Governors visit Oi nuke plant

Kyodo

The governors of Kyoto and Shiga prefectures visited the Oi nuclear power plant in neighboring Fukui Prefecture on Thursday to check on its safety measures as the central government considers resuming operation of two of its idled reactors.

Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada and Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada are reluctant to let Kansai Electric Power Co. fire up the reactors because of the risk that their prefectures will be endangered if an accident hits the plant.

Parts of the two prefectures are within 30 km of the plant, with gigantic Lake Biwa in Shiga a major source of drinking water for many in western Japan.

“A number of people in our prefecture have a serious interest in the safety of nuclear power,” Yamada said at the Oi plant. Afterward, he said “there is no end (to pursuing) security and safety. We want them to give further consideration to safety.”

Kansai Electric officials explained their safety measures and the governors saw how the reactors would be cooled in an emergency. They also viewed the water tank and emergency electricity generators that would be used if the emergency diesel generators are knocked out like they were at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Since the disaster at Fukushima, no reactors have been allowed to resume operation after periodic inspections and maintenance.