28 Juillet 2016
July 28, 2016
KAGOSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- 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.
The Nos. 1 and 2 units at the plant resumed operation in August and October last year, respectively, becoming the first two reactors to be brought back online under stricter safety rules set after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster.
No other reactors are currently online in Japan amid lingering safety concerns among the public, with some subject to court injunctions and others preparing to resume operation.
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.
The new governor of Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan says he plans to request, possibly next month, for a temporary halt of the only nuclear plant in the country currently in operation.
Satoshi Mitazono took office as governor on Thursday following his election victory on July 10th. During his election campaign, he called for a halt of the Sendai nuclear power plant in the prefecture. The two reactors at the plant are currently online.
At a news conference, the new governor said people in Kagoshima are worried about the Sendai nuclear plant after the series of powerful earthquakes in neighboring Kumamoto in April.
Mitazono reminded reporters that in his campaign he called for halting the reactors for rechecks and reviews.
He said he wants to lodge a strong request with the operator, Kyushu Electric Power Company, as soon as possible. He suggested he plans to make the request in late August or early September.
Kyushu Electric plans to take the two reactors offline for regular checks, starting with Number One in October followed by Number Two in December.
Sitting in the governor's office, Mitazono said he's ready to work. He said he wants his office to be an open one, where anyone is welcome.