Discussions to Begin On Restarting Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant; Prefecture to Refer to Experts’ Review of Fukushima Accident

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture

NIIGATA — Niigata Prefecture will begin full-fledged discussions on restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc., Gov. Hideyo Hanazumi has announced.

The prefecture has conducted a review of the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident as a precondition for discussing whether to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, and announced the results of the review Wednesday.

“We will use the results as important material to move forward with discussions about the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant,” Hanazumi said at a regular press conference.

The prefecture established a panel of experts to examine the Fukushima accident, beginning in 2017, from three perspectives — the cause of the accident, the impact on health and life, and safe evacuation methods. The reports were compiled by March, and the prefecture has been scrutinizing their contents.

Hanazumi said he confirmed that there were no contradictions or discrepancies among the reports.

A series of serious deficiencies in anti-terrorism measures were found at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, and the Nuclear Regulation Authority issued a de facto suspension order in 2021. The authority is now inspecting TEPCO’s improvement measures and its “eligibility” as a nuclear power plant operator.

Hanazumi has indicated he will make a decision after setting up a forum to hear the opinions of prefectural residents and taking into account the results of the NRA’s inspection.