USA | Japan Industry Minister Dismisses Talk Of Trying To Block Nuclear Plant Restart

Posted on July 11, 2011

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USA | WALL STREET JOURNAL | 11 July 2011

TOKYO (Dow Jones)–Japanese industry minister Banri Kaieda said Tuesday that the government is working hard to facilitate the restart of nuclear plants, dismissing talk that it is trying to steer the country away from nuclear power by blocking the operational resumption of idled reactors.

“The issue facing us is not whether we want to, or do not want to, restart nuclear power plants. All nuclear plants that are deemed safe have to be restarted,” Kaieda told reporters, countering speculation that recently proposed stress tests on nuclear plants are aimed at making it difficult for utilities to bring idled reactors back online.

“The role of nuclear power in Japan’s energy mix needs to be discussed when a basic energy plan is formulated in the future. But that is a long-term issue,” Kaieda said and stressed the need to tackle the power shortages facing the nation right now.

Speculation grew recently that Prime Minister Naoto Kan is trying to delay the restart of nuclear plants as much as possible, after he abruptly proposed the stress testing of all nuclear plants last week. The move will add to the safety checks the plants have to undergo to restart reactors idled for maintenance checkups.

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