Science Panel Concludes Ohi Reactors Safe; Noda Restart Order Imminent

The Fukui Prefecture’s Governor-appointed science panel concluded that Kansai’s Ohi reactors can be safely operated. Approval by the science panel was the last obstacle blocking approval for restarts by Fukui Prefecture Governor Issei Nishikawa.

Bloomberg News reports that the science panel released a document on Sunday June 10 with its final assessment that the plants can be safely operated.

On Friday June 8, Prime Minister Noda made a public appeal urging support for restarting two reactors. Noda sought to gain approval from all local authorities within the prefecture. Most of the local bodies said they support restart of the reactors to help avert power shortages but Governor Nishikawa insisted he could only make a decision after a scientific panel’s inspection and review of the reactors.

Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency had already conducted stress tests on the reactors and determined Ohi 3 and Ohi 4 were safe to operate.

Now that the science panel, which was appointed by Governor Nishikawa, has concluded that reactors can be safely operated, Governor Nishikawa is expected to accept the findings and give his support to restart of the reactors.

According to Kyodo News Agency, the Prime Minister may give the restart order by the end of the week.