Miyagi governor approves nuclear reactor restart

NHK -- Nov 12
The governor of Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan has approved the restart of the No.2 reactor at Tohoku Electric Power Company's Onagawa nuclear plant.

The reactor is the first in the region affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami to win local consent for restart.

The assemblies of Onagawa Town and Ishinomaki City, which host the plant, as well as the Miyagi prefectural assembly had earlier agreed to allow the reactor to go back online.

Governor Murai Yoshihiro sought opinions from the mayors of all 35 municipalities in his prefecture on Monday.

On Wednesday, Murai and the mayors of Onagawa and Ishinomaki agreed to give their consent. Murai announced their decision at a news conference later in the day.

Murai explained that nuclear power is a key base load power, and the plant generates jobs and contributes to the local economy.

He also stressed that the reactor has been proved safe, as it has passed new government requirements adopted after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

Murai added the prefectural government will set up new evacuation routes and continue to review evacuation plans for residents in case of an emergency at the plant.

The governor said it was a tough decision, but the prefecture and municipalities have agreed to ask the plant's operator and the central government to ensure safety and also to take measures of their own.