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9 October, 2015

Ehime Prefectural Assembly Agrees to Restarting Ikata-3, with Governor to Make Final Decision Soon

On October 9, the Ehime Prefectural Assembly held a plenary session to discuss petitions to approve or disapprove restarting the Ikata-3 Nuclear Power Plant (PWR, 890MWe), owned and operated by the Shikoku Electric Power Co. It then voted to agree with petitions seeking the restart, and passed a resolution recognizing its necessity.

Shikoku Electric Power's Ikata NPPs

Ikata-3 cleared the examination in July to confirm its compatibility with the new national regulatory standards for NPPs, and the Ikata Town Assembly recently endorsed petitions seeking the restart of the plant. Having met with Motoo Hayashi, new head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ikata Mayor Kazuhiko Yamashita will visit Governor Tokihiro Nakamura of Ehime Prefecture to express his agreement. Based on that, the governor will soon meet the METI minister and make his final decision thereafter.

Assuming the governor agrees, the actual restart of Ikata-3 is expected early in 2016 or later, given that examinations remain for the approval of detailed designs of equipment and other items.

At the plenary assembly session on the October 9, the Ehime governor reported that Prime Minister Abe had told him on September 6, at a meeting of Japan’s Nuclear Emergency Council, that the national government would deal with an NPP accident “responsibly.” The governor welcomed that, saying, “The prime minister showed national resolve, as I had hoped he would.”

The municipalities lying within a 30-km radius around Ikata-3—the area for which an evacuation plan will be drawn up—include Ikata Town and six other municipalities in Ehime Prefecture, as well as Kaminoseki Town in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The mayor of Yahatahama City in Ehime has already expressed his agreement with the restart, while the rest of the mayors are waiting to hear what Governor Nakamura decides.

In early November, the national government will hold a nuclear disaster prevention drill at the Ikata NPS. One part of the drill will involve the evacuation of the residents of Ikata Town to Oita Prefecture on Kyushu, across the Bungo Channel from Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku.

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