Nearly half of Japanese cities near nuke plants would allow resumption

July 8, 2013 at 11:46 AM

TOKYO, July 8 (UPI) -- Nearly half of 72 local Japanese leaders say they are OK with nuclear power plants in their vicinities resuming operation, a survey released Monday found.

Thirty-four government heads whose prefectures or cities are within 19 miles of a nuclear power plant said they would agree to restarting the plants if confirmed to be safe, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. The power plants were shut down after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011.

The survey, conducted by the newspaper in late June, found four local government heads would agree to restart the plants, while 30 other local chiefs said the plants could reopen if certain conditions were met.

Seven local leaders said they would not agree. Thirty-one local government heads did not respond.

Electric companies are not required to seek consent from local governments to resume operations at nuclear power facilities. However, the national government has urged utility officials to ask local leaders for their permission.

The local governments surveyed are within the zone in which regional disaster prevention plans must be drawn up.

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