Satsumasendai town approves Sendai restart

28 October 2014

The municipal government of the Japanese town of Satsumasendai has given its approval for the restart of the nearby Sendai nuclear power plant. Approval is still required from the regulator, as well as the prefectural and national governments before the plant can begin operating again.

In a vote yesterday, 19 of the town's 26 assembly members approved restarting the plant's two reactors. Four members voted against it while three abstained.

The move came just days after plant owner Kyushu Electric Power Company submitted all the documentation to restart Sendai units 1 and 2 to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

A new regulatory regime was created after the March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi and by mid-2013 the NRA had rewritten the country's requirements for nuclear power plant safety. Power companies soon put in ten applications for restart which have progressed slowly while Sendai has been prioritised, in part due to local support in Kagoshima prefecture.

Kyushu is required to gain an informal approval from leaders of Kagoshima prefecture, and an engagement program has been underway for several weeks. The federal government retains the ultimate say in whether nuclear power plants will restart.

While Satsumasendai has given its approval for the plant's restart, other towns near the Sendai plant have said they should be able to have a say in that decision. However, Kagoshima governor Yuichiro Ito has reportedly said that obtaining approval from the surrounding municipalities is not a legally required process since they do not host the plant.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News