Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) on 13 September failed to certify the safety of units 6 and 7 at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP in Niigata Prefecture, citing a lack of debate on specific safety measures taken. NRA had been expected to verify that the units had passed stringent new safety requirements. However, despite criticism over a lack of debate about whether Tepco, which also operates the Fukushima Daiichi site, is capable of effectively operating any NPP, NRA reached a consensus that Tepco is fit to operate nuclear plants. This decision was made on condition that Tepco must clearly state in its rules its determination to implement all new safety measures and that this must be guaranteed by the industry minister. NRA said Tepco should reference its resolve to ensure safety in operating nuclear plants in its safety rules. Meanwhile, the prospect of gaining local consent needed for the two reactors’ restart remains uncertain, after Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama said it could take “around three to four years” for the utility to win over local communities.