• Kyodo


A town assembly panel in Miyama, Mie Prefecture, is expected to discuss next week whether it should hold a plebiscite on hosting a nuclear power plant that other prefectural towns have rejected, assembly officials said Thursday.

Chubu Electric Power Co. originally intended to set up a nuclear power plant in Ashihama, a coastal area stretching between Kisei and Nanto.

The plan was conceived in 1964, but strong local opposition forced the Nagoya-based utility to ditch it in February 2000.

Chubu Electric Power has not chosen an alternate site for the plant, a company spokesman said, but will wait to see what comes of Miyama’s plebiscite proposal before pursuing other options.

Company President Fumio Kawaguchi said local support must be obtained before selecting a location.

If Miyama’s special assembly panel agrees to conduct the plebiscite, it will submit an ordinance to the full assembly next month. A majority of the 17-member panel already supports the nuclear power plant.

If the assembly passes the ordinance and the town carries out a plebiscite, it will be the first time for a local government to survey public opinion before allowing a power company to pick a location for setting up a nuclear power plant.

The panel is currently deliberating petitions that support and oppose the plant.

About 5,600 Miyama residents, or 64 percent of eligible voters, filed a petition in February supporting the plant. Antinuclear power residents filed a petition opposing it.

Mayor Tatsuo Shiotani has said he is willing to accept a nuclear plant as he believes it would help stimulate the local economy.

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