JAPAN | Local governments react to nuclear stress tests

Posted on July 7, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | Thursday, July 07, 2011 10:07 +0900 (JST)

Local municipalities hosting nuclear plants say they are puzzled by the central government’s decision to carry out new safety tests at all nuclear power facilities. Two-thirds of the country’s nuclear reactors remain off-line after the Fukushima accident.

Industry minister Banri Kaieda announced on Wednesday the plan to conduct the so-called “stress tests” that will assess the ability of nuclear plants to withstand severe accidents.

The new tests are to be modeled on simulations introduced by the European Union for its nuclear power plants following the Fukushima accident.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the new safety assessment will be carried out in an effort to reassure residents.
It adds that emergency measures taken after the March disaster are sufficient to ensure safety.

The government’s Nuclear Safety Commission asked the agency to draw up a plan within a week on conducting the stress tests, which are designed to examine the effectiveness of safety measures implemented so far at nuclear facilities.

The governor of Saga Prefecture, Yasushi Furukawa, says he cannot understand why the government decided on a new measure at this time. He is preparing to decide whether or not to give his approval for a utility to resume operation of suspended nuclear reactors in his prefecture.

The governor of Ehime Prefecture, Tokihiro Nakamura, says he cannot make any comment as information is not available on the central government’s stance on the stress tests.

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