Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and Osaka Gov Ichiro Matsui on Tuesday met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura in Tokyo to explain their opposition to an early restart of two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
Hashimoto has been a strong vocal critic of the central government's claim that it has the sole right to make a final decision on whether or not to restart nuclear reactors. The government says that if at least two of the Oi reactors are not restarted, the Kansai area will experience a power shortage during the summer.
Hashimoto said that the ruling Democratic Party of Japan must not withhold information from the public about the nuclear reactors and urged the public not to be fooled, TV Asahi reported.
Hashimoto told Fujimura that eight conditions, drawn up by a panel of experts at an energy summit in Osaka earlier this month, must be met before the Oi reactors can be restarted. They include widening the area of consent, in which Kansai Electric must get local residents' approval, to 100 kilometers around the Oi plant. That would encompass Osaka and parts of Shiga, Kyoto and Nara prefectures.
Other conditions state that stress tests must be based on more stringent criteria, a nuclear regulatory agency must be independent of the government and a permanent disposal site for spent nuclear fuel needs to be found.
Hashimoto reaffirmed that the Osaka government, which owns 8.9% of Kansai Electric Co, is planning to exercise its shareholder rights at the utility’s general meeting in June to propose a total abolition of nuclear power in the area.
The Osaka mayor also indicated that if the central government ignores the views of local residents in areas where there are nuclear power plants, his political party, the Osaka Ishin no Kai, will run in the next upper house election on an anti-nuclear platform.
Meanwhile, Fukui Gov Issei Nishikawa said Tuesday that the local communities which host nuclear power plants must make the final decision on their restart. He called for an independent panel of researchers to check the government's claims, TV Asahi reported.
Earlier Tuesday, the governors of Shiga and Kyoto prefectures called on the central government to provide a clear explanation as to how it arrived at the conclusion that the Oi reactors meet the government's safety levels.© Japan Today