TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Seven prefectures which have 11 nuclear reactors awaiting restart after regular checkups say they are unable to decide on whether they will accept resumption before the central government sets new criteria for it, a Kyodo News survey showed Friday.
The departments in charge of nuclear power in the prefectures say their indecision comes as they do not see how they could consent to resumption at a time when the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture has been shut down since May at the government's request due to safety concerns.
Located on a major active fault zone, the Hamaoka plant has been suspended against the backdrop of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
While the government is urging a restart of reactors that have undergone regular checkups prior to the high demand season for electricity, its request for the Hamaoka plant has apparently made local authorities reluctant to accept resumption, the survey indicated.
The seven prefectures are Hokkaido, Aomori, Ishikawa, Fukui, Ehime, Saga and Kagoshima.
The central government submitted a report on its nuclear safety measures to the International Atomic Energy Agency, but Fukui Prefecture said in its response to the survey the measures are not sufficient enough to dispel concerns among local residents.
All of the seven prefectures said the government should show reasons why it could determine plants other than the Hamaoka plant are deemed safe. They said that unless the government gives such reasons, they cannot decide on a restart.
As there is no legal ground to gain local consent to restart a reactor after checkups, all prefectures said there are no stipulations on local consent in their safety accords concluded with power utilities.
Aomori Prefecture said it has set up a panel on the safety of nuclear facilities and has started deliberations on whether it should make it mandatory to gain local consent before resumption of nuclear reactors.
(Mainichi Japan) June 18, 2011