Only 20% of municipalities will OK reactor restarts: poll

Kyodo

Only about a fifth of the 156 local governments situated within 30 km of a nuclear power plant would give the nod to reactor restarts if regulators declared them safe, a survey says.

Of those 37 governments, 13 said they would do so unconditionally if reactors cleared the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety review, and 24 said they would attach conditions, the Kyodo News survey said Saturday.

Another 66, or about 40 percent, said they would be unable to make a judgment even if reactors cleared safety standards introduced after the Fukushima meltdowns in March 2011.

The poll also found that 32 would not endorse reactor restarts in their area even if they cleared the NRA screenings.

The results indicate widespread caution about restarting nuclear power plants even as the central government pushes for restarts under the new safety watchdog set up in 2012 to replace the widely discredited Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

The survey, conducted in February, drew valid responses from all 21 prefectures and 135 cities, towns and villages that host or are near nuclear power plants.