• Kyodo


The municipal assembly of Kashiwazaki in Niigata Prefecture, the site of the world’s largest nuclear plant, passed a resolution Friday asking Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the central government to terminate pluthermal nuclear energy generation plans.

The resolution also requests withdrawal of an earlier approval of the project by the governments of Niigata Prefecture, the city of Kashiwazaki and its neighboring village of Kariwa.

“It has become impossible to approve (the plan) as trust toward Tepco and the government regarding the safety of nuclear energy has been swept away,” the resolution says, referring to the recent scandals involving Tepco’s alleged coverup of damage at its nuclear reactors.

“I think the resolution is very correct. I would like to ascertain individual opinions through a general inquiry,” said Kashiwazaki Mayor Masazumi Saikawa. “I will soon discuss (the matter) with the governor of Niigata and the leader of Kariwa.”

Other local authorities that would be affected by the pluthermal plan are expected to follow the lead of Kashiwazaki and pass similar resolutions, which could drastically impact the government and power companies’ promotion of the plan.

The pluthermal project is a fuel program that involves burning pellets of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel — comprising uranium and plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel — inside light-water reactors to generate heat for producing electricity.

Tepco, which operates the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, originally planned to start using MOX fuel at the No. 3 reactor of the plant last year, but has not yet done so due to opposition from local residents and prefectural authorities.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, which comprises seven reactors, has the world’s largest energy output at 8.21 million kw.

The plant was among the nuclear energy facilities inspected by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, affiliated with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, earlier this week in response to recent Tepco scandals.

Tepco, the nation’s largest power utility, earlier gave the agency a list of 29 possibly false inspection reports dating from the late 1980s and 1990s on 13 of 17 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant and the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants in Fukushima Prefecture. It later admitted to falsifying records.

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