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Tepco Nuclear Restart Depends on Safety Call as Shares Surge

May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. needs to assess whether its Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant in northern Japan meets the country’s new safety requirements before applying for a restart of the nuclear facility.

Japan’s biggest power company by generation capacity, known as Tepco, denied that it will ask to restart the idled reactors in July, it said in a statement today, even as its shares surged on a report that it will make an application.

Two other Japanese utility companies, Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. confirmed they will apply to restart their reactors that month.

Tepco is still designing a filtered vent system, mandated by the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety rules, and can’t say when it can complete the installation, it said.

All but two of Japan’s 50 reactors remain offline after the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami caused three meltdowns and a radiation release at Tepco’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The idled reactors must meet the NRA’s new safety standards, to be put into effect in July, before resuming operations.

Tepco and four other power companies will apply to the nuclear safety watchdog in July to restart their reactors, the Yomiuri newspaper reported yesterday, without saying how it obtained the information. In addition to Shikoku and Kyushu, the other utilities are Kansai Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co.

Shikoku Electric plans to apply for restart of the Ikata No. 3 reactor in July, spokesman Takuji Suzaki said by phone today. Kyushu Electric wants to apply to restart two reactors at the Sendai plant in western Japan in the same month, spokesman Hiroki Yamaguchi said.

Kansai Electric and Hokkaido Electric haven’t decided when they will submit an application, spokesmen for the companies said.

Tepco shares rose 15 percent to 721 yen at the 11.30 a.m. mid-session break in Tokyo, heading for their highest since March 25 in 2011. It was the best performer on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, which was up 1.4 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

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