This handout picture released by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) on Dec 19, 2013 shows inside the unit six reactor building of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant at Kashiwazaki city in Niigata prefecture, northern Japan. (AFP PHOTO / IRSN / RECOQUILLE-BRESSION)
TOKYO - Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) on Wednesday postponed clearing two of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s (TEPCO) idled reactors from restarting on grounds the utility may be unfit to run a nuclear power plant.
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) on Wednesday postponed clearing two of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s (TEPCO) idled reactors from restarting
Two reactors at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture have cleared new stringent safety standards instituted in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant, also operated by TEPCO, but the NRA has been criticized for there being a lack of debate on the restart.
The NRA has been critical of TEPCO's management including its safety awareness and had said previously that "An operator, who cannot take concrete measures to decommissioning efforts of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, does not have the right to resume operation of nuclear reactors."
The utility had been urged by the NRA to provide concrete details on how it plans to deal with contaminated water at the disaster-hit Daiichi nuclear facility in Fukushima Prefecture, yet failed to give details in its written response.
The NRA on Wednesday in a meeting with TEPCO said the utility should make clear in its safety rules its determination to ensure the safe operation of its nuclear power plants.
Discussions, henceforth, will be held with Japan's economy, trade and industry minister to determine whether TEPCO is fit to operate nuclear power plants.
Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama, in another stumbling block for the embattled utility, said gaining consent from local residents on the reactors' restart will take around three to four years.