TOKYO (Kyodo) — A Japanese power company plans to resume construction of a nuclear plant later in the year, sources close to the matter said Friday, in what would be the first such move since the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The plan for Electric Power Development Co. to continue building a new plant in Oma, Aomori Prefecture, is in line with the government’s policy but controversial at a time when many in Japan are still concerned about the safety of atomic energy.
The government has set a goal of phasing out nuclear power generation in the 2030s in its new energy strategy and decided not to allow the construction of new reactors, but industry minister Yukio Edano has said that plants in the process of construction would not be categorized as “new reactors.”
The sources said that officials of Electric Power Development, known as J-Power, will visit Aomori on Monday to discuss the issue.
But the move is certain to stir controversy among local governments, with Hokkaido Prefecture, the northernmost main island north of Aomori Prefecture, calling for the suspension of the construction work.
J-Power started building the Oma plant in May 2008, seeking to start its operation in November 2014. But after about 40 percent progress, the work was suspended in the wake of the nuclear crisis. An advanced boiling water reactor is to be installed at the plant.
The utility does not need government permission to resume construction.
The Oma complex and two other reactors in Japan were approved for construction by the government before the Fukushima plant disaster occurred in March 2011.
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