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Japan formulates new nuke plant safety guidelines

Tokyo, Sat, 07 Apr 2012 ANI

Tokyo, April 7 (ANI): Japan has announced a new set of standards for its nuclear plants on Friday to prevent disasters, such as last year's meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-chi power plant, as the government aimed to ease public concern about restarting idle reactors.

Facing a national power crisis, the government is keen on restarting two reactors in Fukui, western Japan, before the last operating reactor, out of the 54 in the country, goes offline in May.

However, local leaders are unwilling to approve restarting any of the reactors, and the public strongly opposes nuclear energy since the meltdowns.

According to the Fox News, the guidelines, based on 30 recommendations adopted last month by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, formulated are more extensive and designed to estimate how reactors would cope during disasters, such as a major earthquake or tsunami.

Authorities are hopeful that the people will be convinced the reactors are safe if they meet the new guidelines, including the two in Ohi, which have finished regular safety checks and are ready to restart.

Economy and Trade Minister Yukio Edano called the guidelines "easy to understand" that aimed to set higher standards for natural disasters, but do not include terrorist attacks, airplane accidents and other emergencies, Fox News reported.

All 54 reactors except one have been shut down for inspections that are required every 13 months. None have been restarted since 11 March 2011, tsunami led to meltdowns in three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

The nation's last operational reactor, on the northern island of Hokkaido, goes offline in early May leading to power shortages. Therefore, to make up for the shortfall, Japan has expanded production at conventional gas- and oil-fired plants.

Japan faces pressure from big businesses to quickly get reactors working and maintain nuclear power to keep the economy afloat.(ANI)

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