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Niigata governor rejects restart

January 5, 2017

Niigata governor rejects restarts in 1st meet with TEPCO execs




NIIGATA--Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama met Jan. 5 with top executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for the first time, reiterating his opposition to restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

“It will be difficult to approve the restart as long as (the causes of) the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant are not verified. In the present circumstances, I cannot accept the restart,” Yoneyama told Fumio Sudo, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., and Naomi Hirose, president of the company.

It was the first time for Yoneyama to meet with TEPCO executives since he assumed the post of Niigata governor last October. The talks were held in the Niigata prefectural government office.

Yoneyama, noting that it will take several years for the Niigata prefectural government to verify the causes of the 2011 nuclear disaster, asked the TEPCO executives to provide more information and other forms of cooperation.

In response, Sudo said, “The priority is to hear voices of local residents.”

This seemed to suggest that TEPCO will not restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant as long as the Niigata governor continues to resist the move.

A council of experts of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced late last year that the costs for dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will almost double to 21.5 trillion yen ($185 billion) from 11 trillion yen initially estimated in 2013.

To help cover the amount, TEPCO planned to restart two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa to generate 100 billion yen in annual profits. But that now looks difficult, given Yoneyama's firm stance on the issue of restarts.

(This article was written by Yoichi Yonetani and Yuko Matsuura.)



Gov., TEPCO execs discuss restart of nuclear plant



The governor of Niigata Prefecture has met executives from Tokyo Electric Power Company over restarting a nuclear power plant in the prefecture.

Ryuichi Yoneyama, who took office last October, has taken a cautious stance on restarting the utility's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

Yoneyama has insisted that the plant should not be put back online until after an investigation into the cause of an accident in Fukushima and its effects on human health. He also said verification of the effectiveness of an evacuation plan for a possible nuclear accident must be completed before a resumption.

On Thursday, Yoneyama met TEPCO executives, including Chairman Fumio Sudo and President Naomi Hirose, for the first time after 2 postponements of their meetings.

Sudo said TEPCO is ready to sincerely respond to the governor's calls. He added that as opinions of local people are most important for the company, the harsher the opinions, the better for TEPCO.

Sudo also said the firm wants to reform its current management system.

The governor said he's not sure how long the verification process will take, but assumes it will probably be several years. He expressed determination to do all he can to accomplish the verification.


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