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Ibaraki gov. unhappy about plan to restart Tokai No. 2 nuke plant

The idled Tokai No. 2 Power Station, right, and the Tokai Power Station that is being decommissioned, are seen in this file photo taken in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on July 17, 2018. (Mainichi/Tatsuya Fujii)

MITO -- Ibaraki Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa says he is unhappy that Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC) announced the company's intention to reactivate its idled Tokai No. 2 Power Station in the prefecture before its safety had been assessed by a prefectural panel.

JAPC went ahead and announced the plan even though the prefectural government's nuclear safety commission has not yet evaluated the safety of the nuclear complex in the prefecture northeast of Tokyo. "I cannot help but be displeased," Oigawa said.

JAPC President Mamoru Muramatsu met with Oigawa at the prefectural government headquarters in Mito on Feb. 22, and notified the governor that the company intends to resume operations at the atomic power plant in the prefectural village of Tokai.

However, Muramatsu stopped short of clarifying the timing of the planned reactivation, simply stating, "At the current stage, we can't say."

Japan Atomic Power Co. President Mamoru Matsumura, left, informs Ibaraki Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa of the company's intention to restart its Tokai No. 2 Power Station during a meeting at the prefectural government headquarters in Mito on Feb. 22, 2019. (Mainichi/Sakae Kato)

JAPC is poised to put work to increase safety at the power station into full gear, aiming to complete it by March 2021. However, not only will the utility need to gain consent from the prefectural government and the village of Tokai, which hosts the plant, but it also needs to consult with a group of mayors of Tokai and five surrounding cities including Mito. Since some mayors remain wary about reactivation, the power company will face a challenge in convincing these municipalities to go ahead with its plan.

During the Feb. 22 meeting, the JAPC president told the Ibaraki governor, "We'd like to reactivate the plant after gaining sufficient understanding of local residents." Oigawa responded, "You made the decision as a company."

(Japanese original by Takuya Yoshida and Sakae Kato, Mito Bureau)

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