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Niigata governor election centres on the issue of the world’s largest nuclear power plant

World’s Biggest Nuclear Plant Is Center Stage in Rural Election, Stephen Stapczynski– 8 June 2018 (Bloomberg) — The fate of the world’s largest atomic plant may be decided by a local election this weekend in a rural Japanese prefecture better known for its skiing and sake.

The top two candidates running in the June 10 Niigata gubernatorial race are opposed to the speedy restart of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holding Inc.’s nuclear reactors — which the utility, known as Tepco, aims to fire-up as soon as 2019. But the degree to which the candidates oppose atomic power is being watched closely by investors, voters and local media.

……..While candidates backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition both want to finish investigations into atomic safety before the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors restart, their views diverge after that.

Chikako Ikeda, a member of the prefecture’s assembly and backed by a coalition of opposition parties, has said she doesn’t support Tepco restarting the facility. She is also calling for a local referendum to decide the fate of the units after the prefecture finishes its investigations, which could take another three years.

Hideyo Hanazumi, a former vice-governor of Niigata backed by Abe’s LDP party, has refused to say whether he supports the restart but has insisted that the prefecture’s investigations be completed before a decision is made. Tepco shares have lost almost 14 percent since the day before May 9 when he said the nation should rid itself of nuclear power in the long-term and continue the prefecture’s investigation.

Hanazumi has a slight lead over Ikeda, according to the Asahi poll, which didn’t disclose exact percentages……..

June 8, 2018 - Posted by | Japan, politics

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