National

Niigata governor still at odds with Tepco chief over reactor restarts

Kyodo

Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida remained at odds Tuesday with Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose over the restart of reactors at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in the prefecture, saying the utility has not done enough to probe the reasons behind the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Izumida, who has said he will not approve the restart of the Niigata reactors unless all of the facts are discovered and made public on the Fukushima triple-core meltdowns, met Hirose for the first time in a year on Tuesday.

But the two remained far apart over the restart plan, as Tepco seeks to get the plant back online and has already scheduled meetings with local residents later this month.

The utility filed for the restart of reactors 6 and 7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa with the Nuclear Regulation Authority in September 2013.

“The (restart application) screening by the NRA is in full swing. We will start explaining to residents what safety measures we have put in place,” Hirose told Izumida at the prefectural government office.

“The first thing we need is the full discovery of reasons behind the Fukushima accident,” Izumida responded.

Izumida added that many Tepco officials have not agreed to the disclosure of documents that contain their interviews with the government investigation panel on Fukushima, calling this “backward-looking.”

Hirose, however, said it is up to each Tepco official to decide whether to agree to disclose their interview transcripts.

Tepco said it will go ahead with plans to hold meetings with residents to explain its position in the city of Kashiwa on Jan. 22 and in the village of Kariwa on Jan. 23.

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