Shizuoka governor blasts restart of nuke reactor


TOKYO (majirox news) — The governor of Shizuoka prefecture was shocked to learn that reactor No. 4 at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga prefecture was restarted at 11 a.m. on Nov. 1. This is the first plant reactor restarted since the March 11 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, according to Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper.

“I’m flabbergasted,” Governor Heita Kawakatsu said at a news conference on Nov. 2 in Tokyo. “They haven’t even come anywhere near resolving the problem of all the fake e-mails they (Kysuhu Electric Company) sent out, and this feels just like they are ramming it down our throats.”

He added that Kyushu Electric Company (Kyuden) President Toshio Manabe and Governor Yasushi Furukawa of Saga prefecture have not yet resigned to take responsibility for the scandal.

As previously reported, Kyuden President Manabe apologized at a July 6 news conference held in response to the message Kyuden officials sent out to its employees and workers at subsidiaries imploring them to advocate repowering the then halted Genkai reactor. Kyuden had strong-armed the workers to respond to a government-sponsored TV program that aired in late June to explain the situation at the plant to Saga prefecture residents.

Additional, Kyuden said a section manager at its headquarters on June 22 sent out an e-mail under the company name to employees of four Kyuden subsidiaries involved in nuclear power generation operations and urged them to respond to the government’s program by e-mailing expressions of their support for restarting Genkai. Combined, the four subsidiaries — Nishinippon Plant Engineering and Construction Co., Kyuden Sangyo, West Japan Engineering Consultants Inc. and Nishimu Electronics Industries Co. employ about 2,300 people, but how many of them followed the Kyuden request and mailed in their support remains unknown.

Japan had 54 working nuclear reactors while about 40 remain halted, mostly for regular inspections but some because of damage from the March earthquake and tsunami.

The Genkai reactor No. 4 was suspended in early October because of a problem with the condenser unit that turned steam back into cooling water. The reactor will have to shut down in mid-December for its routine scheduled maintenance.

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