The discovery last week that Tokyo Electric Power Co. falsified data regarding inspections at some of its nuclear power plants has sparked a strong burst of indignation from municipalities hosting the facilities.
On Monday, the governors of Aomori, Miyagi, Shimane and Fukuoka prefectures separately expressed concern over actions by Tepco, the nation’s largest utility, and demanded a full probe.
Some of the governors said the 14 prefectures currently hosting nuclear facilities nationwide would jointly make an emergency request for the central government to act swiftly on the scandal and check the safety of all plants currently in operation.
Miyagi Gov. Shiro Asano told a news conference he has grave concerns over the central government’s stance on the Tepco affair, adding that the matter was not solely the concern of Fukushima and Niigata prefectures, which host the Tepco plants in question.
“We must call into question how the central government recognizes the issue of nuclear safety,” he said, criticizing the fact that nothing was done even though authorities received a tip regarding the falsifications two years ago.
Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato meanwhile told the head of the regional bureau of economy, industry and trade that he wanted to know by Tuesday exactly when the minister was informed of the falsifications.
“The tip came two years ago, but the reactors are still in operation with cracks in them,” Sato said. “I do not think the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade is qualified to comment on maintaining and improving (nuclear) safety.”
Shimane Gov. Nobuyoshi Sumita slammed Tepco’s actions as a matter that has shaken citizens’ trust in nuclear energy, and said it was deeply regrettable.
However, he did not clarify whether the prefecture would conduct its own probe into the Shimane Nuclear Power Plant, operated by Chubu Electric Power Co., saying only that it expects Chubu Electric to carry out inspections properly.
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