The underside of the No. 3 reactor pressure vessel at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, is seen in January 2014.
The Japanese government is considering legislation to oblige Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to obtain approval from local governments if it applies for restarting its Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power station, Jiji Press learned Friday.
The legislation is also expected to stipulate that the plant be decommissioned if Tepco fails to win such approval and is unable to submit an application for its restart within three years after the law takes effect, sources said.
It will be a special measure under the nuclear reactor regulation law, which does not require local government approval for restarting reactors.
The government aims to submit the legislation to the extraordinary session of the Diet that will be convened on Monday, the sources said.
All the No. 1 to No. 4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant have been offline since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to a triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station.
Although three of the four reactors at the No. 2 plant lost cooling functions temporarily in the 2011 disaster, they avoided severe accidents such as a core meltdown.
Tepco has not clarified what to do with the No. 2 plant. It is working on decommissioning the stricken No. 1 plant.
The Fukushima prefectural government and its assembly have been calling for scrapping the No. 2 plant.
The legislation could force Tepco to decommission the No. 2 plant because it raises further hurdles for resuming operations.
The government has yet to decide on details of the legislation, including the scope of local governments whose approval would be necessary for reactor restarts, the sources said.
The government allows the restart of nuclear reactors that pass the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s screening based on the stricter safety standards introduced after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
But the government sees a need for taking special measures for the No. 2 plant because it is located near the No. 1 plant, which caused severe damage to Fukushima Prefecture, the sources said