Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Nuclear Regulation Authority approved on Wednesday Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. as a nuclear power plant operator, on condition the industry minister guarantees that TEPCO will implement enhanced safety measures.
As a result, TEPCO is expected to pass NRA screenings for restarting the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture.
“TEPCO’s commitment needs a guarantee from the industry minister,” NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said.
Tanaka said he will request TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa to include such a guarantee in safety manuals so that the company’s commitment to enhanced safety measures will not be a mere verbal promise.
After making the request, the NRA will draft safety screening reports, which would be effectively the certificates needed for the restart of the two reactors, as early as this month.
TEPCO would receive NRA approval of restart for any of its reactors for the first time since the March 2011 triple meltdown at its Fukushima No. 1 power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
The expected approval would also be the first one for a boiling-water reactor in the country since the nuclear disaster, the type used at the Fukushima plant.
But it is uncertain when the two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant will be put back into operation, because Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama hopes to focus on probes into the nuclear accident.
As part of the screenings for the two reactors, the NRA checked whether TEPCO is qualified as a nuclear plant operator, an element not included in the NRA’s regular nuclear plant safety reviews.Speech