Restart of two reactors at Fukui facility nears

Noda, ministers discuss safety issues ahead of giving approval

Kyodo

Industry minister Yukio Edano said Tuesday the government will compile measures to respond more effectively to a major nuclear accident as it considers approving the restart of two reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The measures, including ways to enhance thorough communications between the government and power companies, will come in addition to the technical safety measures for nuclear plants that the government has been working on, according to Edano.

He said some of the measures are intended to prevent the kind of communications problems seen last year when the crisis broke out at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Edano said there were breakdowns in conveying information on the accident to the prime minister’s office during the crisis.

“We have been taking measures to prevent the commotion seen in the wake of the Fukushima crisis and we will compile them for release,” Edano said.

Edano’s comments came after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Edano and two other Cabinet ministers confirmed Monday evening that two of the idled reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi facility basically meet the government’s safety standards for the resumption of operations.

But the ministers at their next meeting will further examine the reactors’ level of safety and discuss whether their restart is really necessary by checking projections for electricity supply and demand this summer, Edano said.

Their evaluation of the safety of the Oi plant’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors came as Noda, Edano and two other ministers have been meeting frequently to consider approving their reactivation ahead of May 5, when the only reactor currently operating in Japan is due to go offline for routine inspection and maintenance.