On February 7, the heads of one town and two villages in Aomori Prefecture which surround the Ohma Nuclear Power Plant (ABWR, 1383MWe), owned by the Electric Power Development Co. (EPDC, or J-Power), visited the offices of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Tokyo to ask for support toward resuming the plant’s construction, which is currently suspended.
Mayor NOZAKI Naofumi of Ohma Town said that the region had been “impoverished” owing to the suspension of the plant’s construction in the wake of the giant earthquake of March 11, 2011, and asked the government to take “trenchant measures” to restart the construction of the main body of the reactor “as soon as possible.”
METI State Minister NAKATANI Shinichi, with whom they met, then stated his recognition that the Ohma NPP—which is to be fueled entirely by MOX fuel—was a “very important nuclear reactor in terms of nuclear fuel cycle policy.”
Together with Mayor Nozaki, Mayor OTA Naoki of Sai Village and Mayor TOMIOKA Hiroshi of Kazamaura Village also visited METI. Mayor Nozaki explained that Route 279—the only arterial road connecting Ohma Town and Mutsu City—had been closed due to a tsunami warning at the time of the earthquake. He said that it was essential to develop an alternative evacuation road as a bypass during emergencies.
State Minister Nakatani then said that “improving nuclear disaster prevention measures, including an evacuation road, is important in securing regional safety and reassuring the people.” He said that the government would respond to regional requests in cooperation with the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).
After the meeting, Mayor Nozaki told the press that State Minister Nakatani had told them that the government would strive to expedite the resumption of building the full-MOX ABWR Ohma as soon as possible, and added that he felt confident that satisfactory results could be expected.
On the same day, the three mayors also visited MLIT offices in Tokyo, asking that the Ministry reinforce nuclear disaster prevention measures, including the construction of an escape road.