OSAKA (Kyodo) Kansai Electric Power Co. has effectively decided to give up plans to build a nuclear power plant in Kyotango, Kyoto Prefecture, amid strong opposition from the local community, company sources said Sunday.

Kepco has decided to drop its request that the city conduct an environmental impact study, after the city asked it last month to do so, the sources said. Environmental assessments are required prior to construction of nuclear power plants.

The utility, based in Osaka, will formally convey the decision to the city soon, the sources said.

The decision will have little impact on Kepco’s operations, they said. The project is not included in the company’s power supply plan and demand for electricity has been flat owing in part to energy-saving efforts by customer companies.

The nation’s second-largest electric company filed the environmental assessment request 31 years ago with the town of Kumihama, which is now part of Kyotango.

Consistent opposition from residents kept the project at a standstill.

When the city of Kyotango was created in April 2004 through a merger of six towns, Mayor Yasushi Nakayama expressed opposition to the project.

When Kumihama was still an independent entity, it received subsidies under the national energy policy of promoting nuclear power. The Kyotango government stopped seeking the subsidies at the end of last year.

Kepco scrapped a joint nuclear power plant project in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, with Chubu Electric Power Co. and Hokuriku Electric Power Co. at the end of 2003.

Kepco has been looking at two other sites for reactors in Wakayama Prefecture that were picked three decades ago, but no specific construction plans are on the drawing board.

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