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Japan Atomic Power grants local gov'ts say in reactor restart under new agreement

In this March 4, 2017 file photo, Japan Atomic Power Co.'s idled Tokai No. 2 nuclear power station is seen at right, in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. (Mainichi)

Japan Atomic Power grants local gov'ts say in reactor restart under new agreement

Japan Atomic Power Co. has agreed to give not only the Tokai Municipal Government that hosts the company's Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant but also five surrounding municipalities the right to effectively approve reactivation of the plant.

This is apparently the first agreement in Japan that gives not only local bodies hosting a nuclear plant but also surrounding municipalities such a right.

The five local bodies are Mito, Hitachi, Hitachinaka, Naka and Hitachiota in Ibaraki Prefecture, all within a 30-kilometer radius of the power plant. The mayors of these five municipalities plus Tokai gathered with Japan Atomic President Mamoru Muramatsu at the Tokai Municipal Government headquarters on the evening of March 29 and signed the accord.

Under the agreement, all six municipal governments can express opinions on reactivation of the plant or any extension of its operational life, and demand explanations from the plant operator.

There have been growing calls from municipalities surrounding those hosting nuclear plants for the right to approve the stations' operations following the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. However, most nuclear plant operators have refused to grant such rights to local bodies not actually hosting a plant.

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