Tepco criticized over reactor restart announcement

Tepco criticized over reactor restart announcement

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Hiroshi Aida – mayor of the city of Kashiwazaki in Niigata Prefecture, which hosts the biggest nuclear power plant in the world – had some serious criticism for Tepco on July 5, 2013, after it announced that it will be applying for a government safety assessment of two nuclear reactors before informing local authorities.

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During a meeting with Tokyo Electric Power Company’s President Naomi Hirose, Aida made this remark. Hirose came to Kashiwazaki in Niigata Prefecture in order to try to win over the restart of nuclear reactors. A discontent was expressed by local leaders over the restart, after which the meeting was arranged.

Aida said, “It is very unfortunate that (Tepco) decided to apply (for the safety assessment) without any explanation. It may damage the trusting relationship.” This is also the first time that high-level Tepco executives met with Niigata leaders over the resumption of reactors after the Fukushima disaster took place in March 2011.

When nuclear regulations take effect on Monday, July 8, 2013, the Nuclear Regulation Authority will begin accepting applications to conduct safety assessments. The passing of the assessment is required in order to restart reactors. All of Japan’s commercial units except two are offline, due to safety concerns after the Fukushima incident.