The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry (METI) has distributed appeals to households in the Kariwa, Niigata prefecture, asking for support for Tokyo Electric Power’s (Tepco’s) plans to use MOX fuel at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 3 (see NEI May 2001, p3).
The appeals were sent in the hope of influencing a local referendum at the end of May on the plans. METI emphasise the safety of MOX and warn that power shortages may result if villagers vote down the plan. The plebiscite is the first of its kind in Japan, and is likely to influence the use of MOX elsewhere in the country.
The vote is not legally binding, and loading of MOX at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa may take place even if the outcome of the referendum is negative.