Big cities lobby Kepco to drop nuclear power


Three major cities in the Kansai region — Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe — jointly urged Kansai Electric Power Co. on Monday to make greater efforts to part with nuclear power in light of the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

In a written request, the three municipalities also demanded that Kepco disclose information on the demand and supply of electricity in the area as well as lower and stabilize its rates.

Toru Hashimoto, the outspoken mayor of Osaka, which has a 9 percent stake in the utility, intends to propose the utility dispense with nuclear power at a Kepco shareholders’ meeting in June.

The city of Kobe owns a 3 percent in Kepco, while Kyoto owns a 0.45 percent stake.

Towns ink disaster pact


The town of Shika, Ishikawa Prefecture, and the city of Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, both of which host nuclear plants, concluded an agreement Monday to help each other in the event of a disaster.

The two will provide food, water and other supplies and accept each other’s evacuees and dispatch human resources under the pact. It is the first time such a pact has been concluded between separate local governments hosting nuclear plants.

Omaezaki, facing the Pacific Ocean, hosts the Hamaoka power plant run by Chubu Electric Power Co. The city took into consideration the risk related to nuclear power and potential tsunami that could be triggered by a massive quake expected in the region.

Shika, which is on the Sea of Japan coast, hosts Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s Shika nuclear plant.

At the Hamaoka plant, all three reactors were shut down last year after then Prime Minister Naoto Kan called on the utility to close the plant because it was deemed short on quake and tsunami countermeasures. The Shika plant’s two reactors have been idled since last year.