2018/06/10 No early restart for TEPCO’s nuclear reactors after Niigata election

プレスリリース - 2018-06-10
Niigata, June 10 2018 - The plans of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) for early restart of two reactors at Kashiwazaki Kariwa remain uncertain with the election of the new Governor of Niigata prefecture, Greenpeace Japan stated.

“TEPCO remains in crisis, and there are no prospects for restart in the coming few years. The new Governor needs to maintain Niigata’s existing policy which is to conclude investigations into the Fukushima nuclear disaster, as well establish a credible evacuation plan. TEPCO also needs to fully disclose how it was that the risks of liquefaction at unit Kashiwazaki Kariwa 6&7 reactors were not notified to Japan’s nuclear regulator before safety approval last year. Local citizens and experts have challenged TEPCO for more than four decades that the site is at major seismic risk. More than seven years after the Fukushima accident, TEPCO remains committed to secrecy rather than transparency,” said Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace Germany currenly based in Japan.  

The new Governor Hideyo Hanazumi, backed by the LDP, stated during the campaign that he would require the completion of the prefectural investigation committees before considering approval for restart of Kashiwazaki Kariwa reactors.  The committee of experts are investigating the causes and impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, including on public health, as well as reviewing emergency evacuation plans for the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant. The committees are expected to complete their work in mid 2020.

TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa reactor units 6&7 passed Nuclear Regulation Authority review in December 2017. However, local approval, including by the Niigata governor, is required before any restart. Disclosures by TEPCO in February that essential emergency buildings at the site are vulnerable to seismically induced liquefaction further undermined their stated claim to being committed to safety and transparency.Neither Niigata citizens or politicians, or the NRA, were notified of the major risks prior to the safety approval.[1]

Maintaining units 6&7 and not generating electricity costs TEPCO ¥240 billion (US$2.3 billion) per annum. In its 2017 Revised Comprehensive Special Business Plan, TEPCO reported its aim to restart of KK units 6&7 from 2019, 2020 or 2021. Greenpeace Japan didn’t think these were credible then, and they have become even less likely as a result of the election. A major factor in the restart plan is the ability of TEPCO to cover its share of the Fukushima Daiichi accident costs which are 15 trillion yen (US$14 billion), requiring up to 500 billion yen (US$455 million) per annum.[2]


[1]  In case of liquefaction due to earthquake fear of nuclear damage damage at Kashiwazaki Kariwa: TEPCO not explaining locally, 10 February 2018

[2]  For background analysis see TEPCO’s Atomic Illusion, June 2017, ; Japan Times, “Tepco business plan, including July reactor restart, gets official OK”, 15 January 2014

Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist, Greenpeace Germany, , +81 (0)80-3694-2843 (Currently based in Japan)
Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, , +81 (0) 80-6558-4446