restart of the two reactors at the Oi nuclear plant.
Kyoto Governor Keiji Yamada and Shiga Governor Yukiko Kada on April 12 inspected the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Oi plant, which had suspended operations for regular check-ups.
“The government should be cautious about resuming operations while only stopgap measures are in place since it has been tasked to come up with permanent safety measures,” Yamada told media representatives after the inspection.