The owner of the Fukushima nuclear plant TEPCO has been blocked from restarting reactors at another plant by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) according to reports.
Japan has been nuclear free since September, when the last of its reactors was shutdown.
Referring to a request by TEPCO to restart reactors at the plant for a safety assessment, NRA Secretary General Katsuhiko Ikeda said: “The NRA will decide whether to go ahead with the safety assessment by seeing how the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi improves,” Kyodo News reported.
Mr Ikeda made the comments after joining a meeting between NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka and TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, to discuss a recent spate of setbacks on the clean up job at Fukushima.
Meanwhile, the governor of the Niigata Prefecture Hirohiko Izumida told Reuters TEPCO needed to address “institutionalised lying” and provide a fuller account of the Fukushima disaster before its allowed to restart any reactors.
The Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant is situated in the Niigata Prefecture, meaning TEPCO needs his approval to press on with a restart.
Mr Izumida said: “If they don’t do what needs to be done, if they keep skimping on costs and manipulating information, they can never be trusted.”
A TEPCO spokesman is quoted as saying: “Safety is our utmost priority and we are not acting on an assumption of nuclear restarts.
“We want to work on this issue while gaining the understanding of the local population and related parties.”
Mr Izumida also urged the Japanese government to remove TEPCO from the decommissioning process at Fukushima, make clean up workers at the plant public employees and possibly pay for the company to go through bankruptcy.
Japan’s ruling party appears to be thinking along the same lines. According to reports, a panel set up by the Liberal Democratic Party yesterday put forward a draft proposal to remove the job of decommissioning from TEPCO by splitting off the part dealing with the clean up from the main body of the company – possibly as an independent but government affiliated agency.