Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced on June 8 that he has decided that operations at the Oi nuclear power plant need to be resumed and plans to hold a meeting soon with Cabinet ministers to make a final decision.
Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa is expected to consent to resumption of operations next week. Once that consent is received, Noda will hold a meeting of the relevant Cabinet ministers.
"I have made the decision to resume operations at the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the Oi nuclear plant in order to protect the lifestyles of the people," Noda said at a news conference at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on June 8. "After obtaining the understanding of the local government where the plant is located, I want to proceed with the procedures for resumption of operations."
Noda held the news conference because Nishikawa said he wanted the prime minister to explain to the public why the Oi plant, located in Fukui Prefecture, had to go back online.
Regarding the safety issue that was the basis for making the decision to resume operations, Noda said, "We have confirmed it after accumulating knowledge gained over the course of a year."
In asking for public understanding for resuming operations at the Oi plant, Noda said, "Japanese society will not be able to function if we were to stop nuclear power generation, which accounts for 30 percent of the total. A 15-percent electricity shortage in the Kansai region is a level that was not experienced even in eastern Japan last year."
The accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant last year led to various measures in eastern Japan to conserve and reduce electricity consumption last summer.
Noda also expressed his gratitude to the local governments that have played host to the nation's nuclear power plants.
"It was Fukui Prefecture and Oi which have supported the Kansai region (in electricity supply)," he said. "We must renew our respect and gratitude to the host governments."
With his declaration of the need for resuming operations at the Oi plant, which had been taken offline for routine maintenance, Noda has fulfilled a condition set by Nishikawa. Nishikawa is expected to declare his consent next week, and that will allow the Noda administration to make the formal decision to approve resumption of operations.
- « Prev
- Next »