MATSUE, Shimane Pref. (Kyodo) city of Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, will let Chugoku Electric Power Co. start a plutonium-thermal power generation project involving the use of uranium-plutonium mixed oxide fuel at its nuclear plant there, Matsue Mayor Masataka Matsuura said Thursday.

“We have decided to give our assent,” the mayor told a council of all municipal assembly members, adding that the local authority made its final decision “by compiling opinions from experts and the assembly.”

“The state has also assured us that it will execute the project with responsibility,” Matsuura said.

The prefectural government basically approved the project in 2006, under then Shimane Gov. Nobuyoshi Sumita.

The city and prefectural governments are expected to convey their approval to the utility next week.

Following the decision, Chubu Electric President Takashi Yamashita said safety would be paramount.

“We appreciate the efforts made by the city of Matsue and other involved parties. We will continue to make it our priority to ensure safety in advancing the scheme,” Yamashita said.

The central government agreed last October to let Chugoku Electric carry out the MOX fuel power generation scheme at the Shimane nuclear power plant’s No. 2 reactor, an 820,000-kw boiling water reactor, in Matsue by the end of fiscal 2010.

However, the local municipality and the prefectural government urged the utility to ensure the quake resistance of the plant because it sits close to an active fault line.

In December, the government concluded the quake resistance of the Shimane power station is “reasonable.”

Chugoku Electric applied for state approval in October 2006.

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