• Kyodo

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Kagoshima’s recently elected anti-nuclear governor said Friday the prefectural government will review evacuation plans for residents near the Sendai power plant in Satsumasendai.

“I found problems with the roads, evacuation drills and other things,” Gov. Satoshi Mitazono told reporters during a safety tour of areas around the nuclear power station. “They should be tackled immediately.”

Elected just last month, the governor plans to ask Kyushu Electric Power Co. to halt two reactivated reactors.

The No. 1 and No. 2 units were restarted last year, becoming the first two to go back online under the stricter safety rules prompted by the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

A court ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. in March to suspend two reactors at its Takahama plant over safety concerns after their restarts earlier this year. The No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant went online last week.

Mitazono, a former TV Asahi commentator, defeated incumbent Yuichiro Ito, who consented to the two restarts, in the election on July 10.

He toured Satsumasendai and neighboring Ichikikushikino, just 30 km from the plant, to check evacuation routes and discuss how residents will escape in an emergency.

While exchanging views with the new governor, some residents of Satsumasendai expressed concern about their evacuation route, saying the road is too narrow.

Mitazono repeated his intention to request by early September that Kyushu Electric temporarily halt the two reactors for safety checks due to the strong earthquakes that hit nearby Kumamoto and Oita prefectures in April.

While the governor is not authorized to suspend operation of the reactors, the utility is likely to seek consent from local residents regarding safety at the plant.

Regardless of the governor’s request, the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors are scheduled to be taken offline for regular checks on Oct. 6 and Dec. 16, respectively.

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