While not confirmed, the media seems to believe that his cryptic comment of "for a moment" suggests the government will be unable to restart the No. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi plant in Fukui-ken (Fukui Prefecture in Western Japan) by May 5, 2012.
This is apparently a drop dead date for the nuclear industry as May 5 is when the Tomari nuclear power plant (see photo above) - the only nuclear power plant in Hokkaidō in the north of Japan will go offline for a regular inspection. That means the country will be without nuclear power - surely a sign of victory for the anti-nuclear crowd.
For reference, the Tomari plant is about 60 kilometers north of the Fukushima reactors.
This is a good thing. Make sure all the facilities pass inspection before starting them up - if that is what Japan wants to do. If it can't pass the inspections - shut'em down. It's better than another nuclear disaster.
The government had been trying to restart the Oi reactors before the shutdown of the last reactor at Tomari, apparently fearing that the political hurdles to restart them will be higher if all 54 are stopped at once -meaning that it might show that Japan could get along without nuclear power as a viable form of electrical power generation.
Anti-nuclear activists have, of course, said that Japan does not need nuclear, while Japan and its power utilities have said that power shortages will occur if all the units are stopped.
It's all just supposition at this time. Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife thinks that this is simple political gamesmanship. Nishikawa obviously is correct in not immediately saying okay to fire up the reactors until he gets all of the facts - regardless of Edano's 'assurances'. We've all seen assurances before, and it's not always pretty.
As well... this is Japan. No one likes to say 'No' to anyone, as the country has 47 ways of saying "maybe". But since no 'maybe' or 'no' were given or even a 'yes', everyone is panicking in the nuclear industry. Just let the people involved examine the facts first, rather than just blindly saying 'Sure, we trust you - fire up the nuclear reactors."
By Andrew Joseph