The government is concerned about the impact the radioactive water leak at the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture over the weekend will have on public sentiment, a top industry ministry official said Monday.

The accident occurred Saturday, just one day after the plant resumed operations following safety inspections.

“It is particularly regrettable that the accident damaged the trust of the people, especially local residents,” Katsusada Hirose, vice minister of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said at a news conference.

“In this respect, we are worried about the impact on the entire issue of nuclear power,” he said. “It has to be advanced on the basis of trust and cooperation with everyone.”

Chubu Electric Power Co. said Saturday it shut down a reactor at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station following the discovery of a radioactive-water leak early in the day.

In November, the power station in the town of Hamaoka, located roughly 210 km southwest of Tokyo, reported a pipe rupture and a water leak at its No. 1 reactor and shut it down.

The utility also shut down the No. 2 reactor, which is similarly structured, at that time for voluntary inspections. The reactor resumed operations Friday after a six-month break, and was supposed to start generating power Saturday.

The November accident fueled widespread public distrust of nuclear power. Such sentiment has prevented power companies from introducing a plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel as planned and the government from advancing its nuclear fuel-cycle policy.

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