Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose on Wednesday visited Niigata Prefectural Gov Hirohiko Izumida to ask for approval to apply for mandatory safety screening of the Nos. 6 and 7 reactors at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant.
TEPCO is seeking to restart the two reactors as its operating costs are spiraling due to its reliance on thermal power with all of its reactors offline.
Hirose and Izumida last met in July, at which time the governor rebuffed Hirose's request. Izumida has been an outspoken critic of TEPCO and last month called for the utility to be liquidated because its failure to learn from mistakes fuels insecurity.
At Wednesday's meeting, Izumida criticized TEPCO for making modifications to the Kashiwazaki Kariwa without first seeking the prefectural government's approval. TEPCO has been installing filter vents to release steam from reactor containment vessels.
Izumida asked Hirose which is more important to the company - money or people' safety, NHK reported. Hirose replied that safety was paramount. Izumida said that all of Japan is waiting to see how TEPCO translates those words into action.
Izumida, a former senior official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that oversees the energy sector, said he believes TEPCO's focus on getting the plant's reactors started to save fuel costs have so far overlooked safety concerns.© Japan Today/Thomson Reuters