The Nuclear Regulation Authority’s effective go-ahead last week for restarting two reactors in Niigata Prefecture came just a few months after the departing NRA chief, Shunichi Tanaka, called Tokyo Electric Power Holdings Co. unfit to run a nuclear power station. He said Tepco lacks the will to take the initiative in decommissioning the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, where three reactors suffered core meltdowns in the mega-disaster of March 2011.

While restarting reactors 6 and 7 at the giant Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant on the Sea of Japan coast is not expected to take place anytime soon — due to opposition from the local governor, whose consent will be needed — it must be scrutinized whether the nuclear watchdog carefully assessed Tepco’s qualifications as a nuclear plant operator after seeming to question its fitness so severely as recently as July.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.