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Tepco shares surge after report Niigata governor may resign
[TOKYO] Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (Tepco) shares rose more than 4 per cent after Japanese media reported that the governor of Niigata prefecture, where the utility's Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear station is located, may resign.
Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, who has derailed Tepco's plans for a restart of Kashiwazaki Kariwa, intends to resign, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday.
Getting Kashiwazaki Kariwa going has long been central to Tepco's recovery plans in the wake of the meltdowns at its Fukushima plant in 2011, but Mr Yoneyama told Reuters last year a better understanding of that disaster was needed before he would sign off on a restart.
Tepco shares were 1.2 per cent higher at 0042 GMT after gaining as much as 4.4 per cent earlier. The broader market was up slightly.
Kashiwazaki Kariwa is the world's biggest nuclear station, with seven reactors that can generate 8,212 megawatts of electricity, or about 20 per cent of Japan's nuclear capacity.
Mr Yoneyama told Reuters last year that he planned to review the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and examine evacuation drills in Niigata.
The health impacts of the radiation release during the world's worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, should also be analysed, he said, adding that it may take three years to complete the review.
Tepco has approval from regulators to start two reactors at the site, but needs to carry out further work before it can get them going. While not a legal requirement, the signoff of the governor is also required.